External Gpu for Macbook Pro Retina 2014 (running bootcamp)

matcocco

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Dec 12, 2014
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I have scoured the internet for answers to this topic and was relieved to fight out many people had the same issue. But I wanted to get a definite answer (because most news involved hardware or designs from 2010s) about how I get get comparable gaming on my MBP 13in.

I have an Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014 with an i5 2.6Ghz with 8 GB of Ram with Thunderbolt 2. I have a 500w ATX psu which I hope will be enough to power a potential high end graphics card.

I saw the potential of the alienware amplifier as well as the pcie configs from banggood and the viDock. But I am still not sure of its function with my system (given that I want to play on the laptop screen)

I am looking to spend perhaps no more than $200 for a possible enclosure setup.

Does anyone else know of some portable options that can work?
 

ingtar33

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Dec 17, 2012
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i wasn't aware they made enclosures for 200... i was pretty sure it was all much more expensive then that, like $1000 type of expensive. At that point you might as well just make yourself a desktop pc.


I suppose you could make your own enclosure... to do that you'd need-
-thunderbolt to express card reader ($150-$170)
-express card reader to pcie adaptor ($85-$100)
=
$235-$270
+
psu
gpu

and i've seen zero express card to pcie adapters out there that are better then pcie 1.0x16. which means there will be performance loss on pretty much any top end ~ throw in the fact firewire 2.0 is also slower then an onboard pcie slot, and you'll get performance loss no matter what
 

ingtar33

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Dec 17, 2012
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i wasn't aware they made enclosures for 200... i was pretty sure it was all much more expensive then that, like $1000 type of expensive. At that point you might as well just make yourself a desktop pc.


I suppose you could make your own enclosure... to do that you'd need-
-thunderbolt to express card reader ($150-$170)
-express card reader to pcie adaptor ($85-$100)
=
$235-$270
+
psu
gpu

and i've seen zero express card to pcie adapters out there that are better then pcie 1.0x16. which means there will be performance loss on pretty much any top end ~ throw in the fact firewire 2.0 is also slower then an onboard pcie slot, and you'll get performance loss no matter what
 

matcocco

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Dec 12, 2014
2
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Thank you for the quick reply btw!
Yeah I heard the same about large and expensive enclosures and while the possibility exists to chug through with the adapters, you are right, the pcie speeds are significantly faster than my potential setup.
Thanks again for your help. I will probably just end up getting a cooler master 130 with mini-itx gaming rig.
 

Aplustech

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Nov 6, 2013
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PSU Zebronic Zeb 450W 450 Watts PSU(Silver) $ 7.21(http://www.flipkart.com/zebronic-zeb-450w-450-watts-psu/p/itmdt9duhfnxz7dz?pid=PSUDKQUHKGRASFKN&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=power+supply+units&ref=873e93f0-3904-4e71-9ccb-a088d6c43c6c&primarySection=SELLER_TABLE&sellersSortedBy=PRICE)

EXP GDC Laptop External PCI-E Graphics Card $52.99(http://www.banggood.com/EXP-GDC-Laptop-External-PCI-E-Graphics-Card-p-934367.html)

Sonnet Echo ExpressCard Pro $153.28 From amazon.com

Graphic card 512MB DDR3 up to 75Wno additional PCIe power required $28.05 (http://www.snapdeal.com/product/asus-210sltc1gd3l-graphic-card/784786820#prdsc)

Total $241

Main Expensive thing is sonnet echo express card pro i need some alternative here
 

ingtar33

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Dec 17, 2012
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that's a good find... and for much less then the other options i saw in my quick search. that said you won't see any other thunderbolt to express card adaptor. as far as i can tell Sonnet is the only company that makes them.
 

qelteotics

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Apr 6, 2015
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So did it work? I'm planning to do it too with my macbook pro retina..
 

znf

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May 12, 2015
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I can't say for certain whether this would work for your OS X GPU applications, but thunderbolt to PCIe chassis have come down in price. Amazon carries The Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box for $219. I'm using it without issue for a Blackmagic video output card on my Mac Pro.
 

maddmic

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Aug 12, 2012
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Are you referring to this?
EXP GDC Laptop External PCI-E Graphics Card $52.99

if so, you say you're using it in a Mac Pro, what interface? i'm assuming it wouldn't be the express card..... or are you referring to the other options that are more expensive?

i have an early 2011 17inch mackbook pro with an express card slot and i am wondering if this will work. it games well, but i would like to keep is cooler and bump up the graphics settings a bit while i'm at home and on a monitor.
 

znf

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May 12, 2015
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Nope, I was referring to the "Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box" I mentioned which sells on Amazon for $219, and I only brought it up to point out that a relatively-low-price Thunderbolt2 PCIe chassis exists and works -- I haven't tried it with a GPU. It's pricier than the GDC PCMCIA card.
 
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