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archagon

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archagon last won the day on July 31

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About archagon

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    Berkeley, CA
  1. Just like last time with my 1050 Ti setup, I wanted something that was powerful, but as hassle-free as possible: no weird scripts, hacks, EFI tweaks, metal-bending, etc. (Bootcamp and external displays only were an acceptable compromise to achieve this.) Fortunately, everything went as smoothly as it could have with this upgrade. You can find the full writeup on my blog: http://archagon.net/blog/2018/07/25/egpu-redux/ The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Mini ITX happens to (almost) be the ideal form factor for the Thunder2. Length-wise, the fit is perfect, but it's a bit too tall for the default case. I might end up 3D printing a new top case at some point in the future. In the meantime, I'm running with the top off. The Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box might have been a better purchase if I had a different model of Macbook (since it's the same hardware at a similar size plus TB3, USB ports, and internal power), but apparently the TB3 to TB2 adapter doesn't work if you're using an Nvidia eGPU and your dGPU is also an Nvidia. Connecting the PSU required a tiny bit of cable-assembling in the form of a 4-pin ATX to 5.5x2.5mm barrel plug adapter. I also needed a 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe adapter since my PSU was a bit too old to have one natively. In the future, I hope to replace my current PSU with something like the Silverstone Flex SUG 300W PSU, since it's significantly smaller than either the Dell DA-2 or Mean Well adapters, as well as potentially modular. After hooking up the PSU and switching to the lower TB2 port on the Thunder2, everything started working exactly as it did with the 1050 Ti. The PSU can be turned on ahead of time. It sometimes takes a few tries to hear the chime and see the boot menu on startup, but once you launch into Windows, the behavior is completely native, with no additional scripts or hacks involved. Software-wise, I didn't have to do anything new: the Nvidia drivers installed automatically when I booted for the first time and went into Device Manager. (They were already present from my 1050 build.) Benchmarks are great: 2.5–3.0x as fast as the 1050 Ti and 20% slower than internal (as per the TB2 toll). I can play VR games and Far Cry 4 on Ultra without any issues. GTX 1080 GTX 1050 Ti SC Improvement 3DMark Fire Strike Graphics Score 17109 6993 2.45× Graphics FPS 1 81.86 32.28 2.54× Graphics FPS 2 68.17 28.74 2.37× 3DMark Time Spy Graphics Score 6343 2040 3.10× Graphics FPS 1 41.61 13.67 3.04× Graphics FPS 2 36.17 11.43 3.16× 3DMark Sky Dive Graphics Score 55760 22564 2.47× Graphics FPS 1 233.78 102.25 2.29× Graphics FPS 2 279.52 103.83 2.69× 3DMark11 Free Graphics Score 21363 8802 2.43× Graphics FPS 1 104.98 42.83 2.45× Graphics FPS 2 116.34 42.18 2.76× Graphics FPS 3 131.99 54.32 2.43× Graphics FPS 4 57.58 25.13 2.29× I think I lucked out with this particular model of Macbook, since I hear that computers with TB3 or AMD dGPUs have a lot more trouble with this kind of setup. So be careful: if you don't have this exact Macbook, you might have to deal with a lot more headaches!
  2. I admit this is a little different from what's usually posted here! Instead of optimizing for power, my goal was to make a build that's as "default" as possible: no third-party code, no custom drivers or Windows installations, no scripts, no case modding. The closer I could get to plug-and-play, the better. External monitor with BootCamp was fine. (Prerequisites: I already had BootCamp with the latest Windows 10 installed.) I figured a slot-powered card would let me get away with a lot, so I bought the most powerful one I could find: an EVGA GTX 1050 Ti. (Somebody mentioned in an article that EVGA cards handled boot timing issues a bit better. Dunno if true or not, but boot has not been an issue at all for me at all.) The card fit into my Thunder2 with room to spare. After learning that I could just use a 12V/10A DC power adaptor instead of hacking up a PSU, I started scouring Amazon for one. This voltage/amperage combo wasn't particularly common: the vast majority of adaptors that matched this spec were model # CT-1250, whose looks and reviews did not inspire confidence. Eventually, I found a seller who was offering a model # CD120100A. This one looked a bit more professional and I knew that it was being used in at least one other closed-case eGPU build. Boot turned out to be completely painless: plug in the TB2 cable, turn on the computer, and hold the Alt button for the boot menu. If the menu shows up (95% likely) everything will work fine. The only software thing I had to do was install the latest NVIDIA drivers and set my display settings to only use the external monitor (or to extend the desktop and use the external monitor as the main display). Benchmarks indicate a 4x improvement over the 750M, exactly as expected when factoring in ~20% performance loss from the TB2 link. No heat or stability issues, even with the factory overclock. Played a bunch of Crysis 3 and Far Cry 4 over the past few days and it's been great! Not a bad upgrade for ~$400. (Or even as low as $300 if you wait for rebates, etc.) You can find my full writeup on my blog. Not sure if this post is valuable to the community or not, but I couldn't find very many other users who were making low-maintenance builds like mine!
  3. Thank you! This is super useful information. I've heard about the timing issue regarding my model (since apparently pre-2014 Macbooks don't support TB hot-swapping) so I guess that will be my burden. Is the DSDT fix a common requirement? I've read a bunch of threads and guides and this is my first time hearing about it. (Plus, only ~4000 results on Google.) I'll certainly post my results if/when I give it a try. Update: I've gotten it working! Here's a full writeup of the process. Surprisingly, there were zero issues. No third-party code at all!
  4. I've already spent hours looking around — otherwise, I wouldn't have asked. The vast majority of users here want to get their setups working with OSX and/or Optimus, so that information isn't relevant to me. Not much to type up, really: just "yes, it will mostly work", or "no, you will need to do some software hacking".
  5. Hi! I'm looking to build an eGPU for my late-2013 15" MacBook Pro (w/750M graphics). My goal is to make it as hassle-free as possible, even at the expense of convenience. This means: no driver hacks, no new Windows installs, no bootloaders, no scripts. BootCamp-only without internal display support is fine. Current plan is to install a GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti in an Akitio Thunder2 and then hook it up to a 120W power brick so that I don't have to deal with an external power supply. (Not exactly state of the art, but ~4x as powerful as the 750M I've been using for the past three years!) My main concern is whether this would work as a plug-and-play device or if I'll still have to fiddle with software. It seems most people on these boards prefer to go the hacky route for Optimus and/or OSX support (which I don't need) so it's hard to get this information. Is there anything extra I'll have to do after hooking up the Akitio and booting into Windows, or will it work as-is with an external display? Thank you!
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