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iregret

2013 15" MBP GT750M + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10TP [iregret]

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I've got a late 2013 retina MacBook Pro. It has a 2.6ghz i7 processor, an nvidia GT750m dedicated graphics processor along with Intel iris pro onboard graphics processing. Also, 16 gb of ram, 512gb SSD hard drive, usb 3.0 along with thunderbolt 2.0.

I went with the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box. For the graphics card, I went with the MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 100 Million Edition, because at the time it was on sale for $334. As far as the power supply, at first I was going to repurpose my old 750 watt power supply, but I ended up buying a Thermaltake TR-600 power supply at best buy because it was on sale for $45.

Okay, so here we go.

First up, the Akitio box. I removed the housing and proceeded to remove the fan and led as well.

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The box is too short to house my video card so I cut it on my band saw.

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Much better! Now there's no limit to the length of card I can fit.

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Here's the card I chose. MSI GTX 970, it was on sale.

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You can see how this box wasn't designed to house a graphics card in any way.

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The next issue is powering the box itself. I made a molex to plug adapter for the Akitio. The plug is 5.5x2.5mm and can be found at radio shack.

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Everything is shrink wrapped.

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The adapter and the part I cut it out of.

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Up next is the "paperclip mod". I put a piece of tubing on the paperclip and pushed it into the correct pins. (Green and black wire) eventually I'd like to put an on/off switch here.

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Here's the gist of everything.

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Windows 10

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The first time it flickered to life. I was installing the windows 10 beta drivers.

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Windows recognized both graphics cards.

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I ended up running out of time that night. I managed to test a few games though. I downloaded 3dmark11 demo through steam, and when I tried to run it, it crashed and the entire thing shut off along with Windows restarting. I did manage to get bio shock running. It worked beautifully. Alan Wake crashed repeatedly.

I'm not sure if it's a DirectX 12 problem, an external graphics card problem, a Windows 10 problem, or Beta Nvidia drivers problem. LOL.

I did a bit of research this morning and discovered that a few people had problems with their PCs shutting down under heavy load with that particular power supply. So, when I get home this evening, I'm going to take apart my old gaming PC from 2008 and use it's 750 Watt power supply to see if that remedies it. It seems ridiculous that this power supply wouldn't work, it's rated around 20 A on the 12 V rail that the graphics card is plugged into. I figured an overestimate of 200 W would put it at around 16.5 amp draw, which should be plenty to power the card and the box. The only other thing I can say, is that this power supply is not rated 80+ efficiency. The power supply might be going back.

I'm open to any suggestions. As far as I know, I may be the first one doing this with Windows 10.

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I had the same problem with 3D Mark Steam version too. Try download from their website that works for me.

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@iregret, you are I believe the second to cut the AKiTiO chassis.

Are you aware that the AKiTiO chassis can be opened relatively easily to allow unlimited cards to fit like shown at http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7205-us%24189-akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-16gbps-tb2-113.html#post128029 ? I've done this with that flap running perfectly parallel right alongside my MSI GTX970 Gaming, giving it extra protection. Sure, yours has a backplate. Mine doesn't and this flap acts as a backplate. (imho) looks better too.

Putting this info out so others reviewing your guide may evaluate the more difficult cutting versus just opening up the case.

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You're absolutely right. My card has a backplate, bending the case would definitely add some protection. Plus, there's a fan there. I don't know if it would help cool the card, but it couldn't hurt.

I had a couple of hours to mess around with it today. I took apart my old gaming computer and took its power supply out. I blew it out real well and hooked it up.

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Needless to say, it solved all my problems. So the TR-600 is going back to best buy. Still, I'm considering a CX500M because I'd like to have a more compact, modular power supply.

I quickly ran through a few games. Bioshock and Alan Wake play beautifully. As well as Metro Last Light.

I ran a few benchmarks too. I think I can squeeze a bit more out of the setup, but regardless, I'm impressed. Especially considering this is with no tweaks whatsoever and a 2 year old laptop.

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You're absolutely right. My card has a backplate, bending the case would definitely add some protection. Plus, there's a fan there. I don't know if it would help cool the card, but it couldn't hurt.

I had a couple of hours to mess around with it today. I took apart my old gaming computer and took its power supply out. I blew it out real well and hooked it up.

Needless to say, it solved all my problems. So the TR-600 is going back to best buy. Still, I'm considering a CX500M because I'd like to have a more compact, modular power supply.

I quickly ran through a few games. Bioshock and Alan Wake play beautifully. As well as Metro Last Light.

I ran a few benchmarks too. I think I can squeeze a bit more out of the setup, but regardless, I'm impressed. Especially considering this is with no tweaks whatsoever and a 2 year old laptop.

Yes, I had the option of having the AKiTiO fan on. The hum was a bit annoying at idle seeing the GTX970 fans were off. Doesn't really help with the cooling so I just disabled it but left it as it act as a perfect spacer between the AKiTiO chassis and the GTX970. It also covers the fan hole nicely :)

Yes, your Thermaltake ATX PSU has 12V/20A on the V1 rail. That's 240W which should be just OK for your GTX970 but seems either yours needs more power OR your PSU fails to deliver. In any case, your new PSU does the job.

You can get more out of your video card using MSI Afterburner AND your i7-4960HQ CPU should be overclockable using unlockable turbo bins from it's 3.6Ghz/4-core to 4.0Ghz/4-core using Throttlestop. You can see the results I got doing both in my sig which would make our systems pretty much on par with mine.

For my GTX970 I did a +186Mhz core clock, +495Mhz ram overclock, +6mV core voltage, powerlimit = 110%. This of course will vary per card. As it turns out my MSI GTX970 doesn't overclock nearly as good as some others. I've seen references to +250Mhz core clock. Still, great card, runs quiet with the fans off at idle. Nice.

----

I'll add that your original PSU would have been OK if you'd connected the barrel lead to the 4 pin CPU lead that uses the second 12v rail.

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Good to know that PSUs really have such a big impact on stability.

One thing makes my stomache hurt… cutting the case while the PCB is still in the case. That can go very wrong if small scrapings hide e.g. in the PCIe slot and cause a short circuit!

And awesome keyboard :D :D :D

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You can get more out of your video card using MSI Afterburner AND your i7-4960HQ CPU should be overclockable using unlockable turbo bins from it's 3.6Ghz/4-core to 4.0Ghz/4-core using Throttlestop. You can see the results I got doing both in my sig which would make our systems pretty much on par with mine.For my GTX970 I did a +186Mhz core clock, +495Mhz ram overclock, +6mV core voltage, powerlimit = 110%. This of course will vary per card. As it turns out my MSI GTX970 doesn't overclock nearly as good as some others. I've seen references to +250Mhz core clock. Still, great card, runs quiet with the fans off at idle. Nice.
Nice! I'll definitely check this out. I had throttlestop installed on my prior Windows 8.1 setup. I haven't messed around with overclocking a video card in a few years. We'll see what I can get out of this GTX970.
I'll add that your original PSU would have been OK if you'd connected the barrel lead to the 4 pin CPU lead that uses the second 12v rail.
I don't have the proper adapter for this, but I'll pull the pins out of the molex plug and see if this works.
Good to know that PSUs really have such a big impact on stability.One thing makes my stomache hurt… cutting the case while the PCB is still in the case. That can go very wrong if small scrapings hide e.g. in the PCIe slot and cause a short circuit!And awesome keyboard :D :D :D

One thing I didn't show, was stuffing paper towels under the pcb prior to cutting the case. Then after the cut, I wiped everything off and blew it out real well with air. Thanks for for noticing the keyboard! It's not everyday you see someone rocking a keyboard from 1989. LOL

Check out when I got it.

Apple Extended Keyboard II - Album on Imgur

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One other thing I wanted to add, all of these games are installed on an external hard drive. I am not using internal SSD for gaming. Windows is installed on the SSD, but all of my steam games are installed on an external 2.5 striped raid enclosure. I can benchmark the raid hard drive if anyone is interested. It's fast, but it won't touch SSD speeds.

I have this enclosure:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816856075&FM=1

With 2 of these hard drives:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236561&FM=1

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Nice! I'll definitely check this out. I had throttlestop installed on my prior Windows 8.1 setup. I haven't messed around with overclocking a video card in a few years. We'll see what I can get out of this GTX970.

Yes, consider doing the CPU + video card overclocking. When get a stable setup, please submit 3dmark13-FS, 3dmark11 and 3dmark06 results so can add you to the appropriate spot on the leaderboard: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#dx11

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Yes, consider doing the CPU + video card overclocking. When get a stable setup, please submit 3dmark13-FS, 3dmark11 and 3dmark06 results so can add you to the appropriate spot on the leaderboard: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#dx11

I'll definitely do that! Is there a spot on the site that has overclocking tips? If not, I'll google around.

I remember there's a trick to it. Like, you don't want to go for max clock speed, for some reason. It'll end up correcting itself? I'll have to do some research.

Thanks again for all your help Tech Inferno Fan!

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Is been thinking about this while I'm at work. Would it add more performance to use the 750m just for physx or to overclock the i7 and turn the 750m completely off? Then use the cpu or 970gtx for physx?

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Is been thinking about this while I'm at work. Would it add more performance to use the 750m just for physx or to overclock the i7 and turn the 750m completely off? Then use the cpu or 970gtx for physx?

PhysX - CPU or GPU? - [H]ard|Forum tells us NVidia physx is preferred for effects and performance. Question should then be whether to use the dGPU or eGPU for physx.

That will depend on how much CPU power you are using. Both the CPU and GT750M share the same heatpipe so use of both will raise temps that can throttle either or both components. If using a taxing CPU game then you may wish to spare some CPU temperature headroom by allocating Physx to the eGPU. Though that needs to be balanced against the extra load it will place on the 16Gbps-TB2 link.

If not CPU taxing then it makes sense to use the dGPU for physx.

I'd allocate the dGPU for physx as giving, on balance, the best of loading across the CPU, dGPU and eGPU and so gives best overall performance.

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If you want to play Games with Physx, like Assassin's Creed 4, Batman Arkham Origins, Call of Duty Ghosts, Metro Last Light, Mafia 2, 3D Mark Vantage (GPU-acceleration in the CPU-Test 2), Borderlands 2, Games with the Unreal-Engine 3 & 4, The Witcher 3, ...) you will gain a performance boost if you want to use Physx by using a 2nd Nvidia GPU.

Still… not using Physx will give you a better performance over all. Physx just looks a bit nicer.

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I started messing around with overclocking a bit today. There's still a lot of trial and error.

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Are you hitting any obvious walls related to the MBP's 85W power supply limit? Just wondering if there is anything that can be done to circumvent that through Throttlestop.

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I had the same problem with 3D Mark Steam version too. Try download from their website that works for me.

My system powers off by itself when running 3dmark, as OP's did in the beginning. My PSU is an evga 500W ATX 12V. I'm currently using a cheap powered riser so I assume this may be the source of my problem. I'm waiting on a molex to barrel adapter to arrive (via ebay). Could it really just be a software problem (Steam version vs. stand-alone)? I find that hard to believe. To reset my system and power it up again, I have to unplug & re-plug my jump starter bridge.

Also seems strange considering I was running a few games without a problem....GTA V and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Perhaps 3dmark purposefully draws more power and I've surpassed the threshold of my crappy powered riser? Seems most logical.

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I messed around with it a little bit before bed. I benchmarked a few different ways. Disabling the 750m had the best results so far, but I'm still learning. I checked the box in the nvidia control panel to cpu for these results.

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Then I pushed the multiplier to 38T. 3.7ghz and cleared 10,000 on physics.

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Good results!

Thanks! I wasn't sure if they were good results or not. I'm pretty inexperienced with this.

- - - Updated - - -

Are you hitting any obvious walls related to the MBP's 85W power supply limit? Just wondering if there is anything that can be done to circumvent that through Throttlestop.

I don't think I'll run into it because I won't be powering the cpu + gpu.

My system powers off by itself when running 3dmark, as OP's did in the beginning. My PSU is an evga 500W ATX 12V. I'm currently using a cheap powered riser so I assume this may be the source of my problem. I'm waiting on a molex to barrel adapter to arrive (via ebay). Could it really just be a software problem (Steam version vs. stand-alone)? I find that hard to believe. To reset my system and power it up again, I have to unplug & re-plug my jump starter bridge.

Also seems strange considering I was running a few games without a problem....GTA V and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Perhaps 3dmark purposefully draws more power and I've surpassed the threshold of my crappy powered riser? Seems most logical.

Im no expert, but mine was definitely power supply.

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I don't think I'll run into it because I won't be powering the cpu + gpu.

How specifically are you disabling the 750m dgpu? Just by using Afterburner and sliding it's clocks to zero?

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How specifically are you disabling the 750m dgpu? Just by using Afterburner and sliding it's clocks to zero?

Open throttlestop. Click on TPL. Select Intel power balance. Change cpu to 31 and gpu to 0.

Thatll disable the dgpu.

Make sure ire you right click on the desktop and open up nvidia control panel. Select physx and then choose cpu.

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Open throttlestop. Click on TPL. Select Intel power balance. Change cpu to 31 and gpu to 0.

Thatll disable the dgpu.

Make sure ire you right click on the desktop and open up nvidia control panel. Select physx and then choose cpu.

Beautiful! Thank you sir. Disabling the dgpu seems to be helping me tremendously. I've also turned by macbook over (Apple logo on the table), and it really seems to be helping with temperatures. GTA V seems to be running between 50-60 fps on Very High settings on my GTX 970 FTW. I'm running a MBPr 2012 i7 2.6ghz Thunderbolt 1. Even though I'm bottlenecked at 10Gbps, I'm still quite pleased with the results.

Still seem to be having the strange power issue with 3DMark. I'll try out the molex to barrel adapter when it gets here on Saturday.

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Not as good as mine, but it's pretty damn close! This makes me think the difference between tb1 and tb2 isn't as critical as I had thought. Also, I've got descent fire strike scores but I haven't tried gaming for hours to test stability. I'm hoping that someone will chime in and make sure I've got the clock settings correct in throttlestop. One other thing, I also use a program called macsfancontrol to control the fans manually. I'm still tweaking it, but essentially, I have the fans ramp up sooner and more aggressively. How are you running the MacBook closed in Windows without it shutting off? Where's that setting at?

Open Throttlestop -> TRL. Check unlock voltage and observe the "offset voltage". This settings allows you to either overvolt for stability along with increased temps + TDP or undervolt for the opposite.

Check overclock. Change 1, 2, 3, 4 active cores to x40. Click TS bench, run a 32M test and monitor temps and the highest multi that runs or whether you start seeing the CPU throttle back to a lower multi. If all good, try x41 with your highest being x42. Undervolting the CPU will lower temps giving you more overclock range but there will be a point where instability occurs. Play around with the settings until find the point of best performance and stability.

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Open throttlestop. Click on TPL. Select Intel power balance. Change cpu to 31 and gpu to 0.

Thatll disable the dgpu.

Make sure ire you right click on the desktop and open up nvidia control panel. Select physx and then choose cpu.

Changing the Intel Power balance doesn't disable the dGPU. It's more like disabling the iGPU.

That gives performance preference to the CPU over the iGPU, since they both sit on the same processor die with both a temperature and TDP threshold.

I set mine to 31 and 1 as sometimes a value of 0 means "all".

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Changing the Intel Power balance doesn't disable the dGPU. It's more like disabling the iGPU.

That gives performance preference to the CPU over the iGPU, since they both sit on the same processor die with both a temperature and TDP threshold.

I set mine to 31 and 1 as sometimes a value of 0 means "all".

Awesome! Thank you. I'll try it out when I get home. :)

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