2013 15" Macbook Pro + GTX780Ti@16Gbps Thunderbolt2 eGPU implementation

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nando4, May 4, 2014.

  1. nando4, May 4, 2014
    Last edited: May 13, 2014

    nando4 macrumors regular

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    #1
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
  3. fatlardo macrumors 6502

    fatlardo

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    What happens to the gtx 750m? Is it still on making the comp hot?
     
  4. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

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    It would be cool to see the performance in higher resolutions than 1080p.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #5
    It won't make the rMBP hot, but it'd make that Sonnet chassis warm.
     
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #6
    I think he is talking about the 750M in the rMBP. In Windows/bootcamp the discrete GPU is always active, resulting in higher idle temperatures and probably more fan noise under load.


    Thanks OP for the link. This clearly demonstrates that eGPUs are possible with TB2, without loosing too much performance.

    It is a bit sad that Apple and Intel are not supporting this more. Imagine if you could buy a nice small gaming box and plug it into your MBP or MBA - say starting around $400 with a 750M (not for the 15'' of course) and with a few variations up to 780M. Well I guess the market is too small for this.
     
  7. Idarzoid macrumors 6502

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    If you boot into Windows 7/8 via UEFI, it can see both integrated Intel graphics and 650m/750m, allowing you to use Optimus, I remember seeing a post about it somewhere around here.
     
  8. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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    The Iris Pro Macbook Pro is significantly more functional than the GT750M one for eGPU use

    Unfortunately not. The GT650M and not GT750M Macbook Pros have no active iGPU in Windows like they do under MacOSX. This means:

    - they have worse battery life under Windows

    - lack of an iGPU means NVidia Optimus cannot engage. That is a NVidia driver limitation. No Optimus means no accelerated internal LCD driven by the eGPU.

    The fix would be for Apple to correct their firmware to allow the iGPU to be the primary bootup video. This hasn't been forthcoming since users requested back with the GT650M model.

    So the path of least resistence is to forget the GT750M model of the MBP and get the Iris Pro one instead. Someone within Apple marketting appears to know that the Iris Pro model is more desirable for certain situations. When optioned with the same HDD, RAM and CPU they cost the same even though the NVidia model would cost them more to integrate onto the board.
     
  9. yangchewren macrumors regular

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    Hello Nando4. I am confused by this statement in particular - is there any difference between the behaviors of the 650M and 750M MBPs in Windows?

    From what I can gather from the linked benchmark/proof of concept thread and your post, the 5200 model is preferred - but the 750M model can still be used.
     
  10. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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    The 750M can be used and gives mostly identical performance to the Iris Pro model when using an external LCD attached to a eGPU using a native TB interface.

    I say mostly because the TDP of the Haswell CPUs is determined by the iGPU and CPU. When the iGPU isn't active it theoretically means the CPU can run a higher/longer turbo boost though in reality if you are using the external LCD mode with the iGPU-model, the iGPU will pretty much be dormant and not contribute to TDP.

    Now the iGPU requirement becomes far more important if using a x1 link (Thunderbolt-to-expresscard) type eGPU. Their appeal being far lower cost than the usual Thunderbolt enclosures. On TechInferno uses will typically mate a PE4L-EC060A (Expresscard-to-pcie adapter) with a Sonnet Echo Expresscard Pro (Thunderbolt-to-expresscard adapter) to do such an implementation.

    With x1 eGPU implementations, NVidia drivers enable a pci-e compression only if a x1 link is detected and an iGPU present. So there you'd absolutely not want the 750M model.

    The 750M model can use the internal LCD *if* drag a windows app from the external to the internal one. The Iris Pro model can provide transparent eGPU-rendered images on the internal LCD (windows or full screen apps) courtesy of NVidia Optimus.

    So yeah, the Iris Pro model is definitely preferrable for eGPU purposes or if wanting maximum battery life under Windows. If having an eGPU then the 750M is pretty much redundant.

    Iris Pro 15" Macbook Pro + Thunderbolt eGPU = winning combo. Shame about the cost.
     
  11. Zeov macrumors 6502a

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    highly doubt the internal GPU is going to warm up an external chassis.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    No what I meant was that the entire setup would leave the RMBP cool (since the internal GPU is deactivated), but make the Sonnet chassis warm (because of the 780 TI in it).
     
  13. stevemiller macrumors 65832

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    #13
    i was excited till i saw the price! and then there's whatever this 750m issue that basically forces the computer to run in clamshell mode, as well as you needing to be running windows. given all that, is there any reason not to just build oneself a windows desktop for your beefy gpu needs?
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #14
    Apple can't correct their firmware to correct the iGPU to be the primary bootup video, because on the models with GT750M, the Iris Pro is not physically connected to the HDMI and TB2 ports for driving external displays.
     
  15. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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    If have the iGPU active, then the NVidia Optimus driver will display accelerated 750M data on the internal display. It will still output to the HDMI/TB2 port.

    Certainly Apple should give the option to allow this switch through. Shelltoe, a eGPU user, managed to enable the GMUX so the iGPU appeared OK in Device Manager but didn't manage to switch throgh the LVDS lines to attach the internal LCD to it.

    REF: MacBook Pro Retina 15" + GTX 560 ti @ TH05
     
  16. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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  17. yjchua95, May 5, 2014
    Last edited: May 5, 2014

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #17
    Unfortunately, Apple deactivated the iGPU if the dGPU is present in Boot Camp.

    However, if there's an external display attached, the dGPU will be activated, regardless either in OS X or in Windows.

    Yeah, Apple should give us the option to have the iGPU driving the internal display as well in Boot Camp.

    I'm not sure about this, but perhaps by screwing around with the drivers, perhaps one might be able to activate the iGPU and shut down the dGPU in Boot Camp, hence enabling Optimus to work.

    EDIT: On second thoughts, maybe when booting up in Boot Camp, Apple wrote something in the EFI to tell it to disable the iGPU if:
    1. Boot Camp is used
    2. The dGPU is present

    So yeah, it may be a firmware issue after all. Long story short, the EFI has to be hacked into and made to enable the iGPU in boot camp.

    Afaik, the way that most laptops implement Optimus (and Enduro) is that the dGPU "runs through" the iGPU, then to the screen. As in, the iGPU is the only one connected to the display in most laptops.

    However, Apple implemented it in such a way that both the iGPU and the dGPU are connected to the display. If that is the case, there isn't going to be any way to use just the iGPU in the rMBP with Windows since Windows will assume that if there's Optimus, then the iGPU is where the image data is coming from. Since there's no iGPU (due to the EFI), Windows assumes that it only has a dGPU, uses that, and that's the end of that, since Apple hasn't done anything to accompidate Windows users on their products besides allowing you to dual-boot.
     
  18. ShiggyMiyamoto macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

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    #18
    Okay so I have a question for nando4 or anyone else. If I was to get this:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpressse2.html

    and put in a recent nVidia GPU into it and attach it to a MacBook Air via TB2, (I know this is the MBP forum, but for sake of proof of concept I thought I'd ask this here) would video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 benefit? Would it find its CUDA cores and allow me to render projects and even live effects faster than the MBA's HD 5000 chipset?

    Also, would gaming be improved on OS X?

    Thanks.
     
  19. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Yes, CUDA aware apps would definitely see improvement over the HD5000. As would gaming under Windows and OSX.

    The two issue with the US$499 Sonnet Echo Express SE II (or it's US$498 rebadged OWC Helios 2 with better warranty) for eGPU use are listed below with workaround solutions. A US$979 Sonnet Echo III-D chassis with 150W could solve (1) and give great looks but is overly expensive for what it

    1. Is has two x8 slots that are incapable of hosting full length/dual-width video cards.

    Solution: Use a US$6.33 x8-to-x16 PCIe riser to give a pcie slot outside of the chassis allowing any size card to be used.

    2. It's 80W adapter insufficient to drive higher powered video cards like a GTX670/170W or GTX770/229W. It would be only enough to power a GTX750Ti.

    Solution: use the 80W adapter to drive the slot (75W) and use a suitable capacity ATX PSU to provide auxilery pci-e power for the video card.
     
  20. ShiggyMiyamoto macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Okay let me rephrase the question. Would OS X see/recognize the external TB2 contraption that is the Sonnet Echo Express as an available GPU systemwide? i.e. if I was to go to the Apple Menu > About this Mac > More Info > Graphics and Displays (or w/e it is... I can't remember at the moment as I'm not running OS X on this machine) would it should the GPU that's in the external enclosure?

    Semi-trivial question, but I'm just curious.
     
  21. nando4 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Yes. The steps to configure an eGPU under MacOSX are covered at http://www.journaldulapin.com/2013/08/24/a-thunderbolt-gpu-on-a-mac-how-to/
     
  22. ShiggyMiyamoto macrumors 6502a

    ShiggyMiyamoto

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    #22
  23. arnamak macrumors member

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    #23
    So I'm in a bit of a pickle.

    I'm going to pick up an rMBP on Friday, but now I'm unsure what I want to go with. I was going to get the higher end model solely because I want to occasionally boot into Windows and play PC games, but the higher end model is ~$700 more than the base.

    Could I just take that $700 and invest it into a set up like this? The card the guy in the video is using is obviously going to run me more than that, but if I do something like a 780 or even 760 I could probably squeeze that into my budget.

    Obviously just getting the upgrade will be a bit simpler, but if it results in me getting much better performance when I'm sitting at my desk anyway, I'd rather go with the set up like in the video.

    Anyone have an opinion?
     
  24. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #24
    Keep in mind that the higher end model has a faster processor, 16GB of RAM, a faster SSD (bigger ones are always faster, with 512GB performing at ~700MB/s and 1TB ones performing at ~950-1000MB/s.

    And the high end variant also has a GT750M, but if you intend to use an eGPU, the Iris-only model may do a better job as Optimus can be used.
     
  25. yangchewren macrumors regular

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    #25
    Thank you for your detailed reply!
    And this sounds like the exact setup I had in mind. ie MBP->TB eGPU->External display.
     

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