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  1. Hi everyone. New to Tech Inferno. You can call me Stu. Nando asked me to post my setup and results which I'm happy to do. I'm going to keep this as simple as possible since this eGPU project has been just that, simple and awesome. In my eyes, this is where the eGPU game ends. Thunderbolt 2 (and TB3 coming soon), full-size chassis, fastest single GPU on the market, running at desktop speeds. I suppose the only caveat is cost but considering I only need to upgrade my GPU from this point on, it’s worth it. I live an hour away from Sonnet's headquarters in California and decided I had waited long enough to complete my eGPU experiment. The results surpassed expectations. Feel free to scroll down for specific benchmark and game results. Key Points Completely plug and play. Standard Bootcamp 5.1 install (*see below), connect everything up, boot Windows, install drivers, you’re done. eGPU vs Desktop performance: 85-90% Gaming: Max out virtually any game. 60FPS+ (with a few exceptions. e.g. Black Flag has weird PhysX that kills performance so I turn it off) Discrete 750M graphics = No Optimus/Internal display support. MBP w/Iris only = Optimus support but not fully plug and play (**see below) Simulated Optimus FPS loss: 5-20% (window drag method) eGPU Setup Cost (Not including MacBook): $1500 to $2000 depending on GPU purchase *It appears only 2013 MBPs w/newer PCIe flash storage defaults to UEFI/GPT-based windows installation with Bootcamp 5.1 .. 2012 rMBP (and possibly other macs/notebooks) will not format to GPT and therefore no plug and play **Conclusive Results for 2013 13" MacBook Pro - Optimus - Thunderbolt 2 - Plug and Play Configuration 2013 Macbook Pro 15” w/GT 750M [email protected] 16GB-DDR3L 512GB SSD US$2599 Sonnet Thunderbolt 2 III-D Chassis (US$979) EVGA Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked 3GB (US$720) Corsair RM450 (Silent) Power Supply (US$100) for 8-pin cable only (Jumped the 12V rail with small piece of metal. Google it) Standard Bootcamp 5.1 (UEFI) Installation Windows 8.1 w/latest Nvidia drivers MSI Afterburner with custom fan curve, gpu temp/fan speed match (e.g. 68 degrees/68% fan speed) — Performance and Benchmark Results — Maximum Overclock Scores: FireStrike Graphics: 11227 link *Surpasses Titan and 780 Ti graphics score (without overclock) by 1000+ points comparison [Note: This is only one sample] 3DMark11 Score: 12781 link 3DMark11 Graphics: 13996 link 3DMark-Vantage Graphics: 46629 link 3DMark06 Score: 29254 link Unigine Valley Extreme HD: 70FPS / 2924 Unigine Heaven 4.0 Extreme: 67FPS / 1683 BioShock Infinite Benchmark (UltraDX11): 126FPS Overall eGPU vs Desktop performance Fire Strike comparison (Desktop 780 Ti vs eGPU 780 Ti SC) Reference: link Graphics Score Desktop: 11096 eGPU: 10410 Ratio: 93% (take into account reference doesn't mention overclock) Unigine Valley comparison (Desktop vs eGPU) Reference: link Desktop FPS/Score: 73.1/3057 eGPU FPS/Score: 60.2/2520 Ratio: 82% (take into account desktop CPU which offsets results somewhat) Bioshock Infinite Reference: link Ratio: 80-93% (calculated at multiple frame stops) Another Unigine Valley Comparison Reference: link Ratio: 91% (no overclock mentioned) Overall eGPU Perfomance vs Desktop Performance: 80-95% (Games and Benchmarks consistently show this) Internal Display FPS Loss (window drag method) Overall internal display FPS loss: 5-20% Unigine Heaven: 16% 53FPS vs 63FPS Borderlands 2: 5-10% CUDA-Z Bandwidth Host to Device: 1258 MiB/s Device to Host: 1366 MiB/s Device to Device: 136 GiB/s Reference Host to Device TB1 10Gbps: 781MiB/s link TB1 8Gbps (x2 2.0): 697MiB/s link Unigine Heaven (Basic 720p) 107 FPS Score: 2716 Unigine Heaven (Extreme 1080p 4XAA) 62.7 FPS Score: 1580 Unigine Heaven (Extreme 1080p 8XAA) 54.2 FPS Score: 1364 Unigine Valley (Basic 720p) 80FPS Score: 3343 Unigine Valley (Extreme 1080p 2XAA) 78.6 FPS Score: 3290 Unigine Valley (Extreme HD 8XAA) 60.2 FPS Score: 2520 3DMark11 Score: 11269 link Graphics: 12576 Physics: 8395 3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Score: 8807 Graphics: 10410 Physics 8102 Cloud Gate Score: 18795 Graphics Score: 57882 Physics Score: 5588 Call of Duty: Ghosts Max settings 1080p 2x AA: 60FPS+ Tomb Raider Ultimate (Tess. hair off) 1080p: 60-100FPS Crysis 1 Very High (Maxed) 2xAA 1080p: 60-90FPS (Fly-through Benchmark) Crysis 3 Very High (Maxed) SMAA 1080p: 40-60FPS Nvidia Demo - A New Dawn: 31FPS BioShock Infinite Official Benchmark - 1080p UltraDX11: All scenes average: 108FPS What about SLI? SLI Success! 2x 780Ti + 2x Sonnet SEL on MacBook Pro @32Gbps TB2 (2x 16Gbps) External discussion about this post: AnandTech: Running An Nvidia GTX 780Ti over Thunderbolt 2 TechReport: Thunderbolt box mates MacBook Pro with GeForce GTX 780 Ti MacRumors: 2013 15" Macbook Pro + GTX780Ti@16Gbps Thunderbolt2 eGPU implementation YouTube: MacBook Pro running an NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti over Thunderbolt 2 PC Perspective: NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti on Thunderbolt 2 by DIYers Linustechtips: Running an NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti Over Thunderbolt 2
  2. NOTE: The US$180 BPlus TH05 (inc Thunderbolt cable) native Thunderbolt adapter used in this implementation was recalled in Jan 2013 due to (presumably) threats by Intel/Apple per TH05 recall notice. As a result refer to this solution that can be implemented today: [URL]http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4570-%5Bguide%5D-2012-13-rmbp-gtx660-sonnet-echo-express-se-%40-10gbps.html#post63754[/URL] (recommended for 15" rMBP/MBP due to iGPU issues) or 2013 11" Macbook Air + Win7 + Sonnet Echo ExpressCard + PE4L + Internal LCD [US$250]. While reading some threads about EFI-Boot on Mac I finally made my eGPU work. I fixed my "error 12" by enabling VGA Output on the PCI bridge connected to my Thunderbolt ports using the EFI-Shell. For this task I installed rEFIt and used "pci -i -b" / "pci xx xx xx -i -b" to find VGA devices and their bridges. I noted all Bus/Dev/Func as well as the required registars. After that I had to set those registars using "mm". On a Mac Book Pro 15" 2012 you'll have to do the following: 1. Install rEFIt 2. In Mac OS mount the EFI partition using terminal: mkdir /Volumes/EFI sudo mount -t msdos /dev/disk0s1 /Volumes/EFI 3. Create a textfile called "startup.nsh" in it's root: echo -off echo "Setting Registars" # IGPU Intel HD 4000 # I noticed some improvements in boottimings while deactivating the Intel HD # (don't use this if your running a 13" single gpu model) mm 00020004 1 ;PCI :0 # eGPU PCI Bridge # this line does the magic by enabling VGA Output mm 0001013E 1 ;PCI :8 echo "Booting Windows" fs0:EFIBootootx64.efi 4. Reboot while eGPU is connected (SW1=1) and select "start EFI-Shell" in rEFIt. "startup.nsh" launches and Windows 8 starts up with eGPU enabled. Update: Replaced rEFIt with rEFInd which is is a fork of rEFIt. I'm now able to create an menuentry which boots Windows using my startup script. I'm also able to hide the non functional Windows entries. Here's my current refind.conf: timeout 20 hideui banner showtools shell, reboot, shutdown dont_scan_dirs EFI/Boot, EFI/Microsoft menuentry "Windows 8 with eGPU" { icon EFI efindiconsos_win.icns loader EFI oolsshell.efi options "fs0:StartupseGPU.nsh" } Update (experimental): Thanks to Linux's "apple-gmux" developer Andreas Heider I was able to switch graphics before booting Windows and enable Intel HD as primary VGA device. Though Intel HD is still bugged this probably allow us to enable Optimus functionality in the future. You can also boot with Intel HD enable by installing gfxCardStatus 2.1.1(!) and setting it to integrated only, too. For now you'll receive a black screen and reboot due to some "igdkmd64.sys" error. Add this to your startup.nsh before "mm 0001013E 1 ;PCI :8": echo Switch select mm 7C2 1 ;IO :1 stall 100000 mm 7D4 1 ;IO :28 echo Switch display mm 7C2 1 ;IO :2 stall 100000 mm 7D4 1 ;IO :10 echo Switch DDC mm 7C2 1 ;IO :2 stall 100000 mm 7D4 1 ;IO :40 echo Power down discrete graphics mm 7C2 1 ;IO :1 stall 100000 mm 7D4 1 ;IO :50 mm 7C2 1 ;IO :0 stall 100000 mm 7D4 1 ;IO :50 echo enable eGPU mm 0001013E 1 ;PCI :8 echo Boot Windows fs0:EFIBootootx64.efi Some numbers: Model: rMBP 15" OS: Windows 8 EFI-Boot CPU: Intel-i7 3820QM @ 2.7gHz RAM: 16GB iGPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000 (broken for Win8) dGPU: Nvidia GT 650m Adapter: TH05 I tried some overclocking and ended up with some strange results for 3D Mark 06. No matter what you change you'll have lower points than default settings. dGPU GT650m eGPU GTX 560Ti eGPU GTX660Ti eGPU GTX660Ti OC 3DMark 2011: 2431p 4415p 7110 p 7463 p 3DMark Vantage: 10633p 16755 p 23810p 24702p 3DMark 2006: 15289p 17479p 17979 p like 15900? This might work for BIOS boot aswell but I don't know how to launch an MBR partition. (Update: BIOS method by nando) I'll try to tweak this a bit and hope for an Intel fix. Is there anyone with some more knowledge in EFI Shell?
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