2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 760 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2...
 
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2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 760 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10  

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Maksdampf
(@maksdampf)
Active Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

Hi, i just wanted to show my Akitio small "Kepler"- Setup. Haven't been using it much since i have a mini itx gaming setup also, but it was fun to build!

 

Hardware

Since i sold my GTX1060 i had laying around for good money and it would not have been able to help me with Mojave anyways, i acquired a short Kepler Card.
GTX670 and 760 reference Cards both have a very short PCB design, are very close to full GK104 GTX680/770 Performance and can be tuned to low enough power consumption so that i would not have to drill holes into the side of my Akitio Thunder2 which i bought used a few years ago and didn't use very much.

The GTX 760 or 670 should give close to GTX1050 (non ti)  performance in Windows while still being compatible with Mojave too.

I removed the original blower fan enclosure and replaced the small heatsink with a beefier aluminium extrusion from an olt arctic silencer 64 heatsink, which fits by a hair into the Akitio Thunder 2.

2021 04 09 13.50.21

On the front, the fan bracket was missing on my Akitio since the previous owner had modded it already. So i printed some brackets and installed an EBM Papst 70mm Fan.

2021 05 02 16.55.37
2021 05 02 16.55.55

The Fan is not PWM driven, so i used a phase cut Fan control with a thermal diode connected via a thermal pad to the heatsink. It is a little slower to react than the original PWM blower, but since the heatsink has massive heat capacity it performs okay.

2021 04 16 15.28.29

I had a dell DA-2 lying around, but didn't like the ridiculous size, power connector and lower efficiency, so i swapped it for an FSP150-AHAN2 Level VI Adapter with 150Watts. 

2021 05 02 16.47.26

This PSU uses a Kycon 4Pin connector, which is very solid and has much higher power rating than your typical 5.5/2.1mm Barrel connector (which has a maximum of 8A which is clearly insufficient for 12.5A/150W).

2021 05 02 16.44.46

Since the GTX760 is a 170W TDP Card and the Thunder 2 also needs about 10W for the TI-82 chip and my added fan, the system would be very unstable most likely and could end up overloading the 150W PSU.
Thats why i used a desktop PC to tune the cards Bios for better Power efficiency with Kepler BIOS Tweaker. I reduced the voltage with rivatuner first to 1.0875v instead of up to 1.225V, and tested it in furmark without loosing any boost clock. The card would still go to 980mhz to 1080mhz and 1125mhz in games and was so much cooler. I then also reduced the powertarget from 170W to 140W and flashed these settings onto the card. In Games it consumes now between 70 (Coh2) and 110Watts (valheim) with a boostclock of 1.080 to 1.125 Ghz. Only furmark would hit the 140Watt with a stable 980mhz baseclock. I lost about 1% in 3dmark when testing within in the deskop PC.

Bildschirmfoto 2021 05 02 um 17.15.25

But this should make it close in power draw to a GTX960 Maxwell card, albeit 1050 level of efficiency is still unattainable with an old 28nm Kepler GPU.

 

 

 

Software

I haven't come around to install Purge Wrangler, so no OSX Results for now.

Win 10 was easy, almost everything worked right out of the box.  I had already an uefi Bootcamp (Version 20H2 19042.928) installation since i upgraded to a 2TB NVME Drive recently.

I connected the GPU about 3 seconds after the chime and booted right into windows. Everything was there, i installed a 466 NVidia Driver and GPU-Z also detected the card immediately. Even the neat little nvidia switching tool showed up with a notification on which Card which Applications did run on.

3dmark would not run, stalling at the beginning while collecting system info. This seems to be related to the "Microsoft basic" Display (deactivated intel Iris) output that the internal Display runs on these internal dGPU Macbooks.

But Valheim ran great, about 3-4 times faster than on the internal 750m.  (30 FPS instead of 7FPS, FHD Medium).
With a little settings tuning and lower resolution of 1680*1050 i get stable 30-50FPS on the internal screen, which are sufficient for singleplayer RP games i think.

Since Valheim is a Unity engined game, it always used a pseudo-windowed rendering mode which makes it very easy for eGPUs.

Detrimental to the performance on internal screen is that all applications run in the native retina resolution which is too much for the old 2gb VRAM Card. Selecting lower resolutions is only possible with the original bootcamp supplied nvidia driver (384 or sth many years old. With the newer nvidia driver installed even Custom resolution Utility failed to add anything lower than 2880*1800.

Company of Heroes 2 did only run on external screen, because on the internal screen it would only run in windowed mode when using the egpu, in fullscreen it would revert to the 750m. 

Furmark would not start on internal screen due to the "microsoft basic display adapter".

I then deactivated the GT750m in device manager and added a HDMI Dongle to the eGPU. Now i could mirror the screen and select lower Resolutions like 1680*1050 which happen to run smooth with most Games on medium settings on this old Card. COH2 runs on 40-60FPS in 1080p high and looks quite fine since the retina interpolation makes it feel sort of "antialiased".

Next steps would be to install purge wrangler and use it in Mojave.

This topic was modified 1 week ago
2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 660 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (PCIe-M.2 * M.2-TB2) + Win10 // tiny 100$ egpu [build link]  

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