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Dschijn

2014 15" MBP Iris + GTX970@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win8.1 [Dschijn]

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This guide is based on Evo*s guide. Made my optimus setup much more flawless.

Other builds

I made 3 builds until now:

PICTURES

post-26280-1449499899045_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494998991076_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494998991605_thumb.jpg

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CONFIGURATION (Hardware)

Apple MacBook Pro 15" Retina / i7-4870HQ 2.5Ghz / 512GB / 16GB (mid 2014), with Iris Pro graphics only

Why did I choose this case? I wasn't so pleased with the Cooler Master Elite 130. The footprint is too big and the GPU is struggeling to get fresh air (especially with a non Nvidia layout cooler). The Raven RVZ01 has the same footprint as the Sonnet III-D and is just a bit taller. It is still cheaper and offers better cooling options. I used a SFX-L PSU, which is the bigger brother of the regular SFX PSUs. It is using a 120mm fan to provide better cooling with less noise. Two slim 120mm fans (set to 7V) are pushing fresh air directly onto the GTX 970 (currently using 3 Noctua NF-F12 industrial PWM fans @ 7V. Will try to control them with the PWM signal of the GPU later).

The more elegant case is the Silverstone ML07 Milo. It has the same footprint and functions but a more classic appearance.

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 latest Nvidia driver
  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/implementation-guides/8558-%5Bguide%5D-macbook-enabling-optimus-internal-lcd-mode.html#post110757 . Without this Optimus would only sometimes work.

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 PCIe power cable to the GPU and do the "paperclip trick" or apply the adapter
  3. Attach the Molex power plug to the riser
  4. Attach DVI/HDMI cable to the eGPU
  5. Place something under the eGPU so that it will be steady
  6. Do not attach AKiTiO's 60W power plug to the DC jack of the PCIe board
  7. Connect TB cable
  8. Turn on MacBook Pro first
  9. Hold your "Alt" Key
  10. Power up AKiTiO/eGPU by switching on the PSU

If your first boot with the eGPU fails, boot without the eGPU into Windows and power up the eGPU (and plug it into the MB) when you are in Windows.

SOFTWARE Tools

MSI Afterburner (overclocking and monitoring GPU): http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm

Intel XTU (undervolting and monitoring CPU): https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=24075〈=eng

Macs Fan Control: http://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control

BENCHMARKS

3dMark Firestrike

Please note, the computer benchmarks have been done with my first card (MSI GTX 970 4G gaming). With my 15" MBPr I used a EVGA GTX 970 FTW (power limit 110%, Core Clock +100MHz, Memory Clock +50MHz)

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eGPU Firestrike results with external screen

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

eGPU Firestrike results with internal screen (Optimus, without external screen)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

3dMark 11

(All test done with: EVGA GTX 970 FTW, 110% power target, +70MHz GPU, +20MHz memory clock speed):

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0mV external NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

0mV internal NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

-75mV external: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

-75mV internal: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

-75mV external (CPU fans @ 100%): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

-75mV internal (CPU fans @ 100%): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

POWER CONSUMPTION

For power consumtion results, please take a look in my first guide:

[GUIDE] 2013 13" Macbook Pro + GTX970@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win8.1/OSX10.10

VIDEOS

Diablo III in 4k resolution (downsampling to 1980x1200) - FPS counter in the bottom right corner:

Battlefield 4 - FPS counter in the upper right corner:

Far Cry 4 - FPS counter in the upper left corner:

The Witcher 3:

GTA V:

CPU TWEAKING

By stressing the mobile CPU, it will reduce it's speed to adjust Intels CPU limitations.

The CPU lowers it speed if:

- a critical temperature is reached (sth between 95-100°C)

- the max TDP (Thermal Design Power) is reached

By lowering the CPUs voltage the CPU can more easily boost into higher frequencies / not too low throttle frequencies / hold it's boost frequency. With Intels XTU tool you can lower the "Dynamic CPU Voltage Offset" slider under "Manual Tuning - Core" to the left. Values around -100mV should be possible. After applying, test the stability of this new settings with Prime95 Small FFTs.

With -100mV offset and without the offset) and fans set to 100% I get a higher 3dmark firestrike physics score (9751) because the thermal throtteling doesn't kick in and the CPU can constantly boost.

I tested the settings in Geekbench (32bit) and Cinebench. Imo Cinebench is better, because the benchmark takes more time and the throtteling has a bigger impact as the quick Geekbench (or 3d Mark) where the thermal capacity of the cooler has a much bigger influence.

Geekbench scores:

0mV

3187 - 11302

-50mV

3194 - 11916

-100mV

3180 - 12199

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Cinebench scores:

0mV

1st 570cb

-50mV

1st 584cb

-100mV

1st 591cb

2nd 620cb

3rd 616

0mV fans 100%

1st 583

2nd 587

-100mV fans 100%

1st 642

2nd 638

3rd 643

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As you can see, the lower voltage increases the results because the CPU can boost into higher states under full load and throttles less (hard). By setting the fans to 100% the slow increase of the fanspeed in the benchmark (stock) is excluded!

In Battlefield 4 the CPU load is quite demanding and the CPU fan is working at full speed to prevent the CPU from throttling.

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With a very stable CPU voltage reduction of -75mV the fan speed is in a much lower area and much less annoying!

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Added two screenshots to see the result of less CPU voltage in Battlefield 4.

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I have just undervolted my rMBP CPU with -75mV as well, but I have one quick question.

Does the Intel XTU Tool have to be running for the changes to be applied or are they saved in BIOS so that I can close the XTU Tool?

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I have just undervolted my rMBP CPU with -75mV as well, but I have one quick question.

Does the Intel XTU Tool have to be running for the changes to be applied or are they saved in BIOS so that I can close the XTU Tool?

It doesn't have to run and can be closed but after restart the changes are gone as far as I know. As it doens't have a way to load a profile on start(at least I don't know one) you'd better be off with ThrottleStop where you can create profiles and undervolting is possible, too.

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The XTU tool isn't saving them outside of the software. So it needs to be running. You can save it as a profile and load that profile with every boot (still have to open the tool).

The ThrottleStop 7.0 beta is better. You can safe it as a profile, load that profile by default and autostart the app.

Unfortunately the ThrottleStop beta is limited in it's time (maybe 30days?).

Maybe @Tech Inferno Fan can tell us where to get a ThrottleStop App which beta isn't "running out"?!

- - - Updated - - -

It doesn't have to run and can be closed but after restart the changes are gone as far as I know. As it doens't have a way to load a profile on start(at least I don't know one) you'd better be off with ThrottleStop where you can create profiles and undervolting is possible, too.

Oh, I can quit it? Good to know, thanks ^^

But why close it if it is already open? :P

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The XTU tool isn't saving them outside of the software. So it needs to be running. You can save it as a profile and load that profile with every boot (still have to open the tool).

The ThrottleStop 7.0 beta is better. You can safe it as a profile, load that profile by default and autostart the app.

Unfortunately the ThrottleStop beta is limited in it's time (maybe 30days?).

Maybe @Tech Inferno Fan can tell us where to get a ThrottleStop App which beta isn't "running out"?!

- - - Updated - - -

Oh, I can quit it? Good to know, thanks ^^

But why close it if it is already open? :P

I have no idea, I don't do that, just tested it. I let it run once it's open but minimize it to tray, mostly because of the temperature history.

The beta thing being limited in time was one reason I stopped using ThrottleStop because you simply can't rely on it that way. I had to disable throttling in my 2013 Asus notebook because the cooling system was capable of cooling the CPU but Asus throttled the CPU when the GPU got too "hot"(it was pretty fine...). It was at this moment that the ThrottleStop stopped working because of the time limit and unclewebb, the creator, seemed to be annoyed by the users asking for a new usable version. I then wrote my own program which did only exactly what I needed. It's kind of an arrogant behaviour to me("bow to me, my users, beg for a new version") which is the reason I simply refuse to use his software.

Integrate an update routine and it would be fine and no more expiring betas would be needed...

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It doesn't have to run and can be closed but after restart the changes are gone as far as I know. As it doens't have a way to load a profile on start(at least I don't know one) you'd better be off with ThrottleStop where you can create profiles and undervolting is possible, too.
The XTU tool isn't saving them outside of the software. So it needs to be running. You can save it as a profile and load that profile with every boot (still have to open the tool).

The ThrottleStop 7.0 beta is better. You can safe it as a profile, load that profile by default and autostart the app.

Unfortunately the ThrottleStop beta is limited in it's time (maybe 30days?).

Maybe @Tech Inferno Fan can tell us where to get a ThrottleStop App which beta isn't "running out"?!

- - - Updated - - -

Oh, I can quit it? Good to know, thanks ^^

But why close it if it is already open? :P

Thanks for the answers! Where do I download the ThrottleStop 7.0 beta? And can you post a quick guide or screenshot on how to set it up? :)

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ThrottleStop 7.0 Beta here: http://forum.techinferno.com/members/unclewebb.htm?tab=aboutme#aboutme

- - - Updated - - -

The beta thing being limited in time was one reason I stopped using ThrottleStop because you simply can't rely on it that way. I had to disable throttling in my 2013 Asus notebook because the cooling system was capable of cooling the CPU but Asus throttled the CPU when the GPU got too "hot"(it was pretty fine...). It was at this moment that the ThrottleStop stopped working because of the time limit and unclewebb, the creator, seemed to be annoyed by the users asking for a new usable version. I then wrote my own program which did only exactly what I needed. It's kind of an arrogant behaviour to me("bow to me, my users, beg for a new version") which is the reason I simply refuse to use his software.

Integrate an update routine and it would be fine and no more expiring betas would be needed...

Huh... but is there a reason it is limited in time? Is it code and can't be changed? Is it limited because it's beta and not supposed to work without any limitation? I don't see any reason to limit it in time.... pity us

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And can you post a quick guide or screenshot on how to set it up? :)

ThrottleStop we can't because we can't open it anymore ^^

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Huh... but is there a reason it is limited in time? Is it code and can't be changed? Is it limited because it's beta and not supposed to work without any limitation? I don't see any reason to limit it in time.... pity us

It is hardcoded in the program. If you change the date of your computer to a date before expiry date it works again. I have no idea why he is limiting it like this though. Betas should be limited somehow so users stop using and complaining about an obsolete version once the release version has been published. This is alright. But the way he does it is just annoying. I for myself just don't want to be dependent on him or his software(although it's good, no question) as long as it is like this.

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I am really new to all of this, and I am trying to research as much as possible, but all of the information is getting a little confusing. I just want to be sure,

so you have this up and running in Windows 8.1?

It works on just the internal display BUT also will work with an external display?

Can this configuration work in OS X on the internal LCD.

I really like your config the most out of what I have seen so far. Great job. It looks super clean, and the benchmarks are amazing. I just want to be sure I can run this in OS X on the internal LCD, as well as an external, before I run out and buy all of the parts. It looks like Windows 8.1 is running great from what I can tell.

EDIT: Btw, I have an 11 inch Macbook Air, 2011 version, but I can't imagine that matters. I am looking to increase the gaming performance, and I know I won't get the same benchmarks, but I would like to make something I can keep using when I do upgrade my macbook, everything else I would imagine would be the same as far as configuration.

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so you have this up and running in Windows 8.1?

Yes, only Windows 8.1! I tried OSX but that isn't easy with a 2014 MBPr and the GTX 970

It works on just the internal display BUT also will work with an external display?

As you can see in my Benchmarks, it works on the internal display (called Optimus) or the external display (best performance).

Can this configuration work in OS X on the internal LCD.

In the near future hopefully yes. But right now I really like the fact that I only use it in Windows. So my OSX system is deadly quiet and for gaming performance I reboot into Windows 8.1.

EDIT: Btw, I have an 11 inch Macbook Air, 2011 version, but I can't imagine that matters. I am looking to increase the gaming performance, and I know I won't get the same benchmarks, but I would like to make something I can keep using when I do upgrade my macbook, everything else I would imagine would be the same as far as configuration.

A MBA isn't the best gaming device, that is for sure. But you can increase your 3D performance tremendously! Be aware that the MBA has (imho) 3 down sides:

- 2 core CPU with low clocks

- not a good CPU cooler (the CPU will throttle and reduce it's clockspeed)

- all MBA only use TB1 and limit the possible 3D performance, even more on the internal screen!

But I would say that an eGPU can be used for future MB, until we have to/can switch to TB3.

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I really appreciate the information! Seriously, thanks for taking the time. Again, amazing setup.

What is the limitation with OS X and the 970? Just drivers?

So, from what I can see on this forum, I should be able to get it working in OS X, using a similar setup as yours, but I would just need a different card.

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I really appreciate the information! Seriously, thanks for taking the time. Again, amazing setup.

What is the limitation with OS X and the 970? Just drivers?

So, from what I can see on this forum, I should be able to get it working in OS X, using a similar setup as yours, but I would just need a different card.

Thanks, no problem. The eGPU didn't work for me at all in OSX, but that seems be a problem of the mid 2014 MBP, so I stopped trying (couldn't get it working at all). If you want to be safe side, you should consider a GTX 780 / 780Ti.

Hello guys

I have a 2013 MBP with iris hd and the 750m gt... i made it work so far that it just haves error 12 (took me a week -.- ). has some of you found out how to make it work? i cant enable the iGPU (it sais i cant with chipset 6+) or disable the dGpu (freezes). but it detects the gtx 970 in the 1.3 setup and on windows. i think my mistake is the code i copied in the pci.bat file and the startup file. is there a new version of that code for my macbook already?

thanks for all kind of help <3

Sorry Akkarin, I don't think that I am the right person to talk to or this thread here is the right on. Please try to find a better thread here: DIY e-GPU Projects

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Updated my BF4 gameplay video. Quality is ultra now and the FPS are much better (don't know what happend in the first try).

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Hi, great work mate, this guide has been super helfpul. I'm considering pretty much the same setup but I've got a couple questions:

Would it be okay to use a Silverstone 300W PSU instead of the 500W?

Is this PCIe riser okay? Seems kind of cheaper compared to what others have.

I'm still deciding between the EVGA GTX 970 and the EVGA GTX 760. - There should not be any issues with either one, right? Is either one better in terms of plug & play/running into techical problems?

Thanks a lot for your help!

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Thanks @TryptoPhan!

The 300W Silverstone PSU with SFX formfaktor should be alright. But you should keep in mind:

- small fan -> can be noisy under full load. But luckly that PSU is semi passiv and will only start the fan after a certain amount of load

- it only has 2x6-Pin PCIe power connectors

I am not so comfortable with that riser, because it doesn't provide a capacitor on the powered end at the riser side. I think I have seen some people with problems with cheap powered risers!

The 760 should work easy in OSX and Windows, but got a 6-Pin and 8-Pin power connector!

Imho the GTX 970 is much faster and by that the better choise!

But need to be aware of some big changes at the GTX 970, because of the coilwhine problem most GTX 970 cards have.

There will be two versions of the GTX 970 FTW:

- the old FTW (04G-P4-2978-KR) 2x6Pin power connectors

- the new FTW+ (04G-P4-3978-KR) 1x6Pin & 1x8Pin power connectors

Additionally the new FTW+ has a much better power setting, runs cooler, has a front- & backplate and reduced coil whine.

The is a new EVGA SSC as well (04G-P4-3975-KR), which is a bit slower FTW+ and without the backplate.

So you will need a least an additional adapter to provide a 8-Pin PCIe power connector.

Sth. like 2xMolex -> 6-Pin (so will have 3x6Pin), and a 2x6Pin -> 1x8Pin connector (you will have 1x6Pin and 1x8Pin).

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Thanks for the quick reply @Dschijn!

Damn I was too excited after buying the Akitio that I forgot to check the 6/8 pins! You saved me from some trouble there :) However, I can't find a 2x6pin to 8pin adapter anywhere so I'd be better off getting the 450W Silverstone PSU with 6pin + 8pin.

I wanted to get the smallest case possible, so SFX PSUs were necessary. They don't sell the Chieftec with 120mm fan in the UK, so I had to settle with the Silverstone with 80mm fan, even though the reviewers all complained about the fan noise.

This riser looks like it has a capacitor of some sort, what do you think (link)? If not, I'd have to get a slighty more expensive one (link).

As for the GPU, I am most inclined to go for the GTX 760 just because it's less expensive. But it depends:

A) Cheap 120mm PSU (~£30?) + GTX 970 (~£220) + no case = £250 - Silent, High performance, less portable+looks ugly+80% chance of spilling a drink on it

B) SFX PSU (£70) + GTX 670 (~£130) + Silverstone mini-ITX case (£60) = £260 - noisy, medium performance, good portability+clean solution

Decisions, decisions!

Also from reading the super long main Akitio thread I get the idea that EVGA is the safe choice but would you recommend other makers of the equivalent GPU models that are cheaper and have been proved to work without the extra hassle (e.g. having to boot with a long specific sequence to get optimus working properly with MSI and some other cards? as described here).

Vielen Dank for going through all these questions!

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SFX PSUs are in general

- more expensive

- louder

- not so efficient

But they are small… To make the SFX PSU better there are now a few SFX-L PSUs (like the one I use in this build) with a big fan fpr quieter operation.

Most Silverstone cases are for SFX PSUs… that is the price you need to pay to get a small case.

ATX cases are:

- Silverstone FT03

- Silverstone Sugo13

and all of the 3 linked CoolerMaster cases.

The Dan A4 is a project of a german guy and still takes time to get released.

- - - Updated - - -

@TryptoPhan: Yes you are tight, both risers do have a capacitor! :)

There should be a SFX-L Silverstone PSU as well: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=527

I think you should invest in a nice setup and slow GPU first, because it's easy to swap that GPU and replace it with a better one later.

MSI is good as well, had a MSI GTX 970 as my first card and can't name a big difference. BUT I can say that my EVGA is working very well ;)

GTX 670 or 760 should be fine in the beginning.

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If I had $2500 to spend this is what I would buy.

Of course my desktop if upgraded would still be a much better financial decision.

Hypothetically:

i5-4440/2X 4GB/1TB 7200/500W/7950 3GB GDDR5 $450 NEW

If I had bought a GTX 970 for $170 more I think it would surpass your systems gaming performance for $1000 less when including the price of a macbook air 11.

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Yes that is true and you can see my benchmarks of my old desktop system on page 1.

My main goal was to combine everything into one machine/system. Before the eGPU I had a desktop PC running Mac OSX and a 13" MBPr. In the end the eGPU system is the combination of both into one machine. :encouragement:

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Do you have a US link for all your parts? I'm from the US and I can't read some of the sites

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