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Here is my first attempt of doing building an e-GPU. What I wanted to do : Due to the fact that having a Razer Core is a pain in the *** and because it's a 7Kg not so portable solution, I decided to build myself my own e-GPU using an Akitio Thunder2 casing for the latest Intel NUC6i7KYK “Skull Canyon”. I also wanted not to change the power connector of the casing. Costs : Akitio Thunder2 : 211.45€ Thunderbolt3 to Thunderbolt2/1 adapter : 95.19€ Dell DA-2 Power Supply : 27€ ZOTAC GTX 1060 6GB : 320€ (174mm x 111.15mm) The Plan : The steps : 1\ Cut the DELL DA-2 cable properly to expose the 8 wires. 2\ Solder all GROUND together as well as all 12V together. 3\ Solder the 2 obtained wires to a 5.5x2.1mm barrel. 4\ Solder two thick wire from the barrel to the top back of the casing (15cm). 5\ Split the two wires into a 6 PIN MOLEX connector. 6\ Cut a 110mm hole inside the casing. 7\ Fix a fan/dust protection. How it works : Great ! Not so much test so far but pretty stable playing the latest DOOM. 2560x1080, HIGH settings with V-SYNC ON :60fps 2560x1080, HIGH settings with V-SYNC OFF : 90fps Next steps : Figure out if there is a difference in performance using the Akitio TB3 prototype. Photos (new model: Akitio Thunder3): Photos (old model: Akitio Thunder2):
This is probably the simplest eGPU setup I've dealt with so far. It is also rather silly, since the CPU is definitely the weakest link here. An Ivy Bridge i3 at 1.8Ghz isn't going to push high frame-rates in gaming, after all, and the performance improvement definitely doesn't justify the cost. An actual use for something like this would be to add HEVC decoding abilities to an existing NUC. Just use a cheaper enclosure (such as the 140$ Thundertek one) or opt for mPCIe instead of Thunderbolt to keep the price as low as possible. Obviously the GTX750Ti I used here doesn't decode HEVC in HW, but I suspect a newer low-range video card will work just the same and will do so. I guess I just had to try it. Anyway: Computer Components: Motherboard: Intel DC33217CK (CPU: i3 3217U @ 1.8Ghz) Case: Silverstone PT14 Aluminum NUC Case Memory: 2x4Gb DDR3 1600Mhz Storage: BP4e V2 120GB mSATA SSD Power Supply: FSP 65W NUC PSU OS: Windows 10 64-bit (with the Anniversary Update installed and completely up to date) eGPU Components: eGPU Enclosure: Akitio Thunder2 eGPU Power Supply: 180W Dell Adapter (this is the one that came with my PE4C ages ago) eGPU: Gigabyte Low-Profile OC GTX750Ti (60W TDP BIOS Mod) eGPU Thunderbolt Cable: 0.5m Apple TB Cable This is a truly "this just works" setup: Plug everything together with the NUC powered off, boot into windows, wait for the drivers to get installed, reboot if required, switch monitor output to the eGPU, done. Note: The card is reporting an x4 2.0 PCIe link - This is incorrect (the DC33217CK only has a Thunderbolt 1 controller) and CUDA-Z confirms the transfer rate to be about half of what my Thunderbolt2 ZBook gets. This means that GPU-Z is not a reliable indicator of the actual PCIe link established.