Setup & Software Discussions
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 480 @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (Mantiz Ven...
 

2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 480 @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + Win10 [Yukikaze]  

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Background
I have a Mantiz Venus. Well, I have a PCB from one. Mantiz sent me a PCB as part of the initial production runs for evaluation, and I've been using it in various capacities since. My latest use for it, since I sold both of my AKiTiO Thunder2 units, was as the eGPU adapter for my T430s. Lacking the actual enclosure, I had to improvise a stand for it. It wasn't pretty, and consisted from an empty box of thermal shrink tubing as a base and some screws and mounting bits from an old PE4C v2.1, but it worked. The main problem was that it was a dust magnet. I powered the setup with a Corsair RM550x modular power supply (which a normal-sized ATX unit), which posed a challenge in finding a case that would be small enough to look like an eGPU enclosure, while still accepting a regular ATX power supply.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I stumbled upon the Silverstone Sugo SG13 on sale at Amazon: A tiny mITX case that can accept a regular ATX PSU and any "standard" sized video card (that is, a card up to 10.5 inches [266mm] in length, and two slots in width). It is designed to be used for a system which cools the CPU with an AIO 120mm (or 140mm, but with limitations) closed-loop watercooling setup, so it has very little CPU cooling space.

How tiny is the SG13? Well, it has a volume of 11.5 liters, which makes it smaller than the Razer Core X, Sonnet Breakaway, Omen Accelerator, AKiTiO Node and Node Pro, Powercolor Devil Box, and the Asus ROG XG Station 2. It is only ~10% larger than the Blackmagic eGPU unit, and is essentially the same volume as the Mantiz Venus casing (which is 11.56 liters, but arranged slightly differently).

Anyway, the SG13WB (white with black mesh) version was 47$, so I did some reading on the max video card size, power supply length and clearance, and pulled the trigger on the Amazon order.

To give myself a little more graphical power than the GTX750Ti this setup was equipped with, and to get myself and HDMI2.0 output which the first gen Maxwell card lacks, I also picked up a Sapphire RX480 4GB Nitro OC off ebay for 93$. There are quite a few ex-mining cards on the market right now, and the 4GB Nitros provide you with a lot of bang for the buck, while their build quality means that they likely survived mining workloads unscathed.
All this stuff arrived and was lying around waiting for me to get some free time to put it all together, which finally happened today after work.
System Specs
Chassis: Lenovo T430s (2355HKU)
BIOS Version: G7ETB2WW (2.72)
CPU: Core i7-3520M (dual-core, 2.9ghz)
Memory: 8GB (2x4GB) Hyundai DDR3 1600Mhz
Storage: myDigitalSSD BP4e 120gb mSATA SSD + Intel X-25M 160GB SATA SSD
Monitor: Sony XBR43X800D TV
 
eGPU Hardware
GPU: Sapphire RX480 Nitro 4GB
eGPU Enclosure: Mantiz Venus PCB  + Silverstone Sugo SG13WB mITX Case
Power Supply: Corsair RM550x (Fully Modular)
TB1-to-TB3 Adapter: Apple (MMEL2AM/A)
TB Cable: Apple 0.5m, White (MD862LL/A)
 
Hardware Pictures
The original, and not very elegant, setup looked like this (you can probably see why I wanted a case for it):

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Time to start tearing things apart:

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Open sesame:

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Since the Mantiz Venus PCB doesn't match the mounting standoffs for the motherboard, I had to make sure I won't short something out by covering them with electric tape. This also provides cushioning for the PCB to sit on:

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Removing the SDD/HDD caddy, I installed the RX480 and the RM550x. The Mantix Venus PCB is latched onto the PCIe fingers of the RX480 and supported from below by the wrapped motherboard standoffs. It all fits nicely:

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You can see how tight this case is. Building an entire system in this space would be quite a challenge. For an eGPU, in theory, something like the R9 Fury X, or other watercooled cards should fit here, with the 120mm radiator mounted on the front of the SG13, where the CPU's radiator is supposed to sit in a full system build. In that case, however, you will probably need very short or very flexible PSU cables, as there is little room to deal with the more rigid or very long varieties. As you can imagine, a modular power supply is pretty much a must:

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Installing the SSD/HDD caddy back is a very, very tight fit for the Corsair RM550x. Depending on the layout of the modular connectors on other PSUs, they might not fit at all. Simply removing the caddy is an option, but it also serves as a secondary structural element, and without it the case is a bit more flimsy. It is not the end of the world, but I am happy I managed to squeeze it in:

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Ready for testing:

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And everything powers up just fine. Neither the PSU fan or the two RX480 fans move an inch when idling at the desktop:

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Unigine Valley sends the RX480 fans spinning, but the PSU doesn't bother with its own fan. The power consumption of the RX480 is something the RM550x can easily deal with on passive cooling:

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And here it is closed up and ready to go:

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Installation Steps
Plug and Play: DDU old drivers, reboot, install the latest AMD drivers and you're done.
 
Benchmarks
For some reason AIDA64 keeps crashing when I try to run the GPGPU benchmark, and CUDA-Z does not work on AMD cards, so I have no bandwidth measurements. Seeing, however, as this is a TB1 to TB3 setup using a Mantiz Venus base, these measurements are of little added value anyway.

Here is a direct comparison between the GTX1050Ti and the RX480 in multiple benchmarks, normalized to the GTX1050Ti result. For reference, on the desktop, the RX480 is about 50-60% more powerful than the GTX1050Ti.

 

Here are the raw numerical results for both GPUs:

 
Summary

The Sugo SG13 makes for an enticing option if you wish to put together your own eGPU enclosure. It is pretty cheap, accepts a regular ATX power supply, isn't absolutely massive and can mount all but the largest of video cards. You can use it to house a setup based on mPCIe or Expresscard adapters, or, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a TB-to-PCIe PCB, you can use it to build your own eGPU enclosure.

A parting shot at AMD: I bought the RX480 because I was bored and wanted a new toy (and at 93$, it was a steal), but also because the GTX750Ti I had did not have HDMI2.0 to feed to my 4K TV. The "I was bored" itch was definitely scratched, and I am quite happy with the new toy, but the wish to output 4K60Hz with the full color range was still a problem: The RX480 has issues outputting 4K60hz at 4:4:4 YCbCr over either HDMI port - Namely, the drivers refuse to even allow this option. This isn't the cable's fault as I could run these settings to my TV with a GTX1050Ti in the past, using the very same cable. This seems to be a pretty recurring theme for AMD cards, unfortunately. I ordered a Club3D DisplayPort to HDMI2.0b active adapter to solve this problem (and I can happily report that it indeed solved the issue), but AMD really need to get this in order: A simple search on the Internet will show that this problem is not just mine, but rather widespread.

 

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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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wavygravy3108
(@wavygravy3108)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

This is an inspiring build with great benchmark comparisons as well! Nicely done. Yes, your original setup is exactly like mine currently, 'waiting for a case'. I want to do something similar with my egpu GTX 780 setup with my 14" Lenovo T430.

~~

I upgraded my RAM from 8GB to 16GB 12/2/18, and Windows did a mega (delayed) update to version 1809 after I put the battery back in to check to make sure the RAM was good. I'm running Windows 10 Pro x64, and now as of 1809 the eGPU isn't showing up at all... I'll contact you directly to ask you a couple questions about that, if you don't mind.  🙂 Can't do that yet, too new of a forum member. Oops.

Edit:
http://www.mfactors.com/pe4c-v4-1-pci-express-16x-card-to-m-2-card-or-pcie-x4-connecter/
Using the smartcard slot adapter from the above pcie adapter for the GTX780. Initially used a GTX560 (December 2016), upgraded to the 780 a few months ago and have very little trouble with it until a recent Windows update. 

Running Nando's eGPU Setup v1.35 solution. Very little/if any issues with that until the Windows 1809 update yesterday 12/2.

14" Lenovo T430, 16GB, 180GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809), eGPU: GTX780 via MFactors PE4C-M2060A (PCIe adapter via ExpressCard slot), PSU: EVGA 500W ATX, Lenovo Basic USB 3.0 docking station, HP 24" ZR24w monitor (1900x1200)


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I haven't had any issues post the 1809 update, on any of my systems (all of the updated ones are running Win10 Pro x64), but I run Thunderbolt, so it might be a bit different with regards to the way Windows handles it.

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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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(@mack_bonthera)
New Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

Hey, new to this and got the t480s and plan to buy an rx480 instead of the 1050TI like in your other posts. Can you recommend a setup for beginners, like minimum tinkering and no diy enclosure, that includes the rx480?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@mack_bonthera - It has been months and a I apologize, but I did not notifications for this thread enabled and I didn't notice you posted. If it isn't too late, the minimum tinkering would be simply buying a TB3 enclosure. The Sonnet Breakaway 350 will be sufficient, and it is the cheapest eGPU out there. It will not charge the laptop, however, so you'll still need to keep your laptop charger plugged into the second USB-C port (the one that isn't the Thunderbolt one).

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

As an update to this build, since the system has an Expresscard slot that I was not using, I decided to use my old BPlus PE4C (v2.0) to connect a PCIe SSD for extra storage. I picked up a 785GB Fusion-IO IODrive2 for 59$ off ebay and then found space for it in the case. I routed the Expresscard cable out of the back, near the Mantiz Venus PCB's USB-C connector and powered the PE4C via a Molex-to-FDD power connector (the old v2.0 of the PE4C has that as one of power connection options). I will also add a front fan to the setup to move some air and cool the SSD, but I have not done that yet.

As a result I now have both the eGPU and a lot of PCIe SSD storage in the same custom enclosure.

You can see the position that I found for the adapter and the drive:

IODrive2 Installed

And here is the cable exiting the back via the empty IO shield window. You can see the TB1 to TB3 Apple Adapter connected to the Mantiz PCB next to it:

IODrive2 Cables

And here is an ATTO Disk Benchmark of the IODrive2's performance. Obviously, the slot is holding it back quite a bit, but as I plan to use it for storage only, that is still fast enough (and did I mention it was just under 60$? These things are bargains right now on ebay):

IODrive2 Bench

I may have the most tricked out T430s on the planet at this point 🙂

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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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(@mack_bonthera)
New Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

Thanks for reply because it's not too late. Never started. Might wait for usb4 and just enjoy cloud gaming and such. Thanks for for value you continue to give. Cheers.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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