eGPU solutions for rMBP's

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lexR, May 12, 2015.

  1. lexR macrumors regular

    lexR

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
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    UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    i am contemplating building a similar set up to the one discussed here over at Tech Inferno, however i would use a AKiTiO thunder2 case.

    just wondered who on here has a eGPU working on currently, on what setup and what equipment? Possibly an awesome idea for getting GPU (open GL and CUDA) power to the macbook pro?
     
  2. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Apr 27, 2010
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    Aarhus, Denmark
    #2
    There's a thread on it here, and I seem to remember another one in the Peripherals forum, but I can't find it now.
     
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #3
    I used a Sonnet IIID with a GTX 780 Ti and Corsair RM450, and it's as easy as plug and play. All I did was just install Windows in UEFI mode, plug in the eGPU before startup, boot into Windows, installed the NVIDIA drivers and done.
     
  4. PaulWog Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #4
    Seems a little pricey (minimum $800 for the Sonnet IIID???). Plus you have to purchase the stuff you want: GPU, power supply, any additional storage. I'm also not a fan of stressing laptops all the time (as a main machine for everything, including gaming), since they do run hotter (even if the GPU isn't being used in the laptop), and you can't reapply thermal paste, or swap out any parts that conk out.

    Interesting, nevertheless.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #5
    Games are almost always GPU intensive, not CPU intensive. So I wouldn't sweat about it.
     
  6. dmccloud macrumors 6502a

    dmccloud

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    Anchorage, AK
    #6
    In the case of an eGPU any extra heat would be produced outside of the system, not in the laptop itself. The CPU itself won't heat up enough to shorten the lifespan of the machine either.
     
  7. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    Honestly, you are much better of building a small gaming box. You will get better performance for less money.
     
  8. lexR thread starter macrumors regular

    lexR

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    Dec 12, 2013
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    UK
    #8
    Yeah but I guess the point here is I have a MacBook Pro which I use for work and university and personal use, I can use Autocad, sketch up, fusion and a number of other bits of software without the need for anything, the only reason I would want it is to run programs like davinci resolve or FCPX or motion etc when I take GoPro footage. My CMP 5.1 with 12cores@3.46ghz, 48gb of ram and GTX Titan makes short work of most things but it ONLY gets switched on when I'm video editing. If I could get 50-65% of the GPU power from an eGPU then I could actually see the powerhouse getting sold... As sad as it would be!
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    I'd say that you'd be getting about 80-90% of the eGPU's power (at least, that's what I got when comparing benchmarks between two GTX 780 Tis - one in the Sonnet IIID for my rMBP and one on my gaming rig).
     
  10. lexR thread starter macrumors regular

    lexR

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    Dec 12, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    REALLY... see that sounds very promising. apparently with the newer MBP's apple has made it very difficult to use eGPU's so what they give with thunderbolt port 2/3 in data rate transfer they taketh away with major hacking required to run. such a shame as this could be a potential market for 'plug and play' gaming or video/graphic rendering for people who already purchased a MBP or Mini but require more GPU power. Im sure a company once figured out could sell new solutions to the market for around £500/$750 (direct importing thunderbolt port/pcie parts, fitting into ATX module with PSU and Entry GPU). that allows the user to keep there small light MBP portable and then turn into a powerhouse when home and connected to a 4K monitor via a GTX 970 or equivalent.

    GTX 970 - £220
    PSU 300w - £40
    ATX enclosure - £40
    Import TB-PCIe kit - £80?
    TB lead - £10

    Total - £390 @cost??
     
  11. yjchua95, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #11
    The problem is, it's only seamless with certain enclosures and certain configurations of Macs.

    Only Macs that support a UEFI Boot Camp installation (Haswell and later, and has to be at least Windows 8.1) will support an easy plug and play eGPU setup like mine (i.e. just install Windows via Boot Camp, install BC drivers, run Windows Update, prepare the hardware, connect TB cable to Mac, get to the boot manager by holding down Alt, power on the eGPU setup and select Windows. Then install the NVIDIA drivers. No need to muck about the software).

    UEFI-compatible Macs:
    MacBook Air (mid-2013 and later)
    iMac (late-2013 and later)
    Retina MacBook Pro (late-2013 and later)
    Mac Pro (trashcan shape)
    Mac Mini (late-2014 and later)

    Long story short, only Macs with PCIe SSDs support UEFI. Non-retina MBPs, along with other Macs not listed above (basically all Ivy Bridge and older Macs), are not UEFI compatible.

    As far as I know, the Sonnet IIID and Akitio Thunder2 box work seamlessly. You may have to go to the TechInferno forums for more details.

    This was how I did mine: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-...0gbps-tb2-sonnet-echo-express-iii-d-win8.html

    Also, if your Mac has a dGPU, you'll need an external display to be connected to the eGPU to work as well.
     
  12. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #12
    Im thinking about this as well. My 2012 QC mini has a decent cpu but won´t run a 4K display and since I need a new display this would be a lot cheaper than buying a nMP.. :)

    I really don´t want to solder and stuff so I´m still looking for the easiest way to get the full amount of juice needed to the card w/o a franken-build :)
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    It's going to be quite complicated for your Mac Mini because it's a pre-Haswell Mac, which means it doesn't support UEFI Boot Camp and hence requires a fair bit of tweaking around with drivers and other files to get it to work.
     

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