2013 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunde...
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2013 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [Alexei Baboulevitch]  


Alexei Baboulevitch
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago

I'm mainly interested in building eGPUs that require a minimum of nonsense: no scripts, no custom boot stuff, no hacks or resource management. I'm OK with running entirely in Bootcamp and over an external monitor. Fortunately, my particular model of Macbook seems to be especially well-suited to this task. I succeeded last time with my GTX 1050 Ti SC build, and everything seems to work just as well with this GTX 1080 upgrade.

For more info, please read the detailed writeup on my blog: Sticking a GTX 1080 in an AKiTiO Thunder2

System Specs

Late-2013 15" Macbook Pro w/750M dGPU
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
Bootcamp, Windows 10, external monitor only

eGPU hardware

AKiTiO Thunder2
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Mini ITX
Some random 600W PSU I had lying around 

Hardware Pictures

Card in case


Card in case 2


Base setup on my desk (with monitor on a separate desk)


PSU jumper


4-pin ATX to 5.5x2.5mm cable


Voltage testing

Installation Steps

  1. I already had Bootcamp, Windows 10, and the requisite Nvidia drivers installed from my previous 1050 Ti setup.
  2. The Gigabyte 1080 Mini is too tall for the AKiTiO case, but happens to be exactly the right length. (You don't even have to take the fan out.) I'm running with the top off at the moment, but I'm considering 3D printing a new top case at some point in the future.
  3. Since the 1080 could no longer run on bus power alone, I needed a new adaptor or PSU that could power both the case and card. For the time being, I decided to pull the PSU from one of my old desktops. (This is a stopgap solution. I'm considering getting a Silverstone Flex SUG 300W to power this thing, which is significantly smaller than both the Dell DA-2 and Mean Well adapters.)
  4. To power the case, I needed to assemble a really simple 4-pin ATX to 5.5x2.5mm barrel plug adaptor.
  5. To power the card, I needed to get a 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe adaptor, since my PSU was too old.
  6. To turn on the PSU, I needed to add a jumper to the 24-pin ATX plug.
  7. I had some trouble using the top TB2 port on the Thunder2, but after switching ports everything started working perfectly. No error 12, no EFI hacks, nothing extra required. The only caveat is that it sometimes takes a few tries to hear the chime at startup.


  GTX 1080 GTX 1050 Ti SC Improvement
3DMark Fire Strike
Graphics Score 17109 6993 2.45×
Graphics FPS 1 81.86 32.28 2.54×
Graphics FPS 2 68.17 28.74 2.37×
3DMark Time Spy
Graphics Score 6343 2040 3.10×
Graphics FPS 1 41.61 13.67 3.04×
Graphics FPS 2 36.17 11.43 3.16×
3DMark Sky Dive
Graphics Score 55760 22564 2.47×
Graphics FPS 1 233.78 102.25 2.29×
Graphics FPS 2 279.52 103.83 2.69×
3DMark11 Free
Graphics Score 21363 8802 2.43×
Graphics FPS 1 104.98 42.83 2.45×
Graphics FPS 2 116.34 42.18 2.76×
Graphics FPS 3 131.99 54.32 2.43×
Graphics FPS 4 57.58 25.13 2.29×

As expected, I'm getting 2.5–3.0x the performance of my previous 1050 Ti, along with a 20% TB2 performance penalty. Note that these are only the graphics scores, not the total scores (since my CPU is irrelevant). 


Aside from the PSU and top case hassles, I'm really loving this setup. At last, Far Cry 4 runs at 60fps on Ultra at full 1920x1080 resolution, and I can play VR games without a hitch! Purchasing the Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box (which sports the same GPU, integrated power, TB3 + USB ports, and an almost-identical form factor) would have been more sensible if I had a different Macbook, but apparently, the TB3 to TB2 bridge won't work with Nvidia cards when your Mac has an integrated Nvidia GPU.

2013 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [build link]  

C rus
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posted by: Archagon
the TB3 to TB2 bridge won't work with Nvidia cards when your Mac has an integrated Nvidia GPU.


Will it work with an AMD card?

I would like the smalles possible enclosure and Akitio TB2/TB3 and Lite are on my list.
My MBPr has integrated GPU (2012 model).

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.