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2014 15" MBP Iris + GTX970@16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [ZapCord]

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First of all, big thanks to Dschijn, nando, goalque and the rest for their fantastic guides!

 

EDIT:MUCH THANKS TO @goalque FOR THE SCRIPT TO GET THIS WORKING ON OSX!!

 

Tested Computer:

2014 15" MBP with Iris Pro only; i7-4770hq @ 2.2 GHz (Turbo to 3.4); 500 gb ssd

 

Parts List:

PSU: EVGA 600 B1 80+ BRONZE

GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Mini ITX Overclocked GV-N970IXOC-4GD

Thunderbolt 2 Enclosure: AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIE box

Cables: 2 Molex to 1 PCIE cable (to make a molex to barrel adapter)

2.5mm x 5.5 mm male DC Barrel Plug  (screw terminals are the easiest)

Monitor: Dell 1920x1080

^^Not sure why there are links there...

 

Procedure:

1) Install Windows 10 via bootcamp instructions here

2) Download latest Nvidia drivers here

3) Open Akitio enclosure

4) Line up the x16 on the graphics card with the physical x16 slot on the Akitio. Push in the graphics card and screw the top screws on the Akitio to hold the graphics card steady. Plug in the PCIe 6/8 pin connector(s)  from the PSU into the graphics card. 

5) Make a Molex to Barrel Adapter using the 2 molex to 1 PCIE cable in conjunction with the barrel plug instructions here

  • As Dschijn suggested, I made the barrel plug with 2x molex instead of 1x molex by twisting together 1 yellow  wire (12V) from each molex connector and 1 ground from each molex.
  • The yellows go in the positive terminal while the grounds go in the negative; make sure the plug is center positive!
  • Be sure to check polarity of the barrel plug with a multi meter to make sure it is center positive!
Spoiler

If you don't know how to check polarity:

  1. plug in your power supply to an outlet. Make sure nothing is plugged into the PSU's connectors at the start
  2. apply the paper clip trick instructions here or use an adapter on the 20/24 pin connector
  3. plug in the made 2x molex to barrel into 2 of the PSU's molex connectors 
  4. Plug the black lead of the multimeter into COM and the red lead into the red female
  5. Turn on the PSU
  6. Flip the switch on the multimeter to "20V"
  7. Put the red lead into the barrel and touch the black lead to the outside of the barrel
  8. If the read voltage is ~ + 12 V, congratulations, your barrel plug works!
  9. If not, switch the wiring on the barrel plug so that it is center positive or make a new one and try again
  10. remember to turn off the PSU when you are finished testing.

6) Plug in the molex to barrel adapter into the PSU's molex connectors. Apply the paperclip trick or adapter on the PSU's 20/24 pin connector

7) Plug the barrel into the Akitio's power input

8) Connect the thunderbolt cable from the Akitio into the Macbook

9) Connect the video output cable from the eGPU to your desired monitor

10) Turn on the Mac while holding "Alt"

11) When the boot selection screen appears, turn on the PSU (I use a power strip)

12) Count to 5/wait for the fans on the GPU to spin up

13) Select "Windows" on the boot screen

14) Install Nvidia drivers

15) Follow the prompts to restart the computer and what not.

16) Profit

 

The Boot Procedure that works most of the time for me:

  1. Assuming everything is plugged in, power on the macbook while holding Alt
  2. When boot selection appears, turn on the PSU with a power strip
  3. Count to 5 or wait for GPU fans to spin up
  4. Select Windows

Both screens should work. If not, turn everything off and try again.

 

I use Intel's XTU tool to undervolt and underclock its boost speed to reduce heat output. I underclocked it to 3.0 GHz and undervolted it by -75 mV. There are UV guides on the internet

I used EVGA's Precision tool to OC the Graphics card. I managed to get +190 MHz on the core clock and +350 MHz (+700 MHz effective) on the memory (probably could push further).

I also use a custom fan curve on the GPU via EVGA's Precision Tool. Temps never go above 61 degrees Celsius.

 

Games:

World of Tanks runs everything on Max/High 60fps @ 1080p with VSync and Triple Buffering on

Witcher 3 runs Max/High no hairworks smoothly with no noticeable drops

Naval Action (In alpha) runs everything on max no AA (kills fps in this game at this moment) @ 1080p open world and combat

CSGO obviously no problems

BF4 high in multiplayer @ 1080p and 60 fps

Warframe is smooth everywhere on Max including Physx @ 1080p and 60fps

Fallout 4 is same as above as far as I could tell

 

Questions are welcome even though I might not be able to answer all of them.

 

EDIT: Almost forgot to mention the paperclip trick

 

Images:

http://imgur.com/a/I9jaf

 

External 1920x1080 Monitor:

Heaven 4.0: Extreme settings at 1920x1080 with extreme Tess. and 8x AA

GPU OC: +190/+350

Score: 1310

HeavenExtreme.JPG

Valley: Extreme HD settings 1920x1080

GPU OC: +190/+200

score: 2318

00000.png

Firestrike:

+150/+200

Score: 8980

ext.thumb.JPG.61da174d5ff58f625400fae29f

+190/+200

Score: 9154

FirestrikeExt190200.thumb.JPG.afaddda5c4

SteamVR Performance Test:

VR Ready

+150/+200 Fidelity could be higher with a higher overclock

CPU: limited to 3.0 Ghz and undervolted by 75 mV via Intel XTU

Note: It says Iris Pro Graphics for GPU but it actually tested the GTX 970

Fidelity: High 6.2

Frames below 90 fps: 0

Frames CPU Bound: 0

VRReady.thumb.JPG.0d58c6ba746562a36b1faf

Windows 10 Optimus

Heaven: same settings as above, +150/+200

Score: 1137

~13% performance loss

HeavenInternal.thumb.jpg.3aa788d5b6dde7f

Firestrike (demo version on steam):

+150/+200

Score: 7754

~14% performance loss

Int.thumb.JPG.b90ace89ffed42ffccb679877b

 

Edited by ZapCord
Added SteamVR Performance Test Results

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CAN CONFIRM OPTIMUS NOW WORKS!!!

 

 

Tested on Warframe and the game looks nice on the internal screen (yay).

To get Optimus working on Windows 10, install driver version 361.75 released 1/27/2016

Spoiler

Under the heading "Gaming Tech" in the driver update, Nvidia says there is beta support for external graphics over TB3!! AKA optimus no longer broken

 

Boot procedure is now:

  1. plug everything in
  2. start egpu
  3. start laptop
  4. wait 30 seconds
  5. boot
  6. Profit

Big Thanks to Everyone!

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Awesome! I really need to test that (Optimus in Windows 10) myself :D

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Hello ZapCord,

 

 

today i followed your guide and installed Windows 10 on my iMac with BootCamp on a 1TB Fusiondrive.

The installation and the described boot sequence works fine (from 10 tries the system comes up 9 times without any problems).

 

Is this correct that the internal monitor still uses the internal graphics card and only the external monitor will be powered by the 980 TI?

I have tried both: cloning the display (both monitors showing the same) and extended display.

 

If i look into the preferences, there is still the intel graphics card (see screenshots).

 

Is it possible, that both displays running with the nvideaß

 

Greetings Stemoac

devices.JPG

imac-monitor.JPG

samsung-monitor.JPG

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@stemoac Can you first test making the external display (connected to the eGPU) your main display and run a test/benchmark? Secondly try with the eGPU without the external display and try a test/benchmark on the internal display.

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2 hours ago, stemoac said:

Hello ZapCord,

 

 

today i followed your guide and installed Windows 10 on my iMac with BootCamp on a 1TB Fusiondrive.

The installation and the described boot sequence works fine (from 10 tries the system comes up 9 times without any problems).

 

Is this correct that the internal monitor still uses the internal graphics card and only the external monitor will be powered by the 980 TI?

I have tried both: cloning the display (both monitors showing the same) and extended display.

 

If i look into the preferences, there is still the intel graphics card (see screenshots).

 

Is it possible, that both displays running with the nvideaß

 

Greetings Stemoac

 

@stemoac Greetings!

 

It is very much possible to run both displays with nvidia.

 

However, the internal display will not show the egpu as its display adapter.

-That is due to the fact that the internal display is connected to the integrated graphics no matter what; however, the brunt-work is still handled by the egpu.

 

You can see this in the spoiler below.

-Notice that the score is a little bit less than the one I posted above in my original post as it is run on the internal monitor.

-That is due to the inefficiency of having to route all traffic through the integrated graphics no matter what for the internal display.

 

I hope this clears it up!

EDIT: grammar errors

Spoiler

Here is my internal display accelerated with the egpu while having 2 other monitors connected to the egpu.

I ran Heaven 4.0 on extreme settings at 1080p for comparison with the scores above. Note that I did lower the overclocking from +190/+350 to +150/+200.

So, compare the internal monitor's score of 1137 here to an external monitor's score of ~1295 with those overclocking settings.

HeavenInternal.thumb.jpg.bd923f00ce1b62f

IMAG0968.thumb.jpg.d11c94bfb3fd011be5887

IMAG0971.thumb.jpg.8a0a34a1bca298b625971

Edited by ZapCord

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Here are the Benchmark results:

 

- test case #1:

external Monitor connected (via HDMI) to eGPU

external Monitor is main Display (Extended mode)

Resolution: external Monitor (1920x1080), iMac Display (4096x2304)

Benchmark in Fullscreen on external Display

 

- test case #2:

external Monitor connected (via HDMI) to eGPU

external Monitor is main Display (Extended mode)

Resolution: external Monitor (1920x1080), iMac Display (4096x2304)

Benchmark in Window mode on iMac Display

 

- test case #3:

external Monitor connected (via HDMI) to eGPU

iMac Display is main Display, only Output to iMac Display (not extended), external Monitor not used 

Resolution: external Monitor (1920x1080), iMac Display (4096x2304)

Benchmark in Window mode on iMac Display

 

- test case #4:

external Monitor is NOT connected (unplugged HDMI) to eGPU

only iMac Display

Resolution: iMac Display (4096x2304)

Benchmark in fullscreen mode

 

 

 

 

 

test case 1.JPG

test case 2.JPG

test case 3.JPG

test case 4.JPG

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56b346abb56ed_screenshot2(resized).thumb56b346673ee0a_screenshot1(resized).thumb56b3474f2a774_screenshot3.thumb.JPG.0c14

here are the screenshots from the valley Benchmark

screenshot 1 belongs to testcase #2, on the right is the iMac display (Fullscreen Output from snipping tool)

size off apps and other Elements sets to 200% in Windows 10

screenshot 2 and screenshot 3 belongs to testcase #3

 

i resized the original screenshots (size 6016x2304) to 25% (upload Limit reached)

 

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- test case #5

external Monitor connected (via HDMI) to eGPU

external Monitor is main and only Display (internal Monitor not used)

Resolution: external Monitor (1920x1080)

Benchmark in Fullscreen on external Display

 

 

test case 5.JPG

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Well the conclusion is, Optimus is not working with your current setup.

Are you running Windows 8 or 8.1? Are you comfortable updating to Windows 10? Optimus seems to work there with the current driver.

 

For Windows 8.1 Optimus might need a little help to work: https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/6727-guide-macbook-enabling-optimus-internal-lcd-mode/&page=1

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@stemoac interesting, maybe try booting up with only the egpu and internal monitor connected at first (same procedure) and then connect the external monitor to the gpu after boot.

You'll get a few screen flickers right after boot but it is ok.

Are you sure you are using driver version 361.75? 

 

My setup during the test was:

GTX 970 with 361.75 (none of this worked pre 361.75 and the computer was using integrated only on internal display)

2 1920x1080 external monitors connected by DVI

Internal display was primary display.

-All of these were on extended display mode.

 

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Hm maybe the 4k iMac is working differently.


Can you try:

- turn on iMac

- press and hold "alt" key

- wait for boot chime and boot selection menu

- wait until WiFi search is done

- now turn on the already connected eGPU

- wait 2sec

- boot into Windows

 

Or you try the other EFI I linked above.

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the described procedure is exactly what i do every time, i start Windows.

I will try the EFI method at the Weekend

 

 

But the Performance on the external Screen is amazing. So i am happy right now  with the results i've got so far :-)

 

Thanks so far.

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@Dschijn today i want to try the EFI boot method. But i am not shure if i can do this because there is a Fusiondrive installed. On both disks (the small SSD and the large HDD) is an EFI partition. Which one i have to use? 

 

disutil_screenshot.jpg

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Just from the size I would say the 2nd one, but I do not want to give you advice on that FD. So please be careful!

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I've installed Windows 10 (UEFI mode) on my Mac Pro 2013, I've built a Galax GTX970. I still need to work on the wiring and the case but it seems to be working fine for now.

 

It works just fine on OS X but I can't get it to work on Windows 10. I've installed all the drivers and I still see the card in Display adapters giving me Error 12.

 

Does anyone have any idea about this?

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The Mac Pro seems to have problems with eGPUs in Windows 10… MVC announced eGPU support on a nMP for Windows in the netkas forum. But that is already 2? month ago. Since he isn't sharing any information at all you will have to be patient.

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Thanks a lot for this. I thought I was doing something wrong.

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Just finished assembling my build couple of days ago and also didn't manage to run e-GPU on internal display using Windows 10.  Downgrade to 8.1 fixed problem with first boot! :) 15" MBPr (2014) + Akitio box + Zotac GTX 970.

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1 hour ago, xorgal said:

Just finished assembling my build couple of days ago and also didn't manage to run e-GPU on internal display using Windows 10.  Downgrade to 8.1 fixed problem with first boot! :) 15" MBPr (2014) + Akitio box + Zotac GTX 970.

Interesting that a lot of people aren't able to get Optimus working in Windows 10. I am honestly surprised.

 

Another boot procedure that works (for me):

-external displays aren't plugged in to start

  1. connect thunderbolt cable from egpu to laptop
  2. boot laptop while holding alt to get to boot select screen
  3. Start EGPU
  4. wait 30 seconds
  5. Select Windows
    1. Once Login screen is reached, plug monitors in if external displays are needed
    2. Otherwise, just log in

I hope this helps someone.

 

EDIT: And no, I did not use Evo's guide to enable optimus

Edited by ZapCord

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2 hours ago, xorgal said:

Just finished assembling my build couple of days ago and also didn't manage to run e-GPU on internal display using Windows 10.  Downgrade to 8.1 fixed problem with first boot! :) 15" MBPr (2014) + Akitio box + Zotac GTX 970.

Anyways, time for me to upload my proof.

Using this Boot procedure:

58 minutes ago, ZapCord said:

Interesting that a lot of people aren't able to get Optimus working in Windows 10. I am honestly surprised.

 

Another boot procedure that works (for me):

-external displays aren't plugged in to start

  1. connect thunderbolt cable from egpu to laptop
  2. boot laptop while holding alt to get to boot select screen
  3. Start EGPU
  4. wait 30 seconds
  5. Select Windows
    1. Once Login screen is reached, plug monitors in if external displays are needed
    2. Otherwise, just log in

I hope this helps someone.

 

EDIT: And no, I did not use Evo's guide to enable optimus


IMAG0981_BURST002.thumb.jpg.8e62d8bb9c88

I decided to run firestrike from the 3dMark demo on steam with only the internal display on (no external monitors plugged in) to show everyone optimus works in Windows 10 (at least for the mid 2014 15in MBP Iris Only...still need confirmation for other systems)

Proof.thumb.JPG.a394ac6cba702a184eebc62f

Note the display size and the operating system. 2880 x 1800 is obviously the internal display for 15" Macbook Pros since 2012.

But, Geforce experience doesn't show you the performance.

IMAG0982.thumb.jpg.78948e06f377108fc6028

Here is my 3Dmark Result with the internal display:

http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/10694991?

Int.thumb.JPG.eb78c3e4af9cc6861a2089642f

Compare this with the 3DMark Result on an external display with the same clock speeds:

http://www.3dmark.com/fs/7439086

ext.thumb.JPG.42cd760ffcfe6c44b06fba4bec

These results are totally consistent with the performance loss (-14% performance) due to Optimus.

It is also quite obvious that the egpu is working with a score of ~7700 in firestrike.

Hence, please continue to ask me questions and don't give up on Windows 10 so easily! I will try my best to answer ones I know about. @Dschijn can answer the rest

-ZapCord

Edited by ZapCord

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@ZapCord Awesome! Having Windows 10 working with Optimus as well (15" mid 2014 MBPr).

Can you confirm that the internal display is limited to 60FPS?

E.g. try Ungine Heaven/Valley at the lowest settings possible and look at the FPS counter.

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1 hour ago, Dschijn said:

@ZapCord Awesome! Having Windows 10 working with Optimus as well (15" mid 2014 MBPr).

Can you confirm that the internal display is limited to 60FPS?

E.g. try Ungine Heaven/Valley at the lowest settings possible and look at the FPS counter.

@Dschijn No, the internal display for me isn't limited to 60fps.

Tested Heaven at very low settings

HeavenLow.thumb.JPG.eec4cf908f2278d4325c

IMAG0984.thumb.jpg.86cd3128f1ff8abb784c4

As you can see, it is at 92 fps here.

 

But, the results were a lot lower than I anticipated for such a reduction in quality from extreme (only rose maybe 1000 points at the most).

HeavenOptimusLow.thumb.JPG.aae76c769fd48

@DschijnMaybe vsync is on somewhere?

Edited by ZapCord

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Guys,

 

I'm trying to make a 970 work with a 2013 15'' iris MBP and it's only working with an external screen. I'm getting a black screen every time I start with the eGPU connected. I tried several startup procedures.

 

How do I get Optimus working?

 

 

I'm using the newest nvidia 362 drivers on Win10 64bit.

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