mid-2015 15" Macbook Pro M370X + GTX1080Ti @16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Node) macOS10.12.6+Win10 [fiddy]  

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fiddy
(@fiddy)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 9
August 10, 2017 2:02 pm  

First, I would like to thank everyone who posted an implementation guide. I had my stuff working and didn't really want to spend the time to type anything but maybe something I write will help someone. It is the least I can do. 

 

Second, I would like to thank the patient people on this forum ie. goalque and others. You guys explain the same solutions to people over and over and many still can't figure it out.. Props to you guys! 

 

 Build Photos

 

 

I have been on this Macbook Pro since I bought it new back in 2015. In 2015, I could run everything I needed to at what was acceptable to me at the time. I work in lighting/video design for live music and I visualize stages with moving lights and video in 3d space. I was going to build a new PC which is what I really should have done but I really liked the idea of an eGPU and I didn't have to build an entire PC.

 

Products:

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 HYBRID
  • AKiTiO Node
  • Apple Thunderbolt 2 Cable (2.0m)
  • Apple Thunderbolt 3 to 2 Adapter
  • Corsair SF450
  • 4-pin Molex to 6+2 PCIe Cable
  • 24Pin Koolertek PSU Bridge

 

Install:

I installed the card into the Node which fit fine. The only issue I ran into was the radiator/fan combo didn't quite fit in the place of the stock fan that I removed so I had to flip around the rear bracket to move the radiator about an inch into the node. No big deal. (Please see below for the real AKiTiO Node issue.)

 

Win10: 

I am using Win 10 Pro 64-bit Build 14393.1480 (RS1) I was forced to use Pro due to a requirement of an application. I had windows installed long before I started with a eGPU.

I plugged everything in and gave win 10 a boot w/ an external monitor and installed the drivers. Rebooted and I think I was good to go. I do remember using using DDU to remove the drivers for the M370X. I had used the drivers from bootcampdrivers.com and they worked great for the dGPU but don't remember why or what they were dong to my setup. I usually disable both the iGPU and dGPU when I am on an external. 

I was traveling with just the node, testing the card on the internal, and I ended up using refind with a spoof for 10.9 before I boot into windows. This kept all the GPUs in the device manager for me to configure them how I want as well as allowing me to install the iris drivers for my card direct from intel. Internal acceleration worked but I wasn't happy with the results. I did not run a benchmark and probably won't configure on the internal again. Hopefully not!

 

OSX:

I was using os 10.12.5. When I booted for the first time w/ the card, I could see a new device in the Video Card section of the System Info. Forget what it said but it saw a 3rd device. I installed the drivers and rebooted and my external monitor fired right up after logging into my user account.

Worked great until I undated to 10.12.6 without thinking. I tried a few things with no luck and I stumbled upon Rastafabi's eGPU Enabler. Installed and everything was back to normal. When I got to the desktop, I had to update Nvidia+Cuda drivers. Happy they were already available! 

 

AKiTiO Node WARNING:

If you are planning on pairing a GTX1080ti with the AKiTiO node, please be aware that the PSU in the node will not handle anywhere near the advertised 390W. My card would randomly shut down under load and I couldn't figure out why. I installed Z-GPU and received all kinds of perf errors and finally found someone on forum that had the same issue as me. I wasted a lot of time trying to solve this issue and in the end the only solution was to return or put a real power supply in the node. I chose the latter for simplicity but I don't think it's right for AKiTiO to misrepresent their product. I send tech support an e-mail explaining the issue and the response was to change the PSU or reduce my card's maximum power draw. I sent a reply asking them why I need to get a stronger PSU when the 1080Ti's are pulling closer to 280W and their node claims to supply 390W. The only response I received was that my ticket will be closed in 2 days. Thanks AKiTiO, you guys are awesome!

 

Please be aware: You will need to replace the PSU in your AKiTiO Node if your GFX card draws anywhere near 250W. This number could even be lower, I don't have the ability to meter the card's actual power draw. AKiTiO will not support you either. Factor this added cost into purchase and the node looses it's good price value.

 

 

OSX:

 

WIN10:

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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hypernurd
(@hypernurd)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 58
August 14, 2017 11:05 am  

Hi @fiddy,

I have a similar set-up to yourself but am suffering from the POST issue that earlier MBP models (2014, etc) appear to suffer (see postings  by @mac_editor). I have the same model of MBP (Mid-2015 Retina with 370x) and an MSI 1080Ti card but I have the Mantiz Venus which is also connected using Apple's USB-C to TB2 adaptor with a 2m TB2/TB2 cable.

Installation was as expected following the Goaleque script method but I cannot leave the eGPU connected on reboot. I have to connect during the boot process (ie. After the Apple Logo but before the start of the load progress bar). 

I am interested to learn whether this is something you suffer from too. If not, then I suspect  its a Mantiz specific issue but it would be good to know either way. 

Best wishes,

Hypernurd

mid-2017 15" Macbook Pro RP560 + [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + macOS & Win10


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fiddy
(@fiddy)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 9
August 14, 2017 6:23 pm  

Hyper, did you try Rastafabi's eGPU enabler? I just tested a reboot on OSX with refind disabled and I had no issues. 

Could possibly be a firmware issue with the TI83 USB-C controller. I would search for people with the same enclosure / computer, w/ the same issue. 

3 As of 21-July-2017, TI83 (in red) enclosures deliver only half their TB3-specced host-to-device bandwidth and are awaiting a firmware fix. 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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emtee
(@emtee)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
August 16, 2017 9:22 pm  

Thanks for the excellent write-up. I'm looking to do the exact same setup, but a bit concerning about the PSU issue of the Node. So,

  • what did you end up doing for PSU? Swapped it out or used an external one?
  • what monitors are you powering? I'm looking to power 3x 4k LG 27 inchers...

Cheers

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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fiddy
(@fiddy)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 9
September 7, 2017 4:34 am  

Emtee,

 

I swapped the stock PSU for the Corsair.

I use 2x ASUS PB278Q [email protected] IPS monitors. 

I find reliability in OSX to be weak. Once the PSU changes were made, windows performs flawlessly. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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(@frank_feng)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
September 21, 2017 11:19 pm  

Hi @fiddy,

 

Thank you so much for your write up. It is very helpful.

About swapping the PSU, do you need to trick the PSU to turn on because it is not connect to a motherboard? Also, what is the model of your Corsair PSU?

 

Best wishes,

Frank

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JobOussoren
(@joboussoren)
New Member
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 2
January 8, 2018 9:54 pm  

Does the TB3 to TB really work with older macbooks with TB2 and no TB3?

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milkyjoe2
(@milkyjoe2)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
April 17, 2018 8:08 pm  
Posted by: JobOussoren

Does the TB3 to TB really work with older macbooks with TB2 and no TB3?

if you are talking about tb3 to tb2 yes. i use it. tb3 to tb , i think so  but i dont know for sure

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(@sergio_arroyo)
New Member
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 2
April 18, 2018 6:31 am  

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a similar MBP (13" early 2015) and I was thinking of getting an eGPU. Have you experienced a performance increase  in light of the new High Sierra Upgrade? Also I have read that the old TB2 ports only provide 50% of the GPUs power.  From your experience, is the upgrade worth it?
TIA 🙂

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fiddy
(@fiddy)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 9
June 7, 2018 10:48 pm  

Hey Sergio,

I took my GPU to a windows tower. 6 months ago, I wasn't happy with the performance of the 1080ti with OSX. 

Hope this helps

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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fanacess
(@fanacess)
New Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 2
July 23, 2018 10:08 am  

Hello,

Can you be more precise about it ?

Does your CPU limit your system when playing ?

Does your fans running very fast in game to refresh CPU ?

Does the performances bad on Metal ? On Bootcamp ?

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milkyjoe2
(@milkyjoe2)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
August 26, 2018 11:25 pm  

hi @fiddy . i am a macbook pro egpu owner, same year, i7, TB2 same as you, but 1080 and also akitio node. i am **extremely** interested to know what score you get on a 3dmark timespy benchmark test. mine came out as 5000 even. i would be very grateful if you could run the test on your setup two or three times and tell me what score you get. it would definitively answer a longstanding question several others and i have had. namely, about the thunderbolt 2 / 3 bandwidth bottleneck: is there a GPU performance limit above which GPU processing power is wasted? i've heard it both ways. is there or isn't there a GPU level ceiling? can you calculate the data rate of a GPU and measure it against the thunderbolt bandwidth capacity.

also, one point about your post and the node's PSU, with my 1080 - after some initial system freezing issues which were entirely caused by badly applied thermal paste in the MBP (the problem completely cleared up the minute i had it done, by apple) - i don't have any issues whatsoever with system shutting down. so i would argue that the PSU  can at least support a 1080 comfortably, contrary to the way you described it not being capable of supporting anywhere near its advertised wattage.

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milkyjoe2
(@milkyjoe2)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 23
September 3, 2018 4:22 pm  

HI @fiddy i need to get an answer on this so, i apologise in advance but i have to pester you by posting here till hear back 😉

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fiddy
(@fiddy)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 9
September 10, 2018 2:34 am  

Milky, I have built a PC to house the 1080ti because OSX didn'tt play well with NVIDIA.

As far as the stock PSU is concerned, simple,  mine did not supply enough juice for my card. I changed it and everything worked. 

Best of luck.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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