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EGPU Bottlenecking with Gtx 960 SSC?

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So I wasn't really sure where to post this (there are probably several sections that would be appropriate) but since it has to deal with the fact that I'm running an e-gpu on a Macintosh I posted it here.



So let me start off by stating my setup and specs.

I have a 2011 Mac mini server

+  i7 quadcore 2GHz

+  16gb ram

+  Fusion Drive (120ssd+1tbhdd)

+  Windows 10 via bootcamp 90% of the time and I play a lot of games and edit video. (I'm a cinematographer)

+  23inch Acer monitor plugged into gpu via hdmi-DVI-d



+  EVGA Gtx 960 SSC plugged into Akitio Thunder2 Box via THUNDERBOLT 1 (Because of the mac minis age)

+  The GPU is powered by an EVGA 400 watt psu via an 8pin cable (Psu isn't being used for anything else)


So overall I'm pretty impressed with the card's performance because I was running a Gtx 750ti OC before this.......... exxxxxxcept I've seen several videos on youtube of people running my exact same card except just a regular setup without an egpu and it seems like they're getting like 40% better performance. EXAMPLE: Someone is playing Tom Clancy's The Division on "High"/"Ultra" preset and getting about 60fps while I run it on the "Low" preset and I'll get 35-42 fps MAX

Am I suffering from THAT much bottlenecking? Is there a way to check how much, if any bottlenecking is happening?


ALSO, I successfully modded my bios on my gtx 750ti to allow more power. Would it be beneficial for me to mod the bios on the gtx 960? Would it give me a lot more power/ better performace?

Thank you so much in advance! :) This is my favorite, website/forum by far!


EDIT; I have hwinfo running all the time and the mac gpu utilization usually says 98% or 99% but the "Powers" max is usually like 60% or so. I don't know if this helps. Also I use Precesionx 16 and my usual settings are displayed below. I can't go much higher than the settings that are displayed in the screen shot so it's not like I'm not overclocking enough or something...you know?





Edited by wmjnottriell

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You're having two limitations. First one is the rather old mobile i7 quadcore. If you're comparing this to a desktop i5 or i7 you're losing, just by clocks of the CPUs and the lower performance of the mobile CPU itself. Second is the TB1 connection. Yes, there might be a lot of performance going lost, check https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GTX_980_PCI-Express_Scaling/21.html. TB1 equals a x2 2.0 PCIe connection or x4 1.1 which is the first, gray bar in the diagrams. Considering you're playing at 1080p resolution you're having "only" 3/4 of the desktop. Now combine CPU and GPU and you may land at where you are.

Still I think the performance is a bit too low. At least medium settings should be working. Are you having such performance problems with other recent titles?


How are you powering the Akitio?


You may mod the BIOS but the GTX 960 are pretty good overclockable by themselves, mainly the memory. Try MSI Afterburner before flashing. The memory of the GTX 960 I had could take up to additional ~400 MHz which gave quite some worthy FPS.

Edited by Morv

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60FPS in The Division with a GTX960? o_O

I think that game is a good example on how bandwidth can affect the performance. This will vary with most games, some run good some not. You can see that in the link Morv posted.

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WOW @Morv some awesome information there. I didn't realize I was working with such an old processor? There are mobile processors in mac minis? The computer seems so fast in general. I would have never guessed that it was so dated.

My mac mini is actually currently listed on craigslist. I put it on there last night. I'm hoping to return my akitio box to b&h and put together a decent pc as soon as i sell the mac mini.

I kind of figured overlcoking out a bit better and my fps improved a lot. I'm currently getting 1480 mhz on the gpu clock and 3700 MHz on the memory clock. When I'm outside I'll get 35-40 fps and inside i generally get 55-6o fps. most settings are on medium or high. I think I'm at par right now and I'm feeling much better.


(ALSO I used to power my 750ti with the psu. I spliced a barrel adapter through one of the molex and it was working perfectly but since the 960 has the 8pin power port i just power the akitio with the included 60watt power supply and then plug my evga 400watt atx psu 8 pin power into the card.) (I hope that naswers your question)


ONE LAST QUESTION FOR YOU GUYS :) I'm trading my 4gb 960 SSC for a 980 Super Clocked ACX 3.0 plus 250 bucks. I think that's a pretty fair deal. Since I'm setting up a pc pretty soon, I'm not too concerned about how how it will run via the akitio but, how do you think the 980 sc will work with the akitio, thunderbolt 1 with my setup compared to the 960?


Just curious, because who knows, it might be a few weeks or a month before I an set my pc up.


Much love to you guys! :)And than you so much again,


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13 hours ago, wmjnottriell said:

(ALSO I used to power my 750ti with the psu. I spliced a barrel adapter through one of the molex and it was working perfectly but since the 960 has the 8pin power port i just power the akitio with the included 60watt power supply and then plug my evga 400watt atx psu 8 pin power into the card.) (I hope that naswers your question)


This is bad. You're mixing different power sources. You would usually create a barrel plug, for example with this http://www.ebay.com/itm/1pc-5-5x2-5mm-2-5mm-CCTV-DC-Power-Male-Plug-Free-Solder-Terminal-Screw-Connector-/321901337464?hash=item4af2d09b78:g:DeYAAOSwYHxWKeLj (no soldering required, just stripping some cables and fixing them in that block), and power the Akitio with your 400W PSU too.


The GTX 980 deal is fine I guess. The GTX 980 will be limited earlier by the TB1 bandwidth but overall you'll have way better performance.

Also your CPU is not that bad, it's just "bad" if comparing it to current desktop Intel CPUs because especially the Sandy Bridge mobile i7 didn't have that high clocks even with turbo. And yes, there are only mobile CPUs built into the Mac Minis ;-) You've got one of the last real good ones, current Minis and the models succeeding yours only offer dual-core low voltage mobile CPUs...


Anyway, the performance for The Division is ok now, it's actually pretty much the same with a GTX 970 but higher settings. The Division is also known to be relying on a good GPU rather than a good CPU.

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