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Dschijn

2014 15" MBP Iris + GTX970@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win8.1/OSX10.10 [Dschijn#2]

136 posts in this topic

This is going to be a more hardware based guide, because I will switch from my large eGPU setup with an ITX case to an "all in the AKiTiO case" setup.

A significant difference in size as shown in the spoiler:

 

 

post-26280-14494999968813_thumb.jpg

 

The software setup is going to "reuse" my current instalation of Windows 8.1 from this guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides-apple/8571-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-%5Bdschijn%5D.html

Other builds

I made 3 builds until now:

 

 

 

 

GPU

To achieve that I will switch my GPU from a EVGA GTX 970 FTW+ to a much smaller Galax GeForce GTX 970 Gamer OC (Galax is known as a different brand in Germany: KFA2). That GPU is so short it can directly fit into the AKiTiO case without any modifications.

 

Cooling

For better cooling I will remove the stock fans and replace them with two 92x14mm Noctua PWM fans. I ordered a Mini 4-Pin GPU (Female) to Mini 4-Pin GPU (Male) y-cable to connect both fans directly to the GPU (fingers crossed that the PWM signal is good will give me a low Idle fan speed).

 

Case modifications

I will make two big openings two improve the cooling. 2x92mm cuts on the left side of the case, right in front of the new fans. This cut will be covered with 2x92mm black fan grills.

 

3x60mm cuts on the top for a good and easy exhaust of the hot air. This will be covered with 3x60mm black fan grills.

 

Power Supply

I will use parts of an old Dell OPTIPLEX GX620, that I got really cheap from eBay. That parts are the 220W Dell DA-2 PSU and the male plug that the PSU can connect to. That plug was directly attached to the mainboard of the Optiplex and will give me the opportunity for a small plug on the AKiTiO case.

The AKiTiO itself will get power from a barrel plug. I am not really comfortable to solder wires directly to the AKiTiO PCB, so I will try the barrel plug first. Currently my idea of routing the cable for the barrel plug is to route it through the GPUs ventilation slots on it's IO shield.

 

Overclocking (or maybe underclocking)

If stability is good with the stock seetings and the cooling will keep the GPU cool, I will consider a bit OC.

If the stability isn't good because of the PSU and the cooling can't handle the heat without a lot of noise, I consider underclocking the GPU based on this guide: https://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tomshardware.de%2Fhtpc-gtx970-modding-cool-quiet%2Ctestberichte-241708.html&edit-text=

 

Progress

(x) ordering all the parts

(x) remove the stock GPU fan

(x) attach the new fans to the GPU

(x) tape the case and draw cutting and drilling positions

(x) solder the cables: 6-Pin PCIe

(x) solder the cables: barrel plug

(x) solder the cables: power switch

(x) cut the ventilation holes: top side

(x) cut the ventilation holes: left side

(x) drill the holes for the fan grills

(x) cut the case for the fan (92mm in front is beeing partially blocked be the case structure)

(x) cut the case 3x for the DA-2 power plug

(x) glue the power plug into the case with two-component adhesive

 

(x) cut the case for a power switch (currently planning to place it in the front, because there is no other good option yet)

I changed my mind and will keep the switch inside the case. Not happy with any other solution yet.

 

Pictures

post-26280-14494999954887_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494999959947_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14494999966985_thumb.jpg

(Schalter = switch)

post-26280-1449499996791_thumb.jpg

 

Windows 8.1 installation

Since I already had Windows 8.1 running with my previous eGPU, it was just plag and play.

Old guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides-apple/8571-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-%5Bdschijn%5D.html

 

OSX 10.10.3 installation (update 14th June 2015)

Thanks to goalque! He wrote an awesome script to enable display output in OSX on eGPUs: http://forum.techinferno.com/mac-os-x-discussion/10289-script-enabling-nvidia-egpu-screen-output-os-x.html#post136780

 

I just followed the instructions and have the eGPU running now in OSX as well:

post-26280-14495000298106_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14495000297696_thumb.jpg

 

For Cuda support I also installed the latest Cuda driver: http://www.nvidia.de/object/mac-driver-archive-de.html

post-26280-14495000301299_thumb.jpg

 

Tested stability

Soldering is done! Created a bundle of wires in which

- all 12V wires are connected to all 3x12V DA-2 ports

- all ground wires are connected to all 3xground DA-2 ports

Setup is working flawless and booted right into windows (windows had to install the new GPU though...).

First benchmark "3d Mark FireStrike" with stock GPU settings (new fans at 100%):

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

 

Windows Benchmarks (110% Power target, +100MHz clock speed, +75MHz memory speed, external display):

3dMark - FireStrike (Score: 9012, Graphics Score: 11027): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

3dMark - 11 (Score: 11988, Graphics Score: 14150): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

Unigine Heaven (Preset: Extreme): Score: 1624

Unigine Valley (Preset: Extreme HD): Score: 2266

Unfortunately the GPU can't keep the Boost clock speed of 1480MHz with the fans at 9V, because it is running into the 80°C temperature target. High load clock speeds are between 1430-1460MHz.

 

OSX Benchmarks

Unigine Valley: https://unigine.com/products/valley/

post-26280-14495000298516_thumb.jpg

 

Unigine Heaven: https://unigine.com/products/heaven/

post-26280-14495000298891_thumb.jpg

 

Cinebench: http://www.maxon.net/products/cinebench/overview.html

post-26280-14495000299248_thumb.jpg

 

Luxmark: http://www.luxmark.info/

post-26280-1449500030002_thumb.jpg

 

Mac&i OpenCL Benchmark: http://www.heise.de/mac-and-i/downloads/65/1/1/8/0/8/7/8/Mac___i_OpenCL_Benchmark.app.zip

post-26280-14495000300355_thumb.jpg

 

GFX Bench: https://gfxbench.com/result.jsp

post-26280-14495000300639_thumb.jpg

 

Octane Render: http://home.otoy.com/render/octane-render/demo/

post-26280-14495000300968_thumb.jpg

 

 

Videos (all captured on an external display, only Firestrike running on the internal display):

 

3dMark Firestrike via Optimus on the internal display (changed the music, you like it):

 

The Witcher 3:

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

GTA V- FPS counter in the upper left corner:

 

 

Running 8 displays on one Thunderbolt connection with two daisy chained eGPUs:

 

 

Heroes of the Storm:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post-26280-14494999954383_thumb.jpgpost-26280-14494999955322_thumb.jpg

post-26280-1449499996634_thumb.jpgpost-26280-14494999967459_thumb.jpg

post-26280-14495000299586_thumb.jpg

Edited by Dschijn
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Setup is working flawless and booted right into windows (windows had to install the new GPU though...).

I just applied info at How to Raise the Power Target Limit on GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 - Crypto Mining Blog to presumably a similar the Galax GTX970 EX VBIOS at Video Bios Collection | techPowerUp to find the power targets set in your VBIOS. Looks like it's 200W + 25%.

Means you could probably OC your card by set the power target to 110% and then test higher core/RAM clocks. That's if your cooling setup can dissipate the extra heat.

A Dell DA-2 is rated for 220W but can deliver up to 240W according to a Taobao vendor. A 220W target + 10W for TB circuitry would then be near the limit of the Dell DA-2's power delivery.

The AKiTiO itself will get power from a barrel plug. I am not really comfortable to solder wires directly to the AKiTiO PCB, so I will try the barrel plug first. Currently my idea of routing the cable for the barrel plug is to rout it through the GPUs ventilation slots on it's IO shield.

I'm not sure how clean the signal is from the Dell DA-2 since I don't have a scope to look at it.

If you wanted to chance it assuming it's pretty good (it's a Dell product, so it should be) then one way of keeping the wiring within the AKiTiO and bypassing the need for an external DC jack AND avoid soldering directly to the circuitboard is to wire 12V/GND to a matching connector that hosts the yellow/black cable on the TB board.

Conceivable since the power from the DC jack just passes through a RC filtering network before being passed along that yellow/black cable to the TB board, then onto the PCIe slot. Doing this would just skip the filtering phase.

part of the circuit is, as per http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8848-%24299-owc-mercury-helios-16gbps-tb2-discussion.html#post121898

mMwJg06.jpg

@nand04: Thanks, will consider that. You are powering your setup with a DA-2 and a barrel plug, right? Guess that should be fine for me too, as your MSI is using much more power :D

Yes, I've created a barrel plug from my Dell DA-2 to power the AKiTiO using the non-solder (screwable) barrel connector shown at http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8317-%5Bguide%5D-making-molex-barrel-adapter.html#post113069

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Yeah, I will do some OC testing later today. After the soldering and first testing of the setup I went to bed at 2am and will continue now :D

I will try to find the sweet spot of the GPU regarding: clock speed, heat & noise.

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Really cool mod, when can I order one from you? :)

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I don't think that the quality is that good :D

I just have a Dremel and that is limiting the options to make cuts a lot (there are a lot of ugly cuts in the lower back area, the DA-2 port).

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I have been watching these forums for a few months now watching as you all progress with setting up eGPUs. I finish my university exams in a week or so and plan to possibly make my own afterwards!

Your most recent setup looks like the best of the lot so far, but I have a couple of questions.

I don't think I will be comfortable with modifying the AKiTiO case like you have, so I think my plan will be to have a small 970 inside the enclosure but without the case over it, if that makes sense. Would this work well? And would I need extra fans to help out the card?

You mentioned overclocking the card and how it got to 80˚C so you had to dial it back. How hot does the card get when running it at stock clocks?

Sorry about all the questions, I just want to have everything worked out before I go for it!

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There is no need for extra cooling when using the eGPU in a open AKiTiO. I set an OC of +100MHz, so the card has a boost clock of 1480MHz and clocks automatically down to 1430-1460MHz after it hits the 80°C. I can give you results of stock clock speed temps, but keep in mind that I replaced the fans of the card.

Update 15th of May:

Received my GPU PWM y-splitter cable and managed to attach it to the GPU. Had to take of the whole cooler to attach the cable and because of that I replaced the thermal paste with high end paste from GELID. Temps are slightly better and I can control the fans to run between 1000-2200rpm, so Furmark doesn't cause the GPU to hit 80°C and stays at 75-76°C. In Idle the setup is barely audible with the fans at 1000rpm (two 92x14mm Noctua fans).

Additionally I flexed down some of the crossbars in the top to avoid the crossbars damaging the 6-Pin PCIe power cables when sliding in/out the inner frame of the AKiTiO.

2nd Update:

Added a video in the first post.

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Hi @All &

Hi Dschijn,

great to meet you here!

As written on another Board you'll know i'm also in process for build an aitAc eGPU.

Wondering what's aitAc means?

Look at your first post :D

all in the Akitio case

Maybe you shoud do a Trademark for this name :)

Regards

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Looking forward for your build! :D

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i´ll maybe give a review with all my works.

:Banane12: stay tuned :Banane02:

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Added "The Witcher 3" gameplay video. High graphics settings.

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i´ll maybe give a review with all my works.

:Banane12: stay tuned :Banane02:

I am in touch with seefew… his build is going to be epic! Already had the chance to take a look at his work and there is a lot of attention to the detail! :D

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This compact version looks awesome! I am planning on building my own eGPU and so far your enclosure makes most sense! One question I have is about the Galax GeForce GTX 970 Gamer OC card, you only mentioned about win8.1 and no OSX as in your first version. Is it because this card that cant work with OSX (osx not list on there supporting specs) or is it because the mac you tried later are not compatible? Thanks a lot!

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This compact version looks awesome! I am planning on building my own eGPU and so far your enclosure makes most sense! One question I have is about the Galax GeForce GTX 970Gamer OC card, you only mentioned about win8.1 and no OSX as in your first version. Is it because this card that cant work with OSX (osx not list on there supporting specs) or is it because the mac you tried later are not compatible? Thanks a lot!

I think that MVC is only one to get Irtis Pro 15" 2014 rMBP to work with Nvidia for screen output in OS X. So options will be expanding in next 30 days or so.

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@lemonustc: I haven't tested eGPUs since I tested it last year and like MVC said, I think there are currently still problems to get screen output on a 2014 MBPr.

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@lemonustc: I haven't tested eGPUs since I tested it last year and like MVC said, I think there are currently still problems to get screen output on a 2014 MBPr.

Oops a bit lost. Actually I have a 2013 MBA which has TB1. So now you have the galax short GTX 970 work under windows8.1 right? I am also interested in such a compact card. However since this card is not that "official", I am worry whether it has compatible issue with the NVdia cloud driver. If there is no difference (except for the size and clock limits) between this card and more "official" ones like MSI GTX970, I will definitely go with it.

BTW I didnt find this card on either ebay or amazon, so we can only buy it from galax's store?

Thanks for your instant response! TY a lot!

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I don't think that the card is so much different. You can find the card with the brands:

- Galaxy

- KFA2

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Cool. I will go with this card then!

BTW, in your DA2 powering setting, is there a switch? or is the builtin switch can still work because it is on the dc jack?

- - - Updated - - -

I don't think that the card is so much different. You can find the card with the brands:

- Galaxy

- KFA2

Cool. I will go with this card then!

BTW, in your DA2 powering setting, is there a switch? or is the builtin switch can still work because it is on the dc jack?

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I added a switch, but that is hidden inside the case and not used… I can't find a good spot to position the switch.

The case itself doesn't have a switch!!!

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I added a switch, but that is hidden inside the case and not used… I can't find a good spot to position the switch.

The case itself doesn't have a switch!!!

OOPS... Sorry I havent get a thunder2 for a look yet...

Would you mind to post a photo of the switch...? Not seen other tips on switch yet...

Many thanks!

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It's a switch from an old ATX PSU that I disassembled like a "toggle switch". It is not interessing at all, because it is just hanging in the case without any purpose. It was more a "gimmick" for a possible future option . My switch is "on", because it is not accessible.

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It's a switch from an old ATX PSU that I disassembled like a "toggle switch". It is not interessing at all, because it is just hanging in the case without any purpose. It was more a "gimmick" for a possible future option . My switch is "on", because it is not accessible.

Well. Get the point now!

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Nice work. Can you tell the price for all of this?

Thank you!

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Nice work. Can you tell the price for all of this?

Thank you!

A bit more than 600€.

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A bit more than 600€.

Thank you for quick reply.

I want to DIY an egpu like this but I have no knowlegde about the power or the electricity and I have no tools too. Do you want to build and sell this one?

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