Secondhand HP ZBook 15 systems like used here are often still in remarkably good condition due to their business grade build. They come with three storage device options (mSATA SSD, 9.5mm SATA drive bay, optical drive or caddy), a 95% sRGB gamut gamut wide-viewing angle FHD LCD or some get an even better Dreamcolor LCD, 2xUSB 3.0 + 2x USB 2.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 1 port & a contemporary backlit chiclet keyboard.
System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system)
- Intel Core i7-4800MQ, 4-cores/8-threads, up to 3.7Ghz CPU
- 1920x1080 FHD LCD
- HD4600 iGPU, NVidia Quadro K610M dGPU
- 16GB DDR3-L RAM (4x4GB)
- Windows 10 Spring Creators Edition (1803)
eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable, any custom mods)
- US$40 EXP GDC 8.x - expresscard version
- US$300 AMD Radeon RX580 8GB (XFX GTS 1366/2000)
- 220W Dell DA-2 PSU + ATX PSU (ATX PSU used for benchmarking below with stock VBIOS. To use the Dell DA-2 without hiccups, the VBIOS was modified with Polaris Bios Editor, decreasing TDC/TDP from 145W to 130W).
Installation steps - Windows 10 (1803)
1. Install Win10
2. Attach eGPU but note. The ZBook will fail to boot if the eGPU is detected by the bios. The workaround is to either hotplug the eGPU after BIOS post or set the PTD delay switch on the EXP GDC and the powerdown/powerup the system to activate the PTD delay.
3. Install the AMD eGPU drivers, which will error 12.
4. Fix error 12 by firstly setting BIOS to hybrid graphics mode (should be default), so the iGPU and dGPU are active.
5. Continue to fix error 12 by installing eGPU Setup 1.35 & boot it. Ensure the eGPU is detected, then select:
- PCI compaction->ignore [dGPU]
- PCI compaction->Run->iGPU + eGPU
- Video cards->dGPU[off], hit F3 key
Thereafter boot via Setup 1.35->automated startup (default) whenever you need to use the eGPU.
6. To eGPU accelerate apps when run with just an internal LCD, set Win10's 1803 Graphics Settings GPU selector for your app to high performance as can be seen below.
Windows 10 (1803)
NA - ignores eGPU. Runs using the iGPU
Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)
Here we demo an older, but capable workstation system paired with a low cost expresscard eGPU.
So I currently own a ZBook 15 and since it already has a decent CPU I am looking for an upgrade in graphics.
I can get an 290x for around $100 so i thought it would be a nice upgrade, but i can't find anyone else with an ZBook 15 (G1) who has made it work so I thought I would drop the question here.
This is my laptop
HP ZBook 15 (G1)
Intel Core i7-4700MQ
NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
Expresscard 54 (26 pin) PCI Express 1.1
Thunderbolt 1 (not sure)
I still use the laptop as a mobile device, so my strong preference is a solution with expresscard rather than mini PCI-e. Hope to hear if you guys think this will work with a EXP GDC 8.0 solution.
I had a ZBook G2, but not a G1. I ran an eGPU over Expresscard and over TB2. There were some rumors that the Expresscard interface on these laptops (I think it referenced both the G1 and the G2 at the time) did not work with an eGPU - I showed that at least on my G2 it worked.
The ZBook G1 should have a TB1 port on it, as well. On my G2 I used a TB3 eGPU enclosure over TB2 by using the Apple TB to TB3 adapter. I would guess that this should also be possible for the G1.
"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."
Sorry i should add a little nuance, i can get the 290x for €85,-.
Listings for RX480's (4g) get bids for €130,-. So i guess the dutch second hand market is a bit hotter or something.
An AKiTiO Thunder2 would cost me 260 euro. The main reason for this upgrade would be for the sporadic gaming that I do so that's a bit over the top for me.
But thanks for the info on that, didn't expect a solution over TB1 would be possible.
At least, not without a serious performance penalty.
So i bought the R9 290X and an EXP GDC.
Currently i am trying to make the setup work, but it doesn't seem te detect the GPU.
Even if I disable the internal Quadro K1100M and reboot it doesn't seem to detect it.
Can anyone explain this or point me to the right threat?
Note: I haven't plugged in the extra 6 and 8 pin connector on the 290X, because i don't have the hardware for that yet. But i don't expect that to be a problem since i am not putting a big load on it.
@maarten_noordhof, the 6P and 8P R9 290X power connectors must be connected for the video card to show up on the PCIe bus. Attach them.
HP ZBook 15 G2
Intel Core i7-4810MQ, HD4600 iGPU, NVidia Quadro K2100M dGPU, 32GB DDR3-L RAM (4x8GB)
* Test with eGPU Setup 1.35
Hey Nando, I followed your instruction and it work like a charm! And I wonder the m2 2242 slot next to mSATA slot can use Egpu, isn't it? I have the same laptop Zbook 15 and I really want to know how far this laptop can go with egpu.
@khanh_nguyen_quoc, the ZBook G2 has a x2 2.0 Turbo-Z PCIe SSD slot. If you can find an eGPU adapter end that matches it and the BIOS enables the PCIe port then there is a chance it could host a eGPU.
Then again, x2 2.0 (8Gbps) is low bandwidth compared to x4 3.0 (32Gbps) available on 6th gen or newer systems with NVME slots like @jkeychen shows us at:
His Dell Latitude E5570 is quite affordable as a secondhand ebay system with verified eGPU compatibility.
I have a ZBook 15u G3 and i am using the NGFF wire to connect to the graphics card, when i boot up my laptop the graphics card starts working but when my laptop is meant to boot to windows 10 there is just a blank screen and the fan on the laptop hoes really fast, i tried to use the PTD delay on the eGPU but it seemed to do nothing when i plugged the graphics card after a few seconds the graphics card is not detected, the first time i boot it up everything was fine and i saw the card in device manager but it was lagging badly and crashed (without a blue screen). Does anyone know how to fix this problem.
CPU: Intel Core i7-6500U @ 2.50GHz (Intel HD Graphics 520)
iGPU: AMD FirePro W4190M (Does not work)