- CPU: Intel Core i7-4810MQ 2.8 GHz Quad Core (8 threads)
- Memory: 16 GB (8x2) PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM
- iGPU: Intel HD Graphics 4600
- dGPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
- eGPU: Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT
- OS: Windows 10 Home build 1809 latest version (all patches applied as of today)
- Video card: Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT
- Adapter: PCE164P-N03
- Power supply: Generic 300W ATX off Craigslist for $8
- Enclosure: Cougar QBX Mini ITX case
- Custom 3D printed I/O plate with ATX power toggle switch and USB extension
Here is the custom backplate I printed out of PETG with a USB extension cord and an automotive type toggle switch with a built in LED:
The switch has 3 contacts, two is for a regular on/off contact breaker type deal and the third is the (-)ve contact for the built in LED. I ripped the thing open and turns out that the thing is a dual color LED (green/red) with a resistor attached to the (-)ve line to make it work with 12 V levels. Not only is the ATX power enable line 5 volts, you're not supposed to draw any power from it, therefore I left the LED line disconnected in order not to fry anything. I could modify it later to make it work but I highly doubt I will, because it's quite unnecessary (a- you can't forget the card powered since it has its own red LED lit Sapphire logo, and b- what if you leave it powered anyway? Won't harm anything and will hardly draw any power) .
The extension cord could be had from Aliexpress for literally a dollar. I don't know what kind of thread pitch it used, so instead I ripped the built in nuts out and used my own nuts and bolts to make it all fit.
Also here's the wiring loom for the toggle switch, it's literally scrap wiring I found lying around and a Molex female connector. One of the Molex pins line up with the ATX power enable line and another pin lines up with an adjacent ground line. When you flick the switch the ATX power supply turns on.
Here is the STL file for the back plate: https://mega.nz/#!mO4C1ISJ!2BjRnrgdcZjvxJVR7GrME9pdcqE_3O8tXVMaTWvnUl4
Keep in mind that if you print this out of PLA it's guaranteed to warp and melt at typical GPU operating temperatures and could even be a major fire hazard so if you got an enclosure for your 3D printer to print ABS go ABS or at least go PETG.
In addition to the STL file, I'm offering to print you your very own backplate out of black PETG for $15 USD or you can buy the complete backplate you see in the pictures with the USB extension, the wiring loom and the toggle switch for $30 USD since it was kind of a proof of concept for me and I don't need it anymore. The hole for the toggle switch is a 12 mm diameter blind hole, I can blank it out or if you have a custom switch, give me the cutout dimensions and I'll add a cutout for you, PM for details.
Anyway, the rest of the build is pretty simple. Wire everything off as you would but plug the USB extension cord into the PCE164P-N03 and plug the USB to mPCIE cable on the USB backplate instead of the adapter directly. Away you go:
As straightforward as it can get. I unlocked my laptop BIOS to enable hidden menu options so I can now enable PCIe hotplug straight from the BIOS setup no EFI shell required
I first thought the USB extension wouldn't work but it surprisingly does Most signal loss occurs at the connectors so if the connectors are of high quality I don't see why it wouldn't work. With this setup I have a true plug and play eGPU setup that sits neatly under my desk.
I went with the mini ITX case as an enclosure because I want to build a hackintosh eventually when my i7 3.0 GHz, 16 GB RAM MacBook Pro Retina finally couldn't take it and I'd definitely need a case for that, and I found this one for cheap on Amazon warehouse deals so kinda just pulled the plug and went for it.
I bought this card to replace a MSI Evoke 5700 XT that was quite a headache under macOS (kernel panic after kernel panic) I'm a software engineer, not into that heavy gaming, I play some CSGO or StarCraft II occasionally, both of which are available for macOS, so I'm not Boot Camping or anything -- my only motivation for having an eGPU setup is to be able to drive 3x 1080p displays while offloading the GPU work to the GPU as much as possible so I have free memory to run all the IDEs and coding stuff I need to run; nevertheless I also own a PC laptop and I decided I might as well do a build thread while I was at it because why not. If you got any questions and or comments feel free to reach out. Thanks for reading!