OS Neutral The Evolution of External Thunderbolt GPUs - The Next Step

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Irishman, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Irishman, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013

    Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #1
    Check into this article for a way that's proven to work on a Macbook Air, via Thunderbolt. It currently only works in Bootcamp (Windows), but there's no reason to think it can't be made to work in OSX natively.

    For an investment of about $250, you can see gains of between 5-7 TIMES the FPS of the Air's built-in GPU.

    ATM, it's messy, both in terms of exposed wiring, and in configuring trial and error, but it works.

    http://www.tested.com/tech/456971-what-it-takes-connect-external-gpu-macbook-thunerbolt/

    ____________________

    ETA:

    Further, Sonnet is offering a thunderbolt 2 GPU enclosure:

    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/thunderbolt/

    Of the featured units, this one seems to be the best option for performance (supporting full-length GPUs, with internal cooling built-in), but it is just under $1000!!

    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpressiii.html
     
  2. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #2
    Currently Intel won't certify Thunderbolt for GPU usage so official support is unlikely right now but it is possible :)
     
  3. EpicBlob macrumors member

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    #3
    I currently run my 2012 Mac Mini with a ViDock external gpu housing a nvidia 660. Runs in both Windows 8 and 10.9 Mavericks flawlessly. Total cost for the gpu, ViDock, and adapter cost me about $600, but it has given me an extremely powerful Mac and a very capable gaming PC; best of both worlds for a total cost around $1400. Barely takes up any space as well. Here's a pic of my setup.
     

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  4. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    thing is this could have good interest from us iMac owners as it might increase the life of our machines by 2 years or so
     
  5. EpicBlob macrumors member

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    #5
    Yup, It would essentially revitalize any Mac (or computer) you plug it into. The only problem is that you need to use an external screen so if you owned an imac, you'd have to buy another screen.
     
  6. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Have they released a public reason for this decision? It doesn't seem to have stopped the DIY community.
     
  7. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    Mar 26, 2004
    #7
    All I know about the certification is what I have read on public sites, so I don't have any private knowledge on the subject.

    There are two schools of thought depending on your levels of conspiracy theories.

    1. Intel make integrated graphics so this will eat into their sales in some way.
    2. The technology is still young and they don't want to certify usage until they are confident the technology will be reliable for the average user. But they don't block uncertified homebrew as if anything goes wrong they can say we don't certify thunderbolt for this usage.

    I personally would go for option 2 as 1 makes no sense to me but those are the internet theories I have read.

    Edwin
     
  8. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #8
    It's quite low voltage, so I can't imagine it would be a power problem they could be concerned about. Maybe DRM concerns for passing unencrypted signals via TB? I know the same concerns exist regarding mini-display port on the UHDTV side of things. MDP can pass 2160p (4K) video signals at 60hz (required for gaming and broadcast/cable TV), but there's no DRM built-in to MDP, like there is HDMI. HDMI just can't pass those higher-quality signals.
     
  9. JustinGN macrumors member

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    Jun 19, 2013
    #9
    I highly doubt it. The integrated GPU is physically on the CPU, so Intel wouldn't lose a sale of a CPU just because of supporting a discrete GPU via Thunderbolt. Your other point, however...

    Makes more sense. I know people consistently bring up "But modern GPUs saturate the PCI Express 3.0 lanes with data!" argument, but an article from TechPowerUp last year proves that the difference is negligible at higher resolutions (though still there, obviously) even with higher end cards. They tested the cards in different physical voltages/slot speeds, and, well, the charts speak for themselves.

    Even taking into account Thunderbolt 2 provides a 4x PCI Express 2.0 slot (roughly, now that you can fill the channel with data only), modern GPUs would still run reasonably well in an external enclosure if the driver support was there. I wager Intel would still rather wait until there's an Optical Thunderbolt solution for such high speed data transfers though, or they can push more data down a copper Thunderbolt cable, before they officially support discrete GPUs in external Thunderbolt enclosures.

    It's a shame, really, since it's the end game of home computing: your PC/Mac is a single set of hardware that covers the vast majority computing tasks, and high speed external interfaces like Thunderbolt would let users add in niche units (like discrete GPUs) to cover specific needs when they dock at home. Bill Gates mentioned a similar idea when I listened to him lecture back in 2004, and I was really hoping that Apple & Intel would bring it to reality with Thunderbolt.

    Unfortunately, that hasn't come to pass. Yet.
     
  10. monokitty macrumors regular

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    Sep 16, 2011
    #10
    What is the adapter you need?

    ViDock, Video Card, TB Cable, adapter..?
     
  11. EpicBlob macrumors member

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    #11
    I use a ViDock 4+, Sonnet Echo Pro Thunderbolt/Expresscard Adapter, TB cable, nVidia GTX 660 gpu. NVidia GPUs work best with external graphics and if you do get the ViDock any EVGA card should fit within the enclosure (minus a card like the 690)
     
  12. Miharu macrumors 6502

    Miharu

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    Finland
  13. nateo200, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013

    nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #13
    Eh you can squeeze in cards its not completely lost hope with an iMac like it is for say a MacBook Air :O

    The original post is the hard way of doing it. Its converting thunderbolt to express card then to PCIe which is unnesseccary as Thunderbolt is essentially PCIe + Display port. I'm going to guess and say all those conversations back and forth produce more latency than just a TB expanssion chassis..of course pricing is different.

    Anyways definitely looking into the Sonnet Chassis (or whichever one is cheapest and offers full length PCIe cards) for rendering tasks but I need my current apps to offer official support for selecting GPU's (a la DaVinci Resolve style where you can select multiple GPU's for different uses like the interface/GUI, rendering, etc.) before I can justify the chassis and either the GTX 660Ti or the GTX 680 (my wallet hurts already!). Problem I see is the speed of the interface with gaming...with video editing and external cards the speed isn't as important as its often not real time stuff and even if it is your using one GPU for playback and the external one for rendering soley to use the CUDA cores, with games the data needs to get to the memory, CPU, and GPU very very fast. Thunderbolt 3 needs to be fricken PCIe 3.0 x16 already! Either way Thunderbolt has future proofed allot of laptops that Apple makes so I don't think they are going to give us full eGPU support or ultra fast Thunderbolt anytime soon...I'd be happy with Thunderbolt that allowed 40Gbps per lane with support to couple the lanes for 80Gbps and of course the Displayport 1.2 support in there.
     
  14. 5cel macrumors newbie

    5cel

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    Feb 6, 2016
    #14
    Is it possible to connect a "EVGA GTX TITAN X 12GB" to "Mac Mini Late 2012" ?
     
  15. DearthnVader macrumors regular

    DearthnVader

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    Red Springs, NC
    #15
    It's possible, you may want to ask @MacVidCards.
     
  16. 5cel macrumors newbie

    5cel

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    #16
    ok thanks

    now i feel the connection between Corsair RM850 (PSU) and the Graphic card is the problem.
    check this photo plz

    Have i connected the correct way ?
     

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  17. DearthnVader, Feb 6, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016

    DearthnVader macrumors regular

    DearthnVader

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    Red Springs, NC
    #17
    The PSU connection looks OK, but are you using a PCIE Riser cable on your Thunderbolt Chassis?

    You do have the latest nVidia Web Diver installed and working, right?
     

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