2008 15" Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 + [email protected] (EXP-GDC 8.4) + Win10 PRO [MtothaJ]  

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MtothaJ
(@mtothaj)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 3
November 8, 2017 5:13 pm  

Below an ExpressCard implementation for a rather old laptop. I got the machine for free since it was pretty beat up and subsequently fixed it up (i.a. replacing a broken screen hinge, thorough cleaning of CPU fan, replacing thermal paste on CPU and Intel GPU etc.) and upgraded it to the following specs:

- T9800 Core 2 Duo CPU (2C/2T 2.93Ghz, 6MB cache)
 - 500GB SSHD @ SATA2
 - 4GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM dual channel
 - Win 10 PRO 64bit

The machine has the standard Intel GMA 45/47 graphics.

 After veryfing that everything was working fine I went ahead with an eGPU implementation using the following componenets:

- Asus GTX1060 6GB Strix OC
 - EXP-GDC v.8.4 with ExpressCard connection
 - Chieftec 350W ATX PSU 

Initially I tried the latest Nvidia driver - managed to install it, however was running into Error 43. Resolved this by going for driver version 372.33. Not really sure why it didn't work the first time since hotplug is enabled on the EC slot - might need to try the newest ones again.

With that driver the eGPU works fine when driving a 1080p Samsung TV connected via HDMI from the GTX1060.

The connection link is PCIe 1.1 x1 - if I understand correctly this is 2Gbps.

 I only recieved the eGPU yesterday so havent really got around to doing all the testing I have planned but so far found the following:
 - PCIe 1.1 x1 link is not really that much of a limitation given laptop is pretty ancient and would no doubt bottleneck the GPU even if a higher bandwidth link was possible
 - performance increase is impressive - from less than 1fps in Valley Banchmark (1080p low settings) to 57.2fps via the eGPU.
 - when eGPU is connected, no display on laptop screen (probably thats the way its going to be, since due to the age of the laptop its uses Intel GMA graphics and not HD Graphics)
 - sound over HDMI is not working at the moment (Device Manager states 'not enough resources - disable other system devices' for the relevant HDMI sound driver) - will need to look into this, maybe someone has an idea on how to resolve this? That said performance will probably take a hit if the limited bandwidth is also used for sound...
 - some problems in bringing up NVIDIA Control Panel - worked ok the first few times but then started crashing when attempting to open the control panel. This does not affect the working of the eGPU however.

Given the laptop is pretty bulky (weights c.a. 3kg) and with the screen not working when running the eGPU I have placed it under the TV to act as a Media PC using a wirless Logitech mouse / keyboard combo.

Will try running a few less demanding games e.g. Payday 2 and CS GO to see how it performs.

The setup also works fine for ETH mining in case someone is interested.

Some pictures of the setup:

 

Hope this may be helpful for someone. 

 

Best regards, MtothaJ 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 832
November 8, 2017 5:32 pm  

For your sound problems: Try disabling your onboard sound device(s), or some other devices that you do not need (wired Ethernet adapter if you're using WiFi, or WiFi if you are using wired). That might free up enough resources for the NVidia sound device to function.

That aside, this is so cute. I love old machines that are still useful to have around, and this one is pretty awesome.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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MtothaJ
(@mtothaj)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 3
November 9, 2017 7:39 am  

Many thanks for your comment.
Yesterday I again tried to install the latest Nvidia driver (over the older working driver) and again run into error 43. So I reverted to the older driver and its working fine, the bonus being that the Nvidia control panel is  now fully working.
I have tried disabling some unused devices via the bios (bluetooth, dial up modem, wifi, WWAN slot) but there is no change as regards to the audio. Might try the other method of enabling these slots in bios and then disabling the devices in Device Manager.
I also run the UserBenchmark test, results below:

[url= http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/5725184]UserBenchmarks: Game 32%, Desk 29%, Work 15%[/url] CPU: [url= http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/7044/IntelR-CoreTM2-Duo-CPU-----T9800----293GHz]Intel Core2 Duo T9800[/url] - [b]26.1%[/b] GPU: [url= http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Nvidia-GTX-1060-6GB/Rating/3639]Nvidia GTX 1060-6GB[/url] - [b]69.4%[/b] HDD: [url= http://hdd.userbenchmark.com/Seagate-Laptop-Thin-SSHD-25--500GB/Rating/1803]Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 2.5" 500GB[/url] - [b]52.2%[/b] RAM: [url= http://ram.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/89192/Unknown-2x2GB]Unknown 2x2GB[/url] - [b]19%[/b] MBD: [url= http://www.userbenchmark.com/System/Lenovo-27466GG/13663]Lenovo 27466GG[/url]

Overall the GPU results seem pretty good, even on such a narrow bandwidth link.
If anybody is interested, I can at some point try implementation with two other really old ExpressCard enabled laptops which I have somewhere in storage:
- Toshiba Satellite A105
- Lenovo S10
Both are however pretty ancient and lacking in power even for basic tasks so not sure if there is a much of a point to the excersise.

The SL500 still performs very well, especially with the T9800 CPU. I also got a cheap 64GB SSD drive which I will be installing in it and moving the SSHD 500GB drive to a caddy to replace the optical drive, so  performance should be even snappier.

Overall setting this up was a pretty fun / satisfing process  - at some point I would like to try this on a newer laptop like the ThinkPad T430 / T530 since obviously the specs are much better and one can use the accelerated performance on the internal laptop screen.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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inxftw
(@inxftw)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 28
November 17, 2017 4:38 pm  

For newest driver use 368.81 > 38x.x trick. You can find it in my project.

I was wondering if you managed to get screen working when egpu is active. Can you use it as cuda compute device instead of output one?

Cheers.

2012 15" Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E531 GT740M + [email protected] (PCE164P-N03) + Win10


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MtothaJ
(@mtothaj)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 3
December 8, 2017 12:47 pm  
Posted by: inxftw

For newest driver use 368.81 > 38x.x trick. You can find it in my project.

I was wondering if you managed to get screen working when egpu is active. Can you use it as cuda compute device instead of output one?

Cheers.

So far I haven't managed to get the internal screen working when the egpu is active. It seems to be the case that when the egpu is connected, all video is displayed via the external graphics card (incl. bios screen) and the internal screen is deactivated. Booting into Win10 with the egpu plugged in device manager shows an error message next to the internal graphics adapter. I will look into this some more - perhaps if one could activate the internal graphics with the egpu attached it might be possible to utilise the internal screen in conjuntion with the egpu.

As for compute device - you can definietely use it to e.g. mine Ethereum using e.g. Claymore's miner. This works fine and is 100% stable.

As for gaming performance - I tried Payday 2 - for 1080 mid settings framerates varies from as high 70-80fps on the smaller maps, to lows of 25 fps on bigger maps and with a lot going on on screen. Given the varing framerate their is a lot of tearing on screen but it is still definietly playable especially for those doing the heists in 'stealth' rather than 'loud' mode.

Also I recently put in a cheap 60 (or 64GB SSD - cant remember now) from Aliexpres into the machine (Faspeed brand) and this has nicely improved the performance. Given that the machine has various other PCIe slots - Intel Turbo Memory, WWAN, WiFI I am thinking that perhaps a PCIe 1.1 x2 implementation might be possible here , but would either need a different egpu adapter which supports using 2 interfaces or some sort of wiring diagram to attempt a DIY project.

 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


inxftw liked
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