DIY eGPU experiences

Discussion in 'e-GPU (External Graphics) Discussion' started by master blaster, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. ebbitten

    ebbitten Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just wanted to document my experiences so far.
    Started out with a dell vaio vgn-nw270F model with 4 GB ram and an integrated graphics card only (intel series 4).
    Bought a gtx 460 1 gb graphics card ($110) with a pe4h($90) connector kit. Had an old (6 year) power supply from a computer that was pretty good in its day.
    The list of problems I encountered/how they were fixed.
    1) When I inserted the graphics card it only whirred louder instead of being recognized by the computer.
    1a) Make sure you plug in power cords to ALL the parts that need power on the gpu. This includes the pe4h connector but also the 6 pin PEG plugs on the side of the graphics card itself.
    2) Graphics card recognized by windows and updated itself but couldn't get it to display anything.
    2a) Had to download the drivers from the NVIDIA site in internet explorer (not firefox).
    3) When running the driver setup from NVIDIA it would state that there was no recognized NVIDIA hardware.
    3a) I had to uninstall and reinstall various drivers. Didn't keep great documentation but basically for this driver you don't have to really modify anything if you install the latest NVIDIA driver as it is already ready to display internally. Haven't tried hooking anything up to an external monitor yet.

    Haven't run any benchmarks but I went from not being able to play diablo 3 at all to running it pretty well (although I can't really tell as my internet is crappy and lags and there is no single player offline :(). Also went from having to run starcraft 2 on the lowest graphics to running it smoothly on ultra (1v1 offline at least).
    Fan is relatively quiet and setup is decently compact although I would love to get an enclosure for it.
     
  2. Massawe

    Massawe Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks Kizwan, you resolved my problem. :)
    As per your tutorial, Large Memory created and my laptop able to running Vidock with eGPU ATI Radeon HD 6950 under 4 GB RAM.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  3. Pearf

    Pearf Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've got hands on a GTX 680. So here are new Results:

    3dmark06 25921 RE5 215,9 FPS
    3dmarkvantage 26941 gpu DMC4 S4 190 FPS
    3dmark11 7632 GPU Heaven 2286 Pt.

    My Conclusion: I will sell the pe4l 2.1b Why? Aside from these synthetic benchmarks which looking very good is the real gaming performance mediocre. The GTX 680 does BF3 on ultra on a i5 2500k desktop butter smooth. The 3820QM of my W530 is without overclock quite similar in performance. It comes all down to the pcie performance. Pcie x1 2.0 even with optimus is not enough to play modern games like bf3. Much jurkeness and stutter even when i am going back to high/medium settings.
    All in all it was a fun thing try things out, but i will stick to my traditional gaming desktop.
    Feel free to ask any question to my config and i will try to answer it.

    greets

    ps: send a pm when anyone is intrested to buy my pe4l 2.1b. I'm from germany but i will ship international i you are willing to pay the shipping costs...
     

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  4. grankmisguided

    grankmisguided Notebook Enthusiast

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    So, I've confirmed none of my parts are defective...
    I have an old Asus G1S that I use as an HTPC, and it has an expresscard 54 slot, so I thought I'd see if I could get the rig to work in it. The iGPU is an NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS and there's no dGPU or anything.
    I booted up the machine with the card already plugged in and turned on.
    It booted into Windows, and the new hardware wizard installed it as a standard VGA compatible video controller for some reason.
    I then attempted to install the 301.42 desktop drivers, which failed for some reason. It doesn't tell you why, it just takes forever and then says failed.
    As soon as it failed, Windows found new hardware came to life and downloaded drivers for it from Windows Update (295.73 based drivers according to the device properties).
    With those drivers, it worked perfectly as the primary display device on the external monitor, with the iGPU as a secondary display device driving the internal LCD. If I don't do any 3D, it's stable for days as the primary display device for Aero in Windows 7.
    I then tried to do a 3DMark 11. It worked at first, then blue-screened about 30 seconds into the demo. After rebooting from the BSOD I tried running just the benchmarks without the demos, and it still blue-screened about 30 seconds or so into that.
    I tried again to install the 301.42 desktop drivers, now that the card was working as a GTX 560. They failed again.
    Anyway, I'm not really concerned in getting it working on this machine, as the CPU and HDD are both way too absurdly slow to be of any use for gaming. However, it does at least confirm that the hardware works and there's no reason I shouldn't be able to at least get it to drive an external display on my Lenovo W520.
    So it seems like a driver problem. Possibly related to Optimus.
    I wouldn't be surprised if I had success with it after a nuke-and-pave, but that's not really an option since this is a work machine and setting everything back up would be a massive hassle and loss of productivity.
    I'll check some stuff with some other W520 owners here and see if they have anything helpful to say...
     
  5. kizwan

    kizwan Lord Pringles

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    NVIDIA GeForce 9500M GS is dGPU. iGPU is a GPU built in North Bridge chipset or processor.

    If it BSOD when trying to run games/benchmark, it usually means PSU unable to deliver enough power to drive your GTX560. GTX560 (not Ti version) power requirement is 150W & can go up to 190W when on peak 3D or overclock. Make sure your PSU +12V rail able to supply it.
     
  6. Elmopol

    Elmopol Newbie

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    Geforce GTS450 + xbox 360 power supply + Dell E6420

    The past days I worked on my eGPU setup, and it's now in full working order!

    Wanting to improve gaming performance in Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 on my 28" screen, I was in doubt whether to buy a new laptop or try an eGPU. Since I like the tweaking and know I have an 'easy' to use laptop I went for the eGPU solution.

    I wanted the eGPU to get his power from a xbox 360 power supply, this power supply allows for future modding into a nice portable enclosure and provides enough power for almost all but the most highend graphic cards.

    In this post I'll write up my results and try to give a thorough explanation as to how I modded the powersupply, because I think for a real electronics noob like me this information is hard to come by.

    Parts used:

    • PE4L 2.1b
    • Express card adapter
    • Asus Geforce GTS450 1GB GDDR5
    • 203W XBOX 360 power supply
    • Dell E6420 I5-2410M, 8GB DDR3, Intel HD3000

    First try I used the following diagram to wire the power supply:

    [​IMG]

    It turned out the wiring didn't work, because the power suply didn't get the signal to switch itself on, the light on the power supply stayed orange instead of green.

    [​IMG]

    To switch on the power supply the red and blue wire we see on the picture need to be connected, most convenient is to do this using a simple rocker switch.

    We also see ten wires coming out of the power supply:

    • One red +5VSB
    • One Blue POWER_ENABLE
    • Three thick yellow +12V
    • Three thick black GROUND
    • One thin yellow +12V
    • One thin black GROUND

    I connected everything as follows:

    [​IMG]

    PE4L:

    • Red wire split and attached to blue wire to switch on the power supply
    • Second branch of red wire to floppymolex on the PE4L
    • One thick and one thin black wire to black wire on floppymolex
    • One thick and one thin yellow wire to yellow wire on floppy molex

    Male molex to supply 6pin connector, times 2:

    • One thick black wire split in two, to male molex black wires
    • One yellow wire to yellow wire on male molex

    Everything wired up:

    [​IMG]

    You see the floppymolex attached to the PE4L and another molex being connected to the 6pin connector on the graphics card, all using various molex splitter cables etc. The wiring can be done without all the extra molex splitters but that's for another time.

    Credits for pointing me in the right direction concerning the powersupply go to Kuro-D, who also used a xbox power supply and applied some neat wiring (see this post).

    After wiring everything up, I connected the eGPU to the laptop and powered everything on. This resulted in the eGPU being the only recognized graphics card and thus in slower performance without optimus compression. The solution to this is to either hotplug the eGPU when already in windows, or to boot everything at the same time but with the delay switch on the PE4L set to highest.

    Right now everything works fine using optimus 1.2 compression, producing the following results:

    3Dmark06 13745 points

    3DmarkVantage 8469 points

    3Dmark11 2166 points

    Thanx for reading and hope this post will be helpfull for some!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
  7. Kuro-D

    Kuro-D Notebook Enthusiast

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    Looking good and happy you got it to work.

    Excellent post and I'm sure it will be useful to others looking to go the Xbox 360 psu route

    Also glad I could be of help.
     
  8. booots

    booots Newbie

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    Just wanted to say a huge thank you!

    I got all the kit delivered today, and the results are remarkable!
    I have a dell 1720 (designed for a nvidia chip but I got one that had intel). The expresscard slot is the most basic and I think its the model below sandy bridge (intel core 2 duo? with 2gb ram, downgraded to xp with a guide) and I got the 16x new dongle kit because I might need it someday..
    I was expecting a huge bottleneck but I think because I got such a good graphics card (1gb Radeon HD 5750) that awesome occurred.
    Second Life is running great on high graphics. Plus, reason for posting is I found that if you make the ati display an extension of your primary display then make it the primary display, it bugs and goes back to intel. But if you select it then on the intel LCD go to Display Properties > Advanced > troubleshoot > turn the hardware acceleration down to none and untick enable write combining
    The Ati card takes over and you get a sweet duel monitor setup with games running full screen on the external monitor and still being able to use facebook and stuff on the LCD under ATI so the LCD isnt wasted and no need to workaround with clones and stuff on an underpowered machine.

    My setup is so awesome right now my eyes literally watered when I saw it.
    \o/



    p.s I had to tie the expresscard adapter on with string because the hole is too big.
     
  9. xilef0610

    xilef0610 Notebook Enthusiast

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    UPDATE (x220, i5-2540, 4gb ram, gtx 560 se, PE4L v2.1b):
    - tried DSDT override and returned with a BSOD
    - downgraded to BIOS 1.24 (mentioned on lenovo's website that there was a fix regarding the TOLUD issues)
    - desktop drivers install
    - i am not seeing anymore code 12 issues, but more importantly i am not seeing the device being detected 90% of the time. i got it to recognize a few times when i turn on the egpu after i slept my x220, but when it recognized it says the device is not using any resources because it has reported problems
    - now i keep trying different combinations to have my laptop recognize my egpu, i got it to detect it one or two times and i do see under device manager that my GTX 560 Se is up and working, however it quickly disappeared after ~2 seconds of showing up on device manager.

    with egpu plugged in, windows takes approximately 20 seconds longer to load (transitioning from the 4 dots of wisdom to windows 7 itself, there is a period of black screen). also, when restarting the computer it seems the computer is being forced shutdown twice, as it gives out the exact same sound when i force shutdown my laptop. not sure if these are normal

    Can anyone please advise? Could it be an issue related to my power supply? When I turn on the egpu the D1 light is green and D3 light is orange. D2 and D4 lights are off. I don't know how much power the video card needs by itself nor do i konw how to do the calculations to see how much power is being supplied... please see below:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. HiGGz

    HiGGz Notebook Enthusiast

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    i don't know about the whole error 12 thing since i don't own a EGPU yet.

    But about u're PSU... u have only 156W available on 12V (12V*13A) with an efficiency below 80-70% -> Between 124W-110W available -> not enough for a GTX560... u need to get a better PSU (with a stronger 12V at least).
     
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