2012 15" Asus N56VM + [email protected] (EXP GDC v8.3e) + Win7 [ZodiusInfuser]^  

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ZodiusInfuser
(@zodiusinfuser)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 11
May 1, 2017 12:52 pm  

Just thought I would post my eGPU experience with an ASUS N56VM + GTX1060 6GB now that I have had a few weeks to play about with it and make an enclosure. Hopefully this will help others with similar laptops.

System

  • 15.6" Asus N56VM
  • i5-3210M 2.5GHz (dual-core)
  • GT630M 2GB
  • 12GB RAM
  • Windows 7 SP1

 

eGPU Gear

  • EXP GDC Beast v8.4 adapter (mPCIe)
  • Dell DA-2 220W PSU
  • Gigabyte GTX1060 6GB

 

 

About a month ago I was looking at upgrading to a new laptop for a better gaming experience when away from my main desktop. Unfortunately new gaming laptops cost more than I can afford at this time, so considering my laptop runs everything else fine, I got a friend to assist me in creating an eGPU setup instead. For this setup we used an EXP GDC Beast v8.4 with its switches at default, and a Dell DA-2 220W power brick.

 

Hardware Setup

The main challenge with this laptop is on the hardware side. The laptop has its single mPCIe port located near the front, close to where the underside access panel for the HDD and RAM is positioned. This means that removing the panel lets you SEE the WiFi card that's plugged in to the mPCIe, but does not let you take it out. To overcome this requires removal of the entire bottom cover of the laptop, and modification to the plastic under the access panel to give enough clearance to angle the card to slide in and out.  

Asus do not make the cover removal process easy, with there being many screws and clips all around the laptop, so have several plastic spudgers to hand. Also, the LCD screen is mounted to the bottom cover, meaning that towards the end of the removal process you will need to flip the laptop over and remove the Keyboard+Motherboard assembly from the rest. This step took me and my friend far longer to realise, as we were working with the lid closed up until that point and wondered what was preventing the bottom cover from coming off. You'll also have to unplug the speakers and LCD connections at this point, and then unscrew them from the bottom cover.

Once the cover is removed, the plastic around the mPCIe slot can be cut out using a junior hacksaw and some files. This can be done without cutting outside the access panel area, meaning once re-assembled there won't be any visible hole on the underside of the laptop. The laptop can now be re-assembled, being careful to route the WiFi antenna wires around the new cutout to avoid restricting the angle.

 

 

With the laptop now re-assembled, the WiFi card can now be removed and replaced with the EXP GDC's "HDMI" cable without issue, and switched back again when no longer needed. To avoid having the access panel off when using the eGPU, I purchased a replacement panel and made a cutout for the "HDMI" cable stick out the front. This cable position fits in nicely with the laptop stand I use, a CoolerMaster U2, allowing for the cable to be routed through the carry handle and hidden away.

Pictures of the full hardware setup can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/fZEm4

 

Software Setup

The software for this laptop is relatively straightforward, except for one complication related to disabling the built in GT630M so that NVIDIA Optimus would use the eGPU. See, although DIY eGPU Setup 1.35 can be used to perform this task, the Win 7 install that came with my laptop is an odd hybrid between MBR and UEFI that Setup 1.35 just cannot chainload in to. After exchanging messages with Nando, it turns out the solution for this laptop is to simply disable the PCI bus connection that the dGPU is connected to in Windows Device Manager, causing the dGPU to disappear. In my case the device to disable was the "Xeon(R) processor E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor PCI Express Root Port - 0151".

With the disabling of the dGPU figured out, the steps I performed to get the eGPU working with the Asus N56VM were as follows:

  • With the eGPU disconnected, run DUU in safe mode to uninstall all NVIDIA drivers from the computer
  • Let Windows install basic drivers for the dGPU and reboot if necessary
  • Disable the "Xeon..." device and reboot just to confirm the dGPU has gone
  • Shut down the computer and connect the eGPU and power on. Note that the laptop fails to boot at first press of the power button after the adapter is attached or removed, so just press it again when it fails
  • Follow the driver installation instructions highlighted by Igor in This Thread if you have a 10xx series card like I have. In my case I was able to update to driver 381.65 (the latest at the time)
  • Reboot at the end, and the card should appear in Device Manager without any problems. You should now see the eGPU being used to drive games on your internal display

 

To get the dGPU installed again:

  • Shut down the computer and remove the eGPU
  • Power on and enable the "Xeon..." in Device Manager. Windows should not do anything at this point as default drivers were already given to the GT630M
  • Restart at this point just to be safe
  • Go in to Device Manager and "Update Driver Software..." on the GT630M, choosing to "Browse my computer for driver software"
  • Select the directory where the last driver you installed was placed (C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\381.65 in my case)
  • Once that has finished, restart and the dGPU should be operational again

Now you have both cards with the latest drivers, and to switch between them just disable the "Xeon..." device before powering off and plugging the eGPU in. When you are booted in to Windows with the eGPU online you can re-enable the dGPU if you wish and the NVIDIA control panel will show both cards but still prioritise Optimus to the eGPU, or so it appears so far from my testing. Note that some games will need to be told to use the High Performance Processor in order to use the eGPU, even if you've set that as your global option.

For convenience of this process I have written a small batch script that uses DevManView to enable/disable the "Xeon..." connection without needing to go in to Device Manager every time. You can either run this directly, or what I did was assign the InstantKey of the Asus N56VM to it, meaning at the push of a button I can toggle the dGPU. I can post this later if anyone wants it.

 

Final Setup and Results

With that all done, here is a picture of my Final Setup. To make things a bit nicer I designed and 3D printed a custom enclosure for my card. I will post a separate thread about this later on today.

In terms of results with Optimus, I get a score of just over 6000 with the GTX1060 as an eGPU in the 720p test of FurMark, which is about 1000 lower than I get when the card is in my desktop. I can also run games like DOOM 2016 and Titanfall 2 at 1366x768 at 50-60fps on Ultra. These two games were virtually unplayable before. For older games I am able to up the resolution to 1080p and get similar FPS, I guess because more bandwidth can be assigned to sending frames back to the internal display. Here is a short video of the setup in action: 

Overall I am really happy with how this has turned out! It should hopefully extend the life of this laptop for a good few more years.

Cheers!

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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ZodiusInfuser
(@zodiusinfuser)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 11
May 7, 2017 1:33 pm  

I have finally got around to taking pictures of the 3D printed enclosure I mentioned, if people would like to take a look:  https://egpu.io/forums/custom-egpu-chassis/3d-printed-enclosure-for-gigabyte-gtx1060-and-exp-gdc-beast-v8/

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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maxvelua
(@maxvelua)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 7
May 26, 2017 3:51 pm  

Can you help me? i have Asus k55 vm + gtx 1060 6gb, but sometimes i have a black screan(when i play games or just on windows ).I disable the xeon... but it didnt help me, i think try to install newest drivers (black screan 6-7 times) but the same. When i install 368.81 (black screan was 3-4 time).How can i fix it ?

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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(@goffredo_ventur)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 8
August 29, 2017 8:01 pm  

How do i find the right port of my dgpu to disable?

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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ZodiusInfuser
(@zodiusinfuser)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 11
August 29, 2017 8:09 pm  
Posted by: Goffredo Ventur

How do i find the right port of my dgpu to disable?

In Device Manager if you click on "View" then "Devices by Connection", and then find your graphics card driver, the connection should be the final device you had to expand to see your dGPU. In my case it was the connection starting with the word "Xeon".

Enabled:

Disabled:

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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ZodiusInfuser
(@zodiusinfuser)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 11
August 29, 2017 8:15 pm  
Posted by: maxvelua

Can you help me? i have Asus k55 vm + gtx 1060 6gb, but sometimes i have a black screan(when i play games or just on windows ).I disable the xeon... but it didnt help me, i think try to install newest drivers (black screan 6-7 times) but the same. When i install 368.81 (black screan was 3-4 time).How can i fix it ?

Sorry, never got notification for this. I have  never encountered those issues during my use of this setup. My only thought is that maybe you need to uninstall your drivers and re-install them using DDU (if you haven't already). I know that I installed the nVidia drivers with Xeon... disabled to get the eGPU working first before installing drivers for the dGPU.

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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(@goffredo_ventur)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 8
August 29, 2017 8:24 pm  

Ok find i try and let me know

thank you

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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(@max_rusakovich)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1
September 29, 2017 8:35 pm  

Hello!

Could you please check your GTX 1060 GPU Loading in games? To know if pci-e 2.0 x1 is enough for bandwditch.

Thank you.

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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Murat
(@murat)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 6
October 5, 2017 9:39 am  

my laptop asus K55vd

i5 3210M- Intel HM76-8gb Ram

intel Hd4000/Geforce 610M

 

 now, i buought exp gdc beast mini PCI-E v8.0 from banggood, my order still did not come to me, may be 3-4 days. tell me guys what is differents v8.0 vs v8.4 ? am i wrong bought order ?

i want to buy geforce gtx 1060. some people not suggest gtx 10xx series for mini PCI-E to eGPU. what sould i do, 

 

Should care I with the gtx 6xx-9xx series?

2012 15" Asus K55VD i5-3210M GT610M + [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10


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dani_tx
(@dani_tx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 166
October 5, 2017 10:59 am  
tell me guys what is differents v8.0 vs v8.4 ? 
Honestly if there is any i couldn't find it.Looks like the later is newer(i'd doubt that it's more improved)version.
 EDIT: Ok,sorry.Looks like the one you bought doesn't have the switch for the power to stay permanently on.It's not a big deal but in some cases you might need it.

 

i want to buy geforce gtx 1060. some people not suggest gtx 10xx series for mini PCI-E to eGPU. what sould i do?

I'd say play safe,go trough the forum and read an decide, there are bunch of issues  and bunch of workarounds but trust me as a first timer in the whole eGPU thing how about you make sure that the whole setup is working first,there is no guarantee here.Then you can always buy a better GPU down the road.

You can start here(this is your department):  https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/

Should care I with the gtx 6xx-9xx series?

I was with GTX 970 for a long time and it's been a blast.Not even a single issue.

ASUS A53SV: i7-2860QM, 16GB DDR3 running WINDOWS 10 Enterprise LTSB 2016
SSD: SAMSUNG 850 PRO(256GB)+SAMSUNG 850 EVO(120GB)
eGPU: EVGA GTX 1080 FTW+ PE4C V3.0(mPCIe)+EVGA 650 G3 PSU (internal display ONLY)


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bacman
(@bacman)
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Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 1
April 25, 2018 8:46 pm  

Have a question here, with this setup can you plug in an external monitor? and how does it behave?

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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emgagb
(@emgagb)
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Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 1
May 31, 2018 9:11 am  

Hi ! I have a similar laptop (N56VJ) and I can't get my setup working. Im using the V8.0 EXP BEAST and an AMD R7 360. My PSU fan starts (ATX PSU) for about 3 seconds and then stops, the exp beast led turns green but the GPU fan never starts. Also my device doesn't get recognised in device manager. Did you change some settings in the BIOS to get it working ? Thanks !

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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travisify
(@travisify)
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Posts: 1
October 9, 2018 2:48 am  
Posted by: emgagb

Hi ! I have a similar laptop (N56VJ) and I can't get my setup working. Im using the V8.0 EXP BEAST and an AMD R7 360. My PSU fan starts (ATX PSU) for about 3 seconds and then stops, the exp beast led turns green but the GPU fan never starts. Also my device doesn't get recognised in device manager. Did you change some settings in the BIOS to get it working ? Thanks !

Have you managed to get your setup working?

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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