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Windows 7: External GPU (eGPU)


20 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
External GPU (eGPU)

THE SUMMARY~

whats up guys!

so i have a dell studio 1458 Laptop with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 540v graphics card and im getting tired of not being able to play games on quality settings and good FPS, so im going to start an eGPU build for my computer.

after i return some other failed attempts to upgrade my GPU, ill have $160 to work with. so with this in mind i will be getting a PE4L adapter kit, and an ATI 6670 Desktop GPU. together this totals for me $161 shipped.

you can use other GPU's with a higher wattage PSU with that kit because it comes with the adapter for a PSU, but the 6670 is good because it wont bottleneck my CPU, and has good specs and low power consumption (15-20v 3A 65W if using something other then a computer PSU).

for the power supply, i will be using a IBM laptop charger PSU.

i will also need an external monitor, so for now, my 1080p TV will work for this until i get a monitor. (17"-20" 720 or 1080 or 900)

now my laptop has an express slot, so the PE4L adapter and kit will plug rite into that, then the power supply into the adapter, graphics card into adapter. then all you have to do is plug in monitor, turn on the eGPU, boot up windows, and then finally plug in adapter into computer. windows install hardware automatically, then you will have to install Graphics driver from the suppliers website, then reboot. if need be, you may have to disable internal graphics in device manager.

from what ive researched, this is what ive got out of it. im hoping it will work, but i honestly have no clue. there's hundreds of threads and a few videos about eGPU's setups, and they perform pretty darn well compared to integrated graphics but are limited on Express card and adapter speeds.

i will post pics and probs a vid as soon as i get it done etc. but first i need to get my money back lol

heres the video tutorial im following:

External Graphics Card - Add a eGPU video card to your laptop PE4H PE4L - YouTube

heres another forum and thread about eGPU's:

DIY eGPU experiences

DIY eGPU experiences [version 2.0]

(i found this thread ^^^ more helpful because of the non-banded members and faster responses. incase you were wondering, the member "nando04" is the "main" dude in charge of these eGPU's)


THE BUILD~

From here on out, this guide is going to be my system spacific. However, the process should be similar.

The parts that im using:
1) PE4L adapter
2) ATI Radeon 6670
3) 12v 3A PSU





~MY ATI INSTALLATION~

1) make sure the little switch is set to channel 1
2) plug the HDMI High Speed Cable into the very first slot on the far left of the adapter
3) plug in the PSU and EC Adapter
4) plug in the GPU (dont force it!!!)
5) download both your GPU drivers and your External GPU drivers, but do not install them
6) turn on the PSU for the eGPU
7) shut down your laptop
8) plug in your eGPU into EC slot
9) boot up and let windows install drivers
10) if done successfully, in DM (device manager) it should say "standard VGA graphics adapter" or " NAME OF YOUR CARD"
(*** You "should be done at this point, but if you want to install the latest drivers, keep reading!)
(*** if you get a BSOD when windows boots up, shut down, disconnect, and reboot. then go into DM and disable your internal graphics. shut down plug in eGPU and reboot. if still BSOD, try a different BIOS version.***)
11) reboot
12) extract the eGPU drivers from your previous download and install to C: drive
13) go into DM and right click on eGPU. click update drivers>browse>C:"name of folder"> and click update.
14) reboot
15) you should be good to go at this point. Your desktop should now be displayed on your tv or monitor.
(if still not displayed keep following along. this is what worked for my computer)
16) go into DM and uninstall all graphics adapters
17) reboot
18) go into DM and check to see if both drivers are installed correctly and no errors.
19) reboot
(if graphics are displayed on the TV or Monitor, then your good to go. if not then keep following)
20) go to your graphics provider website, and download their automatic graphics driver detecting.
21) uninstall ALL AMD/nvidia software in control panel
22) reboot
23) run the automatic graphics detection program and install whatever it tells you to. (dont worry if it tells you that its installing your internal GPU drivers)
24) restart
25) at this point you should be good to go! graphics should now be displayed on the TV or Monitor.

~MY NVIDIA INSTALLATION~

1) Attach all components just like the ATI installation
2) turn on the PSU
3) boot into windows
4) plug in eGPU into your slot that you are using
5) let windows do the rest
(*** at this point you are done. if you want the newest drivers, keep reading!!!)
6) download the latest DESKTOP version of your eGPU from nvidia.com
7) run the program and follow the onscreen instructions
8) reboot, and you are DONE!

Conclusion~

So let me start off with this.... to test this i orgionally started off with a ATI 6670. while contuning to test i moved to a ATI 6770, and then again to a GTX 560Ti and a ATX 520w PSU with 2 PCI power cables, and a 20" 1600x900 monitor. i am happy with the GTX and suggest you to get a GTX over ATI for reasons explained below.

Ok so heres the deal. it comes down to this. if your laptop will only support PCI 1.0 (1st Gen Intel i-cores) x1 speeds and you have a dGPU (dedicated GPU) it may not be worth it. Do your research on x2 link, and if your laptop can support x2 link, then it could be worth it. BUT ONLY if you can support x2 link. YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH on the 2 forums posted earlier, to find if your laptop is x2 compatible. what i recomend is that if you have eaither a dGPU or iGPU AND A 2nd Gen or 3rd Gen Intel i-core, then there is a strong chance you are capable of running at PCI 2.0 x1 or maybe even x2. My experience running on PCI 1.1 x1 speeds is not the best. there are 3 games that i can play with the eGPU out of my 15 games. however those playable games i can play on full resolution and max settings. i get lags and choppiness and uneven frame rates on all my other games (like call of duty) that make them all unplayable no matter what the resolution or graphic settings are. having either a PCI 2.0 OR a x2 link i believe will solve this issue to an extent.

now since thats out of the way, my opinion is if you have a PCI 2.0 capable laptop or x2 link possible, my suggestion is to get either a Nvidia GTX 4xx or 5xx series GPU. i chose a PNY GTX 560Ti OC edition. i prefer nvidia over ATI because of 2 reasons. 1) i found and others found that they are more compatible then ATI and 2) nvidia allows for something called "optimus" to be engaged only if you have a 4xx, 5xx series, an iGPU, and x1 link which will speed up things a lot for DX9 and DX10 games. the main thing to do on your part is research. research everything about your laptop, figure out if you have a mPCI slot (note that some WWAN chips will NOT work because there not fully connected, however WLAN WILL work) or EC (express card slot). then figure out if your notebook can be configured for x1 or x2 link. also do not get an insane GPU, because no matter what GPU u get, it will not be able to use 100% of it due to the bandwidth limitation. for my laptop, it would not make anymore sense to get anything higher then a ATI 6770 or GTX 560

If i had not spent the money already and considering my laptop is only PCI 1.1 x1, i would have NOT done this upgrade. BUT if i had a PCI 2.0 x1 or x2 laptop, i would totally do this upgrade. however it is up to you. some games will run AWESOME, some will run ok and some will purely suck. depends on the game. so to end this, do your research, know everything about your laptop before you start, and have fun and learn a lot. have fun!

Troubleshooting~

~If you are constantly receiving BSOD whenever plugging in the eGPU~

well theres a few things you can do here. first, make sure your internal graphics are disabled. if still receiving BSOD try changing the view in DM and completely disabling the PCI slot that the internal graphics are on. next reboot, no program should even see or recognize the internal. if all thats done and still getting BSOD, roll back or update your BIOS. if still getting it, send in your dump files for review. you can also try plugging in the eGPU while the computer is OFF or in SLEEP MODE. then turn on the computer.

~ERROR CODE 12 in DM~

for me, error 12 went away after a reboot from a hot plug (plugging i in when windows was booted sand running). but for others, disabling internal graphics have helped, updating/rolling back BIOS, chaninging the amout of ram between 2GB and 4GB, and a program called "setup 1.x" which is a "bios" thing that preboots the eGPU to allocate more memory to eGPU. you can google "eGPU setup 1" to get it. however you have to pay "donate" $25 for it.

~When i plug in my eGPU for the first time, my computer get really sluggish, unresponsive. CPU goes crazy, flickers, recognizes it, unrecognized it...etc. and general weird stuff~

YOUR PSU IS TOO HIGH OF A VOLTAGE OR AMPERAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! take it out NOW!!!!!!!!!
if you are buying a "laptop charger" "LCD screen charger" or anything of that sorts, make sure the specs match this:
15-20V / 3.0A / 70+W

i would recommend a 70W PSU so that way it wont be running at 100% when the GPU is at 100% any wattage will work, just make sure its above the specified wattage for your GPU. my 6670 was 66W.

If you are using a regular computer PSU, all you have to do is plug in the included adapter, and run a jumper cable from the GREEN cable of the mother board connector to ANY of the BLACK wires on the motherboard connector. the mother board connector is the LARGEST connector of all the PSU cables. ANY wattage will work for this because these PSU's are meant to run the entire computer.

~ERROR CODE 10 in DM~

best bet here is to restart or install all the drivers.

~DM wont recognize the PE4L adapter~

its not so pose to. to make sure its working, plug in a usb flash drive and see if it shows up in "my computer". if not, then its probably broken.

~Lag and choppiness in some games~

This is somewhat normal. monitor the GPU and CPU and make sure that the GPU says 100% and nothing abnormal with the CPU. the cause of this is lack of bandwidth speed. some games require a higher bandwidth then other regardless of how graphic intensive they are. this is why COD runs HORRIBLE for me, but DiRT 3 and BFBC2 run amazing even though they are more graphic intensive. the best you can do to help this is turn down your game settings, use modded drivers, turn windows to 16 bit color, set EVERYTHING in AMD or Nvidia control planel to high performance, disable ALL audio drivers for the GPU in DM, if you are on an iGPU set up optimus, and lastly you can overclock the GPU, CPU, and FSB (PCI). if using Nvidia GPU, you have to tinker with PhysX settings between cpu and GPU.

~You don't see your error listed here......~

Visit the 2 Forums listed above!!! like i said before, i would try Techinferno first.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

21 Feb 2013   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

If someone can get me.the voltage and and amps specs on the 6670, that would be awesome! Thank you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote:
One bright side to all this is power usage: The 6670 has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 66 watts and uses only 12 watts when idle. This was confirmed by our electrical measurements with an Extech data logger, which showed that our test bed with a 6670 installed used only 115 watts when idle and 168 watts under load. This means you also don't need to plug in an extra cable from your PSU; the juice the 6670 draws from the PCI Express (PCIe) x16 port into which you plug it is sufficient. Unfortunately, the card still uses a fan–heat sink module big enough to block a second slot, so you'll need to be accommodating in that way.
Source:
AMD Radeon HD 6670 Review & Rating | PCMag.com
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


21 Feb 2013   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MrNeeds View Post
Quote:
One bright side to all this is power usage: The 6670 has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 66 watts and uses only 12 watts when idle. This was confirmed by our electrical measurements with an Extech data logger, which showed that our test bed with a 6670 installed used only 115 watts when idle and 168 watts under load. This means you also don't need to plug in an extra cable from your PSU; the juice the 6670 draws from the PCI Express (PCIe) x16 port into which you plug it is sufficient. Unfortunately, the card still uses a fan–heat sink module big enough to block a second slot, so you'll need to be accommodating in that way.
Source:
AMD Radeon HD 6670 Review & Rating | PCMag.com
awesome! thanks! im basic into gaming, and that card fits my $160 total budget. so thats the main reason, and the power consumption is the second reason.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

alright the power supply i have is 16v @ 4.5amps 72w

the 6670 requires 12v @ 20amps 65w from what i read....?

do you guys think this will work? or over power it? or even underpower?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #7

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Quadrider10 View Post
alright the power supply i have is 16v @ 4.5amps 72w

the 6670 requires 12v @ 20amps 65w from what i read....?

do you guys think this will work? or over power it? or even underpower?
Way to much power for it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #9

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Quadrider10 View Post
alright the power supply i have is 16v @ 4.5amps 72w

the 6670 requires 12v @ 20amps 65w from what i read....?

do you guys think this will work? or over power it? or even underpower?
Way to much power for it.
idk for sure that its 12v. what voltage does a regular mother board supply to PCI express?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Feb 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

I think the PCIe slot has 5V and 12V and most card need a little extra, hence the power cables to them.

EDIT, 12V and 3.3V... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express Graph below the tech stuff.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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