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iMac Late 2013 27in GTX 780M (4 G RAM) + EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid@10Gbps-TB1(Highpoint RocketStor 6361A) + OS X [Scooter]

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My eGPU requirements are solely for daVinci Resolve on OS X to boost render times and size of files that can be rendered without the dreaded GPU Is Full message. No gaming, no monitor. Can’t get any simpler. The eGPU is to run on either a MacBook Pro Retina, 15in Mid 2015,  AMD Radeon R9 M370X, and a iMac 27in Late 2013, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M.

Parts
EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid - Wanted a quite card and the Hybrid is spec’ed a little higher than a standard GTX Ti.
Highpoint RocketStor 6361A - have had some success with Highpoint in the past and liked the neat power hook up via molex connection. Price was the same for me as the AiKiTo. And the finished results with the parts supplied looks very neat.
Silverstone SFX-L 80+ Gold 500W Modular Power Supply - got it because I new it would fit and the modular cables keep the case neat.
Silverstone Milo ML08-H - looks like its about the smallest case to fit a 10.5” card, ridiculously oversized cooling system, PCIe card and power supply. Comes with handle for and extra $10. The handle is not very comfortable. Not carrying to work on the bus any time soon.

 

Build (in pictures)........


First up are some images of the Highpoint card with visual measurements.  I had to make some educated guesses about dimensions and only just got it right. Hope these help.

rMcME8e.jpg
cEQ6045.jpg
nyyd1g2.jpg

EqCTY9L.jpg

 

Test build and connected to the MBP. Downloaded the latest CUDA drivers for the laptop and ran  goalque’s installation script https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/7989-script-automating-the-installation-of-egpu-on-os-x-inc-display-output/. Rebooted the laptop and there was the 980 ti in the OS X systems report. Ran Resolve and it recognised the card and rendered at approx 3 times the speed of the non eGPU render. Sweet!
2UDF1H7.jpg

 

Initial test fit. Tried to work out the best place to feed hoses through the space that is usually occupied by the motherboard. Little guy is Danbot. He pops up occasionally to give you a size reference.
0TayZTF.jpg
LzDzun9.jpg
lXvr64A.jpg

 

Stripped down Highpoint with modular molex connected. PCIe riser from Silverstone case and BONUS thunderbolt end plate from Highpoint.
pVFgBmI.jpg

 

Riser attached to card. Note pen marks for cut out.
iRNT8lB.jpg

 

And the flip side with riser poking through.
CJfevhX.jpg

 

Test fit of Highpoint.
mSeckFu.jpg

 

Pop rivet near the Made in China prevented me from test fitting it fully. Also, I removed the USB, audio and switch loom from the bottom centre of case. They were never going to be needed!
eGhRlUe.jpg

 

Case cutting. Weapon of choice. You can see I wrapped the whole thing in plastic to try and contain the spread of metal filings. Waste of time - they go everywhere! Blew it all out with an air compressor.
Rr7Zr3Q.jpg

 

Okay now that pop rivet is gone - final test fit prior to case cut part 2. Note the markings for the Thunderbolt cut out. Do not do this! You will see why at the end.
q0I8XzU.jpg

 

Case cut, and bracket for the cooling fitted. It was just 2 bits of aluminium bent at 90 degrees and pop riveted to the case. Sounds simple enough but took a while to get the 105mm x 105mm hole pattern all lined up for the fan. Aluminium is quite flexible. Splashed a bit of matte black paint on to stop the rust.
zV3MCZz.jpg
SLvUuaI.jpg
AgMcQDp.jpg

 

My version of the paperclip trick. Soldered and heat shinked a couple of female pins I had lying around.
8tgSRMA.jpg

 

Power supply in
MDVOddO.jpg

 

Highpoint card in. Nice fit. Everything lines up.
QZzvI9R.jpg

 

With Highpoint card in place there is a roughly 12mm gap between the card and case. If I was not going to be moving the case around I would have let it float but as it might take some knocks I wanted to screw it to the case. So found some card risers (think that’s what they are called) and screwed them into two holes I drilled into the case.
Fq5eX6L.jpg

 

Now I know the gap - some precision engineering.
H0qNTeM.jpg

 

And fitted to the Highpoint first, then screw to the case.
KDlL30s.jpg

 

Card in. Note the 4 pins for power. They just stuck out a little too much for me to leave alone. So I cut the hole in the case to make some room and (maybe) help with airflow to keep the card cool as it has no direct fans.
Ijjt1PO.jpg

 

Top view. Everything lines up.
TBdrPSA.jpg

 

Card in. You can’t see it easily but I decided to secure the riser to the GPU with a bit of wire and a cable tie because every time I removed the card the riser was left in the Highpoint, which then had to be removed to take out the Highpoint . And they all came in and out a lot.
YqQX5gr.jpg

 

The first casualty. Stupid fabric hose. Hooked it on the case in one of the early fits and they NEVER slide back down again - only up. The fraying is from my many attempts to push it back down.
Zli7fep.jpg

 

The radiator fan. Flipped. Took me a while to work this out. You want cool air sucking in to the case through the filtered side panel, and no matter how I tried, there was just not enough length on the hoses to fit the radiator with the fan on the filter side. Also with the radiator in the middle of the case the hose bends were too tight. Solution, take the fan off and put it on the other side of the radiator so it sucks air through instead of blowing it, as is the EVGA default set up.
oZSsFgo.jpg

 

Protection for the hoses as they are hard against the metal edge. Its filed smooth but just to be safe. Used some 15mm irrigation hose slit down the middle and cable ties.

QkPl9Bm.jpg

 

Everything in.
vrISlyB.jpg

 

Cable tied the hoses to the case to clear the fan. I’ll never need to open this case again. Yeh, right!
3BVk3UW.jpg

 

Finished. Well kind of. Just took this picture. What you don’t see are any pictures of the complete strip strip down when I discovered that my really neat cut out for the Thunderbolt connections prevented them seating properly (by the thickness of the case). Obvious in hindsight. Also, as I had it apart, I decided to put the LED’s back in and power them off the PSU in series with a 560 Ohm resistor. 1/. they look cool and 2/. they let me know that I have left it on. Again in hindsight, I should have powered 1 off the Highpoint fan so I would know when the card itself was on.
XK3Yhdo.jpg

 

Left the case open where the motherboard sits to let as much air out as possible.
 

bB7898n.jpg

 

And the revised Thunderbolt opening

 

mLROZGtl.jpg

 

Benchmarks.

 

I don’t think that they are that different to what others are reporting. I have 3 computers that I have access to.

 

iMac Late 2013 27" GTX 780M (4 G RAM)
MacBook Pro Mid 2015 R9 M370X (2 G RAM)
iMac Late 2012 27" GTX 680MX (2 G RAM)

 

Octane Benchmark Trench (Standard System) faster is better.
MBP N/A (no CUDA), iMac 2012 3'48", iMac 2014 4'25"

Octane Benchmark Trench (eGPU Headless) The results are the same with a monitor attached.
MBP 1'13", iMac 2012 56", iMac 2013 57"

 

Heaven (Standard System/eGPU Headless) Score/FPS
MBP 311/12.3, iMac 2012 555/22, iMac 2013 540/21.4

Heaven (eGPU) Score/FPS
MBP 1770/70.3, iMac 2012 1413/56, iMac 2013 1638/65

 

FurMark 2560x1140 (Standard System/eGPU Headless) Score/FPS
MBP 1536/25, iMac 2012 1798/29, iMac 2013 1579/16

FurMark 2560x1140 (eGPU) Score/FPS
MBP 6841/114, iMac 2012 3647/60, iMac 2013 6521/108

 

Resolve 12.3 (Standard System) FPS*
MBP 2.57, iMac 2012 5.04, iMac 2013 5.63

Resolve 12.3 (eGPU Headless) FPS
MBP 8.01, iMac 2012 6.12, iMac 2013 6.06

*Rendering 4992x2496 cineform to 4992x2496 ProRes 4:2:2HQ (7Nodes, 3 Keys with Blur and 3 windows with Blurs).

 

The iMacs are Thunderbolt 1 and the MBP is Thunderbolt 2 so that probably goes some way to explaining the difference in the results. Its taken a bit of research and some advice from Blackmagic to come to the conclusion that the lower CUDA results on the iMacs on Resolve, are a result of lower bandwidth and not a conflict with the internal NVIDIA GPU’s.

Note that the Octane benchmark is faster on the iMac. Is it leveraging both the internal GPU and the eGPU?

 

Thanks to all that have posted before me and special thanks goalque. That script makes this whole process very simple.

 

Edited by Scooter
Pictures now link
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Wow, I didn't dare to try to fit my Hybrid into the Raven RVZ01, because it was way too tight. That tubes sleeves look bad :(

But good job making everything fit into that small case.

Edited by Dschijn

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4 hours ago, davidexD said:

I love this case, is one of my favourite.

 

True! And with the handle on top, perfekt to carry it :D

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Nice to see someone else use the HighPoint enclosure, I personally find it better than the Thunder2. Nice case too, I made the mistake to not think ahead and got a standard ATX PSU so am not able to use any SFX enclosures for my Asus 980Ti Strix card.

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Yes this is a great enclosure. You don't have to create a barrel and such. I never experienced any kernel panics like the Akitio. I think this is a very stable. Been running this enclosure for 4 days now and not experienced any issues.

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Hello, I'm Italian and I try to use my MBP 15 m370x + Akitio tb2 + MSI GTX 680 OC 2GB but failed to get them to work.
Also I would like to use a eGPU to work with professional programs in OSx environment. I do graphics and video using Final Cut Pro X and Abobe CC.
Inevitably sometimes I will play on Windows, but first of all I'm interested in using the scehda video OSx.

 

I have connected a alimenatatore ATX Corsair VS350 which provides 300Watts in 12v and video card absorbs the maximum 195watt.

I had to disassemble the Akitio box in order to install the video card. I connected the transformer to Akitio Akitio card and the two 6-pin connectors of the Corsair to the video card.

I used the last automate-eGPU.sh but does not go ..... check a message such as "csrutil disable" ....

I packed everything because I had surrendered after reading many posts where it is stated that with my macbook pro 2015 m370x you can not use a eGPU.
Then I saw this post and maybe not postpone my purchase back Akitio.
Now with your help I would like to try to understand where I'm wrong.

Sorry for my bad English.
Thank you

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@Arckititta So you mainly want to use it in OSX, right?

The PSU is very weak and might not be enoguh for that GPU. A 680 can use a lot of power on the 12V rail.

 

"csrutil disable" ... did you even bother to google it? :D

You just need to reboot into recovery mode of OSX and open the terminal there and disable csrutil. After that, reboot normally, install script, reboot into recovery,enable csrutil, reboot into OSX.

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Thanks for the reply.
I tried csrutil in google but then I also found that my MBP can not work with a eGPU ....

Anyway, now I try again and let you know.

Thank you

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Ok, today I tried.
I connected everything as before, I followed the instructions to automate.egpu and after that launch command the result is this:
"Thunderbolt device is connected, but no external GPUs detected."
To resolve the issue "csrutil" I did nothing! I do not get this error.

IMG_0016.jpg

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Have you connected the two 6-Pin adapters? Does the PSU even have that many?

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No, in fact, soon I'm going to buy one to try.
I'll have to take the current from these cables that you see in the picture?

IMG_0019.jpg

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So, you are using this 8-Pin to conenct to the barrel plug? That is good! but still no idea what your problem could be. Can you test the GPU in a PC?

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No, I was wondering if I can take the 12v from one of these two cables.
However I take the current from one of the HD or floppy cables.

The GPU works perfectly because it was connected to my workstation.

To understand the problem I guess I'll go for elimination, it will soon also try the dietary approach everything with ATX.

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Sure you can. yellow = 12V and black = ground.

 

Check all the cables, especially the TB cable. can you try connecting the eGPU to the Mac after half of the boot.

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Ok all work! :D

 

it is normale PCIe x4 ?   It should be 16?
Schermata 2016-04-11 alle 18.43.38.png

 


I have disable csrutil, reboot, intall automate, enable csrutil and GTX 680 with external monitor work.
Now I install Cuda Drivers for best performance in OSx professional app!?!?! Right?

Schermata 2016-04-11 alle 17.32.28.png

Edited by Arckititta

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Yes. What was the problem? x4 is normal, because TB2 is limiting it. Cuda driver, yes install!

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Hey all,

 

I'm building this next week... wanted to make sure I have the parts that I need.

 

I have

  • iMac 27" (Late 2013) running a gtx 780m
  • External Dell IPS Monitor
  • 650W PSU (not modular, i will need to figure out how to fit it in the case)

 

I bought

  • GTX 780ti 3GB (for its godly amount of CUDA cores - would have liked 6gb but out of my budget)
  • SilverStone Technology Mini-ITX Slim Small Form Factor Computer Case with Handle ML08B-H
  • HighPoint RocketStor 6361A Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis

 

Will I need anything else? I noticed the that some female pins will be needed and i will need to heat sink / solder them - I have no experience with this, is there an easy way around this?

Edited by Reignfive

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What do you mean about the female pins? Other than the paper clip trick for the PSU, you should be all GOOD!

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Got this up and running! Of course it all loose cables and chips right now but I will be putting it into the chassis hopefully next weekend. But it works!

 

The only thing im confused about is that the "memory" part of the card is not being activated when I'm using a renderer like Octane. Any thoughts? 

 

IMGUR Link, pictures of setup, etc: http://imgur.com/a/cPTVP

Edited by Reignfive

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Thanks OP for such a detailed guide. I followed and bought everything of your list except for the graphic card and did a slightly different way of mounting the highpoint inside the case since my GPU is not water cooled and this involved a lot less cutting. I only have a battery powered dremel so I can't cut much at a time.

 

 

Setup bootcamp Windows 10 on a Late 2013 MBPr w/ dGPU succeed without any issue. However mbp's touchpad clicks randomly in clamshell mode so I had to leave it opened. Will try to get El capitan working on this eGPU soon. Thanks again for this great write up.

 

IMG_3473.JPG

IMG_3474.JPG

IMG_3475.JPG

Edited by g-hood

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Great stuff!

How are you powering the Highpoint card? Just with the Silvestone PSU? Not using the original power supply ?

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    • By Scooter
      Hi,
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