DIY eGPU experiences

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

  1. beq_bb

    beq_bb Notebook Enthusiast

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    OMG i didn't see the freakin cons... Now i have to buy monitor rofl...
     
  2. drew_heard

    drew_heard Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks Nando - hadn't realised it could do a x2 link.

    Although don't like the idea of no wi-fi, and having a look at the x1 vs x1e ati vs nvidia 4xx comparison, the x1 should be effective for me
     
  3. ajscorpio

    ajscorpio Newbie

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    (1) I don't believe that the Apple EFI firmware is setting the HD6850 as the primary video card. In fact, I'm not sure that the Apple EFI even recognises the HD6850. For example:
    (a) When I boot into Windows, nothing appears on my external monitor until the boot up process reaches the stage where I am prompted to input my Windows password, at which point the computer display switches from low resolution on the laptop to high resolution on the external display; and
    (b) If I attempt to boot into OSX while the HD6850 is connected to the laptop, the laptop crashes almost immediately.


    (2) Thanks for the suggestion to use Devcon. Much appreciated.


    (3) Based on the information in FAQ #5 ("Can my system do a PE4H x2 or x4 link as shown in PCI-E Scaling Analysis?") at the start of this discussion thread, I believe that I cannot achieve a x2 setup because I don't have the correct combination of ports to do it. As I understand it, x2 requires a port 1+2, port 3+4 or port 5+6 link to my PE4H.

    I can successfully connect the HD6850 to my laptop using a x1 connection via either port 2 (using an mPCIe) or port 3 (using a PM3N) but when I connect both the mPCIe and the PM3N to the computer simultaneously, the computer only recognises the mPCIe in port 2. With both connected, Everest Ultimate says that there is nothing connected to port 3.
     
  4. allister

    allister Notebook Enthusiast

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    A USB wifi adapter is cheap and easily available, worth the hassle for the performance boost IMHO. I'd say the question here is whether you want to open up your lappie and void the warranty.
     
  5. drew_heard

    drew_heard Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks, I should have figured a USB wi/fi adapter would exist.

    Am out of warranty anyway, so this is very tempting...

    port1=lan
    port2=wifi
    port3=wwan
    port4=turbo memory
    port5=expresscard slot

    So I need to remove port3 (wwan) + port4 (turbo memory) and connect each with an PM3N to a PE4H? And doing so need to remove the lan from port 1 (or the wifi from port 2 - what is the difference?

    I presume based on port numbering I can't do an expresscard, and P3MN combination?
     
  6. User Retired 2

    User Retired 2 Notebook Nobel Laureate NBR Reviewer

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    The m1530 would do a x2 setup using port3+4 with two PM3Ns. There are a few pitfalls of such a setup:

    1. Intel sets port1 into x2 when setting port3 into x2, so would need to remove the wifi as otherwise it would be seen as lane2 of your lan and freeze the system. So you'll need a USB wifi adapter to run concurrent wifi.

    2. hwtool's PM3N 1.0/1.1 doesn't start/stop the PCI CLKRUN when you pull the HDMI cable. That's a real problem as then the only way I got a successful x2 link on the DV4 was to hotplug the PM3N into the wifi slot when the GTX470 was powered up. Not only did this cause wear of the mPCIe slot but it was dangerous as could short something. It was annoying to the point that I modified my PM3N's PERST# jumper to be used as a CLKRUN instead.

    If interested in doing this I'd suggest ask hwtools for a "CLKRUN" modified PM3N 1.2 based on this feedback I provided to hwtools. I know they are developing one.

    3. you'd have two mini HDMI cables running from under your system to your PE4H​

    Is it worth doing?

    Based on the DV4-2000 x1, x1.Opt and x2 GTX470 results where x2 gives 30-60% faster performance than x1 the answer is yes. The other way to gain such a performance increase is upgrade to a a x1.Opt capable system (4500MHD/Intel HD primary GFX). Benefit there being a simpler single-cable setup.

    If going ahead with a x2 GTX460 setup then consider a CPU overclock using either or both:

    - running dualIDA to gain another 200Mhz of performance. See http://forum.notebookreview.com/win...ida-both-cores-core-2-duo-15.html#post6646598

    - a FSLx 200->266 PLL pinmod to gain 33% more performance : http://forum.notebookreview.com/har...pll-pinmod-overclocking-methods-examples.html
     
  7. drew_heard

    drew_heard Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks Nando - seems my old laptop has a bit of life left in it yet!

    I have emailed HWTools to see about the v1.2 PM3N, as I don't really feel like hotplugging!

    Will keep this thread updated with whatever build I end up with, along with performance results
     
  8. mbarry

    mbarry Notebook Geek

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    I'm still a bit shaky on this whole x1, x2, x8, x16 thing. So even if you have, say, 2 open mPCIe slots, and you plug 2 PM3Ns into those slots and hook it up to a PE4H, you are not guaranteed a fully functional x2 link? Is that correct? Sorry if this has been asked before (which is undoubtedly the case), but having a clearer explaination in the OP would help. And kudos to nando for sticking around all this time.
     
  9. drew_heard

    drew_heard Notebook Enthusiast

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    @mbarry - see "5. (Performance) Can my system do a PE4H x2 or x4 link as shown in PCI-E Scaling Analysis?" on the first page, which determines which PCI ports are needed to be open for it to work.

    Do you know what chipset you have?
     
  10. LOGIC 3

    LOGIC 3 Newbie

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    First off, bigups and respect due to Nando4 and all those that are the driving force behind the DIY ViDock movement. I found this discussion last Friday night after I got pissed off my laptop couldn't run Shogun 2 worth a darn, even with all the settings on low. So I placed my order of parts Saturday and have been reading and testing since they all arrived on Thursday. This forum has been great and I want to make sure I give back. I will be very detailed about my experiences implementing the DIY ViDock solution on my Latitude E6500. Hopefully this post will help E6500 owners that come after me get up and running quickly.

    Here's what I have:

    Laptop -
    Model: Dell Latitude E6500
    OS: Windows 7 Professional 64bit
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, 2533 MHz (9.5 x 267)
    RAM: 2 GB DDR2 800MHz (Only running 2GB due to Dell TOLUD issue. Actually have (2) 2GB DIMMs and (2) 4GB DIMMs)
    Chipset: Intel 82801IEM ICH9M-E
    Bios: A24
    GPU: 256MB NVidia Quadro NVS 160M
    Driver: 8.17.12.6776 - Verde Notebook Release 265 - Driver 267.76 dated 2011.03.24

    DIY ViDock -
    Adapter: PE4H v2.4 + EC $85 + $10 S/H
    GPU: Asus ENGTX460 DirectCU $199.99 (169.99 after rebate)
    Power Supply: Corsair CX500 $49.99 (39.99 after rebate)
    Total Cost: $344.98 - $304.98 after rebates

    Here are my results:

    Benchmarks - PCI-E 1.0 x1 (All ran at defaults)
    Before DIY ViDock-
    NVS160M/1440x900
    3DMark06/2298
    RE5 DX9 Var/9.0 fps
    RE5 DX10 Var/9.4 fps
    UHDX11/2.8 fps

    After DIY ViDock-
    GTX460/1280x1024
    3DMark06/5233
    RE5 DX9 Var/62.4 fps
    RE5 DX10 Var/59.5 fps
    UHDX11/15.5fps

    RE5 FPS Avg Gain over on-board GPU: 51.75 fps

    I had a thought on another column added to the front table, "Price Per Framerate Per Second". That would be a real world measurement of how efficient a build is for your wallet. In my case, I took the average of both GPU's RE5 fps scores and subtracted them to determine by gain.

    PPfps Score: $304.98/51.75fps = $5.89

    Here is how I did it:

    Download the following software before you start-
    Aida64
    3DMark06
    Resident Evil 5 PC Benchmark Utility
    Unigine Heaven DirectX 11 benchmark 2.5
    For internal GPU Verde Notebook Release 265 - Driver 267.76 dated 2011.03.24
    For External GPU GeForce/ION Driver Release 265 - Driver 266.58 dated 2011.01.18

    E6500 Port Layout
    Port #1 - WWAN slot
    Port #2 - WLAN slot
    Port #3 - UWB slot
    Port #4 - Express Card slot
    (Note: If you are missing any port numbers, then that means those devices were disabled in the bios. Turn them back on so that the OS can see the ports)


    Note that this should work for any machine spec'd like mine. If you have another on-board GPU, you may need to do a few things different. Use Aida64 to confirm what you have inside your machine and on what ports. Also you can use support.dell.com to input your Service Tag# and see what the original configuration of your machine was when it shipped. The E6500 implementation is actually pretty simple unless you make it hard on yourself, so just follow my steps. Note that I went with a PE4H+EC because I plan to attempt a 2x link. You can go with the PE4L if you have no plans on trying a 2x link.

    1) Confirm you do not have more than 3GB of RAM in your laptop. This will not work if you have 4GB or more. Confirm your bios is A24.

    2) Boot your machine and run your initial benchmarks on your internal GPU. Record your results and shut down the laptop.

    3) Assemble your DIY ViDock. Plug your GTX460 into it, attach the miniHDMI and Express Card. Hook up your power supply to the GPU and PE4. Attached your monitor to the GTX460.

    4) Turn on the power supply. Confirm you get a green light on the PE4. Insert EC into slot. Turn on your monitor.

    5) Boot your laptop up and you should boot right into Windows. Windows will automatically detect the GTX460 and download the latest driver. Let that download complete

    5b) If your system did not boot all the way into Windows, power down the machine and try again. Double check you are on A24 bios (I was on A22 and laptop would freeze at Windows logo). If you still cannot boot straight in, then boot without the EC plugged in, go to stand-by, plug in EC and come out of stand-by. (SIDENOTE: For me, stand-by inserts do not work. GTX460 shows without a driver when I do this and I lose sound and usb ports. However I can boot with the EC plugged in and everything powered up without a problem)

    6) At this point, you may be able to access the NVidia control panel and switch output over to the external monitor. If so, go into device manager and disable the HD Audio devices and you are done. Run your second round of benchmarks and let everyone know what your results are. If you are getting any error codes, then move on to 7. If your sound is not working then see 6b.

    6b) This sucks and I would love a permanent fix for it if someone has it. So when the GTX460 driver installed, it automatically installed the drivers for the HD Audio to work through the card. But these kill the on-board sound. I believe it is because they both end up sharing IRQ16 (at least on my machine). To fix, just download the latest sound driver from Dell Support and install. Do not reboot after installing and the sound will come back. It doubly sucks because you will have to do this every time you use the card. If you reboot without the card attached, sound works fine. But booting up with the card plugged in, you will have to re-install drivers to get sound working.

    7) If you are here, then you probably did something to make it harder on yourself than you had too, like I did. So here is how to fix it. First disconnect the ViDock. If the machine is on, then power down, disconnect and reboot. Next we need to completely remove any traces of NVidia drivers from the system. Go into add/remove programs and uninstall all things NVidia. If you get errors during uninstall, don't worry about it. Also note that it may take a long time for drivers to uninstall. If prompted to reboot, do not. Next go into Device Manager and under view, show hidden devices. Uninstall the GTX460 and the associated HD Audio devices. Reboot if prompted.

    8) Go back into Device Manager and remove the NVS 160M. You screen will go to standard VGA. Pay attention to what the NVS 160M device icon now looks like in device manager. Disable your wireless card via your wireless switch and shutdown.

    9) Connect the ViDock and boot up. Upon coming back into Windows, your wireless should be off so it won’t grab the driver from Windows Update. Cancel any driver installs it may attempt. Use the 266.58 driver I had you download earlier and manually update the driver for the GTX460 in device manager. The GTX 460 will be the icon that was not there at the end of step 8. Reboot when prompted.

    10) Go back into device manager and manually install the 267.76 driver to the NVS 160M. Reboot if prompted.

    11) You should now be able to access NVidia control panel and switch output over to the external monitor. Sound is probably not working so see step 6b.

    12) In the NVidia control panel, set PhysX config so that it is processed on the CPU.


    At first, I was not happy with my results because I was looking at other peoples setups that were getting 10,000 plus on 3DMark06, but then I messed with the RE5 benchmark and then finally launched Shogun 2. It was a night and day difference from what I was getting before. I still have a few questions however.

    1) Aside from making sure PhysX is set to use CPU, what other recommended settings do people have for the 3D Settings in NVidia Control Panel. For example, I have CUDA-GPUs set to both GPU's, should that be limited to just the GTX460?

    2) Aside from disabling HD Audio in device manager, are there any other tweaks I can do to maximize my 1x connection?

    3) Does it make sense for me to attempt use Setup 1.x? Based on my understanding from reading, there would be no gain in my situation unless I was ready to try a 2x connection.

    4) Has anyone tried the Setup 1.x 36bit relocation on a E6500 that was using bios version A24? Does it still fail?

    5) Any new ideas/suggestions on how to get around the 3GB memory limit?

    Hopefully this has been helpful. Happy gaming!
     
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