Portable low profile eGPU setup on Lenovo X220, PE4L 2.1b, with case

Discussion in 'e-GPU (External Graphics) Discussion' started by Remko78, Aug 24, 2013.

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  1. Remko78

    Remko78 Newbie

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    Hi,

    I just succesfully finished a low profile eGPU setup, I decided to share the experience I had.
    My goal was to make it as portable as possible but still powerful enough to drive the internal 12.5 inch 1366x768 display of my lenovo x220.

    The parts I used:

    PE4L 2.1b + EC2C with EC-060A (l x w) 64 x 47 mm
    Zalman GTX650 low profile max 64W (l x w x h) 150 x 55 x 35 mm
    Laptop AC adapter 12v 10a 120w
    TEKO P/3 small plastic case (l x w x h) 160 x 90 x 60 mm
    M2 nuts and bols
    Lenovo X220 with 1.37 bios (Series 6, HD3000)
    USB to USB cable


    The GTX650 low profile card is very nice for an internal eGPU setup, its very small and draws only 64W max.
    This means it can draw its power from the pci-e lane, which provides 75W max. No extra connectors on the videocard.
    Its still powerfull enough to run games at high/ultra on 1366x768.
    Ofcourse an atx psu is not an option for portability, so a 12V 10A 120W ac laptop adapter is used (2.5 - 5.5mm plug).

    The initial installation went pretty smooth, the card got detected and the nvidia drivers installed withouth problems.
    There was no need to change the tolud size or an dstd override.
    Settings used pe4l: SW1: 1, SW2: 2-3
    Settings used bios: PCI express speed -> automatic, PCI express powermanagement -> off.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunatly I couldn't run a benchmark or game for longer then 3 minutes without a bsod or crash.
    After some research it turned out the card didnt get a clean 3.3v from the pci-e lane.
    The fix was to run an usb - usb cable from the laptop to the pe4l for 3.3v power.
    No more crashes and very stable performance :)
    Too bad an extra cable is needed though, portability took a small hit there.

    A few pics of the case and the setup:

    Some dremel action for the dvi and hdmi port:
    [​IMG]

    More dremel action to run the cable and pci-express card through:
    [​IMG]

    Drilled m2 holes to mount the pe4l:
    [​IMG]

    pe4l mounted on m2 bolts:
    [​IMG]

    Up and running:
    [​IMG]

    Need to finish the cover plate and paint the enclosure matte black:
    [​IMG]

    And a small video I made:


    Let me know what you think!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
    valuxin likes this.
  2. MikeyD.

    MikeyD. Newbie

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    Hey! thats pretty cool. I have an x220 too, and was looking for a portable solution. where did you purchase the case from? I tried TEKO's website, but didn't see a way to purchase without calling. I was thinking of making a laptop base, similar to the cell battery, that would fit underneith the x220, but havent found a GTX650 that was single slot.

    Have you tried any games yet? I am really curious about the performance on the internal screen...

    again, great job!
     
  3. Remko78

    Remko78 Newbie

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    Hi, thanks.

    I purchaced the case from a dutch electronics webshop, so im afraid it will do you no good, unless you are from europe.
    In which case: Universele behuizing Kunststof Grijs, Blauw 161 x 96 x 61 TEKO P/3 1 st. in de Conrad online shop

    The PE4L (47mm) is 12mm wider than a stock 2 slot videocard (35mm), so It wouldnt further your cause searching a 1 slot videocard I'm afraid.

    I played some 4 player diablo 3 games on max settings and that was fluid. I'm downloading Battlefield 3 atm, when it's installed I'll do a benchmark and post it here.

    Cheers.
     
  4. Remko78

    Remko78 Newbie

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    I did a couple of Battlefield 3 runs, these were the results:

    2013-08-30 17:10:27 - bf3
    Frames: 5032 - Time: 100481ms - Avg: 50.079 - Min: 34 - Max: 71

    2013-08-30 17:12:10 - bf3
    Frames: 2886 - Time: 66550ms - Avg: 43.366 - Min: 32 - Max: 89
     
  5. ctoph0

    ctoph0 Newbie

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    Very nice remko!
    I too have a similar setup. For the past year or so i have been running the car in a temporary setup. Just today I was cleaned my desk and decided to find a more permanent enclosure for my egpu. Can you go into more detail on the power supply and the purpose of the usb to usb cable? I was running an atx power supply which was very much overkill. I love the portability of your system, and am hoping that i can minimize the atx to a small laptop supply.
    thanks!
     
  6. Remko78

    Remko78 Newbie

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    What do you want to know about the power adapter? The one I use is a 120w, 10a, 12v model. No modification needed, delivers 75w to the express lane. (Card uses 64w max). If you get a more demanding card ( >75W) then you could split the powersuply output to create a PCI-e 6p connector for the videocard. I choose a 120W adapter, but 90W would be enough. The nice thing about the 120W adapter is that it stays cool under full load, since it only has to deliver ~50% of its capacity and possible extending its lifespan and more stability.

    The USB to USB cable supplies 5v (3.3v) to the pe4l. The card needs this power for stability. I must confess I dont know more details about the how and why, I read it in another guide, and my card has been rock stable since I've connected it.

    During gaming I found the temperatures to be a tad bit high, so I added a 40mm noiseblocker fan to the side of the enclosure.
    The noiseblocker fan turned out to be quite noisy (duh) withouth pwm at max rpm 12v, so I added a fan speed reduction cable which reduces the voltage with a capacitor to 6.5v or about 55% fan speed. Much better. The fan is connected in the following way: Floppy to molex (pe4l supplied) > molex to 2p fan > 2p fan reduction cable > fan, as you can see in the pic below:

    [​IMG]

    I made a cover plate from the bottom of an old 3,5" hdd enclosure I had lying around and ripped the cables together:

    [​IMG]

    I sleeved the cables, and the end result:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. valuxin

    valuxin Notebook Evangelist

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    Great job and big thanks for photos! Going to do such a thing for my HP 8760w for an additional CUDA performance.
     
  8. Remko78

    Remko78 Newbie

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    Thanks!

    Good luck with your project.
     
  9. vwrafi

    vwrafi Notebook Consultant

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    This is great. It looks very professional.
     
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