Hello, I've decided to upgrade my eGPU set up with a new card GTX 1070 FE. I thought I'd share some benchmarks and my booting process with the forum to let you guys know that 2015 Macbook Pro 13" eGPU setup works!
As stated on the nVidia website, the FE GTX 1070 TDP is 150W, so I thought I'd give it a try with my previous dell DA-2. I bought the components off of eBay so setting up hardware was mainly plug & play. It was pretty simple to set up, but as many of you already know, 2015 Macbook Pro 13" is pain in the ass to get the drivers working (ie. get past the spinning wheel)
AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box - I bent the chassis to fit the FE GTX 1070
EVGA GTX 1070 FE
Dell DA-2 AC Adapter
Akitio Egpu 8 Pin to 2 x PCI E 6 Pin Super Low Profile No Latch 1 x Barrel | eBay (This is not for sale anymore)
LG 22MP67HQ External Monitor (But this setup works with internal display as well) Hardware Preparation
1. Open and slide out the AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe box and insert desired GPU (GTX 1070 in my case)
2. Plug the cables into appropriate pins
3. Do not power on the eGPU or connect it to your Macbook until you have everything set up on the software side of things on Windows 10
1. Install Windows 10 via Boot Camp - Internal drive worked fine for me
2. Install Boot Camp drivers
3. Update Windows 10 to the latest version via Windows Update
4. Update Apple software
5. Download the latest nvidia software (368.39 when this was written)
Please read the following before you proceed with your set up.
Let's Connect (Only Applicable to 2015 13" Macbook Pro's)
1. Power on the eGPU (Plug it to power)
2. Boot Macbook 13" to Windows 10 by pressing alt after the chime.
2. Once startup is complete, plug the TB2 connector to the Macbook
3. Open Device Manager to check if the thunderbolt hardware is detected. (It should say Microsoft Basic Display Adapter)
5. Once you check that the Macbook detects your eGPU, open up the driver .exe that you downloaded and run it as administrator.
6. Press Agree Terms of Service, and click Custom Installation. Make sure you've checked everything and press Install.
7. Once the installation is complete, the driver wizard will ask you to restart your computer. Press "Restart now"
8. Wait until it restarts. (Always press Alt after to get into boot selection menu)
** Now this step is very tricky. For Windows 8.1 users, the computer should restart without touching any of the connection, but for windows 10, the restart might freeze at a black screen.
- If your computer freezes (ie. black screen, but your backlit keyboard is still lit), then force shutdown the Macbook.
- Turn off the eGPU and make sure it's completely off. (ie. no green light from Thunder2) Do not disconnect your TB2.
- Wait 10-15s and power on the eGPU
- Turn on your Macbook and go to boot selection (If your Macbook does not boot, force shutdown and unplug the eGPU from power. Then, boot into Mac OSX by pressing alt after the chime. Log in, then press apple logo -> shutdown)
- You may get stuck at the spinning wheel. If this happens to you just force shutdown and repeat the above process again (force shutdown, power off eGPU, wait 5-10s, power on eGPU, boot by pressing alt and selecting windows 10)
**If you get stuck at the spinning wheel more than two times, the windows will automatically put the system under automatic repair. Let it proceed and do not unplug thunderbolt cable, then restart. Sometimes this allows the Macbook to boot successfully.
**If nothing works after 2-3 tries, turn off eGPU and unplug thunderbolt. Then boot into windows 10 and uninstall nvidia drivers. Try again from the top.
9. If everything works, then your Macbook should be able to detect your GPU with a proper driver. Check this under device manager.
Now, some of you may ask how they will be able to go back and forth between OS X and windows, here are the steps that I took.
Windows -> OS X
1. Click "Shutdown" (DO NOT CLICK "RESTART" - This gave me a bad result, causing me to reinstall Windows again)
2. Power off the eGPU once the Macbook is fully shutdown
3. Unplug TB2 connector once the AkiTiO box is fully powered off
4. Turn on and boot into OS X via boot selection
OS X -> Windows
1. Power on your eGPU
2. Turn on your Macbook and go to the boot selection
3. Select Windows and wait until the spinning wheel shows up.
4. As soon as it shows up, plug in the TB2 (The timing is crucial)
(** If you have a infinite spinning wheel, simply try again, but ideally this should not happen)
Alternative Booting Method
I've noticed relatively high failure rate using my OS X -> Windows booting or just a simple booting method, so I've tried this alternative and it seems to be working successfully.
This only applies if your eGPU was able to set up successfuly before after the installation of nVidia drivers.
1) Plug TB2 Cable to Macbook (make sure it was to the port where you originally plugged in your eGPU)
2) Power on Akitio eGPU
3) Power on Macbook
4) Boot via boot selection menu
If there is no chime, or there is an infinite spinning wheel, consult to my troubleshooting section.
All done on my external monitor (1080p)
3Dmark on 4K LG 27UD68-W monitor: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/13925733
The idea is to crash the system (ie. BSOD) to initiate the Automatic Diagnostics by windows 10 when booting up. This will reset if your driver didn't load after the bootup or have an infinite spinning wheel.
If you encounter the infinite spinning wheel...
1) Power off the Macbook
2) Unplug power for your eGPU and wait 5-10s
3) Turn eGPU back on
4) Power on the Macbook and boot to windows via boot selection screen (alt)
The problem will only solve once the Automatic Diagnostic tool asks you to restart the computer.
5) Press restart and boot via boot selection
- If the Macbook does not power on, simply force power off and repeat steps 1-4 again
6) After few tries from steps 1-5, you should be able to reboot into windows with nVidia Drivers loaded. Be patient and make sure not to uninstall the driver if it fails to load.
If it fails to load the drivers...
1) Press Restart
2) Boot via boot selection
- If it doesn't boot (ie. no chime) at all, force power off and proceed to steps 1-5 mentioned above.
- Be patient!!!