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DIY eGPU experiences

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

  1. drew_heard

    drew_heard Notebook Enthusiast

    Mar 26, 2011
    @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?
  2. LOGIC 3

    LOGIC 3 Newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    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: - 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-
    RE5 DX9 Var/9.0 fps
    RE5 DX10 Var/9.4 fps
    UHDX11/2.8 fps

    After DIY ViDock-
    RE5 DX9 Var/62.4 fps
    RE5 DX10 Var/59.5 fps

    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-
    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!
  3. key001

    key001 Notebook Evangelist

    Sep 15, 2007
    search for HD audio's device id in windows\inf and move those .inf and .pnf
    somewhere. That's how I got rid of 5750's audio HD.

    Here's an example:
    %HdAudioDeviceDescription% = HdAudModel, HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_1002&DEV_AA01&SUBSYS_00AA0100&REV_1000
    Yours will look differently since it's nvidia.
  4. ajscorpio

    ajscorpio Newbie

    Apr 2, 2011

    You can quickly and easily generate a list of installed device drivers by opening a CMD window and typing:
    pnputil.exe -e
  5. ajscorpio

    ajscorpio Newbie

    Apr 2, 2011

    Nando - apologies, I misread what you wrote. You suggested that I try a x1E setup but I mistakenly read what you wrote as suggesting that I try a x2 setup. D'oh!

    I have now done as you suggested and removed the WiFi card from my laptop. The port numbering for the laptop's PCI Express Controllers is now:

    PCI-E 1.0 x1 port #1
    In Use @ x1 (Marvell Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller)

    PCI-E 1.0 x1 port #3
    In Use @ x1 (AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series [1002-6739] [NoDB])

    In other words, port 2 is not being used (and there is no port 4).

    With this new arrangement, I re-tested my computer using the RE5 and 3D Mark tests. I discovered no significant change.

    x1 test results
    RE5.var: 56
    3dMark06: 9651

    x1E test results
    RE5.var: 52.8
    3dMark06: 9658

    Perhaps the x1E anomaly does not occur with Apple motherboards.
  6. tpro

    tpro Notebook Guru

    Mar 10, 2011
  7. key001

    key001 Notebook Evangelist

    Sep 15, 2007
    For what purpose?
  8. ajscorpio

    ajscorpio Newbie

    Apr 2, 2011
    To quickly find the relevant INF file. I thought it possible that some people might interpret your suggestion (about searching for the HD Audio INF file) to mean that they should individually open each INF file until they found the correct one.
  9. fulloffeel

    fulloffeel Newbie

    Apr 4, 2011

    I have ordered all DIY Vidock set to set up my XPS m1330 with GTX460

    my setup is almost identical to Flaunt's except CPU

    Laptop : Dell XPS m1330
    CPU : T9300
    Original Graphics Card : 8400M GS
    RAM : 4GB
    OS : Win7 64bit
    Vidock Setup : ExpressCard PE4L

    I was using GTX460 SE model, but i couldn't get it to work for days, looking back to this blog, so i went and switched it over to regular GTX460 model from EVGA.
    But nothing has changed, it would still not load up.

    Since Flaunt has mentioned that he didn't have to install any of the vidock softwares, i have tried every combination possible without.
    Booting with the Card powered and connected, connecting when my computer is at sleep, and just plain PNP when it is up.

    When i connect the card before booting, device manager shows that my GTX460 is working. But 8400M shows error 12.
    and it does not show any option to use GTX460. Aren't i supposed to see something in Resolution? it just shows as 'default monitor' without any other option.

    Connecting the card during sleep and just simple PNP gives me same problem. it says that there is not driver for GTX460, and 8400M fails with error 12.
    also, just like Flaunt's case, all the device on USB including internal bluetooth goes off. becoming very annoying since i can't use my wireless keyboard and mouse anymore.

    I have tried using nvidia driver 258.96 and 266.58. i got both of notebook and desktop versions to install for 266.58, but desktop version of 258.96 just won't install.

    almost every device that i don't utilize are disabled (taking Flaunt's advice). fingerprint, SD reader, HD audio, Ethernet card, webcam are all disabled.

    It has been almost a week trying to make this work...
    i am so close to just returning everything and going to Ebay to sell it off..
    Please help as soon as you can.
  10. LOGIC 3

    LOGIC 3 Newbie

    Apr 3, 2011
    Here is a pic of my setup at work. DIY ViDock even works while my Latitude is docked. Dual ports on the monitor, so I route the output from the GTX460 to it as well. Makes the setup real clean


    I also just realized that by doing this, I just may be able to get 6 monitors going at once. Nivida Control panel is showing me my current dual monitors as well as the second input on my main monitor. I had my laptop screen open and that lcd showed up as well. So I potentially could have 2 monitors from the dock, 2 monitors from the GTX460, 1 monitor from the laptop and the laptop LCD screen. That's just sick! But no telling what the performance would be like driving all those screens.

    Running RE5 on my 24" at 1920x1200 with anti-aliasing at 8x and motion blur on with everything else high, dropped my framerate down to 35fps.

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