Radeon RX 470/480 eGPU in macOS AKiTiO Thunder2

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by theitsage, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. theitsage, Aug 17, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016

    theitsage macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #1
    Due to the shorter board, the RX 480 without its reference cooler fits inside the AKiTiO like a glove. I'm currently hooking it up to a lowly 11" MBA lol. The Luxmark score is slightly higher than inside my Mac Pro thanks to the additional help of Intel HD 6000. :D

    Updated: 9/21/16 blog post with complete RX 470/RX 480 eGPU build and benchmarks.

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  2. VillasManzanill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    #2
    Do you Know if the Rx 480 works fine with Final Cut Pro x? Thanks! I'm thinking about upgrading my vid card for fcpx

     
  3. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #3
    Nice work!
     
  4. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    On The Interweb Thingy!
    #4
    You're an absolute legend. Thanks for all that you're doing at the moment with your RX 480's!
     
  5. yurc macrumors member

    yurc

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    Aug 12, 2016
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    inside your DSDT
    #5
    Do you have 10 bit monitor/ACD to test 10 bit display capability output connected via RX480 displayport? Just curious.
     
  6. theitsage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #6
    My full plan is to stuff the AKiTiO board, RX 480/GTX 980 Ti, and an ATX PSU inside a mini ITX case. While I'm waiting for the case to arrive, I thought why don't I try the RX 480 board by itself inside the AKiTiO enclosure for fun and sure enough it fits. It's obviously not a very good cooling system the way it is. With just the heatsink, it reminds me of the GT7300 cards that came in 1,1 Mac Pro.

    The mini ITX case has room for a slot optical drive which sparked an idea that I could build a base-station kinda dock for a Thunderbolt equipped Mac laptop. I can plug a single cable into the Thunderbolt port and instantly have access to a powerful GPU, optical drive, external hard drive, and ethernet connection. Also on its way is a Thunderbolt 2 dock with USB3, eSATA, Ethernet, and audio I/O ports. If all goes according to plan, I will have a working box by the end of the weekend.

    Cougar QBX KAZE mini ITX Case
    HighPoint RocketStor 6351A Thunderbolt 2 Dock

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  7. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #7
    I want an affordable enclosure that does now require a PSU hack.
     
  8. enc0re macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    #8
    So what all did you have to do for the Mac to play with an eGPU?

    1. Flash the RX480?
    2. MacOS Sierra?
    3. Special drivers?

    This would have real potential for building a decent machine around a future Mac Mini.
     
  9. theitsage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #9
    1. No flashing at all. RX 480 is stock as can be.
    2. MacOS Sierra.
    3. No special drivers. Disable SIP then ran Goalque's script to automate eGPU.

    The challenge is feeding the GPU with enough power.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2016 ---
    What are your thoughts on how we can build an affordable eGPU without PSU mods?
     
  10. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #10
    If you don't want to mod, your only choice is basically an expensive Sonnet right now. I like Sonnet, but I think the price of this item is excessive.
     
  11. enc0re macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    #11
    Razer Core and its coming competitors will be logical solution, once we have a Mac Mini (or whatever) with TB3. I for one am very interested in perhaps building a 'semi-Hackintosh' of such a configuration.
     
  12. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #12
    That is not a solution. USB-C does not work for older Macs.
     
  13. William_si macrumors regular

    William_si

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    Location:
    Croatia
    #13
    It could - There is nothing stopping TB3 on PCIe 2.0 or in an original Mac Pro - Yes, the speed is a limitation but that's about it. TB2 can be adapted to TB3 and vice versa by similar loss.
     
  14. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #14
    There's a USB-C to TB2 adapter, but not the reverse.
     
  15. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

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    May 6, 2008
    #15
    Yes there is, the X58 chipset doesn't support it.

    Ironically the original machine that demoed Thunderbolt (then called LightPeak) which was a joint venture between Apple and Intel was on a prototype Mac Pro board. But no classic Mac Pro ever arrived with this feature, presumably because Apple wanted TB to channel video as well, and the classic style form factor wouldn't allow that.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2016 ---
    Think you have that the wrong way round.
     
  16. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #16
    No. Finally it became available so that I can use the USB-C port in my PC for something.
     
  17. knowhate, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  18. William_si macrumors regular

    William_si

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    Apr 4, 2016
    Location:
    Croatia
    #18
    Yea... it does. It's just the Intel controller that needs to play nicely (which it would) and the licensing (which does not). Ultimately TB ends up on 4 PCIe lanes - often even from the chipset and not the CPU - and a DP signal (which is standard wise optional).


    Type C USB with TB3 is an alternate mode so not originally supported (afaik), the implementation has a standard though (obviously).
     
  19. theitsage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #19
    This is coming together better than I anticipated. I soldered 2 molex connectors to barrel plugs to power both the AKiTiO Thunder2 and HighPoint RocketStor Thunderbolt dock. All components are getting power from the ATX PSU now.

    The HighPoint RocketStor Thunderbolt dock gets daisy-chained into AKiTiO Thunder2. I also plugged a laptop hard drive and optical drive from a salvage MBP using SATA and slimline SATA to USB adapters.

    Next step is mounting everything inside the mini ITX case.

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  20. killawat macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #20
    looks good. Salute from the Macbook Pro subforum. lol
     
  21. Synchro3 macrumors 65816

    Synchro3

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    #21
    How do you power the RX 480 card? Afaik the Akitio provides only 25 Watt on the PCI-E-Slot. And as far as I can see you are using the original Akitio PSU.
     
  22. killawat macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #22
    In the last image in the OP you can see the original Akitio PSU and the separate PSU plugged into the GPU directly, but later he post imgs of the barrel mod so he now powers everything included the Akitio over ATX PSU.
     
  23. theitsage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #23
    The AKiTiO comes with a 60W power supply which reserves 30W for the Thunderbolt board and the rest for the PCIe slot. I read on Techinferno forum that as long as you can supply the DC plug with more juice, the PCIe slot will be able to pull in more power (not more than 120W total). As of right now, the RX 480 gets probably 45W from the slot and the rest from a dual molex to 6-pin connector.
     
  24. VillasManzanill macrumors member

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    Mar 7, 2012
    #24
    does the rx 480 works with final cut pro x as of right now with the latest beta build?
    thanks!

     
  25. theitsage thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    #25
    I don't have Final Cut Pro to test unfortunately.
     

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