2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 660 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (PCIe-M.2 * M.2-TB2) + Win10 // tiny 100$ egpu
Building my Akitio Thunder setup was so fun that i decided to build another eGPU that fits the poor mans Bill in Crazy 2021 GPU times.
I plan to give this away the the sister of my Girlfriend who has a 2011 Macbook with TB1 and does not have close to the money for a used gaming rig. But first i tested it with my good ol Macbook 2014, which is of the problematic dGPU 750m nvidia type.
The goal is to build an eGPU that runs most games she wants to play (minecraft, fortnite, maybe valorant, etc.) on her internal screen at native 1280x800 resolution.
Since she has a tiny desk, the setup should be as neat as possible and should possibly have a solid enclosure so that she can take it to visit friends and game together.
I got the Idea to use these components from his thread: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2014-15-macbook-pro-4th4ch-rtx-3070-16gbps-tb2m2-adt-link-r43sg-win10-mbp2014ftw/
The Idea to upgrade a 2011 TB1 Macbook with eGPU form this thread: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/mid-2012-13-MacBook-pro-non-retina-superdrive-gtx78010gbps-tb1-sonnet-egfx-350-via-tb3-tb2-adapter-macos-win10-xignalio/
The Budget Goal is 100€, but since i did not pay for the PSU you could add 20$ to make it comparable.
€45: Empty transcend TS480GJDM825 Thunderbolt to Apple Gumstick case.
€4.36: Aliexpress Bitcon Miner Mining Store: Newest NGFF M.2 to PCI-E 4X Riser Card M2 M Key to PCIe X4 Adapter with LED Indicator SATA Power Riser for Bitcoin Miner Mining https://de.aliexpress.com/item/32861465503.html?spm=a2g0s.12269583.0.0.e4bb3395VzacIm
free: M.2 to apple SSD Adapter (long version). I had this laying around from upgrading my macbook to an NVME SSD. It didn't fit because i had a two sided SSD, which only works with the short sintech adapter.
This makes for a neat little 3-PCB sandwich with a short Thunderbolt cable coming out from the bottom of the PCB:
probably the smallest EGPU solution out there thus far.
In reality i payed an additional 12$ or so on shipping combined, so i sightly missed the 100$ mark, but i am still close to my 100€ Goal.
- FSP150-AHAN2 Efficiency Class VI 150Watt PSU with 4pin kycon connector and some PCIe and SATA Power Cables ripped from a broken bequiet PSU.
- Step down regulator XY-SJVA-4 for 3,3V (this is cc/cv and can do up to 3Ampere which is probably total overkill, but i had some laying around)
Since this is supposed to run with a 2011 Macbook, i tested it only for stability testing with my Windows installation on my 2014 macbook which is working with my akitio thunder 2 just fine: https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2014-macbook-pro-retina-15-gt750m-4th4ch-gtx-760-32gbps-akitio-thunder-2-win-10/#post-95284
Instead of an external Monitor i use a HDMI Stick to be able to clone the display output onto the internal screen while giving me all the options to change the resolution to something more performance friendly than the native 2880x800.
First i started it with just the +12V PSU connected to a 6pin PCIe and a sata power connector for the M.2 to PCIe x4.
And it works, sort of
After a few minutes it crashes. GPU-Z has some crazy clock speed jumps to 1200mhz for 5seconds and then goes down to 785mhz and even as little as 330mhz sometimes. It shows Perfcap Reason =4 and when it crashes it has perfacp reason 14.
Thanks to the Forum i was warned that only TB3 can supply sufficient current and 3,3Volt power regulation, not TB1 or 2 since they lack any power delivery.
With ATX PSU setups like the ADT-Link R43SG this is no problem since they have 3,3Volt from the 24pin atx connector, but i found those way too big and Messy for this tiny setup
Since my +12V only PSU does not supply stable 3,3V for the PCIeslot, i was wondering how this worked at all?
The M.2 SSD from transcend uses 3,3V too and i can see a voltage regulator circuit onboard which supposedly uses the +19.5V DC from the displayport/TB2 Connector to make some sort of 3,3V Power supply.
So i added a 12 to 3,3V regulator PCB and connected it to my custom wire harness and the Sata port.
Since i don't know if the voltage regulator on the Transcend has an anti reverse Diode and i did not want to risk my Macbooks Thunderbolt ports, i decided to tape off any 3,3V pins coming from the Transcend adapter. This is probably not necessary since both device
s share the same voltage and ground, but i did it nevertheless. I used capton tape.
Both, the Transcend and the Chinese M.2 to PCIe mining board have neat Power status LEDs , which i used to check that indeed the power from the Transcend adapter was not going through to the M-2 anymore.
What can i say? It runs pretty stable now.
Time to build an enclosure and make a little girl happy!
Enclosure will be made with lasercut acrylics.
What do you guys think, i could mod the heatsink to make a short Card and decrease the total sive of the enclosure. So you think it is worth it or is it better to have a larger enclosure for upgrade compatibility?
The original blower fan is a little noisy when idling, but there is also coil whine. Under load the fan is pretty cool (70c) and quiet after repasting the card, so no need to improve cooling.
I have several intel boxed heatsinks laying around.
Ready for enclosure design
Would you rather use white acrylic or black acrylic for the case? I have both laying around in 3mm and 5mm thickness.
I could also make a transparent window on one side, what do you think?
smallest enclosure 160x200mm
modded GPU heatsink (Intel boxed 95W with copper core and slim fan of the 35W TDP series):
looks like an OEM Card now