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So I first heard about e-gpu *somewhere* about a year or so ago and of course Google led me here, where I read a few posts about various implementations and ideas and such, and then went off to contemplate and research it more, and to wait around for it to catch on enough for it to be "a thing" you could just buy and be done with. Obviously, aside from Alienware and whoever else's proprietary idiocy, it's not "a thing" you can just go and buy. So I read some more, but the one thing different about my situation was that I wanted to implement this on my desktop, not a laptop, for 3D rendering (Daz Studio with iray). As well, I wasn't using a Mac, so there were certain things about it that simply did not apply to my situation. I have an ASUS Z87 Pro motherboard, which doesn't have Thunderbolt built-in, but does support it via the ASUS Thunderbolt EX II add-in card. I picked up an Akitio Thunderbox 2, and noted that it was aimed at Mac, according to the box. Still, I tried. I had to take the guts out of the enclosure because a GTX 980 is too big for it. I skipped the powered riser thing and just got the Akitio and a PSU to power the card. At any rate, since I didn't know about the paperclip trick to hotwire the PSU, and it wouldn't turn on without being attached to a motherboard, the whole thing sat on a shelf for about a year while I looked around a bit more. Today I decided to give it one last try, and for the last several hours I've been doing just that. I dug an old tower out of the closet and put in my PSU, hooked it to the mobo so it'd power on, and hooked up the Akitio. I was able to get it showing in Device Manager, and of course got Code 12. However, rather than use a command prompt to hack my system into allocating resources, it dawned on me that I have plenty of available resources already being used by things in my motherboard I don't use. Bluetooth, WiFi, RealTek HD audio, etc. These are useless to me, since all my gaming sound comes from my GTX 980, and I'm hardwired to the router. As well, the on-board Intel HD graphics stuff is going unused. So, in Device Manager, I uninstalled these items, which of course freed up resources. I did make a few BIOS edits in regards to those items in particular: disabled onboard audio, onboard video, onboard wifi and Bluetooth. I also set the PCI speed to Gen2 instead of Auto (read that somewhere today). The Thunderbolt BIOS options unlocked only after the TB add-in card was installed, and there were a few tweaks I made there, as well. Notably, Enabling the Option ROM for TB during POST (it's worded backwards - the Disabler for it is Enabled, so I had to Disable the Disabler, which Enables it). There was another one, just above that I believe. I'd have to go back and see what it was, but basically it enabled resources for TB or somesuch. It didn't work by itself when I first tried it, so I know that alone wouldn't do it. I don't know if it helps, though. Not sure which one of those is and is not necessary, but upon reboot, I no longer had Code 12, Daz Studio, EVGA Precision X, GeForce Experience, and NVIDIA Control Panel see 3 cards - the 2 internal (980 and 780 TI) and the external (another 780 TI) - and I'm rendering noticeably faster (10 minutes faster) with all fans blazing away. The instructions for the TB add-in card state to connect the Display Port of the card to the DP of the MOBO, which I did at first, but then moved it from the MOBO to the external GPU. I figured that was just so the MOBO video is routed to the TB card, which would then be connected to a TB display. Ergo, connect the video card that's actually being used. That part probably doesn't matter anyway since I'm only using the egpu for rendering power, not video output. I'll have to go into the BIOS and write down the exact settings if anyone's got a similar setup and similar issue, but basically the TL;DR is that you can avoid using the DSDT edit trick for Code 12 by uninstalling mobo features that you're not using and disabling them in the BIOS. I'd take a picture, but it's a fire hazard of noteworthy proportions.
Original Author: tranj10 After two weeks of fiddling around with my eGPU setup I have finally found a method that works well with my hardware. There are many suggested modifications on this forum (Evo*'s modified boot files, DSDT overrides*see note bottom of post, DIY eGPU setup), but it seems that these modifications are not necessary for the 2015 13" MBP. The setup includes easy plug-and-play hardware setup, fairly easy software setup (little bit of command line), and installation of Windows 8 on an external drive. Many users with 2015 MacBook Pros seem to have trouble booting up consistently with the eGPU on 2015 MacBooks, so hopefully the power up process I've found works on other MacBooks. Hardware: AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box ASUS DC MINI NVIDIA GTX970 (fits in AKiTiO case without physical modification, but unable to close the case) Dell DA-2 AC Adapter Samsung T1 Portable SSD Cables: These cables from ebay are what make the hardware just plug and play Akitio Egpu 8 Pin to 2 x PCI E 6 Pin Super Low Profile No Latch 1 x Barrel | eBay Two PCI E 6 Pin to One PCI E 8 Pin 90 Degree Bend Right Low Profile USA Made | eBay Hardware installation: - Do not use the PSU that came with the AKiTiO enclosure - Really simple installation, just plug everything in (there aren't many cables and ports to figure out). Just make sure none of the 6-pin and 8-pin plugs are upside down, but it should be easy to tell. Note that for my software installation below, everything was done right after I reset the MBP to factory settings. eGPU and OS X: Goalque's automate-eGPU.sh script makes OS X very easy to setup for eGPU use. (http://forum.techinferno.com/mac-os-x-discussion/10289-script-automating-installation-egpu-os-x-inc-display-output.html) 1) Boot into OS X without eGPU connected 2) Download automate-eGPU.sh and then move it to desktop 3) Press command + space and type in terminal to open up a terminal instance 4) Run the following commands in the terminal - cd ~/Desktop - chmod +x ./automate-eGPU.sh - sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh 5) Go through the commands with "y" and then shut down 6) Go through the Power up process described below Bootable Windows 8 on external SSD: Follow this detailed guide (BleepToBleep: Mac: Install Windows 7 or 8 on an external USB3 or Thunderbolt drive without using bootcamp) - In step 3 part 1, enter the command 'cd C:\imagex' (or wherever you put the imagex.exe file) eGPU and Windows 8: 1) Boot into Windows 8 without eGPU connected 1a) Install Boot camp drivers if not done so already. 2) Perform Windows Update ignoring the suggested intel graphics update (not sure if ignoring intel graphics update is neccesary) 3) Download latest NVIDIA drivers 4) Power on eGPU and connect the thunderbolt cable to the MacBook 5) Check Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Device Manager > Display Adapters for a new display adapter entry 6) If nothing is there or you got a BSOD just restart MacBook and try again 7) Install NVIDIA drivers, selecting custom installation, and include all the options 8) Shut down 9) Go through Power up process described below I sometimes run into a Windows 8 boot up hang, but they don't seem to happen often so just power off and try again. Power up process: This is the power up process I always use to consistently have a successful boot without any black screen issues. 1) Have everything powered off 2) Connect thunderbolt cable to eGPU and MacBook 3) Power on the eGPU power supply (use a power strip with on/off switch) 4) Wait ~15 seconds 5) Power on the MacBook while holding option key 6a) Select the boot partition you want 6b) If you run into a blank black screen: - Force power off for MacBook - Power off eGPU power supply - Disconnect thunderbolt cable from MacBook - Power on the MacBook while holding option key - Boot into OS X, log in, and shut down - Go back to step 1 (there will be no black screen issues for at least the next boot up) - If you still are getting black screens after repeated tries then try a NVRAM clear (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063) - Note that the NVRAM clear does mess with the changes implemneted by automate-eGPU. So you'll need to run 'sudo ~/Desktop/automate-eGPU.sh -skipdriver' to re-enable the changes - If the NVRAM clear doesn't help then try enabling -a mode with automate-eGPU by running 'sudo ~/Desktop/automate-eGPU.sh -a' Benchmarks: I have run 3DMark Fire Strike on the internal display and external display for the GTX 970 at stock manufacturer settings. - There is a 18% difference between internal and external display graphics performance - There is a 16% difference between external display eGPU and desktop GPU graphics performance - The external display eGPU (stock settings) performance is on par with the top overclocked desktop GTX 960s Here is a link to the comparisons: Results - They are ordered as: Desktop GTX 970 (stock) | Desktop GTX 960 (overclocked) | external display eGPU GTX 970 (stock) | internal display eGPU (stock) - The cpu is definately a bottle neck Thanks to @goalque for all his help in getting my setup for the 2015 MBP up and running! I would be interested in knowing if my power up process works for others out there, or if it's just a fluke. I am not sure if every step in the process is necessary (booting in OS X versus just waiting with everything off) edit: I went through this procedure a second time for a clean install, and it still works mostly fine. For some reason now only the thunderbolt port closest to the MagSafe port works for eGPU recognition in Windows 8. Both ports are usable for eGPU in OS X though. edit2: I am using the dsdt override as suggested here (http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/7476-%5Bguide%5D-dsdt-override-fix-error-12-a-2.html). It doesn't seem to hurt or help, but I am just noting what I am using now.
Hi, Is it any way feasible to set up a PC in such a way that part of it can be used as an e-GPU through f.i. Thunderbolt? I was thinking: building the PC from scratch, with the PC fully operational (if so desired); maybe using a secondary GPU as an e-GPU or disabling part of the PC (switchable) so that only the PCI-e and pheripherals are running. Is such a thing possible with current hardware/ software? Imo it would (could) be great to have a hybrid solution.