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DIY eGPU Macbook experiences

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Click >>> Summary of Macbook Thunderbolt eGPU implementations <<<

Tried the nVidia drivers... they don't install saying my machine isn't supported.

I cracked open the installer and pulled out the internal driver installer and installed it. eGPU still doesn't work in OSX.

Tried pulling out the kexts out of the internal one and installing them using kextdrop... still no eGPU in OSX.

Any ideas on how to get it to work?

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Made some tests regarding this as well. You can install the nvidia drivers by right clicking the installer -> "show package content". but they wont work anyways.

I tried some hackintosh drivers aswell without positiv results. I won't be able to have a closer look at it for now as im pretty busy. =/

Be carefull with your tests you might brick your mac os.

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Yep.. tried that too.

Tried dropping in the GPU drivers from Multibeast (which "installs" but doesn't flick the eGPU on).. including both the >2GB option.

Not so concerned about bricking my box - I can revert to a backup if I need to.

I suspect the nVidia drivers have a list of PCI ID's and my Galaxy 660Ti ID's aren't on the list.

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Hey!

Thanks for stopping by to give me a quick hand :)

The Problem:

eGPU fan isn't starting and the system is unable to detect the card.

For now lets assume that I can get the card detected if it is properly powered up and the fans are working.

System Setup:

OS: Windows 7 64 Bit

System: Mac Mini - Running on Boot Camp

Ram: 16 GB

eGPU: AMD Gigabyte Radeon 7970

PSU: 840 Watts, 70A, +12V

Cabling Approach: Thunderbolt -> PCI-E Card Reader -> PCI-E HDMI Converter -> PE4H; PSU provides power to the PE4H as well as to the eGPU itself.

Current Status:

I am currently able to get lights D2, D3, and D4 to green, but D1 is red. I would love to know what that means as it might provide insight into the problem. This occurs when both the PSU is on and when the PCI-E card is plugged in through thunderbolt+adapter. If PSU D4 goes off, if adapter is disconnected and PSU is on I get faint red light on D1 and a green D3.

Note: The card does heat up, but the fans don't spin.

Query: Could it be a bad PE4H board?

Random Question: Should I be worried or checking jumper status, if so what should it look like?

What I Have Tried/Done:

eGPU drivers installed.

Attempted swapping out numerous cables and even the eGPU itself to see if it was a bad card.

Restarted OS and tried numerous timing combinations of turning things on and connecting while booting.

Looked through FAQs, run google searches...

Attached are images of my setup.

post-16619-14494995961132_thumb.jpg

post-16619-14494995959738_thumb.jpg

post-16619-14494995960433_thumb.jpg

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The Problem:

eGPU fan isn't starting and the system is unable to detect the card.

..

Current Status:

I am currently able to get lights D2, D3, and D4 to green, but D1 is red. I would love to know what that means as it might provide insight into the problem. This occurs when both the PSU is on and when the PCI-E card is plugged in through thunderbolt+adapter. If PSU D4 goes off, if adapter is disconnected and PSU is on I get faint red light on D1 and a green D3.

Note: The card does heat up, but the fans don't spin.

Query: Could it be a bad PE4H board?

D1 = RED means PERST# is activated. That should remain on for whatever you set the PERST# delay using SW1=1 (off), 2=6.9s or 3=15s. I'd suggest set it to 15s. The power-of sequence should be:

1. Power on eGPU.

2. Power on Macmini

3. Halt Win8 from loading by hitting F12. Wait for PERST# LED (D1) to turn off.

4. Continue loading Win8.

The eGPU fans not turning means 3.3V isn't getting through to it. Try hotplugging the powered eGPU into the Sonnet Expresscard adapter. Does that see the fan start? If no I'd suggest test the PE4H + cable on an expresscard-equipped system. Note too that a PE4L 2.1b is recommended over a PE4H 2.4a for your purposes as it's pci-e 2.x capable. PE4H 2.4a can only reliably transmit pci-e 1.x (Gen1) signals.

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You eGPU experts here probably already heard about this - Sonnet just announced their new PCI express to thunderbolt box. Might be interesting for future projects, though I don't really know as I have pretty much no clue about eGPUs :)

Anyway, here's the link if you're interested: Sonnet - Echo Express SE II Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis

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Thank you for taking a look at my problem personally Nando4!

Alright I figured out that the PE4H adapter was bad and replaced it, and that fixed the fan problem, and the rest of your input especially the boot order was very helpful in detecting the eGPU. However, things aren't quite working yet.

The Problem:

Although the card properly is identified and the drivers are up to date the card is unable to run any real computations like OpenCL.

What I Have Tried:

After the card was detected I reinstalled the AMD Catalyst Suite this allowed the graphics card to be specifically identified.

Played around with component power up and boot order.

Alternatives I'm Playing With:

I obtained a PE4L 2.1b as well to see if that would help, and so far I haven't been able to get that to work either.

Problem With Alternative So Far:

If I try to power things up in the above order that worked for the PE4H the screen goes to the first white screen and never loads the OS. If I try to change the boot order the system loads but the card is not detected.

Thanks again any help you can offer would be appreciated!

post-16619-14494996088427_thumb.jpg

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1. (Optional) Set your computer to always boot in Win 7. Go to System Preferences in mac OS X and as Boot Drive select Windows 7.

2. Shut down the Computer (reboot is not sufficient)

3. Make sure your entire setup is plugged in and on except your computer which should be turned off. egpu is turned on and the expresscard is plugged into the sonnet echo adapter, adapter is plugged into your MacBook thunderbolt port. Also, if you have an external monitor, it is plugged into your egpu.

4. Turn on the computer. Your screen will turn grey and you will hear the Mac Chime. While the screen in white, unplug the expresscard from your sonnet echo adapter.

5. Your screen will now turn black. When the Windows icon appears and is loading, plug back in the expresscard to your sonnet echo adapter.

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Could also explain why basically no OEMs bother to include Thunderbolt on their PC laptops this year -- it's not worth the effort.

And what happened to that SilverStone T004 eGPU solution?

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omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg...

New MacBook Pros Get Battery Boost With Haswell | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

I will be ordering one today specifically to benchmark my TH05 eGPU setup and I'm looking for advice...

Choice A

13" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics

With these upgrades...

  • 2.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz ($200 cheaper with i5)
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM ($200 cheaper with 8GB)

Choice B

15" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics Pro

With comparable upgrades

  • 18 GB ram
  • Bigger 500GB SSD

Choice C

15" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics Pro

Nvidia Geforce GT 750M

They all come to basically the same price with upgrades included, but the 13" slightly cheaper and Choice C (dGPU) being slightly more expensive...

Is the dGPU in Choice C worth it? Anyone heard anything about these new Iris graphics? Pro vs non-Pro? Will this interfere with eGPU through thunderbolt or possibly support?

Thoughts?

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omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg...

New MacBook Pros Get Battery Boost With Haswell | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

I will be ordering one today specifically to benchmark my TH05 eGPU setup and I'm looking for advice...

Choice A

13" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics

With these upgrades...

  • 2.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz ($200 cheaper with i5)
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM ($200 cheaper with 8GB)

Choice B

15" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics Pro

With comparable upgrades

  • 18 GB ram
  • Bigger 500GB SSD

Choice C

15" Retina

Intel Iris Graphics Pro

Nvidia Geforce GT 750M

They all come to basically the same price with upgrades included, but the 13" slightly cheaper and Choice C (dGPU) being slightly more expensive...

Is the dGPU in Choice C worth it? Anyone heard anything about these new Iris graphics? Pro vs non-Pro? Will this interfere with eGPU through thunderbolt or possibly support?

Thoughts?

We don't know if Apple fixed their NVidia dGPU implementation to allow Optimus functionality in Windows. Ivy Bridge 15" MBP had the iGPU incapable of driving the internal LCD .

If I was to guess, I'd say they haven't fixed it. The no-risk high perfornance option is the 15" MBP with Iris graphics and no dGPU. There the iGPU will be active and so NVidia Optimus for the eGPU may be implemented to drive the internal LCD. Haswell 15" MBP coming with the i7-quad CPU making it a superior performance to the 13" MBP with dual-core i5/i7 CPU.

While the TB port itself will be capable of a x4 2.0 link your TH05 will limit it to x2 2.0. You'll need a new "Thunderbolt 2" TB-to-pcie adapter by the certified vendors (Sonnet, Magma, etc) to extract full performance.

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@Tech Inferno Fan perhaps Apple will help with a Thunderbolt solution?? (inb4 really expensive)

With the new Mac Pro it seems like there will be Apple Branded eGPUs

QUOTE (Apple - Mac Pro - Performance):

"

Unprecedented expansion. At 20Gb/s.

Six Thunderbolt 2 ports redefine the possibilities for expansion by giving you up to 20Gb/s of throughput — without being limited by a set number of PCI Express slots. Connect to your SAN or fast local RAID storage. Then add video I/O, broadcast monitors, your existing PCI Express cards, and just about anything else your workflow requires. With HDMI output, you can even use a 4K TV as a preview monitor. Manufacturers like Promise, AJA, and Blackmagic are creating a host of advanced high-performance storage, video I/O, and expansion solutions for Thunderbolt 2. Another benefit of Thunderbolt: You can easily move your high-performance peripherals from one Mac to another based on the task at hand. And both generations of Thunderbolt technology are compatible with the new Mac Pro.

"

'your existing PCI Express cards'

Might be interesting.

More under the Audio section:

"

Connect to next-generation I/O technologies.

Six Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB 3 ports redefine the meaning of expansion. Connect up to 36 best-in-class audio I/O devices from Avid, Apogee, M-Audio, MOTU, Universal Audio, and more. And with a PCI expansion chassis connected via Thunderbolt, you can work with the DSP and audio I/O PCI Express cards you already have.

"

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Hi,

I've purchased the 13" i7 dual-core w/ 16GB RAM (and Intel Iris 5100 GPU)

I am very interested in working with you all to build a TB2 eGPU - where can we begin? Is there any TB2->PCIe adapters at this time?

Edit: I see the Echo Express SE II for Thunderbolt 2 will have a 'free upgrade' for TB2 when it becomes available, but it's unclear on how the progress of that is getting on from the Sonnet side before it will start shipping with the capability.

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I've just marked the 13"/15" Haswell MBPs with Thunderbolt 2 ports as the recommended Haswell eGPU candidate systems in

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4109-egpu-candidate-system-list-%5Bthin-light%5D.html#post57159

Both have impressive specs within a slim and light chassis. Have to say that from the Haswell offerings so far Apple's have been the most tempting.

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I've just marked the 13"/15" Haswell MBPs with Thunderbolt 2 ports as the recommended Haswell eGPU candidate systems in

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4109-egpu-candidate-system-list-%5Bthin-light%5D.html#post57159

Both have impressive specs within a slim and light chassis. Have to say that from the Haswell offerings so far Apple's have been the most tempting.

Nando4 - are you aware of any builds that can make use of TB2 at this time? I'm in the market for building an eGPU system that can make full use of this and would appreciate any advice or assistance you can offer.

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I've just marked the 13"/15" Haswell MBPs with Thunderbolt 2 ports as the recommended Haswell eGPU candidate systems.

From the side of hardware it is true. But we will also have to see, wether Windows 8 will run as good in Efi mode on the haswell mbps as it does on the macbook air 2013 (no problems with drivers for audio etc...). Then everything will be perfect :)

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Nando4 - are you aware of any builds that can make use of TB2 at this time? I'm in the market for building an eGPU system that can make full use of this and would appreciate any advice or assistance you can offer.

The following statement from Magma gives an idea of the ease for TB enclosure manufacturers to change from TB1 to TB2:

Statement from Magma regarding Thunderbolt 2,12th June 2013

"Since we used a PCIe card as our Thunderbolt interface, it will be a easy swap out for us to convert our current Thunderbolt expansion chassis to be Thunderbolt 2. This means that the look of the chassis won't change. We'll use the same enclosures.

Our ExpressBox 3T and ExpressBox 1T will support Thunderbolt 2 after we complete the required Thunderbolt Compliance testing with Intel and Apple. As you know, there are no Thunderbolt 2 computers available yet, but as soon as they are available, Magma will be ready with Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis.

This is one of the main reasons why we designed our first generation Thunderbolt expansion this way, the upgrade process is as easy as swapping out a PCIe card.”

MAGMA | Rock Solid Innovation

9918 Via Pasar, San Diego, CA 92126

phone: 858.530.2511

www.magma.com

Sonnet Echo Express SE II Thunderbolt 2 Expansion is the only one I see publically advertising a free Thunderbolt 2 upgrade. I've also emailed OWC to see when their Helios will have a Thunderbolt 2 chip in it. The Helios as a rebadged Sonnet Echo Express SE enclosure with a better 3yr warranty for the same price as the Sonnet product.

There is a bunch of people wanting the Silverstone T004 to be released. Can add your queries to the existing queue at https://www.facebook.com/SilverStoneTechnology . This would be the #1 choice for eGPU use as is engineered to host and power a video card.

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Hopefully the Apple TB2 -> PCIe chassis will work on any TB2 system. But I have a hunch the ones from other companies will be much cheaper though.

SilverStone needs to hurry up and release the T004 (with TB2)!

---

Do you think there will be something similar to the PE4H but with TB connectors? Or does the way the ports addressed prevent that? How long do you expect until we can get a full x16 link for an eGPU?

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Do you think there will be something similar to the PE4H but with TB connectors? Or does the way the ports addressed prevent that? How long do you expect until we can get a full x16 link for an eGPU?

BPlus' TH05 was the closest to a PE4H. As you know, they got word to pull the product from the market. All other certified Intel solutions come with an enclosure and power and heftier price.

I've noticed HP's DV6/DV7 has been decreasing their dGPU lanes per generation. I saw x16 1.1, then x8 2.0 and latest Haswell offering using x4 3.0. x4 3.0 is only 4 electrical lanes, which incidentally is exactly what Thunderbolt 1 or 2 uses. Only difference is Intel have yet to upsec TB to handle a pci-e 3.0 link AND increase the downstream data such that it could carry that much data (40Gbps). Guess we'll see that in Thunderbolt 3.

As for x16 eGPU adapters.. each lane is a TX/RX pair with a protective GND shield on either side. Typically that's 7 wires per lane. Doing the math x16 would require 112 wires for transmission. Not exactly portable. Could decrease that some by sharing the GND shields b/w lanes though you'll still need at least 6 wires per lane, or 96 wires min.

x16 is just too many external wires. x8 halving the wire count with little affect on real-life bandwidth. x4 halving wire again with still little affect on real bandwidth.

There may be some manufacturer out there may wish to create an interposer adapter that slots into a MXM-equipped notebook and provides an external pci-e slot for it. Just haven't seen anybody make such an adapter as yet. Furthermore, it would be machine specific. Thunderbolt on the other hand is pretty much an external pci-e standard that muxes/demuxes the data so less transmission wires are required. TB just needs a manufacturer to include a TB port to be able to use it. Thunderbolt therefore having a brighter future for eGPU connectivity than any custom MXM-to-pcie adapters.

REF: Ivy Bridge PCI-Express Scaling with HD 7970 and GTX 680 Review | techPowerUp

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Thanks for that link. That is rather impressive to see x4 3.0 to have 95%+ performance of a x16 2.0

TB2 is using a x4 2.0 connection? So TB1 is x4 1.0 ? (I thought TB1 had 2.0 performance).

Now I'm really looking forward to TB3! This will be superb news for the eGPU community.

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TB1 is x4 2.0.

That means TB2 would be x8.

This is what gpu-z is telling me:

pk8j.jpg

Sent from my iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2

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Thanks for that link. That is rather impressive to see x4 3.0 to have 95%+ performance of a x16 2.0

TB2 is using a x4 2.0 connection? So TB1 is x4 1.0 ? (I thought TB1 had 2.0 performance).

Now I'm really looking forward to TB3! This will be superb news for the eGPU community.

TB1 and TB2 both use a x4 2.0 electrical pci-e link. Only difference is the former is 10Gbps (equiv to x2 2.0 + 12.5%) across the TB channel whereas the latter is 20Gbps. x4 2.0 giving equiv to 88%/94% of desktop x16 2.0 performance. TB2 is the closest we've had to of desktop-level graphics performance (bandwidth) on a mobile platform.

Apple's Haswell 13/15" MBP being the first mobile system TB2 port(s) such that we can do that.

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TB1 and TB2 both use a x4 2.0 electrical pci-e link. Only difference is the former is 10Gbps (equiv to x2 2.0 + 12.5%) across the TB channel whereas the latter is 20Gbps. x4 2.0 giving equiv to 88%/94% of desktop x16 2.0 performance. TB2 is the closest we've had to of desktop-level graphics performance (bandwidth) on a mobile platform.

Apple's Haswell 13/15" MBP being the first mobile system TB2 port(s) such that we can do that.

Ahhhh okay, thanks for the clarification. So the cables are interchangable then? aka there will be no TB2 cable?

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Ahhhh okay, thanks for the clarification. So the cables are interchangable then? aka there will be no TB2 cable?

TB1 and TB2 cable will be exactly the same. While we're excited about TB2 giving 20Gbps performance the reality is that TB1 was handicapped from it's 20Gbps channel capacity to 10Gbps for pci-e. There was no reason other than either an oversight or perhaps an inbuilt redundancy mechanism to restrict TB1 to 10Gbps.

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