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Let's figure out how to make a DIY eGPU (previously DIY ViDock)

Discussion in 'e-GPU (External Graphics) Discussion' started by moral hazard, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. moral hazard

    moral hazard Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    New thread created to share the DIY eGPU user experience

    Nando4 started a new thread DIY eGPU experiences [version 2.0] to share performance, and configuration experiences using the finished PE4H/PE4L products beginning with his own. The configuration details should apply also to ViDock as well as any other DIY method below, so is a valuable resource.

    I would suggest we move the discussion to that thread.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________


    The following information is out of date. Please refer to the link above.


    The aim below is to create something as shown on the right (courtesy of Loppy) a functional equivalent to a $309 ViDock2. It would need external 12V psu to drive it. A 16x card WILL work in a 1x slot as explained here so the 16x to 1x adapter is unnecessary if you melt/cut the edges of the 1x slot to allow the 16x card to slot in.[​IMG]
    Current status of DIY ViDock Project

    As a result of this thread, hwtools have developed their PE4H / PE4L products that can be connected to an expresscard (EC2C) or mPCIe (PM3N) port. PE4H is x2 1.0 link capable by combining an expressport + mPCIe port. x2 1.0 offering greatly improved performance as shown here, surpassing ViDock's x1 1.0 performance. Some placemarkers of interest in this thread are:

    1/ DIY ViDock - My experiences so far shares performance and experiences using the finished PE4H / PE4L products.
    2/ Progress link: info on how the PE4H/PE4L/EC2C/PM3N hwtools product is progressing.
    3/ Specifications link: hardware specifications requested for hwtools product.
    4/ A name to replace DIY ViDock as there may be copywright issues.

    DIY ViDock using hwtools products

    Consider either a PE4L or a PE4H based on your requirements. If cash strapped consider too Cheapest practical x2 mode: 8 soldered wires to add a x2 link mode if you decide to purchase the PE4L.
    • US$55 PE4L: x1 open-ended pci-e slot, USB, 12V via DC jack OR molex
    • US$85 PE4H: x16 pci-e slot, USB, x2 capable, 12V from regulated 16~20V/4.5A power adapter OR molex
    These are connected using either one for x1 mode, or two for 2x mode, of the following
    • EC2C: expressport adapter
    • PM3N: mini pci-e adapter
    Expresscard: US$55 PE4L-EC2C or US$85 PE4H-EC2C
    [​IMG][​IMG][/URL]

    mPCIe: US$55 PE4L-PM3N or US$85 PE4H-PM3N
    [​IMG]

    DIY ViDock cheaper options

    DIY US$12-US$20US mini pci-e to pci-e adapter (with 12V input and flexible extension lead)

    [​IMG]
    Image: combined PE4L+PM3N schematic, with edits: removed USB lines and regulated 3.3V.

    Circuit extract above shows 21 wires between the two adapters:
    • 16 lines: Tx/Rx/CLK/SM each with 2 signal lines and GND signal on either side to minimise external interference
    • 2 additional lines: PERST# and WAKE#
    • 2 power lines: DVCC_3.3V and GND are provided by mini pci-e socket pins
    • 1 psu 12V line on pci-e socket molex end (see pic below)
    $5US-delivered ZIF to Mini-PCI E Express adapter + ($1.50US-delivered IDE cable OR $2-$4US PCI Express X1 Male to Female Riser ribbon cable) + $8.30US PCI-E PCI-Express 1x Riser Card Adapter + soldering effort :)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [/URL] [​IMG][​IMG]

    One way of doing it would be to use a $5US-delivered ZIF to Mini-PCI E Express adapter as the blank on the mini pci-e end. Scrape/melt resin close to the pins on the base but far enough to allow it to still plug in. This reveals tracks to then solder 21 wires to. OR solder right on the inner edge of the pins.

    Solder 21 wires from pcie riser cable onto mini pci-e adapter's tracks and run it through to the desired other end. Cable could even be threaded internally to poke out of the pcmcia slot or optical drive slot Attach a molex directly to the riser cable's 12V and GND tracks so can attach a external PSU. Melt/cut the 1x pci-e socket ends to allow a 16x card to be inserted.

    Optionally: Use an additional $8.30US PCI-E PCI-Express 1x Riser Card Adapter.

    DIY 12V PSU to drive the pci-e card

    Good if you don't have a 12V PSU, but might have some older notebook adapters lying around. This tells us the pci-e specification says 75W is needed. I would suggest a adapter needs to be rated between 12V-32V with 60W or more. A $2 LM338T voltage regulator (Tandy/Radio Shack/DSE)+tiny heatsink plumbed in to can then deliver up to 5A. See pictures on right.[​IMG]12V pci-e card circuit [​IMG]
    MiniFAQ

    1. Will this be compatible with my system?

    The answer is "highly likely". Consider reviewing the ViDock Compatibility listing but also note nando4's PCI Bridge Script workarounds and commentary in the the DIY ViDock - My experiences so far thread. Such workarounds suggest then the DIY ViDock likely can be made to work on any system.

    2. How much performance is lost running at x1 1.0 or x2 1.0 link speed instead of x16 2.0?

    See PCI-E scaling Analysis.

    3. How to deal with bios whitelisting of pci-e adapters?

    There are two sorts. The first where the bios halts the boot process with an error if an unknown device is found. PM3N has a jumperable 6.9s reset delay so bios does not see the product on bootup to overcome that sort.

    The second is as found on HP Business systems. For all intents and purposes the mPCIe port is disabled if a non compatible device found. In that case it is advised the system be booted with the compatible wifi card installed and the PM3N swapped in either prior to OS bootup or if using Win7, a suspend/swap/resume be performed. The PCI Bridge Script batch files here prompt through such a process.
     
    Lasted edited by : May 7, 2015
  2. JohnnyFlash

    JohnnyFlash Notebook Virtuoso

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    The adapter is the opposite of what you're trying to do. It's for desktops that want to use a mini pci-e.
     
  3. moral hazard

    moral hazard Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    No, did you click on the "PM2C" tab in the adapter section of the webpage.

    also I have added a link with more info and it has a picture of this card being used in a notebook, again the link is here:http://www.bplus.com.tw/Adapter/PM2C.html
     
  4. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Mostly Harmless...

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    So you're saying you can take these components and put them in an enclosure with a PCI-e 1x video card and hook it up to your laptop for improved video performance? Does it run off USB? I'm having a hard time envisioning what you're trying to do exactly. If you could maybe diagram it out.
     
  5. moral hazard

    moral hazard Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Step 1.
    remove your wifi card and put that card/adapter in it's place.
    Step 2.
    stick the desktop graphics card in the PCI slot of the card/adapter.
    Step 3.
    connect external power to the card/adapter as seen in the picture here:
    http://www.bplus.com.tw/Adapter/PM2C.html
    (you have to scroll down a bit to see the pic)

    I will try to draw a diagram in paint, give me 5 mins
     
  6. masterchef341

    masterchef341 The guy from The Notebook

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    umm...

    10char
     
  7. moral hazard

    moral hazard Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    here is a pic:
     

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  8. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Mostly Harmless...

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    Ah, ok. I see. I was hoping it was a way to run from your notebook to an external enclosure including the card.
     
  9. bassflow

    bassflow Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm a little newbie here so umm
    How would the external power work..? Like outlet? haha I really don't know and well where would you find the (cables?) to connect to the external power source? Sorry I would need a noob proof guide for help. lol Don't attack me
     
  10. moral hazard

    moral hazard Notebook Nobel Laureate

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