2015 27" iMac 5K (R9 M395) [6th,4C,] + RTX 2080 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 [Spate23]
- Late 2015 27" iMac 5K (AMD Radeon R9 M395 + Intel i5-6600)
- macOS Mojave 10.14.2 + Windows 10 (Version 1809) Bootcamp
- 27-inch (5120 x 2880) Internal Display
- 27-inch 1440p Asus MG278Q (comes with Freesync and now G-SYNC compatible)
- Akitio Node 3
- Zotac RTX 2080 Blower
- Apple's Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
- Thunderbolt 2 Cable (I bought one at an Apple Store)
- Important note: The power supply that comes with the Akitio Node 3 is somewhat able to power the RTX 2080, however it would turn off by itself at least once a day when I was gaming. The power supply is a very cheap one and probably does not actually delivers the 400W so I bought a new one ( a Corsair SF450). It has worked flawlessly since I installed it. Fits perfectly in the Akitio Node 3 and is extremely silent. You will also need this little PSU Bridge Tool and an extra PCIe Cable (I bought a pair just to have an extra one for the future) since the power supply comes with 2 of them and you will need a total 3 (2 for your GPU + 1 to power the Akitio's PCB).
- Note 2: I used to use a GTX1060 with this set up, and worked very well. With that I would bet that any RTX and GTX card would work (any card that fits the enclosure tho). Keep in mind that you should only change the power supply if you want to put a 1080ti, 2080 or 2080ti inside the Akitio. For any other card the stock PSU is fine (not including AMD cards tho).
How to make it work
- First of all, turn on the Akitio Node 3 using the switch on the back, then turn on your iMac and select the windows partition. When the windows logo appears, there should be a loading symbol right under it. Right after it does one cycle, connect the thunderbolt cable to you iMac (I use the one closest to the USB ports) . You don't need a perfect timing. I think you have around 5-10 seconds after the spinning symbol does one cycle to connect the cable. Note here that I always use the same thunderbolt port since the other one does not detect the eGPU.
- After you log-in, go to Device Manager -> Display Adapter and check if the iMac is detecting 2 of them (one is the internal AMD M395 and the other one should say either "NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080" or something like generic monitor). If you got both then go ahead download and install the latest nvidia drivers. After you install them you should turn off you pc, then disconnect the Akitio's thunderbolt cable. Then just follow the first instructions every time you turn on your PC. You can NOT turn on you PC with the Akitio connected or it will freeze.
- After you log-in again on windows, if you see no image on your external monitor then it means that the eGPU is not working and you probably got the "Error Code 12" (which I did). Thankfully it's very easy to fix (or at least more than how it looks). To fix the error just follow the instructions here. Although, I want to give some advice on what to do at certain points of the guide since I had some issues with it. By the time you reach "OPTON 1: Intel Method" section "iv", you are going to get compile errors. Even though I'm a programmer I couldn't fix the line that was causing the issue (which was an "if" statement if I remember correctly"). After trying everything I just decided to completely delete that line of code + a couple of lines under that "if" statement and it worked!. I know is not the best way to go, but it worked in the end so YOLO. After that, on "STEP 2", both methods work, but the first one has a problem that doesn't allow you to play some games that use BattlEye (like Fornite) and there is no way around it. So I suggest going for the second method (OPTION 2: Avoid test signing mode - load your dsdt-modified.aml as an in memory DSDT substitution) in the guide. You will end up using the "iv. [ UEFI mode]" instructions. Even though there is a warning on the guide, it worked perfectly for me but keep in mind it is still somewhat risky. Finally, when the guide asks you to open the s:/ drive, I was NOT able to use 7-zip to do it but you can just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, task manager, File->New task and do everything there. ALSO I could not find this directory "s:\EFI\CLOVER\ACPI\WINDOWS" so I just created a new folder called "ACPI" inside EFI and then also created the folder "WINDOWS" inside ACPI and put the dsdt.aml file there, and worked! :D. After that just reboot, hot-plug and your external screen should be working.
Benchmarks (External Monitor)
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 (1440p + Ultra)
The only time that I've experienced the CPU bottle-necking the system was while playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 at Ultra settings or when I tried going over 250 FPS on Rocket League (max settings). I wouldn't recommend this GPU for 1080p since the bottle-necking will get worse but for 1440p and games at High-Ultra is perfect. I get 90+ FPS on Battlefield V, COD4, and StarWars Battlefront 2. Note: I've never tried powering the Internal Monitor.
Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts