Thunderbolt 3 eGPU solutions arriving 4th quarter 2015, mainstream in 2016

Discussion in 'e-GPU (External Graphics) Discussion' started by kousuke, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. kousuke

    kousuke Notebook Guru

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    Greetings!

    After several false starts, thunderbolt 3 will finally officially support external GPU (eGPU) - This is only possible with Intel's endorsement. This mean we'll soon find affordable aftermarket eGPU enclosure base on thunderbolt 3 with hot-plugging capability through USB 3.1
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9331/intel-announces-thunderbolt-3

    Now, intel has thrown a curve ball - Not all laptop with thunderbolt 3 will support eGPU - This is now known as Thunderbolt 3 eGFX extension. In a nutshell, you need to be running Windows 10, the BIOS and thunderbolt firmware must support eGFX hotplugging on thunderbolt 3. You'll also need use active thunderbolt cable for eGFX.

    Adding to more confusion, AMD is branding Thunderbolt 3 eGFX standard as XConnect (AMD Xconnect device drivers for Radeon GPU). I'm expecting Nvidia to be branding its eGFX driver support as something else entirely.

    The lowdown:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10133/amd-xconnect-external-radeons

    Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Demo


    I'm so excited. No more messing about with DIY eGPU workarounds and crazy driver issues

    Tentatively, there are two thunderbolt 3 eGPU offerings:
    1. Portable thunderbolt 3 eGPU enabled dock port multiplier with mobile class GPU
    2. Non-Portable Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure that will take full size PCIe desktop class graphics card
    MSI thunderbolt 3 eGPU Prototype:
    http://www.kitguru.net/components/g...phics-solutions-with-thunderbolt-3-interface/
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  2. Eason

    Eason Notebook Deity

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    This will be the holy grail for many people I think. Once companies start putting USB C on their ultrabooks, something with a 950GTX/equivalent in 2016 will be fine for mobile graphics for a long time (compared to the current ultrabook performance standard of an 840m) as long as we can use the external dock.
     
  3. Seanwhat

    Seanwhat Notebook Evangelist

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    This is one of the biggest things to look forward to in the new platforms for me. More powerful gpu, external cooling (zero throttling), upgradability, portability when not gaming, and most importantly no hassle with drivers (hopefully) anymore with egpu. H
     
  4. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm not sure if the following 2 can be compared, so please correct me if I'm wrong:

    > Anandtech image shows the USB-C connector got 40 Gbps
    > A geforce 860m has 80 GB/s bandwidth

    That means only half of the performance of a 860m can be reached... which is totally not worth a consideration. Not even for pure business laptops.
     
  5. djembe

    djembe drum while you work

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    You're confusing how fast a graphics card can process / generate images and how fast it can send those images to the screen. Bandwidth regulates how fast the card can send images to the screen, not how fast those images can be processed or generated. It's also important to consider how much of the bandwidth is being used by that card. While I agree that the bandwidth is going to be a bottleneck or limiting factor to high-end desktop graphic cards, such cards are capable of high enough image processing and generation power that they will still provide noticeable improvements in playability, especially compared to the integrated graphics the target notebooks will ship with.
     
  6. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Moo

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    But CPU is already bottlenecking higher end mobile GPU's, limiting bandwidth will do even moreso. While I agree that it's a good solution to have a thin and light on the go and gaming at your desk, it will still be quite limiting in performance compared to a dedicated mobile GPU onboard the laptop itself.
     
  7. grkstyla

    grkstyla Notebook Geek

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    Ye guys, from experience the bottleneck is weirdly not an issue. this may be because I connect my screen directly to my eGPU

    to explain I have a alienware 15 and 17 both with graphics amplifier with GTX 980

    It seems the more i throw at the videocard the less the gap between a desktop and my performance.

    To explain, the GA runs at PCIEx4 which is horrible compared to 16x on a desktop.

    But on firestrike standard I get 15262 on GPU score (have scored higher but thats with and older driver) which is alittle of a loss to a desktop with similar clockrates etc

    but on firestrike ultra, I get 3536 GPU score which is pretty damn close if not better.

    So the more GPU dependent (i.e. 4K etc) the less the bandwidth is an issue.

    Also a very simple way of knowing the pci bandwidth isnt limiting me is on Black ops 3 i get around 110FPS everything on MAX on the GA, then I overclock and get over 155FPS all the time.

    So that massive performance bump wouldnt happen if the PCI lanes were saturated.

    I am not a fan of this setup though, I want the plug and play of thunderbolt 3 egpu (currently I have to shutdown to unplug)
     
  8. Stooj

    Stooj Notebook Evangelist

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    The PCIE Bandwidth is not a problem.

    My desktop (Sandy Bridge 2600K) is running a 980Ti (EVGA Hybrid) in PCIE 2.0 x8 mode (same amount of bandwidth as PCIE 3.0 x4 which is offered in TB3, minus the efficiency improvements from 3.0) and you'd think it would suffer badly. It doesn't....not even a little. I also had a 980 in this machine (reference model) and it scored comparably to grkstyla above.

    For those who wish to know why it's running in x8 mode, it's because I have a HBA controller in the other PCIE slot (ASUS P67 M Pro mATX board) which forces the 2 slots into x8/x8 configuration.

    My Firestrike scores are damn near the same as most review units. Hell, mine even overclocks higher than some review units and scores higher.

    980 Ti Hybrid scores with PCIE 2.0 x8:
    Stock clocks (1140mhz): http://www.3dmark.com/fs/5982456
    Overclocked (+210 core + 500 mem): http://www.3dmark.com/fs/6052759
    FS Ultra (4K with OC settings above): http://www.3dmark.com/fs/6052815

    980 scores with PCIE 2.0 x8:
    Stock: http://www.3dmark.com/fs/2806413
    Conservative OC (+205 core + 10 mem): http://www.3dmark.com/fs/5805954
    FS Ultra (4K with OC settings above): http://www.3dmark.com/fs/5805978

    EDIT: should also note, the difference between the overclocked cards is about 34-35%. This difference remains in both 1080p test and 4K test. So there's no PCIE bottlenecking there or you'd expect this difference to decrease or cap out the 980ti in some way, which is doesn't.

    No problems at all. I'm looking forward to TB3 eGPUs. People are getting too hung up on the numbers of PCIE lanes and thinking "it's 4x fewer lanes than my desktop therefore it must suck!"...
    Fact is PCIE has been well in front of whatever we could throw at it for a LONG time now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  9. grkstyla

    grkstyla Notebook Geek

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    I just wonder when we will be able to buy one of these, I am about to refresh my alienware setup, and im not sure if i should go amplifier again, or another model of laptop that has thunderbolt 3 and get an thunderbolt egpu solution when it comes out
     
  10. Stooj

    Stooj Notebook Evangelist

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    It's more than likely that Alienware will drop the amplifier setup, or possibly just re-badge it onto a thunderbolt connection. MSI is dropping their current GS30 system as far as I know.

    Currently I've got my eye on the refreshed MSI GS60:
    http://www.msi.com/product/notebook/GS60-6QE-Ghost-Pro.html#hero-specification

    The spec shows a USB3.1 "superport" for "dual 4K monitors". I'm assuming this means it's likely a TB3 combo port but Intel haven't given out the Thunderbolt certs yet for marketing materials (Clevo are currently in this boat

    I'm a big Clevo fan but they haven't put the TB3/USB3.1 ports on their P650RE and P640RE refreshes which is annoying from a longevity perspective. My desktop (i7-2600K) is getting long in the tooth and I'm hoping I'll be able to replace it with a TB3/eGPU setup in the next year or so (but get the laptop sooner as I need more mobile grunt than my W230SS provides atm).
     
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