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DIY eGPU Macbook experiences

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Hi, I think you did something wrong.

Make 100% certain that the Nvidia Web Driver is the one loading. There should be an icon in the menubar at top right. It should say "Nvidia Web Driver" with checkmark by it.

970 and 980 will absolutely not work without the Webdriver loaded.

You should be able to use it for CUDA but I doubt you will get display output. But you won't get anything as long as no kext loaded. Be sure that NVDA_Startup has not been re-installed without kext mod.

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Hi,

I am really in a dilemma here. My only motive for the Egpu is to play pc games only on the MAC BOOK'S internal display with retina resolution and ultra settings.

I have read that gtx 970 is capable of playing games at 2560x1440p with decent FPS. so what should i buy for my egpu built. is GTX 970 would be enough powerful to let me play "Latest Games" like FarCry 4 at native "Retina Resolution" with "Ultra" (maxed out) settings. if you have any egpu setup with akitio and gtx 970, would you please show me the benchmarks of your system using "Optimus internal screen at 2560x1600 or retina resolution". i would really appreciate it if any of you can provide different benchmarks at 2560x1600 resolution.

"FYI: I have 2014 retina macbook pro 15.4" iris only with 2 GHz cpu (3.2 GHz Turbo) and akitio thunder 2 pcie box"

Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

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Hi everybody,

is it possible to implement a eGPU with my new MacMini 2014?

Is there anything foreseeable?

Thanks for your replies!

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Hi,

I am really in a dilemma here. My only motive for the Egpu is to play pc games only on the MAC BOOK'S internal display with retina resolution and ultra settings.

I have read that gtx 970 is capable of playing games at 2560x1440p with decent FPS. so what should i buy for my egpu built. is GTX 970 would be enough powerful to let me play "Latest Games" like FarCry 4 at native "Retina Resolution" with "Ultra" (maxed out) settings. if you have any egpu setup with akitio and gtx 970, would you please show me the benchmarks of your system using "Optimus internal screen at 2560x1600 or retina resolution". i would really appreciate it if any of you can provide different benchmarks at 2560x1600 resolution.

"FYI: I have 2014 retina macbook pro 15.4" iris only with 2 GHz cpu (3.2 GHz Turbo) and akitio thunder 2 pcie box"

Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

Why insist on the internal max. resolution? I am playing Far Cry 4 on Ultra but I needed to lower the resolution to 1366x768 on the external display to have 60 FPS most of the time. It was about 30-40 on FullHD. I have a GTX 780. Sure you'll have some more power with the 970 but I think you should forget about Ultra on Retina resolution on the internal display.

I think that the usual resolution of 1440x900 on the internal display would suffice, too, but sure, it's up to you. Maybe someone will provide the benchmarks but I wouldn't hope for a that good result.

Specs for macbook pro

2.7 GHz Intel Core i7

8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB

Specs for e-GPU

Akitio Thunder 2 PCIe box

16x to 16x Molex PCIe riser

250 W DC ATX PSU

GTX 750 Ti

How do I hook this up?

Connect everything, Akitio to Macbook, Power cables to graphics card, display to graphics card. Power up the PSU, Akitio board should have a green LED active. Turn on your Macbook then and the green light should turn to blue. Done, have fun with your gaming capable Macbook :)

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Hello @wasi88. First you need to consider that playing on the internal screen is reducing the possible perfromance to 70-80% of a desktop PC, because the transfered data to and from the eGPU needs to share the available bandwidth of TB2.

Your MBPr specs don't make sens to me, there is no 2014 15" with 2GHz (3.2GHz boost)...?! 2560x1600 is the resolution of the 13" MBPr not the 15" ... so what are you specs?

Far Cry 4 itself is very hungry for performance. Especially in high resolutions (GTX 980 in a desktop PC with 1440p and max details gives 45FPS). The 15" MBPr has a resolution of 2880-by-1800, which is 40% more pixel as regular 1440p!

So considering the higher resolution, the performance loss of TB2 and the mobile CPU ... I am not really confident about that.

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Connect everything, Akitio to Macbook, Power cables to graphics card, display to graphics card. Power up the PSU, Akitio board should have a green LED active. Turn on your Macbook then and the green light should turn to blue. Done, have fun with your gaming capable Macbook :)

Thanks. Any speciality cable for connecting the PSU to Akitio? What about drivers? Can I run everything natively on OSX or do I need to bootcamp?

How about switching the gtx 750 for the 760, can that be done? finally, i have a 24 inch apple display. would using this cable be compatible with my system so I can mount everything on a wall with a wood board.

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Thanks. Any speciality cable for connecting the PSU to Akitio? What about drivers? Can I run everything natively on OSX or do I need to bootcamp?

The powered riser will provide power for the AKiTiO PCB. So you need to connect the Molex power plug of the PSU to the riser.

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Hello @wasi88. First you need to consider that playing on the internal screen is reducing the possible perfromance to 70-80% of a desktop PC, because the transfered data to and from the eGPU needs to share the available bandwidth of TB2.

Your MBPr specs don't make sens to me, there is no 2014 15" with 2GHz (3.2GHz boost)...?! 2560x1600 is the resolution of the 13" MBPr not the 15" ... so what are you specs?

Far Cry 4 itself is very hungry for performance. Especially in high resolutions (GTX 980 in a desktop PC with 1440p and max details gives 45FPS). The 15" MBPr has a resolution of 2880-by-1800, which is 40% more pixel as regular 1440p!

So considering the higher resolution, the performance loss of TB2 and the mobile CPU ... I am not really confident about that.

Among others, you gave me the best response and Thank you for that. to clear the confusion My MBPr 15.4" is Late 2013 model with 2 Ghz core i7 processor which has 3.2 Ghz turbo boost.

I used Evga Gtx 980 SC ACX 2.0 for my build. I used MBPs Display for Benchmarks and are as follows.

Unigine heaven 4 Score: 1161 at 46 FPS with settings as follows

Mode: 2560x1600 Windowed

Preset: Custom

Quality: High

Tessellation: Normal

Also 3d Mark 11 score is: 8081

Can you use your setup for the same benchmarks at the same setting and show me the score. which will show me the performance difference.

Thanks again

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Valley I can do now (give me 5min). But 3dMark 11 Benchmarks do I have already from my first Guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/7879-%5Bguide%5D-2013-13-macbook-pro-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-osx10-10-a.html

Results are:

internal Display (Optimus): 8205 Link

external Display: 8250 Link

Edit:

Oh boy, that Heaven Benchmark gave me a headache. Didn't want to open 2650x1600 in windowed mode, but was possible after starting and quiting that resolution in fullscreen:

post-26280-14494999068648_thumb.jpg

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Valley I can do now (give me 5min). But 3dMark 11 Benchmarks do I have already from my first Guide: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/7879-%5Bguide%5D-2013-13-macbook-pro-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-osx10-10-a.html

Results are:

internal Display (Optimus): 8205 Link

external Display: 8250 Link

Edit:

Oh boy, that Heaven Benchmark gave me a headache. Didn't want to open 2650x1600 in windowed mode, but was possible after starting and quiting that resolution in fullscreen:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13564[/ATTACH]

Looks like its pretty close to my score of 46 FPS. looks like on Internal display, gtx 970 and 980 gives similar performance due to thunderbolt bandwidth limit.

So Dschijn what do you suggest to me, should i return my gtx 980 and replace with gtx 970 as it gives similar or close performance while only using Retina Display for playing PC games.

Let me know please and Thank you for your genuine help.

Following is my score with EVGA gtx 980 SC acx

post-29978-14494999068835_thumb.jpg

post-29978-14494999069349_thumb.jpg

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So Dschijn what do you suggest to me, should i return my gtx 980 and replace with gtx 970 as it gives similar or close performance while only using Retina Display for playing PC games.

A little "off topic" - Windows 8 can do screenshots with pressing cmd+F14

Considering the facts that you only want to play games on the internal screen, a GTX 970 would be the better choice. BUT is there really no chance to play on an external display (in the furture)?

I am using a GTX 970 because of budget reasons and not really pleased with the card because it has a loud coil whine/buzzing under load (like many other people). EVGA released one week ago a new version of the GTX 970 SSC and will release a new GTX 970 FTW+ with better components to reduce that problem. Until I can switch (by RMA) to a FTW+ and test I it, I will not recommend this cards. Also most eGPU setups are not inside a heavily damped case under the desk and you can easily hear false GTX 970s.

Still… if you want to play games in high resolutions on the Retina display you need every bit of raw processing power!

Bottomline: If you can afford it, stick with the GTX 980 or consider switching to the new 970 SSC (careful there is an old/not one still on the market as well) or the 970 FTW+.

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A little "off topic" - Windows 8 can do screenshots with pressing cmd+F14

Considering the facts that you only want to play games on the internal screen, a GTX 970 would be the better choice. BUT is there really no chance to play on an external display (in the furture)?

I am using a GTX 970 because of budget reasons and not really pleased with the card because it has a loud coil whine/buzzing under load (like many other people). EVGA released one week ago a new version of the GTX 970 SSC and will release a new GTX 970 FTW+ with better components to reduce that problem. Until I can switch (by RMA) to a FTW+ and test I it, I will not recommend this cards. Also most eGPU setups are not inside a heavily damped case under the desk and you can easily hear false GTX 970s.

Still… if you want to play games in high resolutions on the Retina display you need every bit of raw processing power!

Bottomline: If you can afford it, stick with the GTX 980 or consider switching to the new 970 SSC (careful there is an old/not one still on the market as well) or the 970 FTW+.

I have MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G in mind to replace with my evga gtx 980 sc. The MSI card has 6+8 pin power connector so it would be no problem to over clock and match the performance of the 980. what do you say. my aim is to play games only on internal display due to its high resolution. and i am not sure i would buy 4k monitor in the near future.

Thanks.

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The MSI was my first card. Very nice card, but I that card and a replacement card had coil whine.

I think you should keep the GTX 980, because you need every additional performance you can get.

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Finally got this EGPU working I think, need further testing but it seems stable enough with

MBPR mid 2012, 10.10.1, EVGA GTX770, Atikio box and latest Web drivers

Safari is very glitchy, hovers and videos especially are buggy. Graphics superimpose or flicker. As soon as I move safari to my laptop screen everything goes back to normal but If I drag it on my EGPU monitor bugs come back.

I saw that some people were having similar problems but anyone managed to get it fixed ? SAFARI is the best browser for me by far and it pains me to use firefox :/ I guess you win something but sometime you have to give up something else instead...

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Hello everyone,

Im using an Akitio Thunder2 with the Late 2013 15" Macbook Retina featuring an gt750m dGPU and an 2,3Ghz i7 with an Lepa Maxbronn B1000M Powering the Akitio (12v and ground soldert to the barrelplug as well as to the PCIE Socket).

I tried using a MSI Lightning HD7970 as eGPU. While under OSX the card seems to work using modified kexts(<key>IOPCITunnelCompatible</key><true/>) (listed in system report, display settings as hd 7xxx 3072MB and in apps as a Tahiti XT prototype also the display connected to it delivering output) the performance in Benchmarks and Games was EXACTLY the same as when using the 750m so i think that the image is rendered by the dGPU and not on the eGPU (yes output is on the display connected to the 7970).

When using windows (no mater if 7 or 8.1) it gets even worse the dGPU disables itself completely on startup (reporting it has been disabled because of an error in the device manager) while the eGPU is using software rendering and showing an error35 in the device manager.

The problems mentioned above happened using any kind of ATI/AMD gpu (Tested HD4670, HD6990 and HD7970) but not when using an NVIDIA gpu while testing (8500GT, 8600GTS and 9300) no errors occurred all of them working perfectly in OSX as well as in windows.

I hope someone of you has an Idea how to fix this. If not, should i consider buying a used GTX580 which seems to me having the best power/€ ratio of all somewhat decent Nvidia chips costing about 80€ on ebay?

Thanks in advance,

5P33D

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Thanks for the advice. I have decided to keep my 980.

At last can you do me a last favour: Can you show me 3dmark 11 extreme and performance benchmark score of your egpu setup.

Also can you tell me which macbook pro you have? 13 or 15 inch.

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Can do that, sure. Will add that to this post later.

Also can you tell me which macbook pro you have? 13 or 15 inch.

I am using a 15" MBPr mid 2014. 512GB SSD, 16GB Ram, Iris Pro GPU only, 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz.

Can you show me 3dmark 11 extreme and performance benchmark score of your egpu setup.

Extreme can't do because that is not possible in the "free" version of 3dMark11.

But Performance I benchmarks I did. Just odd that my external display setup is giving me a worse Physics score.

(All test done with -75mV CPU voltage, GPU with 110% power target and +70 GPU and +20 memory clock speed):

external display: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

interna displayl: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4870HQ Processor,Apple Inc. Mac-3CBD00234E554E41

external display (CPU fans @ 100%): http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/9267439

post-26280-14494999072317_thumb.jpg

More detailed 3dMark11 Benchmarks in my Guide now: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/8571-%5Bguide%5D-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-a.html#post116865

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Hi all,

I own a 2011 15" MBP on which I do a lot of 3D rendering jobs. The i7 CPU is fine, but when it comes to GPU rendering, the 6750M card doesn't quite cut it.

I am therefore considering upgrading to external graphics. The thing is - it has to be an AMD graphics card, since they allow a much bigger VRAM allocation in OpenCL rendering than NVIDIA cards. Therefore I'm considering on an AMD R9 270X 4GB edition - decent amount of memory for a reasonable price (as a student, I don't want to spend too much money on something I'm not sure will work).

I am a rookie at computer hardware, the most difficult thing I've ever done was changing a hard drive in an iMac. Therefore I'm interested in the easiest possible setup without spending too much money (aren't we all though?). Will it work plug and play under OS X?

The two parts I know that I need are the Atikio TB2 enclosure, and obviously the graphics card. XFX's version of the 270X is only 8,7 inches long, which means it'd theoretically fit into the Atikio case.

I'd appreciate it if you guys could share a few Amazon links of the rest of the gadgets I need - PSU, cables, riser (not sure if I need it - will it fit in the case?) and any other stuff that I'd need to make this work.

Thanks in advance!

Oscar

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My eGPU setup* recently had a bit of a problem, the dvi ports stopped out-putting (i've no idea if displayport works or not) only the hdmi port seems to work. Is this software related or is it possible to fry outputs with static electricity? That is a possibility.

*eGPU Specs: late 2013 Mbp 13inch + Akitio Thunder2 box + Cx500m psu + powered riser + GTX770

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@Oscar J: That might work. Maybe you can take a look into guides with OSX and AMD eGPU working.

For the rest, besides the GPU, you can take a look at my guide and setup. I tried to link all the hardware you need. http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/8571-%5Bguide%5D-2014-15-macbook-pro-iris-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-a.html

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AMD cards have much more potential than we thought, both on Win8.1 and OS X. I am examining this and will let you know if this is also possible with the AKiTiO, because I had some stability issues with it. @Sykora3: 6950 should be supported by the Apple’s native drivers on OS X. I cannot guarantee that it will work, but you can try to modify AMDRadeonX3000.kext and set IOPCITunnelCompatible true value for the AMDCaymanGraphicsAccelerator key block, and in addition to this I guess you need to change AMD6000Controller.kext or older series instead of AMD7000Controller.kext. Otherwise the kext modifications should be the same as the Crossfire guide.

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AMD cards have much more potential than we thought, both on Win8.1 and OS X. I am examining this and will let you know if this is also possible with the AKiTiO, because I had some stability issues with it. @Sykora3: 6950 should be supported by the Apple’s native drivers on OS X. I cannot guarantee that it will work, but you can try to modify AMDRadeonX3000.kext and set IOPCITunnelCompatible true value for the AMDCaymanGraphicsAccelerator key block, and in addition to this I guess you need to change AMD6000Controller.kext or older series instead of AMD7000Controller.kext. Otherwise the kext modifications should be the same as the Crossfire guide.

Ah, so AMD cards + Akitio hasn't been attempted yet? Is there any other Thunderbolt enclosure that could work instead?

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