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Dschijn

2013 13" MBP + GTX970@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win8.1/OSX10.10 [Dschijn

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This guide is based on http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/7580-%5Bguide%5D-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx780%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-a.html#post103029. Many thanks to the awesome people of this forum and especially Tech Inferno Fan and goalque.

Other builds

I made 3 builds until now:

CONFIGURATION

SOFTWARE INSTALLING

  1. Install Windows 8.1 64 bit from a USB stick by using ISO file. This is a standard Boot Camp installation.
  2. After installing Windows, download and install all Windows updates.
  3. Update Boot Camp drivers (Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5640) and shut down
  4. Do the hardware preparing part 1-8
  5. Install Nvidia driver 340.52 (Drivers | GeForce)
  6. Shut down MacBook Pro and continue from the hardware preparing step 8
  7. Apply following steps to get Optimus internal LCD mode working: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/8106-%5Bwip%5D-2013-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-osx10.html#post110489. Without this Optimus would only sometimes work as detailed in the spoiler.

    OS: Windows 8.1 (64bit)


    Reinstalled windows as described above. Installed the lastest Nvidia Driver (v344.16) and the latest Intel Graphics Driver (v15.36.7.64.3960)!
    Optimus is working by:
    100% if external screen is main display
    Optimus fails by:
    100% (after a reboot) if internal screen is setup as primary display and external screen as extended display.
    The following situations are (not) working:
    - booting with external display, internal and external display are working
    - external screen as main screen
    - window mode "Ungine Valley" can be dragged between both screens, always powered by the GTX 970
    - booting without external display, internal display is working
    - Optimus is working
    - hot plug (plug and play) of the external display works on the fly in windows
    - unplugging the external display works, internal display still works and windows is not crashing
    - internal screen as main screen works, but fails after a reboot!
    - external display as 2nd display works
    - reboot without external display -> internal display is switched off (Optimus fails!)
    - plugging in the external display while internal display is black works, external screen is now main screen, internal screen is still off (Optimus fails!)
    - changing setting to extend the display to both screens doesn't work, internal screen is still off (Optimus fails!)
    - shut down, unplugging TB, plgging in TB, booting, internal screen is still off (Optimus fails!), previously setup extended display is off
    - device manager: Intel Iris is not found (turned off?)
    - setting up to extend the screen between both displays (external is main display)!
    - the previous step is compulsory! Without it, the next step will have NO effect
    - reinstalling Intel Graphics Driver works, reboot is showing internal display again
    - internal screen as main screen
    - reboot without external display -> internal display is switched off (Optimus fails!)
    - device manager: Intel Iris is not found (turned off again!)


HARDWARE PREPARING

  1. Open AKiTiO's box by a normal screwdriver, take out the PCIe board, attach the riser and the GPU to its x16 slot
  2. Attach PSU's power cable (blue) to the GPU and do the "paperclip trick" as shown in picture 1.
  3. Attach DVI/HDMI cable to the GPU (if using a back bracket, I wasn't able to fit DVI-cable because the plastic part was too wide) and use any external monitor you like (4K would be nice to test with this setup)
  4. Place something under the GPU so that it will be steady (a removed front panel is perfect for this)
  5. Attach AKiTiO's 60W power plug to the DC jack of the PCIe board
  6. Connect TB cable
  7. Power up AKiTiO's box (green light should appear) and the PSU at the same time (I use a power strip with a switch on the floor)
  8. Turn on MacBook Pro (blue light should appear). If it is booting to OSX partition, change startup disk to Boot Camp partition from the OSX preferences.

BENCHMARKS

Optimus results (internal vs. external display):

3dMark_FireStrike (Graphics Score): 8785 vs. 9976 (88% performance of external display)

3dMark_11(Graphics Score): 12981 vs. 13773 (95% performance of external display)

Valley_ExtremeHD(Score): 1922 vs. 2104 (91% performance of external display)

Results (eGPU external display vs. Hackintosh):

3dMark_FireStrike (Graphics Score): 9976 vs. 12367 (81% performance of Hackintosh)

Valley_ExtremeHD(Score): 2104 vs. 2274 (92,5% performance of Hackintosh)

Results (eGPU internal display vs. Hackintosh):

3dMark_FireStrike (Graphics Score): 8785 vs. 12367 (71% performance of Hackintosh)

Valley_ExtremeHD(Score): 1922 vs. 2274 (84,5% performance of Hackintosh)

post-26280-14494998872392_thumb.jpg

POWER CONSUMPTION

Combination of GPU, ATX PSU, AKiTiO [without PSU], molex powered riser:

Idle ~ 21W

Valley ~ 150-160W (max. 180W)

3dMark11 ~ 200W (max 215W)

3dMark13_Sky ~ 195-200W (crashes after entering the cave)

3dMark13_Fire ~ 170-200W (max. 210W)

Furmark ~ 215W (max. 220W [100% power target])

Furmark ~ 225W (max. 230W [105% power target])

Furmark ~ 240W (max. 240W [110% power target])

post-26280-14494998872578_thumb.jpg

Combination of GPU, ATX PSU, without riser [AKiTiO PSU in use!], measured on the ATX PSU:

Idle ~ 12,5W

Furmark ~ 150W (max. 155W [100% power target])

Furmark ~ 158W (max. 160W [105% power target])

Furmark ~ 165W (max. 167W [110% power target])

Without riser [AKiTiO PSU in use!], measured on the AKiTiO PSU:

Idle ~ 10W

Furmark ~ 70W [100% power target]

Furmark ~ 74-75W [105% power target]

Furmark ~ 78-80W [110% power target]

imho a powered riser is almost compulsory. The AKiTiO PSU specifications are output 12V, 5A = 60W. Furmark, which is of course no real world scenario, is exceeding the PSUs specifications. Might work for temporary peaks in games (real world scenario).

PROBLEMS

- GTX 970 is making a "coil noise", which is appearing in all 3d load situations (low and high FPS). This card will be exchanged by the webshop I bought it from.

- Pictures, web links to benchmarks and anything else has to wait until (earliest) Monday, because I will send the card back and not at home until monday.

UPDATE

Was able to install the GTX 970 in OSX 10.10 Yosemite, following @Mark guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/8059-%5Bguide%5D-2013-15-macbook-pro-gt750m-gtx780ti%4016gbps-tb2-sonnet-ee-iii-d-osx10-10-a.html

post-26280-14494998589003_thumb.jpg

BUT after changing to the OSX Default Graphics Driver, the eGPU setup is spoiled again… Can't fix it with reinstalling the WebDriver, kext editing, fixing and shutdown+boot.

eGPU isn't recognized anymore :(

PICTURES

Note: MSI GTX970 with coil whine was replaced by EVGA FTW GTX970

post-26280-14494998871637_thumb.jpg

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post-26280-14494998869894_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494998870468_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494998871057_thumb.jpg

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Aiiiiiii… this is madness. After some mixed reboots into Windows / OSX the eGPU isn't working in OSX. Trying the Nvidia driver magic with the kext files…, but doesn't help.

I don't get it.

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I was using Kext Wizard!

Is there a reason why I should copy the kext files to the desktop and edit it there? After editing copy them back and after that run Kext Wizard?

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I was using Kext Wizard!

Is there a reason why I should copy the kext files to the desktop and edit it there? After editing copy them back and after that run Kext Wizard?

No, it just worked for me this way.

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My GPU is currently in a RMA process, but maybe the picture without the GPU is even better.

I am using two riser:

- a 90° PCB riser

- a flexible riser molex powered

post-26280-14494998664325_thumb.jpg

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My GPU is currently in a RMA process, but maybe the picture without the GPU is even better.

I am using two riser:

- a 90° PCB riser

- a flexible riser molex powered

[ATTACH=CONFIG]12992[/ATTACH]

Hey Dschijn, Thank you for your Guide! I have a question, can you run GTX 970 without the riser(if there was enough space)? If yes, I will return my manufacturer fault GTX780 and replace it to the 970. My friend told me 970 is better than 780. :83:

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@328115208:

A 970 is indeed better than a 780!

If there would be enough space, so we talk NOT about the Elite 130 case, you can run a GTX 970 with the AKiTiO. But I wouldn't recommend that. As you can read one the first page of this thread I also tested the power used by the setup. Without the riser the GTX 970 can take up to 80W through the AKiTiO and that is far beyond it's specs.

So even that my MSI GTX 970 has a 6+8-Pin power connector, which could provide 225W (75W+150W), it needs a big part from the PCIe Bus directly.

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@328115208:

A 970 is indeed better than a 780!

If there would be enough space, so we talk NOT about the Elite 130 case, you can run a GTX 970 with the AKiTiO. But I wouldn't recommend that. As you can read one the first page of this thread I also tested the power used by the setup. Without the riser the GTX 970 can take up to 80W through the AKiTiO and that is far beyond it's specs.

So even that my MSI GTX 970 has a 6+8-Pin power connector, which could provide 225W (75W+150W), it needs a big part from the PCIe Bus directly.

Thank you, Dschijn! Are you mean MSI GTX 970 with 6+8-Pin power connector and 80W PCIe Bus (75W+120W+80W) will work greater than 6+8-Pin(225W)? Is it same to the GTX 780?

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No! In this forum we came to the conclusion that the AKiTiOs limit is 25W. So by using 80W, it is running beyond the specifications -> not good!

I thought, that a 6+8-Pin power connector on the GPU might provide enough power so that the GPU doesn't need more than the 25W, but I was wrong.

Bottomline is that I would advice everybody who wants to work with a AKiTiO to get a molex powered PCIe riser card to overcome the 25W. Additional benefit is, that the AKiTiO doesn't need it's own PSU and can be directly powered by the riser.

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No! In this forum we came to the conclusion that the AKiTiOs limit is 25W. So by using 80W, it is running beyond the specifications -> not good!

I thought, that a 6+8-Pin power connector on the GPU might provide enough power so that the GPU doesn't need more than the 25W, but I was wrong.

Bottomline is that I would advice everybody who wants to work with a AKiTiO to get a molex powered PCIe riser card to overcome the 25W. Additional benefit is, that the AKiTiO doesn't need it's own PSU and can be directly powered by the riser.

I use the self-made molex to DC 5.5*2.5cm to power up the 25W AKiTiO. As you mean, the riser will work better. I will try it after I get my GTX 970. Thanks, dude!

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Can you explain how the molex or "paper clip trick" is used to power up the ATX? That picture no.1 one that is on the other guide isn't clear at all regarding that connection.

Also, what is the AKiTiO providing you if you have the Elite 130 case? Is it 200 bucks basically for just a Thunderbolt2 card? It seems like with the huge GfX card you aren't using much of anything from the case itself. Sorry for these newbie questions.

Lastly, will everything fit securely and with the push of a button/switch when inside the Elite 130 case? I'm greatly interested in making one of these as they look very OEM in comparison to the open bare setup of just the AKiTiO. Thank you for the picture, looking forward to more of the setup mounted in that case.

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Can you explain how the molex or "paper clip trick" is used to power up the ATX? That picture no.1 one that is on the other guide isn't clear at all regarding that connection.

Also, what is the AKiTiO providing you if you have the Elite 130 case? Is it 200 bucks basically for just a Thunderbolt2 card? It seems like with the huge GfX card you aren't using much of anything from the case itself. Sorry for these newbie questions.

Lastly, will everything fit securely and with the push of a button/switch when inside the Elite 130 case? I'm greatly interested in making one of these as they look very OEM in comparison to the open bare setup of just the AKiTiO. Thank you for the picture, looking forward to more of the setup mounted in that case.

Paperclip trick:

post-26280-14494998674529_thumb.jpg

Source: Power Supplies

This needs to be done to start a PSU without a regular PC mainboard.

I am using the Elite 130 because I don't see much sense in using the AKiTiO itself. It is way much too small to host my big GPU and my PSU! So with the Elite 130 I can build everything into a cheap case without cables or PCBs visible/exposed on my desk. It's also a safety issue.

No, the power button of the case is not working. The power button is just giving a temporally connection to the PSU and is mainly used by the circut boards/mainboards. I will use the PSU on/off switch at the back or a multiple socket powerplug with a switch.

Will do a guide in detail, when my EVGA GTX 970 and the MBPr 15" arrives.

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Thanks alot for the guide Dschijn,

I am at the beginning of my research on getting an eGPU for my late 2013 13" rMBP and your guide is very helpful. Price wise, I think you can't beat the AKiTiO right now which is great, especially with the current deal going on.

I have a question for you though. I only plan on using this setup in OSX 10.10 (mainly for D3 and WoW so no need for a Windows partition). I have a few questions on the limitations of a setup like that as I am still on the fence regarding investing in this kind of setup if it is not reliable.

1 - Once the setup is complete, what happens if I boot up the laptop with the eGPU turned off, will OSX default back to the IRIS and be just fine?

2 - What happens if I turn off the setup while OSX is running, will it cause a Kernel panic? Does this setup support hot plug?

3 - What happens if I turn on the setup while OSX is already running (pretty similar question to 2)...will this work?

I guess what I want to know is: my laptop is, most of the time, docked at my desk. I would ideally want it to use the eGPU when docked but I would also like to retain the ability to take the laptop and leave my desk without having to carry everything (even better if I dont have to turn off the laptop too)!

Thanks for your help, this will help me pull the trigger on this kind of setup...would certainly beat having a micro atx gaming PC under my desk :S

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Be aware that you must use an external display as well to gain all the eGPU performance in OSX 10.10. I think the internal screen can't use the eGPU, if it's used on it's own.

The MB can normaly be booted without the eGPU. I wouldn't hotplug the eGPU as Thunderbolt is a PCIe connection and I think that the OS needs to detect the installed graphics hardware. So a very comfortable docking of a sleeping/running MB might be risky.

I would advise to shut down, plug in the eGPU and fire it up. Best option to avoid the bully Murphy!

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Bottomline is that I would advice everybody who wants to work with a AKiTiO to get a molex powered PCIe riser card to overcome the 25W. Additional benefit is, that the AKiTiO doesn't need it's own PSU and can be directly powered by the riser.

So I don't need the Akitio power supply (or a self made barel power cable) if I use a powered riser?

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@Sachin10: exactly!

Has your powered riser a capacitor?

Because I guess the capacitor prevents the power to go back to the Akitio/mainboard?

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Hi,

Does the thunderbolt egpu work under OS X with internal screen of the Macbook Pro Retina 13?

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Hi,

Does the thunderbolt egpu work under OS X with internal screen of the Macbook Pro Retina 13?

I can do some testing tonight. Was focusing on my new 15" 2014 MBPr and my replacment card EVGA GTX 970. With the 2014 MBPr the eGPU is not working in OSX at all... nobody knows why for sure.

But I can run some test with the 13" (late 2013)! I am not sure if you can use the internal screen in OSX with the power of the eGPU. Just got the Benchmark Valley working by dragging it in the window mode from the external to the internal screen.

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Tested OSX on my 13" (late 2013) MBPr and got it working but mainly on the external screen. Internal (with eGPU performance) only if I drag the animated windows into the internal screen.

Rebooted…boom…eGPU is gone. That's it! No more OSX and eGPU with a GTX 970 for me. Maybe it will work with a GTX 780 better?!

Not that bad for me, because I will only need the performance in Windows anyway.

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Thanks for help. :)

As I've been playing hackintosh for quite a long time, I know a little bit about the graphic switching technic of Macs.

It seems that the graphic card of 15" MBPR (discrete graphic models) can't be switch on the internal screen under Windows either.

The Mac's graphic card switching technic depends on a hardware call GMUX. Only if we know how to access the hardware, will we able to switch graphic card of the internal screen of 15" MBPR (with discrete graphic models) under Windows.

Have you tried mirroring the external screen to internal screen or using the app, gfxCardStatus, to switch graphic card under OSX? Maybe it will magically works with help of this app... ;)

Btw, do you think GTX660 or GTX750Ti is good enough to play BF4 or Crysis3 with the retina screen?

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Have you tried mirroring the external screen to internal screen or using the app, gfxCardStatus, to switch graphic card under OSX? Maybe it will magically works with help of this app... ;)

Sorry, I am done with testing OSX. MAybe on the weekend ;) But after work I want to use the time in a "better" way ;)

Btw, do you think GTX660 or GTX750Ti is good enough to play BF4 or Crysis3 with the retina screen?

Have been playing BF4 with a GTX 670 since release on a full HD screen and wouldn't go lower. Of course it's possible, but only with med/low settings.

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I am using two riser:

- a 90° PCB riser

- a flexible riser molex powered

I will also need to buy a 90° riser because the powered riser doesn't fit in my SilverStone FT03 mini case. And a SWEX to make the case fan work.

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