Thunderbolt 2 eGPU using AKiTiO Thunder2

Thunderbolt 2 eGPU using AKiTiO Thunder2

I wanted to try a simpler and cheaper external GPU (eGPU) setup than I have used previously. For this I use the AKiTiO Thunder2 which is a fairly inexpensive compared to the rest of the pack. Setup, installation and use is much simpler than before (no voodoo, rain dance or luck needed anymore), to use the setup from is as simple as

  • Plug in the thunderbolt cable from the eGPU setup
  • Turn on PSU
  • Turn on laptop and boot into Windows

This is both using the internal monitor with Optimus enabled and using an external monitor.

Disclaimer

This post contains links to Amazon where I get a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking on these links - at no extra cost to you! I have purchased all the mentioned products myself and I only link to products that I believe are the best for my readers. If you want to help out even more, take a look here.

The key differences from my previous setup is

  • EVGA branded NVIDIA cards are powered different internally so I do not need to power on the PSU at specifics times
  • The thunderbolt PCIe box only have a single PCIe port. The multiplexing chip on boxes that have multiple PCIe ports is suspected of interfering with eGPU setups and therefore making it less plug and play

eGPU Setup

Parts

Total 641 USD

For my readers who wants to build something similar I have a few recommendations:

  • Get any EVGA branded NVIDIA card, these just work better for eGPU type setups
  • You don’t need an ATX power supply, but often they are the cheapest way of powering the setup. Get one that is modular and has enough 6/8pin PEG connectors to power your chosen graphic card
  • Thunderbolt 2 is limited to PCIe x4 2.0, so it does not matter if you get a PCIe x4, x8 or x16 PCIe riser, but what does matter is getting a quality PCIe riser to prevent stability issues!

Hardware

eGPU setup
  1. AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe box
  2. GTX 970 GPU
  3. PSU
  4. Powered PCIe riser

Plug the GPU into the PCIe riser. The PICe riser is plugged into the AKiTiO box. Make sure it is firmly attached. Plug in power to the PCIe riser and GPU from the PSU and use the paperclip trick (c) to turn on the PSU. Plug in the PSU to the wall socket and thunderbolt cable from the AKiTiO box to your thunderbolt enabled computer. Notice that I have disconnected the fan in the AKiTiO box (a) and when using a powered PCIe riser there is no need to use the power supply unit that came with the AKiTiO box (b).

Software

  • Windows 8.1 installed via bootcamp in UEFI mode.
  • Newest NVIDIA drivers
  • (Optional) Benchmarking software

UPDATE 30-01-2016: NVIDIA released a new driver for Windows 10 that finally fixes Optimus! Check out my post here

Driver installation

  • Turn off the laptop
  • Plug in the thunderbolt cable from the eGPU setup
  • Turn on PSU
  • Turn on laptop and boot into Windows
  • Install NVIDIA driver
  • Shutdown laptop
  • Boot into Windows. The internal and external GPU should now both be visible without any errors

This will work both when using external monitors attached to the GPU or using Optimus to accelerate the internal screen of the laptop. Repeat step 1-4 to boot into Windows with the eGPU active.

Troubleshooting

  • When booting into Windows without an external monitor attached to the eGPU, sometimes the monitor of the laptop is blank.
    • Try the windows key + P followed by the left arrow and finally hit the enter key. Repeat this if you don’t see anything on the monitor up to 3 times.
    • Try attaching a monitor or shutdown Windows and try booting into Windows again.
  • If the blue light on the AKiTiO box does not light up when powering on the setup, check that the PCIe riser is firmly attached to the box and the GPU. Also make sure that the thunderbolt port is working (try using it with another device)
  • If you get an error 12 on the eGPU, try using a DSDT override as described in my previous post here

Performance

The reduced bandwidth from the setup does not impact frame rates in games as much as one would think, see here for an excellent test using the new NVIDIA GTX 980.

The following tests are executed using a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro late 2013 with 16 GB ram. You can use any laptop with thunderbolt, but I recommend getting one with Thunderbolt 2 like the MacBook Pro. I have included my previous test result using my previous setup with a GTX 760. The presets are described here:

Unigine Valley 1.0 benchmark

  • Basic: 1280x720, DirectX 9, medium quality, 2x AA
  • Extreme: 1600x900, DirectX 11, ultra quality, 8x AA
  • Extreme HD: 1920x1080, DirectX 11, ultra quality, 8x AA

FPS

BasicExtremeExtreme HD
HD510014,75,03,8
GTX 760 (internal)40,040,332,4
GTX 760 (external)85,444,735,3
GTX 970 (internal)45,153,545,5
GTX 970 (external)69,457,8N/A

Score

BasicExtremeExtreme HD
HD5100616208160
GTX 760 (internal)167416861354
GTX 760 (external)357518701479
GTX 970 (internal)188922391903
GTX 970 (external)29042418N/A

Using higher resolutions makes the difference between internal and external monitor using the GPU very small compared to lower resolutions or lower AA. Notice that my GTX 970 scores are lower than GTX 760 using an external monitor at low settings. I did retest using my GTX 970 card getting the same results. I do not currently own an external 1080p monitor, hence no result for Extreme HD.

3DMark benchmark

The presets are described here:

  • Fire strike ultra (3840x2160)
  • Fire strike extreme (2560x1440)
  • Fire strike (1080p)
  • Sky diver
  • Cloud gate
Fire strike ultraFire strike extremeFire strike
HD5100N/A400921
GTX 760 (internal)N/A24924209
GTX 970 (internal)229539215941
GTX 970 (external)239842396659
Sky diverCloud gate
HD510040775750
GTX 760 (internal)86607975
GTX 970 (internal)127609206
GTX 970 (external)1495511557

A 4k monitor was not needed to run the high resolution test, but I need at least 3 GB video ram. Therefore no results for fire strike ultra on HD5100 and GTX 760.

Whats next?

  • Build a case for the setup using OpenBeam or MakerBeam
    UPDATE 01-04-2015: Done! See my post here
  • Test if I can get this to work using OS X 10.10.2 as previously done here
  • Move the Windows installation to my thunderbolt disk (Sonnet Echo Express SE II enclosure)
  • Test higher resolutions using external monitors

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284 Comments

Jonathan Nilsson

Just bought me an AkiTiO Thunder2 + Asus GTX 960 2gb and going to add a PSU and do the ‘paperclip’ trick. My question is: Am i going to need a riser? What kind of PSU W do you recommend?

I got a Macbook pro 13” mid 2014 and will this work with windows 7 through bootcamp? I don’t want to buy win 8 / 8.1 because I don’t like the UI and I want to save some money.. The best would if I only used OS X but seems a little complicated to make it work perfectly. And I want to use the internal retina display.

I would be glad to hear your thoughts about this and maybe some tips and tricks! Thanks!

Poul Serek

Hi Jonathan

“Am i going to need a riser?”
There are two aspects in this. First does the card physically fit in the AKiTiO Thunder case? The Asus GTX 960 might be short enough to fit. But as far as I can see the Asus GTX 960 draws up to 150 watts. With only a single 6pin GPU connector rated up to 75 watts, the PCIe port should deliver 75 watt power for a total of 150 watt. The PCIe port on the AKiTiO is limited to just 25 watt, so without a powered PCIe riser you would only get a total of 100 watt which is not enough according to the power consumptions I have read online for the GTX 960. The GTX 970 have two 6 pin connecters for a total of 150 watt + the 25 watt from the PCIe port so in my case I do actually not need the riser, but my card is too big to physically fit. I would recommend that you buy the PCIe riser as it is quite inexpensive just to be sure

“What kind of PSU do you recommend?”
Since your card will only draw up to 150 watt (maybe more if you plan to overclock) I would recommend to get a 250-300 watt power supply that is gold rated and silent. Notice that some combinations og PSUs and graphics cards produce coil whine so don’t get the cheapest PSU. And since you will only use 1 6pin connector, the ATX connecter and maybe a single molex for the PCIe riser, get a modular PSU so you can avoid unnessesary cables.

“… will this work with windows 7 through bootcamp?”
There are a few different from my setup and yours. I have bought an EVGA branded graphics cards since this is internally different powered than from must other brands. I will not go into details, but since you have an ASUS they might require you either power on the PSU just before the windows boot logo. You might need a modified PCIe riser for this. My recommendation would be to do this

  1. Install Windows 7 64 bit in UEFI mode via bootcamp (see option 2 in this post for seeing if you have UEFI og BIOS (legacy))
  2. Connect a monitor to the GPU and try getting it to work using an external monitor first. This is usually the the easy part, especially if you have windows installed as UEFI
  3. Work then in getting Optimus (the internal screen) to work. It might require you to power on the PSU at either the boot screen og when you see the Windows logo.

There are plenty posts on this on the net and a few on my blog. So to sum it up, it should work, but it might not be as plug and play as my setup since you are not using an EVGA card. However I have previously had a similar setup so I know it works with Windows 7. If you run into some problems, let me know and I will do my best to help!

/Poul

Jonathan Nilsson

Hi!

I’ve just started to setup my eGPU with:

Akitio Thunder 2
GTX 960 mini Gigabyte
Coolermaster 650w (Paperclip)

So my problem is I can’t install the Nvidia drivers. I’ve put the GPU into the PCI slot in the akitio box. Then I’ve connected the akitio Power supply. And then I’ve connected the 6-pin Cable into the GTX 960 from the Cooler Master.

I’m booting up my mac (Mid 2014 13’) and pressing alt. When the bootcamp selection start I turn on the coolermaster and the akitio PSU. After that I press boot windows (windows 8.1 preview). When I’m searching for the egpu i cannot find it in the device manager either in OSX.

When I trying to install the Nvidia drivers (the newest one) it says ‘Nvidia Installer cannot continue’ ‘The graphic driver could not find compatible Graphics hardware’.

The fans on the GPU started the first time I booted the computer (That was in OSX) and after that thay never started again.

The akitio box blue and green light is up. I’ve connected the akitio through thunderbolt (ofcourse).

I’ve put a HDMI Cable from the GTX 960 to my external Acer minitor and made it as the main screen in windows 8.

Could you guys help me out? Why dosent my computer detect the GPU? I’ve tried the troubleshooting steps in the forum but it doesnt work.

Poul Serek

Try the following startup sequence

  • Power on the AKiTiO box (I assume you are using the power supply from the AKiTiO in addition to the Coolermaster)
  • Power on the MacBook holding down the alt key to get into the boot menu
  • Power on the Coolermaster
  • Boot into windows and check if you can see the GPU

In my old setup I needed to power on the thunderbolt case before turning on the laptop and then turn on the larger ATX power supply unit during og after the boot menu.

Sometimes a “hot plug” of the eGPU is needed the first time to get the device detected and install the driver, try searching forums for a guide.

Poul Serek

Hmm… make sure the PCIe riser is firmly attached and try the above steps but without the power supply unit from AKiTiO plugged in. Do the lights on the AKiTiO box still light up? If not then the riser might be the issue. I had a problem that was similar to yours, I could not get the card detected at all, but found out the PCIe riser was not firmly attached. My lights on the AKiTiO did not light up since I was only getting power from the riser.

Poul Serek

As far as I can see you need a riser as I wrote before since the card will use 120-150 watts of power. The PCIe port on the AKiTiO will supply 25 watts and the single 6pin connector 75 watt, a total of 100 watt which is not enough. That might be the problem. Normally the PCIe port can supply 75 watt, but not on the AKiTiO box

Poul Serek

I am not sure that it is going to fix the problem you have. His fix is simply to avoid using the barrel plug to supply power, but I am not sure if this has anything to do with bypassing the 25w limit of the PCIe port. He is using a GTX 970 which has enough power through the two 6pin connectors to not need any power from the PCIe port. So it might get you closer to fixing your problem, but I still think you will run into the issue of not having enough power

Poul Serek

It should work fine. If you want it to be as plug and play as possible like my setup I would recommend going for an EVGA branded graphics card.

Ruben

Hi there,

I will try to make a build with:

Akitio Thunder2 PCIe - 250 euros
EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC ACX 2.0+ - 216 euros
Corsair CX430M - 40 euros
and a molex riser - 10 euros

Running on MacBook Pro Retina late 2013

Will this run well? And can I run it in OS X or will Windows be required?

Hope to get an answer soon!

Poul Serek

Hi Ruben

Sorry for the late answer, I was on vacation. Your shopping list looks fine. The power supply has more than enough power and the GTX 960 should be able to get you around 80-90% performance on average compared to a normal setup (see more here). And you should be able to run this setup using OS X if you follow this guide: http://www.journaldulapin.com/2014/12/04/a-nvidia-maxwell-card-with-thunderbolt-on-a-mac-running-yosemite/. I have confirmed it to be working on the previous version of OS X (Maverick), but have not yet tried using the above method on Yosemite. There is one limitation if you run this under OS X, you can only accelerate the external display, not the internal laptop display. You need Windows to do that trick and Optimus

Ruben

What riser do I need if I will use a EVGA GTX 960 and the Akitio + external PSU?

Could someone give me a exact link?

Michael

  • What will be the loss of graphics card performance compared to the same card plugged into the motherboard?
  • I want to use this solution with the MacBook Pro 15” (late 2013), and an eGPU to connect 4K monitor (Benq3201pt). Will I get 4K at frequency of 60Hz? I plan to use GeForce GTX 970. As far as I know none of MacBook can output a resolution with such frequency using internal GPU

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

Check out this link for performance loss using this setup. It is not the same hardware, but it comes pretty close. They have tested 18 different games at different bandwidths. This setup is roughly equivalent to x4 PCIe 2.0 (the green bar in the benchmarks). The conclusion from the post:

Real performance losses only become apparent in x8 1.1 and x4 2.0, where the performance drop becomes noticeable with around 15%.

But it really depends on which games and which resolutions you run as the post mentions:

Contrary to intuition, the driving factor for PCI-Express bus width and speed for most games is the framerate, not resolution, and our benchmarks conclusively show that the performance difference between PCIe configurations shrinks at higher resolution.

A good example of this is Ryse: Son of Rome, which you can see here is just 45% performance if running at low resolution but ~ 75% if running at high resolution

If you run this setup using only the laptop monitor then you will see an additional drop in performance.

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

To answer your second question:

I want to use this solution with the MacBook Pro 15” (late 2013), and an eGPU to connect 4K monitor (Benq3201pt). Will I get 4K at frequency of 60Hz? I plan to use GeForce GTX 970. As far as I know none of MacBook can output a resolution with such frequency using internal GPU

It should be able to do 4K at 60Hz just fine depending on the game, again according to this post. It is the GTX 980, but it is close to your GTX 970 which I also own. If you cannot hit 60 frames per second, it is probably a limitation of the GPU and settings more than the bandwidth.

Michael

Thank you for your reply and for your instructions! I do not plan to use this solution for computer games. The main objective is to work with 4k footage. Editing and post-production in DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere. I hope that in this case the loss of performance will not be so noticeable. But thanks anyway for the comparative test. Is PSU CORSAIR CX500M adapter suitable for this device? I can not find ENERMAX PRO82+ in my country. GTX 970 и 980 wants 500 watts of electricity.

Poul Serek

Then you should be fine. The PSU CORSAIR CX500M looks perfect for the job, I saw it has two pci-e connectors which the GTX 970 / 980 needs. The ENERMAX is just an old PSU I had lying around. The 500 watt is a total system recommendation, the actual cards themselves draws much less, take a look here

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

First I would connect the monitor directly to the GTX 970, that is the way I have it working. It will give you the best performance since the output signal does not need to use the Thunderbolt cable. I am not sure it will work if not attached directly to the card.

Secondly did you follow this guide for getting Thunderbolt enabled? Without this step it will not show up in Yosemite. Notice that you need to reapply the KEXT file fix every time you update OS X. Try to retrace your steps and confirm everything is working as described in the guide. Make also sure the NVIDIA driver is used and not the native OS X driver.

And lastly you don’t need to use the AKiTiO power supply that I can see in the picture you have taken of your setup since you have a powered PCIe riser. Just unplug it :)

/Poul

Michael

Thank you very much for your answer! When I connect the monitor (via HDMI or Displayport) directly to the GTX970, my monitor says “No signal”.
Yes, I have done something similar. When I modified the nvidia driver, I just removed this line “if (!validateHardware()) return false;” from the distribution file and the driver successfully installed. But I have not replaced “found_hardware = 0” to “found_hardware = 1” I made changes to the thunderbolt as specified in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfKb8TcHDkI&list=FL_7TDIRm1TbEyjRDA7vxl1A&index=5 (5:20) and it is very similar to what is written here http://www.journaldulapin.com/2014/12/04/a-nvidia-maxwell-card-with-thunderbolt-on-a-mac-running-yosemite/
But in the end I did not use Kext Utility. I just made the team in the terminal “sudo kextcache -system-caches”. Maybe that’s the problem? I have not updated yosemite. Here pictures about my system https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ulo34t8itmk1w8u/AAAOEiptFOOAS8KMXjSPXT8na?dl=0
Thank you very much for your help

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

Can you confirm that you have done the “sudo nvram boot-args=”kext-dev-mode=1” and that

/System/Library/Extensions/NVDAStartup.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/IONDRVSupport.kext
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleHDAController.kext

Contains

<key>IOPCITunnelCompatible</key>
<true/>

the correct places? I just want to be sure. Without this the eGPU will not work at all. And try to use the Kext utility to be 100% sure that the Kext files are rebuilt. The “found_hardware = 0” to “found_hardware = 1” line should not be a problem since you did install the drivers

/Poul

Owen Green

Great guide! It’s good to see more and more people warming to the idea of an egpu! Quick question, would having an inbuilt gpu, mine is the 750m, in my 2014 Macbook Pro have any effect on this setup? And would an external monitor be connected directly to the graphics card? Thanks

Poul Serek

Thanks! In the past having an internal discrete gpu could cause trouble, however according to this post

http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides-apple/8219-2014-15-macbook-pro-gt750m-gtx970%4016gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-win8-1-%5Btre87%5D.html

It should work just fine. If you use windows and have an intel gpu that support Optimus like the macbook pro, then you can use the external gpu to drive the internal laptop display. This can be a bit tricky depending on which hardware you have, but if you have an EVGA NVIDIA GPU you should be fine, else I would recommend searching a bit on google. If you use OS X then you need to attach an external display to the eGPU setup since Optimus is a windows only feature

Owen Green

Thanks for the reply. All seems good on the link you mentioned, and this method definitely seems the most suitable for plug and play. If I have any difficulties I’ll be sure to mention them here. Thanks again

Jaydev Raval

Hey there,

After reading your post and doing some more research, here is what I am planning to do.

But a MSI WS60 workstation laptop, which is equipped with TB2 with windows 8.1 pro.
Will buy an AKiTiO Thunder 2 with an Gigabyte and Evga GTX 970. For PSU, I will go for a corsair branded 300 watt gpu.

So here is my question, will I be able to run it on ws60 without external monitor, because it has Quadro GPU integrated, which I guess won’t allow nvidia Optimus to work.
And is my list up to the potential to run GTA 5, AC Unity and other demanded games.

Poul Serek

Hi Jaydev

It seems it should be possible to use Optimus with a setup similar to yours, but I have no experience with laptops with discrete GPUs. However, check this info out:

You can use software like DIY eGPU Setup 1.30 to disable the dGPU and therefore activate Optimus with the eGPU. According to the site that is one of the uses of the software:

want to disable a dGPU in a hybrid graphics system to activate NVidia Optimus and if using a x1 link, engage x1 pci-e compression

I would recommend trying to get it to work without the the above software first and then use it as a last resort if all else fails.

According to this post by Nando the WS60 is on the recommended candidate list without any comments about issues using the dGPU together with an eGPU and Optimus. Instead of disabling the dGPU you might even try to enable all 3 GPUs as explained here. That said, as far as I know you need to get both the eGPU and dGPU running under the same driver as explained here or here.

I will always recommend en EVGA cards since I know these work better with eGPU setups (less steps involved). But you should be fine with other brands

And 300 watts of power should be plenty for an eGPU setups like yours, just make sure it has at least two 6-pin PEG connectors for the GPU.

Owen Green

Hi again, All of my parts recently arrived, the same ones you used bar the psu which is a corsair cx430m. I assembled the setup following your guide and ran into some difficulty.

The evga 970 fans don’t spin when the psu is powered up, which they should? The mac isn’t detecting the 970 either so it seems that power is an issue. The green light is lit on the akitio box, so the riser appears to work.

I done some troubleshooting and found these results. My psu has one dedicated pcie power cable, and I used a two molex to pcie and a two sata to pcie with no luck.

The 970 fans still didn’t spin when connected to my pc power supply which I know works with my 7950, which also uses two 6 pins. But the card works when used in my tower, via my motherboard pcie slot.

I was thinking it might be the psu but using the molex powered riser from the corsair psu and two 6 pins from my pc psu, it failed to get the fans going.

Any ideas what might be happening? Thanks, Owen

Poul Serek

Hi Owen

Lets try a few things

The 970 fans still didn’t spin when connected to my pc power supply which I know works with my 7950, which also uses two 6 pins. But the card works when used in my tower, via my motherboard pcie slot.

Does the card work in your tower using the PCIe riser? Then we can rule out the PCIe riser as the faulty part. Remember som PCIe risers needs to be firmly attached, I had similar problems when the PCIe riser was not firmly attached.

Are you sure the blue light lights up on the AKiTiO box? Again, check that the PCIe riser is firmly attached and that the thunderbolt cable is attached to the AKiTiO box and laptop. Turn of the power from everything and then turn on the PSU first, then the laptop.

Do the fan on the Corsair PSU spin when you use the paperclip trick and turn on the PSU? If not try to attach a small fan to see that the PSU is actually outputting some power

Did you try to use your pc PSU with both the two 6 pins and the molex for the powered riser?

And lastly, do you use the AKiTiO power supply or is it unplugged?

Can you take a picture and post a link so I might see if anything is wrong?

/Poul

Owen Green

Hi Poul,

It’s my friend who actually owns the 970 so will try some of the tests you mentioned when he’s next available.

To clarify, should the blue light be lit all the time on the akitio box. With no riser plugged in, just the green light is lit. Is the blue light an activity LED? Mine briefly flashes when power is switched on, then turns off both with an empty riser and no riser.

I will let you know results off other tests as soon as I can can. Thanks again.

Owen

Owen Green

The psu fan does spin, and the akitio box green LED lights up when powered via the riser only, no akitio supply needed.

Thanks.

Owen

Owen Green

Hi Poul,

I got it working! Tried the tests you mentioned and was about to comment my results here when I thought I’d try one last time.

Turns out one of my thunderbolt connections appears to not work, which I’m not happy about as I only got my mac in January. However when the monitor is plugged in via the egpu the mac monitor remains on, which I thought was strange. I can bear with that in the meantime. Thanks for all your suggestions, I’m just glad it’s all working now!

Cheers, Owen

Poul Serek

Hey Owen

Great you got it working, nice catch with the broken thunderbolt connection! Does the AKiTiO Thunder2 now turn on the blue light instead of the green? The blue light might mean that a valid thunderbolt connection has been established and a green just that power is on.

/Poul

Owen Green

Hi Poul,

Yes, both the blue and green light remain on whilst the egpu is active, it briefly flashes when plugged into the dodgy thunderbolt port, but constant on the working one.

Now to get my mac fixed and check that it works in both!

Thanks, Owen

Isaac

Hi, I was wondering if my setup would work I actually don’t have a macbook I have a thinkpad x1 but it does have a thunderbolt 2 port so here are my specs
-Msi GTX 960 2GD5T OC
-Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box
-Corsair CSM 450W 80+ Gold
Would it work like this or do I need anything else?

Poul Serek

Hi Isaac

It should work fine with any laptop having a thunderbolt 1 or 2 connection. I have successfully used my old Lenovo ThinkPad T430s with this setup (thunderbolt 1). You might run into some issues if you use Windows 7 installed as BIOS as I have described in my previous posts, installing Windows 8+ using (U)EFI just makes everything a whole lot easier.

The power supply should be fine, it has a single PCIe connector which you need to power the GTX 960. However, since the GTX 960 only has a single 6pin PCIe connector (according to the tech specs here) and the AKiTiO Thunder2 is limited to 25 watt from the PCIe port, you only have 75 + 25 = 100 watts total to power your card. Most posts on the internet agree that you need at least 125 watts of power as described here.

Therefore you need to buy a powered molex PCIe riser to be able to supply up to 75 watts on the PCIe port on the AKiTiO Thunder2 which would bring the total up to a safe 150 watts. The ones I use and recommend can be bought here.

You can also find similar items on Amazon (search for “pcie riser powered capacitor”), but the quality might vary. If you don’t follow my recommendation then at least make sure that the riser:

  • Is x8 or x16 to x16
  • Is powered (molex)
  • Has a capacitor
  • Has good reviews

And lastly you will need a paperclip :)

/Poul

Carl M

Hello everyone,

I’m using almost an identical setup (macbook air 2012 -> akitio thunder 2 -> gtx 960). Everything is working fine but I need to connect my Belkin Thunderbolt Dock to be able to use Lan, my headset and… However if I connect Macbookair -> Dock -> Egpu, the Egpu won’t get recognized. If I connect Macbookair -> Egpu -> Dock, the macbook crashes during startup (when the 4 dots of windows 7 make their animation) an that every time… Does anyone have any idea how to solve this problem?

Best regards

Carl

Poul Serek

Hi Carl

I also use a Thunderbolt dock that is connected like this

MacBook –> eGPU –> Dock

There are a few options to troubleshoot here

  1. Try booting the setup as described above but without anything connected to the Belkin Thunderbolt hub, just the Thunderbolt cable. Sometimes a USB device or something can cause a crash (it did in my previous eGPU setup!)
  2. Does the Belkin dock work when you don’t use the eGPU? MacBook –> Dock?
  3. Do you use an external monitor? If yes, how is the monitor connected, directly to the graphic card or through the HDMI port of the Belkin dock?
  4. You are using Windows 7, is it installed as UEFI or BIOS? Check this guide to find it. It might be that the Belkin is taking up some memory space that the eGPU setup needs.

/Poul

Carl M

  1. It keeps crashing when the windows logo appears. I even tried it with the elgato Thunderbolt dock, but the result is the same.
  2. Yes it does. I used it now for more than a year. It has thunderbolt 1.
  3. I use an Asus external monitor connected through hdmi to my gtx 960 (egpu)
  4. My windows 7 is installed as BIOS.

Carl

Poul Serek

Hi Carl

Hmmm, can you see anything in the event logs (Event Viewer)? If not we might need to enable some boot logging to troubleshot further as described in this link. Try enabling boot logging, boot with the Thunderbolt dock enabled which will fail, then reboot without the dock and look in the log file. It could give us a clue as to what is going on.

/Poul

Carl M

Hi Poul, I will try that tomorrow. You said you are also using a thunderbolt dock. Is it plugged in when you start your macbook, do you plug it in when the boot option menu comes up or do you hotplug it?

Just for fun I hotplugged the Elgato thunderbolt dock in and as a result the fan of the akitio box turned up, which didn’t turn at all with my Belkin dock plugged it…

Carl

Poul Serek

Hi Carl

My thunderbolt dock is plugged in and powered on when I start my MacBook. When you hotplug the Thunderbolt dock, does it then work as expected?

/Poul

Carl M

Hi Poul hotplug didn’t work me. And I saw this morning that I am still using DiY egpu Setup 1.20. Will that be a problem? I enabled boot logging and in both files there are many drivers not loaded. However they are the same ones which loaded and which didn’t. If you like I can send you both of the files.

Carl

Poul Serek

Hmm ok. No need to send me the log files if they are the same. I would still like some log files from the crash, it could give a pointer to what is going on. Since the only difference is added hardware and therefore memory allocation in PCI space, then DIY eGPU setup might be the issue

  1. Do you use PCI compaction to get enough memory available to the GPU? If yes, then you might need to do a PCI compaction with both the eGPU and Thunderbolt dock connected. When I connected other devices after doing the first compaction I would get strange behaviour
  2. If it turns out it is a PCI compaction issue and you are enable to free enough space because of the Thunderbolt dock, then you might need to to a DSDT override into 36 bit space
  3. As a last resort you might also want to upgrade to DIY eGPU 1.30 which is the version I used to use

If we are lucky the PCI compaction might reveal what is wrong. Please let me know about 1. and 2. first

/Poul

Carl M

1) I tried the PCI compaction with the dock connected Macbook -> eGPU -> Dock and Macbook -> dock -> eGPU. The result was the same, it didn’t work. As soon as I run de PCI compaction it stuck at saying: “Found 5 external control methods, reparsing for new information”. Then nothing happens for about 5 minutes, then the mac shuts down.

2) I have no idea how to do that. I found that “Try 32b/36bit PCI compaction->method[] until pci_alloc_valid=yes. If it’s yes* then do a 32-bit PCI compaction of your primary GPU to get it to yes. Apply config.Chainload to your OS to confirm it works OK.” found here http://egpu.maeth.net/faq.htm. Is it that what I need to do?

Carl

Poul Serek

Hi Carl

Can you do a PCI compaction successfully without the Thunderbolt dock? Do you get the same error? If you only get the error when using the Thunderbolt dock then I would post your problem on the techinferno forums since they have better knowledge of troubleshooting this than I have: https://egpu.io/diy-egpu-setup-1-30-nando4/

The DSDT override (if needed) is explained here with a step by step guide. However I strongly recommend that you troubleshoot 1. first.

Carl M

  1. Yes I can perform it without any problems with the dock disconnected. So I only get this problem when I connect the dock.

  2. I did already a DSDT override when I tried to get rid of the Code 12 error, but it didn’t so I bought the DiY setup.

For me it’s okay if you would post the problem on the forums.

Poul Serek

Hi Carl

I apoligize if I was not more specific. I meant that you should post here with the problem, I would just slow things down :) You should describe that you can successfully do a PCI compaction without the Thunderbolt dock, but not with the Thunderbolt dock attached. Post the error you described here (and maybe a screenshot of the error):

I tried the PCI compaction with the dock connected Macbook -> eGPU -> Dock and Macbook -> dock -> eGPU. The result was the same, it didn’t work. As soon as I run de PCI compaction it stuck at saying: “Found 5 external control methods, reparsing for new information”. Then nothing happens for about 5 minutes, then the mac shuts down.

You should also post the PCI compaction settings (take a screenshot). Hopefully Nando4, the creator of DIY eGPU setup, can help, he has always been very helpful with troubleshooting. You might also ask him about getting an upgrade to version 1.30 if it is free, that might also fix the problem. If he can not help you then please let me know. A last resort if you cannot get the above to work is to install Windows 8+ in UEFI mode. UEFI setups are much more plug and play than BIOS setups. When I had Windows 7 BIOS I needed DIY eGPU setup, after I switched to Windows 8 UEFI I had no need for the program anymore. But only consider this if everything else fails and you talked to Nando4.

/Poul

Marc S

I am desperately trying to find a way to play PC games using my Macbook Pro Retina 13” via Parrells. I have 2 tabs open on Chrome: 1 on Newegg for building yet another gaming PC (not ideal) and this page on building an external GPU unit.

My question is, will I be able to game once again with my Macbook, this frankenstein’ed device, and a GPU?

Poul Serek

Hi Marc

Using any graphic card in Parallels or any other virtualisation software will have a huge performance impact with newer games. If its about old games (DX9) then the performance hit is non existing. See this post for more. You are looking for PCI passthrough with graphics cards like described here, but is is a difficult path with the correct combination of hardware and software.

For this setup to work, you need to have Windows installed as Bootcamp for best performance and the ability to use the internal monitor of the laptop with the eGPU.

If you connect your Macbook Pro Retina to an external monitor then the setup will also work using this setup in OS X, but only the external monitor can use the graphics card. Then you might be able to ditch parallels and install PC games via Wine. I myself have installed the PC version of the Steam client so I can play PC only games using OS X. That should be able to take advantage of external graphics card. If I have time I will try to benchmark the difference using Wine and Steam later this weekend.

To sum it up, if you are willing to install Windows (UEFI) using Bootcamp then it will work. I use it myself to play PC games with almost no performance hit. And I am pretty sure that the setup will work using OS X and an external monitor (read more )

/Poul

Dimitri

Hi,

Great job! Do you know if it works with the latest MBP? I just bought the new retina 15” with R9 M370X and I’m looking forward to play games using bootcamp and a Egpu GTX 970/980/ or GTX 780.

Thank you for your answer,

Dimitri

Poul Serek

Hi Dimitri

I have not seen any eGPU builds using the new 15 inch rMBP yet, see this or this link.

I am sure someone will find a solution soon, but until then I would recommend waiting buying the eGPU parts. And it might not support Optimus since the new Macbook contains an AMD graphics card so getting the eGPU to work using the internal screen might prove to be more difficult, if not impossible.

But keep following the techinferno eGPU forums for any success here.

/Poul

Alex

Could anyone suggest, I’m going to buy gtx 980 ti and use it with akitio tb2. But I heard that gtx 980 ti will work only under windows but not under yosemite, is it temporary issue?

Poul Serek

Hi Alex

The GTX 980 ti is a Maxwell card that should work under Yosemite according to this post. I use these web drivers myself in Yosemite, but for the GTX 970 card which is also a Maxwell card. Follow this guide to install the NVIDIA web drivers that make this solution possible. Once the drivers are installed, they are easily updated using the interface.

/Poul

Owen Green

Hi Poul,

My new evga 980ti superclocked card just arrived and got it all working with your guide, exactly the same way as the 970 I tried about 6 weeks back.

After some use I noticed a couple of things.

My whole system seems a little sluggish while the egpu is plugged in, just little things like loading applications or the file explorers take longer than usual? This usually isn’t a problem without the egpu.

And sometimes when I go to start the setup and I power my mac on, everything starts to spin, but the laptop screen remains blank and doesn’t chime at all.

This doesn’t happen all the time but just wanted to see if there were any quick fixes or troubleshooting tips.

Any help appreciated, thanks,
Owen

Poul Serek

Hi Owen

Sorry for the late reply, I just got back from vacation!

The only thing I noticed is that loading a lot of textures is slower using eGPU systems because of the lower bandwidth, but that is really minor. Are you using an external monitor setup of internal? I have sometimes notices lower frame rates using the internal screen but I solved this by using an OPTIMUS boot file, see this guide here. Since then I have not experienced any problems with slowdowns.

The above also solved my few rare “blank” screen problems on boot which are similar to yours. It is worth a try in my opinion.

/Poul

Owen Green

Hi Paul,

Hope you had a good vacation! It turns out there was a software problem somewhere along the line, a fresh 8.1 install solved my problems!

However, I tried putting my setup sprawl into a case, and something must have broken because it’s no longer working. The blue light will come on when my MacBook boots, but the fans will wobble every 7/8 seconds and not register the egpu with my Mac like it used to, which bugs me as it was all working fine!

Thanks again, Owen

Poul Serek

Hi Owen

Hmmm, there are a few things you can try, but it sounds like a little bit of detective work might be needed :/ Could be a loose connection somewhere which breaks the PCI-E connection and / or power to the card.

  • Try using the other Thunderbolt port on the MacBook
  • Make sure the PCI-E riser is firmly attached to both the graphics card and AKiTiO Thunder2
  • Make sure the powered molex for the PCI-E riser is connected and all of the power connecters are connected to the graphics card
  • If using molex power adapters to giver power to your card, make sure not all of them are on the same PSU rail

/Poul

Owen Green

Thanks for the response Poul!

I don’t think power to the card is an issue, I’ve tried both a 2 molex to 6 pin as well as a 2 sata power to 6 pin with similar bad results, the second connection being a straight 8 to 6 plus 2 from psu. My 980 ti I’m using has LEDs which light up so I think power if fine. The molex connection powering the riser is attached firmly as the card will not light up without it.

Both ends of the riser are firmly attached. I actually have two risers, both seem to have same results, think they’re working ok.

I’ve still got that broken thunderbolt connector so I’ll try and get that fixed asap and try again, but my working one was fine up until I moved my equipment into a case, it seems suspicious it would stop working at that very instant?

With the power supply working fine, card working fine in my tower pc, riser also working, it seems to be the akitio box at fault if not the MacBook? I’ve got it all set up exactly the same way as before and something doesn’t seem to work, so unless the akitio PCB was damaged on case entry? But all the lights still work, I don’t get it!

Thanks again, Owen

Poul Serek

It should work fine since many people use mac minis to run the same kind of Thunderbolt 2 eGPU. The GTX 750 ti draws around 60 watts of power according to here, which is too close to the maximum the AKiTiO power supply can handle. But the PCIe port on the AKiTiO can only supply 25 watts of power so you will need an extra psu to supply the power (e.g. using a powered PCIe riser) or modding the AKiTiO Thunder 2 to supply the full power from the power supply through the PCIe port (not recommended)

Poul Serek

Not much, I would say that with at least 100 watts of power you should be safe. 70 watts from the GTX 750 ti (max power consumption I could find) + 10 watts to the AKiTiO box = 80 watts. Add another 20% to sure (never run a power supply on full load all the time) = 80*1,2 ~ 100 watt. So I would buy a replacement power brick for maybe 120+ watt. You only need to power the PCIe riser, there is no need to power the AKiTiO

/Poul

J

Hi,
First of all thanks for the great instructions! :-) I built an eGPU with the following components:

  • EVGA GTX980 SC ACX2.0, Akitio Thunder2 + powered rise, Sharkoon silentstorm 450W PSU -MacMini2012 and MacBookAir2013 (both with Thunderbolt 1)

Everything seemed to work from the first try! However:

  • OS X: rendering (e.g. Blender, Octane) no problems
  • OS X: 3D tests (e.g. Heaven, Valley) crash the GPU almost right away.
  • Windows 8.1/10: same as above.

I can solve the crashing in Windows by underclocking the GPU by 150-200Mhz (EVGA Precision tool) Everything is stable after that and there are no crashes. Most games work at 1080p with high/max details at 30-60fps even with Thunderbolt 1! :-)

Could the reason for crashing be that I’m using only Thunderbolt1? Or that the power through the riser is not stable enough?

I would really like use the GPU on OS X side as well. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Poul Serek

Hi

Glad that you can at least get it working in Windows. It seems to me that the setup is not getting enough power since you can underclock the setup and run stable. The 450W PSU should be more than enough and you use a powered riser, at least on paper. The PSU is also single rail so there should not be a problem overloading a rail. According to the PSU specs it can deliver 324 watts of power on the 12V rail. As far as I can see the GTX 980 from EVGA you have has 2 6-pin connecters (75 watts each, total 150 watts) + the 75 watts from the PCIe port = 225 watts. So again we should not have a problem here.

My mind comes back to the powered PCIe riser. Lets assume it does not supply any additional power, then we have 150 watts from the two 6-pin connecters and 25 watts from the AKiTiO Thunder2 box for a total of 175 watts. This is actually 10 watts short of the maximum power draw according to EVGA which is 185 watts.

So to stop my rant and answer your questions :)

Using Thunderbolt 1 should not have any impact, only slower performance. I use Thunderbolt 1 on my old laptop without any problems. I think it has something to do with the power, more specifically the from the PCIe riser. Which riser are you using?

/Poul

J

Hi,

I also assume it’s something to do with the power or I might have a faulty GPU. There has been some cases of faulty EVGA cards with similar symptoms and replacing the card has solved the issues (or under clocking it to factory speeds), however I don’t have a PC around I could test whether the GPU is at fault. I have another powered riser (1x to 16x) and the GPU also crashes with that under load although it seems that the 16x-16x riser takes a bit longer to crash.

The riser I’m using is a 16x to 16x powered molex riser (http://www.dx.com/p/pci-e-16x-to-16x-riser-card-extender-ribbon-cable-w-molex-connector-black-grey-23cm-304484)

I’m thinking that the power/voltage the GPU is getting through the riser is not stable enough and/or the GPU is very sensitive to the voltage/power its getting and shuts itself down under load.

I could of course create a custom under clocked BIOS and flash the GPU. Then it would most likely work without crashing in OS X too. Anyways I’m glad I can render without problems in OS X and play games (with the under clocking) in windows! :-)

Now I’m just waiting for this to come available so I can put all the components in a nice case:
https://www.dan-cases.com/dana4.php

Thanks for the reply!

J

Poul Serek

Hi again

The PCIe riser looks fine and of high quality. Other than swapping out components or trying in a PC build as you suggested, I don’t see what else you can do. You could talk to EVGA directly and RMA the GPU. They were willing to swap my card because of some coil whine, but it is a shot in the dark.

By the way, the case you are waiting for looks really nice! I might upgrade to this case myself.

/Poul

J

Hi,

I found the reason why the card was unstable… I remember reading in various threads that “always check/switch the PSU” first! :) Didn’t think that was the problem as it was brand new one and rated at 450W. The Sharkoon cant cope with the power/voltage required by the GTX980. (Currently using a Fractal Design 800W Platinum ATX PSU)

NOTE: Do not use/buy the Sharkoon Silentstorm 450W PSU for eGPU setups. It cannot run at full power e.g. the EVGA GTX 980 SC.

Now to return the Sharkoon PSU… Any recommendations for a quality SFX PSU?

J

Lorenzo

Hi,
This blog is awesome!

I’m just wondering about setting up a DIY evga configuration for my macbook late 2013. I have a few questions:

  1. Does it works with Windows 10 ?
  2. I have my bootcamp uefi partition configured with Nvidia drivers installed which i use for my work..should i Perform a fresh windows installation? I hope no cause i don’t wanna loose my applications..it could be a waste of time
  3. Is this configuration plug and play? I suppose it is but please just give me your feedback about this point

Thank you for attention,best regard

Poul Serek

Hi Lorenzo

Thank you! Since you already have NVIDIA drivers installed I assume you have a Macbook Pro with a NVIDIA graphics card inside. This should be possible as described here.

  1. I have not tried it with Windows 10 yet, but according to this post some people have gotten it to work, but not everyone, read more here. I would not recommend upgrading right now for you because you might need to reinstall everything to get it working.
  2. If you already have a working installation with NVIDIA drivers I would try that first. I also recommend using something like WinClone to backup the Bootcamp partition just in case something goes wrong, I use this program myself
  3. It should be plug and play because of the EVGA card and a compatible Thunderbolt laptop. By plugin and play I mean that you still need to turn off the laptop, then connect the EGPA setup, then boot into Windows Bootcamp. Unplugging the setup requires to turn off the laptop and unplug the cable. But that is the most plug and play you can get for now until Thunderbolt 3 comes out.

/Poul

Lorenzo

Thank you so much Paul!
I m going to follow your blog and the forum threads you linked,probably in 2016 more people will try this configuration with Win 10(it s already installed on my bootcamp partition..i had some troubles with the dear old Win 7 so i decided to upgrade my system). For sure that s what i meant about a plug n play config..it s not definitely a consolle but i m sure if it will work i ll love it :)
The main reason why i want to set up this gaming system is the Oculous Rift Visor that will be released during the next year. It should be awesome having a Macbook setted with an external video card that let you play games with a vr visor !
Btw thanks again for your reply,keep going !

Poul Serek

No problem :)

If you are going to wait until 2016 then you might get lucky and the able to buy Thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards, Intel will officially support it by then! Read more about it here.

/Poul

Lorenzo

Hum..sounds interesting but i m so sure it s gonna be a little expensive! Btw just one point i didn t completely understand: why we should pick up EVGA cards only? Probably for the highest chipset compatibily? Because Apple itself mounts this kind of cards on our macs? I ve found a beautiful PNY GTX 970 for 300 € and i was thinking about it..the price sounds good but i don t want to waste my money!

Thank you again and have a nice weekend :)

Poul Serek

Hi Lorenzo

The EVGA cards are powered differently internally which makes it more plug and play. Specifically it can send a signal to power up the ATX power supply automatically. With a BIOS based system it meant without an EVGA card I had to manually time when to power on the ATX power supply. With EVGA, the card did it for me. With newer (U)EFI based system it might be irrelevant, but since I never had any problems using EVGA cards I will keep recommending them :)

/Poul

Toni

Hello

Why everybody talks about windows !? :)

Does it work on os x would be much more interesting. I have a mac because of os x mainly, other then that there might be better options for running windows.
Anyway I would need it to run graphic application who support multiple gpu. Currently running a mac pro, most of the processing can be offloaded on the gpu, so a current mbp with a good external gpu would do a great job.

Besides the r9 nano is out and should fit into the aktitio thunder2 native. Not sure about the power consumption. I did not find any drivers for mac os though from ati. Nvidia always provides mac drivers now.

Best regards

Poul Serek

Hi Toni

Well with Windows you can drive the internal screen of the laptop with the external GPU, something that is not possible with OS X, therefore Windows is more fun :) It does work with OS X, I have not written a recent post about it, but check out http://www.journaldulapin.com/2014/12/04/a-nvidia-maxwell-card-with-thunderbolt-on-a-mac-running-yosemite/ on getting an NVIDIA card working under OS X using an external monitor. Using an ATI card under OS X is also possible, check out this forum here: https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/forum/113-implementation-guides-apple/

And more specifically the following post: https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/6745-2014-15%E2%80%9D-mbp-iris-2x-r9_280x16gbps-tb2-netstor-na211tb-win81osx-goalque/

There are not many posts on using an ATI card under OS X, the above is the closest thing I know and that is not even using an AKiTiO Thunder2. I would still recommend an NVIDIA card to fit in the AKiTiO Thunder2, just remember that the PCIe port can only supply 25 watts of power.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Vikramjit

Yes it is possible with the correct hardware. Take a look at my post here that explains the requirements to use the internal screen of the laptop. To sum it up, the recommended way and the most popular is to have a Optimus enabled laptop and a NVIDIA graphics card. There are other ways of getting it to work, but I have not tried this myself, but check out this post where you can use third party software for getting AMD graphics cards to work using the internal screen.

/Poul

Pavel

Hi. I wanna build the same setup as you. The question is, how do I know my macbook( Macbook pro 13 retina mid 2014 with intel Iris 5100) support intel gpu Optimus, so I can use internal display in windows 8.1?

Other question, where can I download UEFI version of Windows 8.1?

Thanks for this epic guide, much appreciated

Poul Serek

Hi Pavel

You should be fine, the Macbook Pro 13 retina mid 2014 does support Optimus and people have gotten the internal screen of the laptop running just fine as you can see here. UEFI is not a version of Windows, but how it is installed. Check if your installed Windows 8.1 is installed correctly using this link. According to this post, bootcamp should already install Windows as UEFI, but if not it also includes a how to guide.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Percy

My AKiTiO Thunder 2 is deeply embedded in my exoskeleton case so it is difficult to take out. But I found these two old pictures of the PCB that might help you:

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Shahrookh

No, you need a Thunderbolt port for this to work. But depending on what ports you do have you can built a similar system. Take a look at my post here and scroll down to “PCIe enclosure”. Something like the Bplus PE4L can use an Express card or mini PCIe slot. It is only a quarter of the bandwidth but plenty of horsepower. This is what I did in my post here where you do not need the Express Card to Thunderbolt adapter.

/Poul

Michael

I have an asusg75 vx with built nivada with thunderbolt 1 and i was wonder if it would be better to stick with the nivada cards or switch to an evga card. I want to put an nividia gtx 970. Would that be ok?

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

My recommendation is to always use NVIDIA cards for eGPU setups and if you don’t already own a NVIDIA card then purchase one from EVGA. I myself am using a NVIDIA EVGA GTX 970 card both for Thunderbolt 1 and 2 so that should work just fine.

/Poul

Michael

Actually i want to use an evga 980 card. What power supply would i need?

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

According to this page a reference GTX 980 have 2 6 pin connectors that supplies 75watts each and the PCIe port itself can supply another 75watts = 225watt. Add another 25% as we don’t like running a power supply fully loaded = 270 watt. Round up to 300 watts and that is you target for how much the power supply should be able to deliver on the 12v rail. Since not all power from a power supply is 12v, you should aim for a 400 - 500 watt quality power supply or higher.

/Poul

AlGee

Hello! I’ve gotten this working with a Quadro K2200 card. My only issues is I need to have a monitor plugged into the card for my system to recognize it. Did you get this to work without plugging a monitor into the graphics card?

When I don’t have a monitor plugged into the graphics card and go to the Nvidia control panel-no options show up. Thanks a lot!

Poul Serek

Hi AlGee

Yes, I have gotten the setup to work without an external monitor, also known as Optimus mode. You can read more in my post here and here. To sum it up, you must use Windows (8.x or 10 with the correct driver should be fine) since OSX does not support Optimus and your laptop must support Optimus (physically you need an intel iGPU that is hooked up to the laptop screen directly). Which laptop do you have?

/Poul

Michael

Which port is better, the thunderbolt 1 port or the on board pcie mini port as far as getting the most output from the egpu

Poul Serek

Hi Michael

If I understand your question correctly you are asking which port is fastes, Thunderbolt 1 or Mini PCIe. Thunderbolt 1 is 10 Gbit/s per device while Mini PCIe is limited to 2.5 Gbit/s for PCI v1.0 and 5 Gbit/s for PCI v2.0. I am not sure if Mini PCIe supports PCI v3.0 or v4.0, but if it does the speed is 8 Gbit/s or 16 Gbit/s. So it really depends on which version of Mini PCIe you have, but most likely Thunderbolt 1 is the fastes for eGPU.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Marquis

You can’t, you need to modify the AKiTiO Thunder 2, fit the whole thing into an existing PC case or do as me and built an exeskeleton case using OpenBeam as described here. I have since that post removed the Sonnet Echo Express SE II and made the whole setup smaller. Some have had success fitting a smaller card in the box, but these cards are limited in power.

/Poul

Yuki

Hey Poul
I have a nvidia gtx 750 ti and i was wondering if i need a psu to make it work because i dont want to waste my money

Poul Serek

Hi Yuki

The PCIe port on the AKiTiO Thunder2 is only supplying 25 watts so this is not enough for the GTX 750 ti. It can be modified to supply up to 50 watts using the the supplied adapter, but this is still short of what the GTX 750 ti needs. If you upgrade to a 120 watt power brick you can supply the full 75 watts of power as described here, that is the closest you can get without using a full size ATX power supply.

/Poul

Jiaqi Long

Hi, Thanks for posting the tutorial, I ran in to an issue: when I go in to a game or run a benchmark, the whole set up freezes and everything stops working, do you have any idea why it didn’t work?

I have:
EVGA 780 Ti
750W ATX power supply
Powered 16X to 16X riser
Akitio Thunder 2
and Macbook Pro late 2013 with 750m

Poul Serek

Hi Jiaqi

If you underclock your graphics card, can you then run the benchmarks without crashing? If yes, then it might be a power stability issue, either the power supply is at fault or the powered riser might be of low quality. TechInferno does not recommend using powered risers any more, but I have not had any problems with them. But too often I see people buying inferior quality risers.

/Poul

Jiaqi

A little more info: The GPU does not work what so ever and crashes the whole system when it needs to process anything intense (GTA V will crash once I set it at 1080p or anything above, but runs at 600*800)
is there a way for us to contact 1on1 and can you fix my problem please? I’m willing to pay for your time…

Poul Serek

Hi Jiaqi

Just send me a message on Facebook or Google+ and I will try to help you, the info is on my blog.

/Poul

William Smith

I really appreciate the guide. Can you explain why you used a powered riser? Are you just using it for stability or does the card need the extra power? Also, if I didn’t use a riser and just directly put a half length GPU in it, would I run into any problems as long as I plug in the 8 pin connector to a PSU?

Poul Serek

Hi William

I just use it just in case the card need to draw more than 25 watts of power from the PCIe port. Normally a card can expect to draw 75 watts from the PCIe port, but AKiTiO Thunder2 is limited to 25 watts with the bundled power supply. With the riser it can draw 75 watts just fine. If your card gets enough peak power from the 6pin and / or 8pin connecters + the 25 watts from the PCIe port, then you should be fine without the riser.

/Poul

Poul Serek

… and with the powered PCIe riser I don’t need the bundled AKiTiO power supply, but without the riser it you need to use it as far as I know

/Poul

Roy

This guide is really helpful. I’m planning to have 2 egpu with Akitio Thunder2 Quad (enclosure). Do you think it’s possible to put 2 egpu in the enclosure or should I go for 2 enclosure?

Poul Serek

Hi Roy

Glad you find the guide helpful! It is not possible to use the AKiTiO Thunder2 Quad for eGPU, it is only for storage. I would recommend getting two AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe enclosures since they are cheap. You can also opt for the Sonnet Echo Express SE II for about the same price as two AKiTiOs which does have 2 PCIe slots for graphics cards, but I did have some issues with the Sonnet back when I ran it with Windows 7 BIOS. If I used it today with Windows 10 UEFI I might have had a better experience with it.

/Poul

Roy

Thank you so much for your quick reply. I think I should go for two AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe . Did you use the riser because the gpu doesn’t fit in the box?

Poul Serek

I use the riser to be sure that the graphics card can draw up to 75 watts of power through the PCIe port, the AKiTiO Thunder2 can only supply 25 watts with the supplied power brick. If you get enough power from the 6pin / 8pin power connecters alone and don’t need the 75 watts of power from the PCIe port, then you should be fine. Any card will fit in the AKiTiO PCIe slot, but you might have to unscrew the motherboard from the box or modify it a bit to fit the larger graphic cards.

/Poul

Jeremy

So, this is pretty exciting. I have 2011 Macbook Pro 17”. Running Windows 10 in bios (legacy) boot mode. Akitio Thunder 2 PCI-e, Rosewill gold PSU, EVGA GTX 970 plugged directly into Akitio (no riser), and latest Nvidia Driver (364.51 win10 64bit). Macbook Pro has all bootcamp drivers installed and working (internal Radeon 6750M fully working). It just booted into Windows 10 with eGPU fully working. Ran several Steam VR tests and score either very top of “Capable” (yellow bar), or into low end of “Ready” (green bar). Only drawback, I have to boot using the timing method. Thunderbolt cable plugged in, but PSU powered off. Boot holding option, to boot selection screen. Hit enter on Windows, wait 3 seconds, and power on PSU. (Akitio is powered from PSU using barrel adapter). I thought only an EFI mode install of Win10 would work, but was shocked when this booted for me. Perhaps latest Nvidia drivers changed something?

Poul Serek

Hi Jeremy

Great that it is working! I remember back when I was running Windows 7 BIOS mode I had to do similar timings tricks to get it all working, so I am not surprised it still works in Windows 10. The problems I had with an BIOS install was not enough PCI memory space for the eGPU setup and had to do PCI compaction using DIY eGPU setup 1.30… so it was easier just to stick with an EFI install. With EFI you should not need to do any timing tricks, but it is still a small price to pay for getting a setup such as this to work.

/Poul

chingpheav

hi i already setup it and already installed GPU driver but when i run a game it seem run on my builtin GPU how can i switch it to my external GPU
MY SPEC
IMAC 27INCH late 2013
GPU GTX 775M
RAM 8GB
my external setup
Akitio tunderbolt 2
GTX 980 TI

Poul Serek

Hi Chingheav

Assuming everything is set up correctly, you can go into the NVIDIA control panel and set the preferred GPU to the GTX 980ti. This works for me, but I only have a single discrete GPU. Since you have two discrete GPS, the internal GTX 775M and the external GTX980ti I am not sure how this works. You might try disabling the GTX 775M if it does not work.

/Poul

Art

Hi,

I have an r7 360. I have an all in one desktop that has thunderbolt Windows PC (not Mac). If I buy the aitiko and the riser will it work on my PC? I want it mostly for gaming, and I have a PSU as well. Thanks

Evan

Hello,

Just want to thank you for the information. Im new to this and just got my mid 2014 macbook pro 15” with intel iris pro graphics only.

Will this guide work with windows 10?

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

It should work just fine, there are plenty people who have getting this to work with mid 2014 Macbook pros, both with and without an internal discrete GPU. Windows 10 should work fine if using an external monitor, but not everyone can get it working with the internal monitor. I have done it, but it took a few tries before I successfully booted repeatably. It is always a good idea to take a look at TechInferno to be sure. You can also follow the link in my post to the Windows 10 guide.

/Poul

Evan

Thank you Poul, also last question, would you recommend the evga gtx 970FTW or the 980?

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

It depends on your needs. I use the GTX 970 myself and think it hits a sweet spot between price and performance. If you need to game at 4K resolutions and you can afford it you should take a look at GTX 980 ti which has more VRAM and horsepower. But since the next generation of NVIDIA cards might be out later this year, I would still go for the GTX 970 FTW and wait to see if you can get better single GPU 4K performance.

/Poul

William Smith

Quick question: If I am worried about getting a crappy powered riser, can I just use a 12V 120W power supply on the Akitio unit? Their website says that it supports power supplies up to 120W. I would use the one here:
http://www.amazon.com/short-circuit-com-AC-DC-Switching-Power-Adapter/dp/B00638KS3W
If I did my math right (I’m horrible at electrical) that will leave 85W available to the GPU? This is the link on their website with the power information:
https://www.akitio.com/faq/270-thunder2-pcie-box-what-s-the-maximum-power-output-through-the-pcie-slot
So if I used that power supply, shouldn’t the unit then supply a max 85W through the PCI-E slot without the need for a powered riser? Thanks for the help! And I apologize if you have already answered this before.

Poul Serek

Hi William

I am not sure if you can get go above the 75 watt limit of the PCIe standard, but plenty if people have upgraded to a 120 watt power supply to get (at least) the full 75 watts from the PCIe port. You might not even need a riser, but I like to make sure the card can draw the 75 watts of power. So yes, that should eliminate the need for a riser.

/Poul

Evan

Hello again Poul,

I installed windows 10 via bootcamp on my macbook pro. I do not know what UEFI mode is. Was i supposed to do this while installing windows 10? I know you have the instructions to do so for windows 8.1?
Thanks again.

Tom Lube

Also, I have a 360W power supply and the card I want to use (EVGA 970) recommends 400 - I’m assuming this is because it expects me to connect other things. Will I be fine with only 360?

Tom Lube

Finally (sorry hahahaha) my Windows 10 partition is EFI and not UEFI. Is this an issue?

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Sorry for the late reply, but just got back from vacation. I would still get a good quality 8x-16x or 16x-16x powered riser. The Thunderbolt port will limit some bandwith so you do not need a full 16x-16x PCIe riser.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

It should just be fine with a quality 360 watt power supply. The recommended power supply is the total system including CPU, motherboard, harddisk and so on. The actual card is rated for 128 watt max, but take this with a grain of salt as cards can draw much more for shorter periods of time. But 360 watts should be plenty of power.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

No problem :) Check this this, the last part. It should say UEFI, EFI might be the partition type. But I think everything is fine, even if you run a BIOS setup it is possible to get everything working. Which laptop do you have?

/Poul

Tom Lube

I have the march 2015 MacBook Pro retina - i7 3,1ghz/16gb RAM/512GB hard drive! So if UEFI/EFI is basically the same thing I don’t think I will have a problem.

Can you please explain a bit more what the riser is for? Is it required? I don’t really understand. Does the card not plug directly into the slot in the Thunder2? I am well versed in electronics (have built computers before but this is outside my wheelhouse so I want to totally understand what’s going on here)

Tom Lube

Also, I checked that file and yes, it’s an EFI install.

“2016-04-28 04:36:04, Info IBS Callback_BootEnvironmentDetect: Detected boot environment: EFI”

You can just reply to this post with the answers, don’t need to reply to both. Thank you so much for finally encouraging me to get an eGPU :)

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Happy to encourage you! Yes, you should be fine with as you have an UEFI install.

When you plugin the GTX 960 directly into the AKiTiO Thunder2 you can draw a maximum of 25 watts from the PCIe port itself and 75 watts from the 6-pin connector to the GTX 960 itself which is 100 watts total. The card needs more than that, 128 watts according to the link you posted. A normal full length PCIe slot can supply 75 watts of power, but the AKiTiO Thunder limits this to 25 watts because of the small power supply unit. So normally you would have 75 + 75 = 150 watts of power, plenty for the card. If the card had an 8-pin connector (150 watts) or two 6-pin connectors (75+75=150 watts) we would have enough power without the power from the PCIe port. To solve the problem with the AKiTiO Thunder2 not supplying enough power we can do one of two things:

  1. Upgrade the AKiTiO Thunder2 power supply to a 120 watt, this enables the AKiTiO Thunder2 to safely supply 75 watts from the PCIe port
  2. Use a powered riser to the missing 50 watts of power from the PCIe port

So the riser is just a solution to be sure that the GTX 960 can to draw more than 25 watt of power through the PCIe port. An added perk is that with a powered riser you don’t need the power supply from the AKiTiO Thunder2 anymore, it also powers the Thunder2.

Hope that answers your question.

/Poul

Tom Lube

Ah okay cool! While I actually got this exact card:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487091

It is indeed an 8 pin adapter on the card, (and also comes with a 6+6 pin to 8 pin adapter which is what I would use) would I not be correct in assuming this would be sufficient to power the card with the 500w power supply I have? I would not be using the power supply on the Thunder2 at all in this configuration, assuming I don’t need to. Thank you very much for your help in everything and for finally giving me the courage to go ahead and do this.

I’ll be sure to write about this and post plenty of pictures when I am done! Thank you again for your patience.

Poul Serek

With an 8-pin connector (150 watts) and the 25 watts from the AKiTiO Thunder2 you should be fine according to the 160 watts maximum power draw of the card. But I think you still need the power supply from the AKiTiO Thunder2 if you don’t use a powered riser.

Tom Lube

Okay cool. You have been insanely helpful. Thank you so much mate.

Evan

Also poul, what good quality pcie riser would you recommend? Thank you so much, your a wealth of information.

Evan

Last question lol. Also I have seen that you can pry open the front of the akino box to fit a large egpu like the gtx970 so a riser is not needed is this true?

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

Yes, I have seen a few do this, but the riser is primarily used to be sure that the card can draw enough power from the PCIe port and eliminate the power supply from AKiTiO.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

I am pretty sure that the AKiTiO Thunder2 will fit inside, maybe even without using a PCIe riser. Just take a look at my homemade case here where I just took out the motherboard from the AKiTiO Thunder 2 (direct link to the photo here)

/Poul

Luca

Hey Paul,
I was searching on the internet for information about making an eGPU and i found your article the most accurate. The only thing that is still confusing me is where to buy the PCI-e to thunderbolt adaptor.
I read on the AKiTiO that the card is not included and i serched it alover the internet but i get nothing. May i ask u where did u get one and (if u know more card of that type) which is the cheaper?

Thanks, Luca.

Poul Serek

Hi Luca

Get this riser, I use them myself and they have worked flawlessly. You can get them cheaper, but then the quality goes down, so stick with these.

/Poul

Evan

Poul,

Is there on benefit on connecting the gpu directly to the akitio board instead of using a riser?
Will there be a speed increase since the riser will not be used?

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

As long as you use a 8x or 16x PCIe riser there should not be any difference in speed. The benefit is that you make sure that the GPU can draw more than 25 watts of power if it needs to and that you do not need to use the supplied power brick from AKiTiO. If the GPU gets enough power from the 6 / 8-pin connectors then you really don’t need the riser.

/Poul

Martin

I’m gonna try to change, my gtx 880m on my asus with your setup, but I can’t figure out if it is worth it. I fear that I don’t get more fps than I get with my gtx 880m?
I’m gonna use my gtx 980ti with a raiser and a good power supply.

Poul Serek

Hi Martin

You should see a huge improvement in frame rate, you are comparing a mobile graphics card to a desktop version. Just take a look here. And the performance hit for Thunderbolt 2 type setups are minimal as you can see here.

You might want to wait and get the GTX 1080 which is out very soon.

/Poul

Martin

Hey Poul
My laptop has only Thunderbolt 1, but is it fast enough?
If I look at Akitio’s pci speed it should be.

Best regard
Martin

Poul Serek

Hi Martin

Just look at the frame rates for the first grey bar (PCIe x4 v1.1) in the links in my previous comment, that is about the performance hit in various games that you can expect with Thunderbolt 1. It varies from game to game, but the sum of the test can be seen here. To sum up, depending on resolution the performance hit should be around 12 to 28% using Thunderbolt 1. But it will still be much faster than the GTX 880M.

/Poul

JOHN

Hello I have a box and I have a graphics card GTX 960 SC fan and I also have one power supply 500 Watt Do I need to PCI-Express PCI-E 8X to 16X Riser Card Flexible Ribbon Extender Cable ??

Martin

I’m not sure, but I think the Riser card is for larger cards.

Poul Serek

Hi John

The card draws 128 watt if it is the EVGA one as far as I can see and it has a single 6-pin connector. Without a riser the maximum power you can get is 75 (from the 6-pin connector) + 25 (from the AKiTiO PCIe port) = 100 watt which is too little. Normally the cards expect to be able to draw 75 watts from the PCIe port, but the AKiTiO Thunder 2 limits this to. If you have a 8-pin connecter, then you can draw 150 + 25 = 175 watts which is more than enough. You can solve this problem by

  • Use a powered PCI riser
  • Upgrade the power brick to the AKiTiO Thunder 2 to 120 watt. This will ensure 75 watts of power through the PCIe port

/Poul

mouah

I’m trying to run a two-week card GTX 960 sc but all proved definition of the card and make a re-run of the device show me a black screen when the Separate entrance thunderbolt and make a run of new device works Does the problem of energy and I need Powered Flexible Riser ?

When the machine runs, and I was separated from the stun device operates on the graphics card built

i’m use 6-pin To connect the power from the Supply Alpaor to graphics card

Note that I used

MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)

Installed Windows 10 categorize Mac in with boot Camp

Please I want a solution to that I am fed up and I’ve paid for everything I possess Is it possible to communicate with you via social networking necessity programs

And if I could not play it Is it possible to sell this item? that I come to the United States After a month

Thank you for all of the foregoing us explain

Poul Serek

Hi Mouah

Did you use the paperclip trick to turn on the power supply to the graphic card and can you confirm that it delivers power? Also try to get the setup working using an external monitor connected to the graphic card, this is the easiest setup to troubleshoot. Finally, some people have issues with the 2015 Macbook Pro Retina 2015 as you can read here. My social networking info is in the left sidebar of this homepage.

/Poul

mouah

Yes, I have used the trick and you try to run an external card via the Wall HDMI thank you

mouah

I have the power measurement device and you measure the entrance to the 6-pin was 12 volts This means that he has an energy

Poul Serek

Hmm, then it could be the MacBook 2015 which I know many had issues with. Try following this post which works with the 2015 MacBook. It also contains specific boot steps.

/Poul

Sam

Hi. Do you know if the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 will fit and work smoothly in the AKiTio thunder2? Also, would I need to buy a stronger fan to cool this graphics card, and would I need to buy a power chord that will give more “juice” to the graphics card?

Poul Serek

Hi Sam

It should work just fine, but most cards will not fit in the AKiTiO case. You will need to purchase an external power supply and maybe a powered PCIe riser. You can always fit a card by taking the motherboard out from the AKiTiO Thunder 2 case. You can put the whole thing inside a small mini-itx case or make on yourself as I have done here.

/Poul

Evan

Poul,

Thank you again for all answering everyone on the message board here including myself.

Quick question, if i do not want to use a Riser will i need to get a barrel plug like this https://www.amazon.com/Extra-6-Pin-2-1mm-Barrel-Gridseed/dp/B00KB3R8YM?ie=UTF8&keywords=6%20pin%20to%20barrel&qid=1464320916&ref_=sr_1_5&sr=8-5

My understanding is that i cannot power the akitio with its power supply and power the GPU with the PSU. Both need to be on the same power source. is this correct?

Thanks again in advance

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

No problem, I am happy to help and share what I know! I would always recommend using a single power supply to power the whole setup, so without a powered riser you would need to use a barrel plug. Take a look at this post. But using two separate power supplies, the one from AKiTiO Thunder2 and a normal ATX power supply should be just fine, I just would not recommend it. Some are doing it just like that, take a look here

/Poul

Evan

Thanks Poul,
Where would you recommend on buying a barrel plug?

Poul Serek

Hi Evan

I would recommend making one yourself from the previous link I supplied, just make sure that you get the cabling right. You can buy them from eBay or other sites, but the feedback I have seen is that they do not always fit and they are a bit expensive. I have not found a good reliable source for these barrel plug adapters to recommend…

/Poul

Kevin

Hi Poul,

Thanks for this awesome write up - it has inspired me to start my own project following in your guidelines.

I do have a question about the screen set up. Currently I run my Macbook Pro Retina (late 2014 model, with Iris Pro) through a 27” Cinema Display and I switch between Mac OS and Bootcamp Windows 10.

I’m wondering what you think would work once I get the eGPU built, would I be able to have the Cinema Display plugged in to the MacBook as usual, but get the eGPU to output display to the Cinema Display? or is the Cinema Display going to need to be plugged directly in to the eGPU?

Just trying to work out the logistics of this as ideally I could just plug everything in to the MacBook and only have the one thunderbolt cable (and power) going to the eGPU.

Thanks in advance,

Kevin

Poul Serek

Hi Kevin

The best performance would be to directly attach the display to the eGPU setup like I have. I still only use a single cable from the laptop, but use a Thunderbolt dock to attach my mouse and keyboard:

MacBook –> eGPU –> External monitor (through HDMI / display port) –> Thunderbolt docking station

As far as I know the Cinema Display can do this, but not the newer Thunderbolt displays, check out this post. But worst case is that you use Optimus to the Thunderbolt attached display, but you will get a performance hit since display data takes away some bandwidth. You should ask around at TechInferno just to be sure, but it should work.

/Poul

Kevin

Hi Poul,

Thanks for your reply, I think it will be a case of experimentation once I get all my parts … my only concern is that if I plug the CInema Display directly in to the eGPU, that will work fine for Windows 10, but if I need to use Mac OS I will need to plug the Cinema Display directly in to the MacBook … not a huge deal I guess in the grand scheme but not streamlined. ;-)

Thanks again, will post my progress.

Kevin

Poul Serek

Hi Kevin

I have used an external non-thunderbolt monitor for both Windows 10 and OSX attached directly to the eGPU so my guess would be if it works on Windows it should also work for OSX.

/Poul

Kevin

Hi Poul,

That is very encouraging, thanks for the info. Keep up the good work.

Kevin

Kevin

Hi Poul,

Just thought I would give an update, finally got all of my parts (the Akitio box took forever to ship to Australia). I literally threw it all together to test, it looks near identical to your picture above currently, plugged in to, booted, installed drivers, rebooted and we’re done.

Side note - it displays flawlessly through the Cinema Display, even when the Cinema Display is plugged directly into the Macbook - once I get my Mini displayport to Displayport adapter I will compare benchmarks to see if there’s a drastic difference between plugging directly into GPU or not, but for now, very happy - you sir have presented the simplest and most efficient means to getting one of these up and running, kudos.

Now to retrofit the Akitio guts into my MiniITX case. :)

Kevin

Poul Serek

Hi Kevin

Fantastic, happy everything worked out! :) You should see a performance difference, but for me it was still fast enough using the Optimus setup with the internal monitor.

/Poul

Kevin

I tested it with an external monitor, the difference in something like Overwatch is about 15-20 fps … which sounds substantial but when you’re already averaging over 100 … really makes no difference.

macn00b

Hello, is the powered PCie riser mandatory? I’m thinking about getting one of the smaller cards https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-Clocked-Graphic-04G-P4-3962-KR/dp/B00VX1MJQ8/ref=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_i I want it to be able to fit inside the Akitio thunderbox so I might get the mini gtx 960 for my mid-2014 Retina Macbook Pro 15”. I assume only a PSU, akitio box, and the gpu are needed, am I correct? Also in regards to drivers for the 960 working on OSX, would I have to go anywhere special to obtain them?
Thanks!

Poul Serek

Hi MacnOOb

Depending on which GTX 960 from EVGA it is, the cards draws between 128 and 160 watts, check out this page here. If the card only draws 128 watts it only has a 6-pin connecter that delivers 75 watts of power. The AKiTiO Thunder 2 is limited to 25 watts of power so that totals to 100 watts total which is not enough to power the card under full load. You could upgrade the power supply of the AKiTiO Thunder 2 to 120 watt power brick and get the full 75 watts of power from the PCIe port which would be enough. If the card draws 160 watt it has a 8-pin connector that can supply 150 watts + 25 watt from the AKiTiO Thunder 2 = 175 watt which is enough.

With a PCIe riser you can avoid all this and don’t mix two different power supplies, one for the AKiTiO Thunder 2 and one for the GPU (6/8-pin power connector). You could also buy a large 200+ watt power brick and split the power between the AKiTiO Thunder 2 and the GPU, but make sure you do not give the AKiTiO Thunder 2 more than 120 watts of power!

You just download the official NVIDIA drivers from their webpage for OS X and follow this guide.

/Poul

Tom Lube

Hey Poul. I got all my stuff now, installed the drivers (Nvidia recognises it when I plug it in after the computer is turned off!) But when I try to boot the computer up with the GPU plugged in, it just stays at the windows 10 ‘rotating dots’ loading screen. Here’s my info:

retina MacBook Pro 2015, 3,1gHz i7, 512GB/16GBRAM, Windows 10 64bit on a 130gb partition (internal).

Boot steps: Unplug everything, turn off Power Supply for the Graphics card and for the Akitio box.

Plug Thunderbolt cable into computer while laptop is turned OFF.

Turn on PSU for graphics card and Akitio box. (Using a surge protector strip, turn them on at the exact same time).

Wait ~15 seconds, turn MacBook Pro on holding Option key. (Type in firmware password). Select Windows partition.

Screen goes black. Comes back on (still black colour). Loading dots come up. Spin around. Will stay like this for 10 minutes (longest I left it, since I’m assuming that’s a fuckup)

Really don’t know what to do anymore. Checked the link you sent about powering on on the 2015 MacBook Pro and following that to a tee. Drivers ARE already installed in the GeForce Experience app on Windows successfully.

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Are you using an external monitor attached to the graphic card or beam the signal back to the laptop? Lets try to get this working with an external monitor first.

/Poul

Poul Serek

And I know that the 2015 Macbook pro is problematic for many users, but not all. Windows 8.1 might also be a solution if all else fails, but lets try that last.

/Poul

Tom Lube

Hey Poul.

I pretty much immediately ditched 10 (it’s not that big a deal for me. i was more comfortable with 8 anyway) and got it working. I can even use my wireless controller for xbox one!

Booting is still a little finicky. Sometimes the mac refuses to boot, and I have to disconnect/reconnect the magsafe charger while holding down the power button. Occasionally still getting boot hangs too, any ideas how to reduce that? Currently, I turn off my PC power supply, unplug/plug the Thunderbolt cable, turn PC power supply on (Using the Akitio box powered as well, i don’t turn that off), wait ~10 seconds and then boot (boots straight into windows). It’s mostly successful but still sometimes fails and I don’t know why- think I’m doing everything the same. Any tips?

PS: thanks for leaving this in a comment on Amazon. You finally encouraged/gave me the bravery to do this (i had wanted to for years).

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Glad that you at least got it working on Windows 8! You should turn everything off, including the AKiTiO Thunder 2 power supply. Are you using a powered PCIe riser? If you do, you can skip using the power supply included with the AKiTiO Thunder 2. Also make sure you do a full shutdown and boot, not the “fast resume / shutdown” feature of Windows that can cause a hassle. A few times I have to disconnect everything, boot into Windows without the eGPU, do a proper full shutdown and then try to connect the eGPU again. Are you using an external monitor or internal? Sometimes the external monitor will be blank, but the computer will otherwise power on and using the eGPU.

Anyway, it is a bit trial and error, but since you already got it working it is just a matter of finding the right steps.

And with Thunderbolt 3 external graphics are finally officially supported with hot-pluggable support so no bravery should be needed anymore :) Just take a look at the Razer Core, but the laptop, graphics card and graphics driver need to support the eGFX standard and currently only a few devices support this.

/Poul

Tom Lube

I’m having trouble getting it to work today and it’s really bothering me. Worked just fine for 3 days and now all it will do is hang at the fucking windows screen with the rotating dots. I’ve tried booting it up in various configurations for hours and making sure everything is seated correctly but no dice and i don’t understand. I also don’t get why the akitio box will flash blue saying there’s a connection but the MacBook itself won’t turn on. Any advice will be greatly appreciated because i am really frustrated with this all right now.

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Ok lets try to fix it. Did you do the full shutdown of both power supplies and Windows as I mentioned before? Are you using an external monitor? Are you using a powered PCIe riser? Are you using the same Thunderbolt port as before?

/Poul

Tom Lube

Yes I’ve been doing that (but also had success with leaving the Akitio box on and powering the PSU on after the computer booted to the choose partition menu). I am using an external monitor but no powered riser. Same thunderbolt port (on both ends) that has worked for me in the past.

Poul Serek

What graphics card do you have? I am wondering if the card is getting enough power since it can only draw 25 watts from the PCIe port without a powered riser.

Tom Lube

It’s a EVGA 960. Gets 8pin power supply which should be 150watts and then 25 from the PCIe box. Should be enough no?

Poul Serek

It should be enough, according to this post it should not consume more than 175 watts of power. And I am assuming you are using a standard brand name ATX power supply so that should not be the issue. Do the Windows dots just keep spinning or do the boot screen actually freeze?

And could you also try the following (assuming you have Windows and OS X installed):

  1. Set Windows to be the default startup operating system
  2. Shutdown the laptop and disconnect the eGPU from the laptop and from the power supplies
  3. Boot into Windows without the eGPU attached and then do a full shutdown
  4. Connect the eGPU and boot automatically into Windows without going into the boot menu first

/Poul

Tom Lube

Hey Poul. weirdly enough the set up you have on this post for turning on the computer does not work for me. however, I did find a set up that worked I turn off all me the power supply and leave the Akitio one on, then power on the computer while holding down the option key and a soon as I hear the chime flip on the power supply I then type in my firmware password and set on the menu until the loading wheel for the Internet disappears then hit enter on Windows partition and it works almost every single time. Perhaps this is worth adding to the article, I don’t know. I know 2015 MacBook Pro are finicky with booting off eGPU. Thank you so much for everything dude. It means a lot to me.

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Glad you got it working again! I will point to this comment if I get any more 2015 MacBook related issues and try to merge all the experience into a common “2015 MacBook” troubleshoot section. And keeping my fingers crossed that the magic boot steps you found keeps on working!

/Poul

Tom Lube

Hey mate, one last question more on the tech side of things - what is the ‘percentage’ compared to normal PCI-e usage (say in a desktop) that you get out of a setup like this? I’ve heard quotes of 90% but this seems even inaccurate given the 20gbps transfer rate and the ~8gbps transfer ceiling of most graphics cards

Poul Serek

Hi Tom

Sounds about right, it is around 15% for Thunderbolt 2 and around 5% for Thunderbolt 3. It depends also on resolution, the higher the resolution the lower the performance hit. Some games are prone to a higher loss than others. If you use the internal monitor you will get a higher performance hit since you are using some of the bandwidth for the signal back to the laptop. I recommend you take a look at this article which is the most comprehensive test I have seen on effects of bandwidth starvation in graphic cards.

/Poul

Chris

Hey Poul, thanks for the great guide. I am embarking on this quest currently, but made a mistake when ordering my pcie riser ( I think ). Take a look at it here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GUKRX6S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is the riser that Amazon claimed was frequently ordered along with the Akitio Thunder 2, and at first glanced it seemed to be good for the job. However, upon setting everything up correctly, I was unable to get my GPU ( reference gtx 970 ) to power on properly. I believe this is due to the riser only have a single power pin.

I have a decent understanding of electronics and how electricity works, and it seems logical that a riser with only a positive power pin would work correctly if the GPU was plugged into the same motherboard as the PSU, because then you have a completed circuit.

However, when the GPU is plugged into the Akitio, and the riser has only a positive pin, there is no completed circuit, causing the GPU to be unable to be powered on.

I ordered a new riser with two power pins, and I hope that this resolves the issue!

Chris

I wanted to order everything from Amazon so I could get it by tomorrow ( very impatient ;) ). Here are the two different things I ordered: This is the pci riser I got:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QBYOLIQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This one, like the one you used, has both a positive and negative cable as well as a capacitor. I am expecting this to be the solution to the problem.

However, I ordered something else just to be sure.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0121QHR2E/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have seen a few people use solutions similar to this to power their card and Akitio, so I figured I might as well grab both for maximum chance at getting this stuff to work. I would prefer not to use the barrel plug however, because then I would have to modify my Akitio to accommodate my large 970.

Thanks for your help, I will let you know how everything goes tomorrow night! Considering making a YouTube video about the whole process, if I do I will be sure to mention this post and give you credit for helping me out.

Poul Serek

Hi Chris

Make sure the barrel plug is correct +/- wise. And with a powered PCIe riser you don’t need anything plugged into the barrel connector.

/Poul

Chris

Good news, everything is up and running! The new pcie riser I got did the trick. Do you happen to know if I could daisy chain a second Akitio into the system with a pcie based ssd inside? I am running out of storage on my MacBook and want to downlaod all my games onto it now :)

Poul Serek

Hi Chris

Great! Yes, you can daisy chain to a second AKiTiO. I did something similar on my old eGPU build, where I had the graphics card in the AKiTiO and my harddisks in my Sonnet Echo Express SE II.

/Poul

Bobby

Hey Chris, do you think you can link the exact riser you ordered from Amazon from the two you tried out? Thanks.

And Thanks Poul for such a thorough tutorial!

Bobby

Doh! I spoke too soon. I hadn’t clicked the second link to notice it was a barrel not another riser option. Scratch that then :)

Poul Serek

Hi Serhly

No, you need a Thunderbolt 1 / 2 port, a mini displayport is not enough as it does not expose the PCIe bus needed for this to work.

/Poul

Dennis

Poul

Thanks for posting this. I bought a GTX 1080 card with a EVGA Supernova 650W G2 PSU as well as the Akitio box, I ordered the riser which is on its way. I am curious if you could give a bit more detail on how you connect your PSU to the GPU? I was fiddling around with the cables which came with the PSU and pretty much the only way I could “connect” the two was using the VGA 8 pin into the GPU and using the 6+2 pin connector into the PSU. I suppose once the Riser gets here I should be able to find a way to connect the PSU to that as well, but I was wondering if the connection to the GPU is acceptable? Or if you could recommend a connector? Thanks again!!!

Poul Serek

Hi Dennis

You are on the right track! You should connect the PSU using the 8 pin connector directly to the GTX 1080 as you have done. When you get the powered PCIe riser, you connect the PSU using a standard MOLEX connector to the PCIe riser. This riser gives both power to the GTX 1080 through the PCIe slot and to the AKiTiO Thunder2 itself. No need for the power supply from AKiTiO.

/Poul

Dennis

Thank you Poul! I get nervous when it comes to hardware, don’t know much about it but trying to learn more! I appreciate the help.

Niko

Hi Poul,

I got a gtx 970 mini that fits in the Akitio. Do I also need a Riser? Do i just connect the PSU to the GTX970 and that was it?

Jesse Burdick

Got my rig set up the same as this one. No problems, detected right away in the device manager in Win 8.1x64 (Bootcamp)….however…it is not detected in DXdiag and the Nvidia control panel says that my monitor is not connected to an Nvidia GPU when in fact it is connected to a GTX 950. Disabling onboard graphics does nothing. Any ideas?

Poul Serek

Hi Jesse

Are you using an external monitor or internal? How is the monitor connected and which laptop do you have?

/Poul

Jesse Burdick

I am using the internal monitor of my IMac 4k late 2015, not a laptop. Nvidia recognized the card and gave me the drivers but it’s still seeing the internal card

Poul Serek

Hmm, I think the iMac might not have Optimus which is a requirement to use the internal monitor. Take a look here where they cannot get it to work. You should ask around at techinferno, but if the iMac does not support Optimus then you might be out of luck. It might be possible to beam the video signal from the GTX 950 back into the iMac using a videograbber card.

Alternatively you can use an external monitor which should work.

Poul

Jesse Burdick

So….I’m in Bootcamp (Windows 8.1) now with an external monitor hooked up to through HDMU from the 950. It still reads the card but there’s no signal to the monitor.

Jesse Burdick

Could not have been easier! Thank you so much for the info! Running on ultra for games and the benchmark program looks gorgeous! I put the whole thing in a nice Rosewill case!

Ish

Thanks for your post Poul. I bought a GTX 1070 card. I have a rMBP early 2015. How can I use the same setup in ubuntu (using internal monitor)?

Poul Serek

Hi Ish

As far as I know it is not possible to use Optimus other than in Windows, therefore you cannot use the internal monitor in Ubuntu. There are tricks, like using a video grabber and routing the signal back in that way, but nothing easy and simple as using Optimus. You should ask around TechInferno to confirm my statement and maybe find a different solution.

/Poul

Dan

Hi Poul,

First of all thanks for the post. I’ve been waiting for something like this.

Would you provide further details how is that you came to the conclusion that EVGA cards work better.

I got my setup (not using a PCI-E Riser yet) running with PSU and AKiTiO Power adapter. Only using it on windows 7. I get my AKiTiO detected and installed, but the card is not being detected.

This is my current behavior: I am not sure if this is related to the issue described by Jeremy’s post on 3/23/2016.

  1. Scenario:
    I turn on the PSU and AKiTiO (Although it doesn’t turn on until the machine is running) plug into the thunderbolt. When I turn on my rMBP-2012 it goes into a chime loop. The mbp never boots up.
    I’ve not seen anyone with this issue.

  2. Scenario:
    With the same sequence described above except before plugging the thunderbolt.
    I start the MBP and go into boot menu, everything works fine until I plug in the AKiTiO, the machine freezes up. <- Of course I would never actually do this, but found this issue during troubleshooting.
    I take it this one is for reasons pertaining to mac os x not supporting eGPU’s natively. In any case I am only interested in using it on a Windows environment.

Weird Scenario:
Seems the card does not need the PSU, it will still turn on as soons the MBP turns on. But again, the card won’t be detected, only the AKiTiO.

I should also mention that I am using an old Nvidia 9800 GT car for testing purposes.

I will however get me a EVGA card. I am just trying to save some time troubleshooting.

Thanks!

Poul Serek

Hi Dan

The reason I recommend EVGA cards are that they are internally wired differently so they will draw the necessary power from the 12v line when needed. If using a BIOS setup this meant that you did not need to hot-plug the Thunderbolt cable or power on the ATX power supply at the correct moment for devices that did not support the PERST# PCI delay which the Thunderbolt devices did not do. It was just a lot more work using non-EVGA cards.

Are you running a BIOS og UEFI? The guide is for a UEFI setup. I would really wait for the PCIe riser to be sure that the card gets enough power on startup. That might be the reason for the startup failure. Don’t get an EVGA card just to fix this problem, any NVIDIA card should work and should not give you the problems you describe. But do get a quality PCIe riser that I recommend, getting a cheap / bad quality will cause even more instability.

/Poul

Dan

Thanks for the info Poul,

Contrary to your comments, I decided to go with an EVGA brand to test. There was too much work getting that XFX to get the correct timing than it was worth the time. Not even the PCI riser did what was necessary to get this going. The EVGA card worked OOB. I’d stay away from GTX 750 and GTX 650 as the DSDT guide describes, they require increase memory allocation on the PCI Bus. However I haven’t test the same theory with a GTX 950. Since I created a DSDT to fit the GTX 750, the 950 worked OOB after. By the way I using BIOS since it’s a bootcamp installation, but it works the same way using your instructions.

Also worth noticing if it hasn’t been mentioned before, must use a card that requires its own power source. Self-powered cards become extremely unstable. At least that was my experience. It worked fine under idle or low loads, but it became unresponsive as soon as set medium to heavy loads. In my case playing a 2016 game from low to medium settings the 750 became unstable.

Other than the few scenarios described above, my setup works flawlessly.

Thanks, Poul.

Dan

Thanks for the advise Poul,

I was forced to use UEFI since it does indeed make it easier eGPU’s to work. I used a GTX 770 also by EVGA and had issues with BIOS installation. Changed it to UEFI and no more fuss. Everything works as it should.

Poul Serek

Hi Dan

Excellent! That is why I recommend UEFI setups, my experience with BIOS eGPU setups on MacBooks has been less than optimal!

/Poul

Andrew

Hey Poul,

I have an XPS 9350 that has a USB-C connection for Thunderbolt 3. Would I need a special adapter to have this work with the AKiTiO over Thunderbolt 2?

Also, I’m currently running Linux on this PC. Is the AKiTiO compatible? Has anyone done this with my setup?

I suppose I could opt for a Razer Core, although I also don’t know how well Thunderbolt eGPUs work within Fedora. At the $500 price point (excluding GPU), I might as well just build a separate gaming PC.

Thanks for the info,
Andrew

Poul Serek

Hi Andrew

Yes, you would need a Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter, but they are quite pricy. I would recommend a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU solution since you get even more plug and play, but yes it is pricy and not perfect. I am not sure Optimus is supported in linux so you will need an external monitor to get great performance. And I am not sure Thunderbolt 3 support is included in the kernel, check out this post. But once the support is in the kernel it should work, but I would search the internet a bit more to confirm it.

/Poul

Lewis

Hi Poul
I now have a mid 2015 rmbp, I bought a evga 400W psu and a evga GTX1060 card. Since the card is half length and can fit in the box, so I didn’t buy the riser. I used the paper clip trick and the psu started working. But the GPU was not responding(even it’s firmly plugged into the pcie and 6-pin power supply). My rmbp with bootcamp windows 8.1 x64 cannot read the card as well as the akitio box? What you think is the problem there? Thank You!

Thank you!
Lewis

Poul Serek

Hi Lewis

If you are using one with only a 6-pin connecter without a riser or a 120 watt power brick replacement for the AKiTiO Thunder 2 you might not get enough power since the stated power draw needed is higher than the supplied of 25 + 75 = 100 watt. Are you using a BIOS setup or UEFI? BIOS can be more tricky to setup which might be the problem.

/Poul

Lewis

Hi Poul
So will a riser from your list help solve the problem? Cuz my Rmbp just can’t recognize the akitio box even without a gpu. I’ve tested that my thunderbolt ports work fine.

Thanks,
Lewis

Lewis

Hi
Poul Sorry the card is detected. Sorry for the wrong information.
Lewis

Lewis

Hi Poul
Everything started working mysteriously. And its awesome! Thank you for your advice anyway.

Lewis

Fahim

Hi Poul

Thanks for the post. I bought EVGA GTX 950 and have been using your setup for several months. It is working fine but it gets unstable under heavy load (the app/game get crashed) so I have to do underclock using EVGA precision. Do you have any idea why this happens?

Thanks!
Fahim

Poul Serek

Hi Fahim

It sounds like a power issue. Do you use a powered riser or a 120 watt power brick with the AKiTiO Thunder2? If you do not, the card might not get enough power if you are using a 6-pin connector since the PCIe port from the AKiTiO Thunder2 can only supply 25 watts + 75 watts from the 6-pin connector = 100 watts which is not enough according to this. If you are using a card with a 8-pin connector you should be fine. Also a low quality power supply can be the problem.

/Poul

Poul Serek

Hi Fahim

The power supply might be the issue, it is not a quality brand name and I even had to google it to look it up. If it is from the value series it might not be able to deliver stable power, take a look here. If have helped another reader where the instability was solved by using a brand name PSU like Seasonic, Corsair, EVGA etc.

The riser might also be the problem, but instability issues are almost always tied the the PSU / PCIe riser.

/Poul

Chris

Hi sorry I see you have already answered this question a million times … but I’m still confused about the power supply … So suppose I’m using

I do not need any additional PSU or PCI riser, is that correct? I really want to close that box up … Thanks in advance!

Chris

Poul Serek

Hi Chris

Not a million times, but close :) You will need an additional power supply because the 120 watts power brick is needed to give the graphics card just 75 watts of power. Your cards need more power than that through the 6-pin connector. According to AKiTiO the 120 watt power brick is the maximum you can safely supply to the AKiTiO Thunder 2.

/Poul

John

Hi, looking to do this with my Dell XPS 13 9530 i7. Planning to purchase the new AKiTiO Thunder3 box and a half length GTX 960. Is there a way to make the setup look “cleaner”? I don’t want the wife to think I’m building a bomb in the living room LOL.

Is there a way to mount the GPU on the AKiTiO slot without accepting power from the AKiTiO PSU simply to have the card mounted in the box? I plan on cutting a hole in the aluminum case to route the power cables through to the main PSU. Ideally, I want to have the case closed over the card.

Poul Serek

Hi John

Since you have a Thunderbolt 3 enabled computer you should get something like the AKiTiO Node (not yet released) or the Razer Core. It is more pricy, but much more clean. Notice that the Razer Core does not have Thunderbolt passthrough so it will need to be the last device in the chain if you have other Thunderbolt devices. Not a problem if everything is Thunderbolt 3, but if you have legacy Thunderbolt 1/2 devices it will be an issue.

/Poul

Patrick

Hi,
im looking to do this Setup with my MacBook Pro Mid 2015 (Core i7-4870hq, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9-M370X, 512GB SSD) runing Windows 10 (UEFI) over Bootcamp. The internal AMD Graphics Card does not have enough Power for Gaming on High Quality. Will this Setup work for me with a nVidia GTX 970/1070 Graphics Card? I Would prefer the use of the internal Monitor, but i don’t have any Problems using an external Monitor if it will not work with the internal.

Patrick

Hi Poul,

it’s me … again.
Is it pssible to use this Setup without the Riser? Because the EVGA GTX1050Ti (75W), is a half length PCIe Card with 145mm, i think and woult fit perfectly inside the Case.

Thanks,
Patrick

Poul Serek

Hi Patrick

It should work, but the AKiTiO Thunder2 kan only supply 25 watts of power with the supplied power brick. You need a 120 watt one to reach 75 watts of power through the PCIe port as described here.

/Poul

Patrick

Hi Poul,

thanks for the fast Reply, but the 1050 has not that much power, so I will go for the 1060 6GB or 1070.

Patrick

Patrick

EDIT:
I will go with the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC Gaming, because it’s also a half length PCIe Card with 111mm length, but has more Power.
But i have another Question: In this Post from Techinferno, he used a Molex-to-Barrel Adapter.
So the Riser is not needed if i use one this Adapters?

Patrick

Poul Serek

Hi Patrick

I have not tried it, but the numbers do stack up. The cards draws around 120 watts as far as I can see and 75 watts can safely be supplied through the AKiTiO Thunder 2, the rest needs to be through the 75 watt 6-pin connector. So you cannot safely just use the molex to barrel adapter without also connecting a 6-pin connector to the card itself as 120 watts is too much for the AKiTiO through the PCIe port alone.

/Poul

Patrick

Hi Poul,

first, i will use the GTX 1060 SC, but its 180mm, will it fit inside the Case?
Second, i will go with a 420 watts LC power supply, also I will test the adapter and reply here for anybody else who is interested.

Thanks,
Patrick

Poul Serek

Hi Patrick

I don’t have my AKiTiO Thunder2 anymore so I do not know if it will fit. But if you take a look here you will see the 6-pin power connector at the top of the card which probably means you cannot fit the card and the connector with the lid closed.

/Poul

Patrick

Hi,

got everything up and running including optimus. Got it running with “gpu-switch.bat”. Running Overwatch on internal Display with full resolution an set Details to Maximum. Runs with 60+ fps. :D

Thanks for helping me.

Patrick

blaster

hi poul,

I wanted to know if it works on asus rog g751 with windows 10 (1607) 64 bit with gpu external as GTX970 or GTX1060/1070?
and there would be a better performance a GTX965M 2gb for play game in ultra graphics setting on the laptop screen with thunderbolt 2 ?

because I would love to play with ultra setting in game with external gpu on my laptop once at home ^^
(not possible with my current gtx965m 2gb of my laptop)

and I wonder if it will work and if it is really worth, because if performance is less good as with my current GTX965M 2gb it is useless buying stuff…

thank you for all that informations

Poul Serek

Hi Blaster

The G751 series does not support Optimus so you will not be able to use a GPU attached to Thunderbolt 2 on the internal laptop screen, but it should be possible using an external monitor. I would however confirm / ask around at TechInferno since I don’t know if there are any issues using setups like these with the g751. Since the performance drop is quite low, especially at high resolutions, it should give you much better performance. Take a look here to see the performance loss in different games, the green bars are the performance you can expect from Thunderbolt 2. Then you just need to compare the performance of GTX965M and the card you want.

/Poul

Blaster

Optimus does not support on asus rog g751 :(
Is possible use on external monitor :)
Lol
Ok, i go look different performance
Very thx again for your help and for the post, i like ;)

blaster

hi poul,

I did some reading to understand “Nvidia optimus”, but i need your help ^^

because I do not understand the difference between “Nvidia optimus” and Nvidia battery boost”, because there seem to do the same…

also, how “Nvidia optimus” help the external GPU for displayed on the laptop screen, while the “Nvidia battery boost” can not do.

I hope you can help me, poul

Poul Serek

Hi Blaster

Take a look at my post here about what NVIDIA Optimus is. As far as I known the internal monitor needs to be connected directly to the iGPU from intel and not to the dGPU as in the g751. Battery Boost as far as I can see is a technology that limits the frame-rate of a game to preserve battery-life. If the frame-rate is low enough just to use the iGPU it can use Optimus to switch to the lower power iGPU. But as far as I know the g751 series does not even have an iGPU, only the NVIDIA card, hence no Optimus.

/Poul

StarFx2002

hello.. got recent driver from nvidia.. and now nvidia geforce experience doesn’t detect eGPU and i cant enable shadowplay because it’s using from my imac

Rocco

Hi Poul,

I want to know if i can use this enclosure with a gtx 1050 (non ti) alone without a powered pcie extension, but with a 120W brick

Poul Serek

Hi Rocco

The numbers do add up, the card should only draw 75 watts of power trough the PCIe port and the 120 watt brick should be able to supply it.

/Poul

Niko

Hi,
I have received my gtx970 mini and my thunder 2 akitio. My question is how do I power this beauty up ? The card fits in the box, so would i need a PCI 8x to 16x Riser?
I havn´t ordered my PSU yet.
Thanks in advance for any support ;)

Let`s Roll!

Poul Serek

Hi Niko

It depends, if the card can get enough power through the 6pin / 8 pin connecters + the 25 watts of power through the AKiTiO Thunder2. I always recommend a powered PCIe riser to be sure not to run into any power issues, but often it is not needed. The added benefit of using a powered riser is that you do not need to use the power brick from the AKiTiO Thunder2.

/Poul

Mike

Hi Poul,
I have a question, what is the difference between the 8x to 16x powered riser and the 16x to 16x powered rise. The graphics card is 16x and the slot in the Akitio also is a 16x slot. Does that mean I need the 16x to 16x powered riser. Thank you for your time.

Poul Serek

Hi Mike

It does not matter if you use 4x to 16x, 8x to 16x or 16x to 16x since Thunderbolt only supports 4x electronically.

/Poul

John Cido

Hi Paul,
I recently trying to build my egpu according to your post. But I ran into a serious problem that after I installed windows via uefi, I can’t log into windows while the thunderbolt cable plugged in.
It always shows a blank screen, and then reboot, showing apple logo and a loading bar, then reboot again. At this stage, windows logo and loading circle showed, but after this, nothing happens. Nothing on screen, pure black. One time I got a error message of hal_initialization_failed.
Then everything repeat and repeat. I can only log into windows without plugging the cable. Maybe you’ve experienced this during your setup? Or may you please give some posssivle clue on this? I searched through the google and now head got totally messed up.
Thanks.

Poul Serek

Hi John

Did you try the first step in the troubleshooting section? I did get a blank screen once, I solved this by using the “Windows key” + P and using the arrows switching monitor setups. Also you could try to attach an external monitor if you did not try this already.

/Poul

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