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DIY eGPU Macbook experiences

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So i have read the 2015 macbook pro 13 won't work with an egpu set up ? is this correct as i see the 2015 15 inch model works ? i bought a new macbook 2015 for this reason.

I think it is worth giving a try since we saw that the M370X 15" MBPr is working :D

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So i have read the 2015 macbook pro 13 won't work with an egpu set up ? is this correct as i see the 2015 15 inch model works ? i bought a new macbook 2015 for this reason.

I am semi-sucessfully using the 2015 rMBP 13 with the Akitio hub and ASUS Mini GTX 970 on Windows 8.1. I say semi-successful because I have issues consistently booting with the eGPU. The issues are black screen at power up and Windows 8.1 hangs during boot up. When it does boot up successfully the eGPU setup works really well.

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I am semi-sucessfully using the 2015 rMBP 13 with the Akitio hub and ASUS Mini GTX 970 on Windows 8.1. I say semi-successful because I have issues consistently booting with the eGPU. The issues are black screen at power up and Windows 8.1 hangs during boot up. When it does boot up successfully the eGPU setup works really well.

I wonder why people have issues with the 2015 13" MBPs.

I have seen that the basic display adapter pops up with the 2015 15" rMBP (Iris Pro), install drivers, restart, and then it's plug-and-play. Just install Boot Camp with pre-downloaded support software.

Also 2014 Mac mini supports "hot pluggable" feature.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204154

I boot into Win8.1 without eGPU plugged, attach the TB cable and in a second "GTX 980" shows up under the display adapters in device manager. You hear the familiar sound, the same when connecting or disconnecting a USB device. Connect the external monitor and you have full eGPU acceleration. Unigine Valley gives score 2224, FPS: 53.2, Max FPS: 108.3.

Reboot, wait ~30 seconds (internal HDD is slow) and you have the login screen. I can repeat this many times, and it's nice to see when the reference GTX 980 blinks the green color. No hassling with the TB cable. Maybe it's the GPU model that makes the difference.

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I wonder why people have issues with the 2015 13" MBPs.

I have seen that the basic display adapter pops up with the 2015 15" rMBP (Iris Pro), install drivers, restart, and then it's plug-and-play. Just install Boot Camp with pre-downloaded support software.

Also 2014 Mac mini supports "hot pluggable" feature.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204154

I boot into Win8.1 without eGPU plugged, attach the TB cable and in a second "GTX 980" shows up under the display adapters in device manager. You hear the familiar sound, the same when connecting or disconnecting a USB device. Connect the external monitor and you have full eGPU acceleration. Unigine Valley gives score 2224, FPS: 53.2, Max FPS: 108.3.

Reboot, wait ~30 seconds (internal HDD is slow) and you have the login screen. I can repeat this many times, and it's nice to see when the reference GTX 980 blinks the green color. No hassling with the TB cable. Maybe it's the GPU model that makes the difference.

Do you happen to be using an EVGA GPU? I read somewhere that their models are powered differently and are better for eGPU setup, but the author didn't go into much detail.

I have mixed results when plugging in the eGPU while Windows is on. Sometimes I'll get a BSOD. Sometimes GTX 970 will pop up, but when I look in Device Manager > GTX 970 Properties > Resources, I see it complaining about no resources being allocated.

My way of getting a successful boot with eGPU with optimus for internal lcd is:

1) Have everything connected (no external monitor though)

2) Power on eGPU and akitio

3) Power on MacBook --- If blank screen here, disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

4) Go through optimus enabled Windows 8.1 boot --- if bootup hangs, disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

5) If Windows is successful to here, go to Device Manager, usually I see Error 12 on GTX 970

6) Wait ~30 seconds, Windows will tell me to reboot after it detected a hardware change

7) Reboot and hope for no blank screen at power up and windows hang at boot up --- if failure disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

8) If Windows is successful then everything is good here now

Steps 3, 4, and 7 are the reason for my low success rate in booting up.

My total hardware setup is:

ASUS Mini GTX 970

Akitio Thunder 2 PCIe

2015 13" rMBP

Dell DA-2

and these two cables:

Two PCI E 6 Pin to One PCI E 8 Pin 90 Degree Bend Right Low Profile USA Made | eBay

Akitio Egpu 8 Pin to 2 x PCI E 6 Pin Super Low Profile No Latch 1 x Barrel | eBay

My software is:

Windows 8.1 with optimus boot files, boot camp drivers, and all windows updates

Latest NVIDIA drivers

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@tranj10: What happens if you boot while holding ALT so the boot menu appears, wait a few seconds and you power your eGPU then? After this boot Windows through the boot menu.

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@tranj10: What happens if you boot while holding ALT so the boot menu appears, wait a few seconds and you power your eGPU then? After this boot Windows through the boot menu.

I have tried this a few times, but it seemed to never be successful for me. I have done it with two methods: 1) Have eGPU on and then plug in thunderbolt to macbook 2) Have thunderbolt plugged in and then turn eGPU on. The result is that the screen is still on but it appears the keyboard and trackpad get disabled. I also had a USB mouse plugged in one of my attempts and I could move the mouse around the screen, but it wouldn't let me click to get into the windows EFI boot.

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Hi Abhi,

did you already find a way to monitor your zotac gtx 970 under OSX?

I´ve got the same problem at the moment :(

Best,

Michael

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Do you happen to be using an EVGA GPU? I read somewhere that their models are powered differently and are better for eGPU setup, but the author didn't go into much detail.

I have mixed results when plugging in the eGPU while Windows is on. Sometimes I'll get a BSOD. Sometimes GTX 970 will pop up, but when I look in Device Manager > GTX 970 Properties > Resources, I see it complaining about no resources being allocated.

My way of getting a successful boot with eGPU with optimus for internal lcd is:

1) Have everything connected (no external monitor though)

2) Power on eGPU and akitio

3) Power on MacBook --- If blank screen here, disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

4) Go through optimus enabled Windows 8.1 boot --- if bootup hangs, disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

5) If Windows is successful to here, go to Device Manager, usually I see Error 12 on GTX 970

6) Wait ~30 seconds, Windows will tell me to reboot after it detected a hardware change

7) Reboot and hope for no blank screen at power up and windows hang at boot up --- if failure disconnect and power off, wait 1 minute, and go back to step 1

8) If Windows is successful then everything is good here now

Steps 3, 4, and 7 are the reason for my low success rate in booting up.

My total hardware setup is:

ASUS Mini GTX 970

Akitio Thunder 2 PCIe

2015 13" rMBP

Dell DA-2

and these two cables:

Two PCI E 6 Pin to One PCI E 8 Pin 90 Degree Bend Right Low Profile USA Made | eBay

Akitio Egpu 8 Pin to 2 x PCI E 6 Pin Super Low Profile No Latch 1 x Barrel | eBay

My software is:

Windows 8.1 with optimus boot files, boot camp drivers, and all windows updates

Latest NVIDIA drivers

Thanks for the detailed information, nice to see some semi-success stories too :)

If you have a chance to test with an external monitor, try internal screen as default on the left, "Make this my main display" checked, and external screen on the right with setting "extend these displays". A very good sign (if you don't have a blinking reference card) is also the green light of the caps lock key. If at some point the key reacts, it's very likely that you can have screen output from the external monitor.

My observations were with the reference Gigabyte GTX 980 + 2014 Mac mini + AKiTiO without a riser. The same card was tested with a 2015 15" rMBP (Iris Pro) + external monitor, but currently I have no chance to test again. And yes, EVGA was recommended vendor in the very beginning when Maxwell cards didn't exist. Some cards may be more Optimus friendly than others.

I didn't see system crash after a couple of tests of plugging in/off TB cable with the 2014 Mac mini when the basic display adapter was shown under device manager. But you cannot disconnect the TB cable when Nvidia drivers are in use, that will result in BSOD.

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Update: After a week with my current build, if you're planning on gaming very demanding games like Witcher, the Dell DA-2 doesn't supply enough power to the 970. Which leads to demanding games crashing midway. Unless you're good with capacitors and stuff like that, get a 500W power supply and build a barrel mod. That's what I plan on doing currently.

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Update: After a week with my current build, if you're planning on gaming very demanding games like Witcher, the Dell DA-2 doesn't supply enough power to the 970. Which leads to demanding games crashing midway. Unless you're good with capacitors and stuff like that, get a 500W power supply and build a barrel mod. That's what I plan on doing currently.

Whatever you're doing, you're doing it wrong. I played GTA V and plenty of time in Witcher 3 without ever having a single crash regarding the DA-2. Other recent games like Project Cars for example run perfectly fine.

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@TheGrreatGatsby

If you believe your card is drawing too much power, you can always try to downclock it to the standard nvidia settings using Rivatuner, MSI Afterburner, of similar software and see if that helps.

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I played GTA V for hours straight without problems. Maybe your card really needs more power. You can lower the power target to avoid power drawing peaks to sth like 80-90%.

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Ok for me - I've found a solution for the macbook 2015 models -> I've returned my 2015 and bought a 2014 model.

Now my egpu (zotac gtx 970 + akitio) works.

Now there's only one problem left:

Without optimus mod: Sometimes optimus is missing, but i can restart without touching the egpu (I just let it activated)

With the optimus mod: I have to repower the egpu every restart.

-> Is that the normal behaviour?

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I played GTA V for hours straight without problems. Maybe your card really needs more power. You can lower the power target to avoid power drawing peaks to sth like 80-90%.

I think it might be because of a faulty EFI partition. I'm currently wiping my mac hard drive and reinstalling everything.

Edit: Also I'm curious, do you guys leave your Akitio powered/plugged into the Dell when you're not using it?

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@TheGrreatGatsby : I turn the power strip connected to the Dell DA-2 off, but I leave everything else connected.

Just a small update on my 2015 13" MBP. I used goalque's .sh script to enable eGPU recognition in OSX and installed NVIDIA CUDA drivers. OSX seems to have a much better successful bootup rate then Windows 8. I have not run into any bootup hangs and the eGPU is recognized each time I have used OSX and eGPU. I still have issues with the blank black screen at power up though.

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Alright so whenever I try to play a game I get this error "The Direct 3D11 Device has been removed" or something like that. I'm thinking everytime I load a game my eGPU crashes or something, I have no idea why.

Edit: I got it! I guess my 8 pin to 6 pin pci-e adapter wasn't plugged in properly. I just plugged it out, plugged it back in, now games work flawlessly. By the way is it normal for the 8 pin adapter to not just slide into the Dell DA -2 plug?

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Alright so whenever I try to play a game I get this error "The Direct 3D11 Device has been removed" or something like that. I'm thinking everytime I load a game my eGPU crashes or something, I have no idea why.

Edit: I got it! I guess my 8 pin to 6 pin pci-e adapter wasn't plugged in properly. I just plugged it out, plugged it back in, now games work flawlessly. By the way is it normal for the 8 pin adapter to not just slide into the Dell DA -2 plug?

You need to apply some force, yes. It can be pushed all in though, I've got it like this.

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By the way is it normal for the 8 pin adapter to not just slide into the Dell DA -2 plug?

Yes! The layout of the pins is different. The DA-2 is using a unique a different layout as the used 8-Pin PCIe plug. 2 sections of the 24-Pin ATX power plug are matching that layout. With some force you shouldn't have any problems conencting the plugs.

This pictures illustrates how different they are:

QDb0XHW.png

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Just a small update on my 2015 13" MBP. I used goalque's .sh script to enable eGPU recognition in OSX and installed NVIDIA CUDA drivers. OSX seems to have a much better successful bootup rate then Windows 8. I have not run into any bootup hangs and the eGPU is recognized each time I have used OSX and eGPU.

Not just a small update, you might be the first confirming it works in OS X on each boot.

To sum up,

Zotac GTX 970, without a powered riser:

The first time i installed bootcamp and tested the egpu, everything worked and seemed fine. I got 1450 points out of heaven unigine benchmark.

After some restarts and the use of the optimus setup the egpu stopped booting my windows. (black win 8 spinning screen)

MSI GTX 970 + a powered riser:

And at this time, I usually get NOTHING on either displays. I can only see fans rotated for a while then stopped, and blue light on the Akitio board turned on

Moreover, my Mac is totally non responding: I pressed caps lock but the light didn't change at all.

Asus mini GTX 970, without a powered riser:

1) Have eGPU on and then plug in thunderbolt to macbook 2) Have thunderbolt plugged in and then turn eGPU on. The result is that the screen is still on but it appears the keyboard and trackpad get disabled. I also had a USB mouse plugged in one of my attempts and I could move the mouse around the screen, but it wouldn't let me click to get into the windows EFI boot.

I still have issues with the blank black screen at power up though.

@tranj10: Have you tried to run my script with the [-a] mode if that resolves the freezing issue (Option key down)? Apple has changed something in EFI hardware initialization at booting stage.

The Win8.1 Optimus detection is a separate issue and the current workaround may bring new problems as reported here. Firstly, try with a normal Boot Camp install and correct support software from Apple.

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Hello Guys,

I got my akitio EVGA 750TI eGPU and it works very well on MacOS 10.10.4...

The problem is when i boot up in windows 7(installed via bootcamp). It keeps on giving me error Code 12. I've tried the dsdt(orwhatevah)-override. That didnt help me. I cant seem to find out how to use my eGPU on win7.

Can anyone help me ? :)

THANK YOU

[uPDATE]

I've followed this guide about the DSDT-override http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/3539-guide-dsdt-override-simultaneous-igpu-dgpu-egpu.html I only did the dsdt part, the "fun part" i didnt do because, basicly i didnt understand what "setup 1.xx" was and couldnt figure it out so i just tried reinstalling the nvidia drivers, but same problem, although i get the "Large Memory" wich i belive indicates that i did do the DSDT-override proberly ?

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Hello Guys,

I got my akitio EVGA 750TI eGPU and it works very well on MacOS 10.10.4...

The problem is when i boot up in windows 7(installed via bootcamp). It keeps on giving me error Code 12. I've tried the dsdt(orwhatevah)-override. That didnt help me. I cant seem to find out how to use my eGPU on win7.

Can anyone help me ? :)

THANK YOU

[uPDATE]

I've followed this guide about the DSDT-override http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/3539-guide-dsdt-override-simultaneous-igpu-dgpu-egpu.html I only did the dsdt part, the "fun part" i didnt do because, basicly i didnt understand what "setup 1.xx" was and couldnt figure it out so i just tried reinstalling the nvidia drivers, but same problem, although i get the "Large Memory" wich i belive indicates that i did do the DSDT-override proberly ?

Please follow the 'MBR' guide for your notebook at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt . Setup 1.x refers to preboot Setup 1.30 software detailed at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/2123-diy-egpu-setup-1-30-a.html

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@goalque: I'll try rerunning your script with the -a option. Do you recommend uninstalling any of the NVIDIA drivers before I rerun the script with the new command?

I'll try to run Windows 8.1 without the optimus enabled boot.

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@goalque: I'll try rerunning your script with the -a option. Do you recommend uninstalling any of the NVIDIA drivers before I rerun the script with the new command?

I'll try to run Windows 8.1 without the optimus enabled boot.

“Optimus enabled boot” means Evo*’s method? If you have done that, it may interfere with the [-a] mode. Factory settings -> sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -> sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -a -> shut down -> restart eGPU connected is what I suggested if you have freezing startup manager when Option key is kept down and eGPU connected. No need to uninstall Nvidia drivers.

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“Optimus enabled boot” means Evo*’s method? If you have done that, it may interfere with the [-a] mode. Factory settings -> sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -> sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -a -> shut down -> restart eGPU connected is what I suggested if you have freezing startup manager when Option key is kept down and eGPU connected. No need to uninstall Nvidia drivers.

Yes by "Optimus enabled boot" I mean Evo's method.

I will try the eGPU setup from factory setting sometime this week. I will go through these steps:

1) Restore MBP to Factory setting from cmd+r at boot up (I've never done this before, so I'm guessing this resets my EFI and Bootcamp partition also)

2) Set up OS X and do all OS X Yosemite updates

3) Run .sh script (should the eGPU be disconnected at this point?)

- Place .sh script on desktop

- chmod +x ~/Desktop/automate-eGPU.sh

- cd ~/Desktop

- sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh

- sudo ./automate-eGPU.sh -a

- shut down

4) Power up holding option key

5) Connect and power up eGPU at EFI boot menu

6) Do testing if eGPU works well with OS X and boots consistently

Testing with Windows 8.1

7) Install Windows 8.1 via Boot Camp assistant on a 35 GB partition on internal SSD

8) Setup Windows, install default boot camp drivers, perform Windows updates (ignoring any driver updates from Windows update), shut down

9) Power up holding option key

10) Connect and power up eGPU at EFI boot menu

11) Install latest NVIDIA drivers with all the options within install (Geforce experience, physx ...), shut down

12) Power up holding option key

13) Connect and power up eGPU at EFI boot menu

14) Do testing if eGPU works well within Windows and boots consistently

I wonder if installing Windows 8.1 will interfere with the settings that automate-eGPU.sh will put in place? Any suggestions on what I should add or take out from my procedure list?

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