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  1. This is essentially an upgrade of my previous setup from a Gigabyte GTX750Ti 2GB to a Galax GTX960 4GB that was available on clearance for 94$ about a week ago. The Galax GTX960 Mini (but not the EXOC) fits inside the Akitio if you remove the front fan, which in my case is immaterial because I am using the enclosure open, on its side, and using it as a base for my homebuilt laptop cooling pad so that fan was blocked anyway. It takes a single 6-pin power plug which meant that I needed to replace my 180W barrel-plug power supply with something that could feed an extra power connector. The power solution is the ubiquitous 220W Dell DA-2 for 10$ off ebay: I split the connector with a 6-pin PCIe splitter and then soldered a power switch between the sense contact and one of the grounds. That lets me power it up and down easily and avoids paperclips. One of the 6-pin connectors goes into the PCIe 6-pin power on the video card, while the other was split into a 4-pin ATX plug (like the ones used for CPU power on a desktop motherboard) and a regular molex connector that has an independent power switch. The molex is used to power up the fans in the cooling pad (hence the separate power switch for when that is not needed) while the 4-pin connector powers the barrel plug (which has a 4-pin female connector to match). Laptop: HP ZBook 15 G2 Core i7 4810MQ 16 GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM Intel Pro 2500 480GB SSD nVidia Quadro K2100M 2GB GDDR5 dGPU (Note: The iGPU is disabled in the BIOS) Windows 8.1 Enterprise 64-bit eGPU and External Monitor (I do not run the eGPU with output on the internal screen): Galax GTX960 OC Mini 4GB Dell DA-2 220W PSU Akitio Thunder 2 0.5m Apple Thunderbolt cable LG 31MU97-B (4096x2160) monitor connected to the eGPU via Displayport Setup: As stated in my previous build: This is my work laptop. As a result, I cannot fiddle with boot loaders, replace operating systems and in general I am under the constraints of the whims of the IT department. I suspect that Win10 would be a lot easier to work with here, but alas I cannot upgrade past 8.1, at least for now. This results in the following procedure to get this working once I get home from work. Note that I have the iGPU disabled in the BIOS, as it was giving me some trouble. It is a lot easier to work with just the nVidia driver, as opposed to both the Intel one and the nVidia one. If the laptop is powered off: 1) Connect the Akitio's Thunderbolt cable to the laptop. 2) Power up the Akitio via the DA-2's power switch that I added. 3) Boot up the laptop and log into windows. 4) Either the eGPU will work, or it won't be recognized, or it will be recognized but the external monitor connected to it won't be detected, or it will Code 12. i) If it works: All is great. Enjoy! ii) If it is not recognized: Reboot the laptop, it will work after the reboot. iii) If it is recognized, but the external monitor is not detected: Reboot the laptop, it will work after the reboot. iv) If you get a code 12, then open up the Device Manager, right-click the eGPU and choose "Disable". Then right-click it again and choose "Enable". Windows will prompt you for a reboot and everything will work perfectly after the reboot. If the laptop is on: 1) Power up the Akitio. 2) Connect the Thunderbolt cable to the laptop. 3) Either the eGPU will work, or it will Code 12. 4) If it works, great. If it Code 12s, do the disable-enable trick I described in the "If the laptop is powered off" step 4.iv and reboot. I did not run into Code 43s or any other issues. Removing the eGPU while the laptop is powered up is possible if you disable it in the Device Manager first (since I don't have Windows 10, I don't have the neat nVidia tool to do it directly). Removing the eGPU cable without disabling the device first will lead to an immediate BSoD. The image below shows a view from the top of my cooling pad with the open Akitio at its base. The two fans on the left blow up into the laptop's cooler intakes. The Akitio's floor serves to separate them from the downward airflow from the video card's fans. You can see some of the cabling, but there is a better photograph of the cables in the next post. This is the laptop on top of the cooling pad. The screen is closed and you can see the three cables I need to connect to get all my peripherals working once docked: The Thunderbolt cable (white), the laptop's charger at the top left and the USB3.0 cable leading to the USB3.0 hub in the monitor at the top right. I apologize for the poor lighting, but here you can see the whole setup. The K2100M runs the laptop's internal display, while the GTX960 runs the external one. The laptop sits on top of the cooling pad/eGPU assembly.
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