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DIY eGPU Macbook experiences

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Have you installed the Bootcamp software for Windows 10? There included is the Thunderbolt driver(afaik) so that might be the reason that you're not seeing anything regarding the Thunder2 or the GTX 970.

For OS X, have you actually run goalque's script or why did you post there without any further information on what you've done and what not? I saw your post over there.

I have installed the Bootcamp software (trackpad etc are all working).

For OS X, I ran goalque's script but it said "Thunderbolt device is connected, but no external GPUs detected.". My post on there links back to this one, describing what I've done.

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I have just tried the script on a 2012 Mac Mini. I got the same result.

Also tried just using the AKiTio PSU and a low power HD6450. That doesn't work either. Is my AKiTio Thunder 2 faulty :(

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"Thunderbolt device is connected, but no external GPUs detected."

I'm not sure yet if there is something wrong with my setup :( see, http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/7910-diy-egpu-macbook-experiences-138.html#post144641

:(

The script tries twice to detect the eGPU. There is 4 second delay. Plug in TB cable, wait about 10 seconds and run the script. If still the same, you have a hardware issue. Your graphics card is not properly powered.

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I've now tried two different host systems, two PSUs and just now tried a really low power HD6450 and powered the whole thing of the AKiTio PSU. :(

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I've now tried two different host systems, two PSUs and just now tried a really low power HD6450 and powered the whole thing of the AKiTio PSU. :(

The problem might be AKiTiO itself. I would try with a ATX PSU + paper clip trick + molex-to-barrel adapter. Confirm that you see constant green and blue light when the TB cable is connected. If a blinking light, your TB controller is broken.

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I did try with an ATX PSU with the GTX970.

I now have an Asus HD6450 in the enclosure, powering it all off the AKiTio supplied PSU as this card has no PCIe power connectors on it.

It is connected to my MBPr 2012, and the green and blue LEDs are lit constantly.

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I have just tried the script on a 2012 Mac Mini. I got the same result.

Also tried just using the AKiTio PSU and a low power HD6450. That doesn't work either. Is my AKiTio Thunder 2 faulty :(

Can you post a picture how you connected everything with the DA-2 and the GTX 970?

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@Kurbeco: The constant green and blue light is the only good news. Try other TB cables and ports. If no sign of the GPU under system report/graphics/displays, this is definitely a hardware issue. Going off-topic, let’s continue on that other thread. I hope you get it fixed!

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This is the thunderbolt cable I'm using

Album

It IDs as

Cable Firmware Version: 1.0.16

Cable Serial Number: C4M438401K9BX28B6

Link Controller Firmware Version: 0.14.0

Do you think it's worth buying an Apple one?

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@goalque Thank you so much for the script. It saved me. :10_002:

I have a question about the "Hot Swap". Is it technically possible to remove the mDP cable without shut down the system? I know it not possible now, but in the future can we get that? I'm using Macbook pro and don't want to shut down whenever I need to go out with the laptop and boot again for the eGPU.

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@flyfree:

I guess you mean the Thunderbolt cable and “hot plugging”? 2014 Mac mini and 2015 Macs do support hot plugging and removing the TB cable on Windows. Connect the TB cable and the eGPU pops up in device manager and gives the screen output - if not, switch the cable to another TB port. Technically it should be possible to do the same on OS X. The only exception are storage devices. Regarding any other PCIe devices, Thunderbolt technology allows unplugging at any time, but drivers have to be aware of it. However this is a step more complicated programming task - maybe possible with a kernel extension. We could just wait for the TB3 :)

Script’s [-a] mode changes Intel’s Thunderbolt controller (156C) properties and is beneficial also when booting into Windows, no more black screens with 2015 Macs. But you have to circulate through OS X and turn on [-a] mode each time. Booting into OS X only preserves the value.

Yes, I was talking about the "hot plugging and unplugging" of Thunderbolt cable. Based on your reply, it's hard to expect those kind of functionalities on OS X any time soon. That's too bad. :too_sad:

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FYI: For 2012 MBP 15" (TB1) is not support Hot Plugging and Hot Unplugging. It'll be Kernel Panic when unplug and do nothing when plug it.

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Based on your reply, it's hard to expect those kind of functionalities on OS X any time soon.

I didn’t say it’s impossible ;) Apple is giving us little hints, they recently updated their FAQ: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204154

"Thunderbolt hot plug is supported under Windows 8 or 8.1 on all 2014 and later Mac computers.

For all other Mac computers, Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 scans and activates Thunderbolt devices connected to Thunderbolt ports only during the Windows startup process. If your device was not plugged in at start up, Windows will not detect it without a restart.”

Maybe I should update the BootCamp drivers since nothing happens when you plug or unplug with a Mid 2014 rMBP on Win8.1. The Late 2014 Mac mini was mentioned earlier, and I noticed this new booting process. Special drivers are needed when you unplug the eGPU - this applies both to OS X and to Windows.

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With the GTX970, the fans spin up and with the HD6450 in there, the heatsink gets warm. So it seems like it is all getting power. Just can't detect it :(

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@goalque

My MBP restarts whenever It wakes up from sleep mode. Is there any solution for this issue?

My configuration is

2014 15" MBP with 750M El Capitan GM

GTX 980

Akitio TB to PCIe box

Corsair 650RM

Dell P2415Q

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@goalque

My MBP restarts whenever It wakes up from sleep mode. Is there any solution for this issue?

My configuration is

2014 15" MBP with 750M El Capitan GM

GTX 980

Akitio TB to PCIe box

Corsair 650rM

I’ve no problems with iGPU only Macs. When awaken from sleep, the gmux device decides whether to use iGPU or dGPU for the internal retina screen. This is my best guess: since your MBP’s 750M dedicated graphics is beta supported by the driver, which simultaneously has to maintain eGPU connection, kernel panic can happen.

There is a tool “gfxCardStatus” which calls AppleMuxControl’s methods from the user space. You can try forcing iGPU only mode and see if that helps, either “automatic graphics switching” turned on/off in Energy Saver settings. Would be possible to add similar functionality in script’s daemon background process.

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I’ve no problems with iGPU only Macs. When awaken from sleep, the gmux device decides whether to use iGPU or dGPU for the internal retina screen. This is my best guess: since your MBP’s 750M dedicated graphics is beta supported by the driver, which simultaneously has to maintain eGPU connection, kernel panic can happen.

There is a tool “gfxCardStatus” which calls AppleMuxControl’s methods from the user space. You can try forcing iGPU only mode and see if that helps, either “automatic graphics switching” turned on/off in Energy Saver settings. Would be possible to add similar functionality in script’s daemon background process.

Thanks again, goalque. I'll try both methods and post the results later.

And I forgot to mention that I'm using Dell P2415Q. (Just for the record.)

Update: Selecting iGPU works, but turning off "Automatic Graphics Switching" option is not. So I need to close Paralles before going to bed since Paralles prevents from switching to "Integrated Only" on gfxCardStauts.

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Hi,

I have a Macbook Pro mid 2010 17" (Macbook Pro 6.1); Intel Core i7 (2,8 GHz, 256KB L2 cache, 4MB L3 cache); 8 GB RAM 1066MHz, SSD; NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 512 MB.

It has an ExpressCard Slot equipped. I really enjoyed gaming on it, but it became to weak on graphics lately. I was wondering if I could equip it with a decent eGPU to go with it for a few more years, since there are no 17" MBPs made anymore and I really enjoy having a portable 17" Mac.

Which would be the best way to make this work? I found this item on ebay: PE4C EC060A - V 3.0 (PCIe x16 Adaptor) - PE4C EC060A V3 0 PCIe x16 Adapter | eBay

If I used it together with a seperate ATX power supply unit, would I be able to install a strong dedicated Graphics card on my macbook?

Best,

Alek

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Hi,

I have a Macbook Pro mid 2010 17" (Macbook Pro 6.1); Intel Core i7 (2,8 GHz, 256KB L2 cache, 4MB L3 cache); 8 GB RAM 1066MHz, SSD; NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 512 MB.

It has an ExpressCard Slot equipped. I really enjoyed gaming on it, but it became to weak on graphics lately. I was wondering if I could equip it with a decent eGPU to go with it for a few more years, since there are no 17" MBPs made anymore and I really enjoy having a portable 17" Mac.

Which would be the best way to make this work? I found this item on ebay: PE4C EC060A - V 3.0 (PCIe x16 Adaptor) - PE4C EC060A V3 0 PCIe x16 Adapter | eBay

If I used it together with a seperate ATX power supply unit, would I be able to install a strong dedicated Graphics card on my macbook?

Best,

Alek

We have some older expresscard Macbook eGPU implementations at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/2109-diy-egpu-experiences-%5Bversion-2-0%5D.html#macbook but none with a 1st gen i-core CPU that your system has.

Though I cannot see it being a problem. If you encounter error 12 in Windows you'd work through it like other pioneers have previously by either loading Win8.1/10 or reverting to Win7 + Setup 1.30 software. Issue with your system would be the performance. It's expresscard slot is only Gen1 capable (pcie 1.1x) and your GT330M dGPU prevents NVidia features from activating (x1 pci-e compression, accelerated internal LCD mode).

Therefore, you may want to consider upgrading to a 2nd gen i-core 2011 17" Macbook, the last 17" Macbook made. There you'd get 10Gbps Thunderbolt1 bandwidth. We have three documented eGPU implementations for that machine at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt . Just note that even with that machine you'd miss out on Optimus' accelerated internal LCD mode since it has no iGPU active in Windows. It would however get a lot better eGPU performance.

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We have some older expresscard Macbook eGPU implementations at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/2109-diy-egpu-experiences-%5Bversion-2-0%5D.html#macbook but none with a 1st gen i-core CPU that your system has.

Though I cannot see it being a problem. If you encounter error 12 in Windows you'd work through it like other pioneers have previously by either loading Win8.1/10 or reverting to Win7 + Setup 1.30 software. Issue with your system would be the performance. It's expresscard slot is only Gen1 capable (pcie 1.1x) and your GT330M dGPU prevents NVidia features from activating (x1 pci-e compression, accelerated internal LCD mode).

Therefore, you may want to consider upgrading to a 2nd gen i-core 2011 17" Macbook, the last 17" Macbook made. There you'd get 10Gbps Thunderbolt1 bandwidth. We have three documented eGPU implementations for that machine at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt . Just note that even with that machine you'd miss out on Optimus' accelerated internal LCD mode since it has no iGPU active in Windows. It would however get a lot better eGPU performance.

Thank's a lot for sharing your expertise!

Considering the price these 2011 MBPs still cost, I would rather upgrade to a new model eventually, even though they don't offer 17 inch screens anymore. But with that I would prefer to wait another year or two.

How bad would the performance be if I upgraded my current machine anyways. Say I used a good pcie 1.1x card and couldn't get the pci-e compression enabled. Would it still significantly increase my gaming experice in for instance Dota 2? Or would the effect be insignificant in comparision to my dGPU?

And would I be able to use a 4k external display at full resolution with such a card?

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Thanks again, goalque. I'll try both methods and post the results later.

And I forgot to mention that I'm using Dell P2415Q. (Just for the record.)

Update: Selecting iGPU works, but turning off "Automatic Graphics Switching" option is not. So I need to close Paralles before going to bed since Paralles prevents from switching to "Integrated Only" on gfxCardStauts.

“Selecting iGPU works” meaning that my guess was correct when “automatic graphics switching” is turned on + “integrated only” selected? So you can wake up the Mac without issues? Maybe a wrong combination causes unsuccessful booting too. In that case, forcing iGPU and checkbox checked before the user logs in would be an automated solution, or an event handler when the Mac is about to go sleep/restart.

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Hello,

First i want to thanks all the community for all the devotion and goalque for his wonderful script.

I have an issue with my setup :

- macbook pro 15’ mi-2014 with GT 750M

- Akitio

- PCIe Riser with molex

- XFX ProSeries (Black Edition) 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold Power Supply

- Palit Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super Jetstream Graphics Card

I have tried countless hours to make it works without success.

I was running the script on a clean install of OS X 10.10 Yosemite after having reset the NVRAM doing (Command (⌘), Option, P + R at startup). It was recognizing my card after the reboot as an « Nvidia Chip Card ». I have tried to hot plug my external monitor in DVI directly into the GPU, my computer could recognize it as an external screen but it was very unstable and every time i have tried to launch the benchmark Unigine Valley in this screen they were a kernel panic.

The « automatic graphics switching » was turned on, « integrated only » selected on gfxcardstatus and FileVault disable.

I have made an other clean install of OS X 10.10.4, did the same with NVRAM etc. The script installed the NVIDIA Web Driver 346.02.02f03. My computer was able this time to recognize my card as a GTX 980 TI

post-36254-14495000745347_thumb.png

I have hot plugged the DVI, it was very unstable too. I tried to launch Unigine in my internal screen and the result of the benchmark was very bad.

post-36254-14495000745658_thumb.png

I have tried all the combination possible, with or without -a mode etc with no success. The only stable thing was that my computer recognize my eGPU if i plugged the thunderbolt cable just after the chime at startup and if they were not a kernel panic before.

So i tried with a different monitor in hdmi. It was much more stable, and the computer recognized the external screen as a monitor associated with my eGPU

post-36254-14495000745969_thumb.png

post-36254-14495000746235_thumb.png

But unfortunately same error with the kernel panic each time i try to launch the benchmark on the external monitor.

I did exactly the same also on a second partition with El Capitan GM and the SIP (Cmd + R, « csrutil disable ») disabled in the terminal, same errors...

I have made two file for the eGPU with DVI plugged or hdmi with the method you described here :

1) Unplug all USB devices

2) Boot into OS X 10.10.3 with the eGPU + monitor plugged

3) Open OS X Terminal, and copy-paste the following command

Code: ioreg -l | perl -pe 's/("serial-number"|"IOPlatformSerialNumber"|"fmm-computer-name"|"IOConsoleUsers") = [\("<](.+)[\)">]$/\1 = ""/g' > ~/Desktop/output.txt

I can send it to you goalque if you will or anyone if it can help.

I will try to do it again tonight with 10.10.5 and a newer web driver, maybe my specific model was not recognized yet in the driver as it is very recent or a kext file is not edited properly but if it is the case i would definitely need some directions…

Thank you for your time :) !

Cheers

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Maybe the riser is "bad" and is corrupting the signal quality. Can you test with powering the AKiTiO by a barrel plug?

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Hello,

First i want to thanks all the community for all the devotion and goalque for his wonderful script.

I have an issue with my setup :

- macbook pro 15’ mi-2014 with GT 750M

- Akitio

- PCIe Riser with molex

- XFX ProSeries (Black Edition) 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold Power Supply

- Palit Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super Jetstream Graphics Card

I have tried countless hours to make it works without success.

.........

Maybe the riser is "bad" and is corrupting the signal quality. Can you test with powering the AKiTiO by a barrel plug?

As Dschijin said the riser might cause the problem. In my case, I disassembled Akitio box and directly plugged the card itself to GPU without a riser. And another thing is I'm using DP cable.

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