2014 15" HP ZBook 15 G2 + R9 Fury [email protected] (Akitio Node via TB3 to TB2 adapter) + Win 10 Enterprise [Petas3] // AMD XConnect & board mod for AMD power issue  

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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
March 30, 2018 8:46 pm  

System specs

Intel Core i7 4710MQ Haswell, 15.6" LED 1920x1080, RAM 16GB DDR3L (2*8GB, upgrade), AMD Firepro M5100 + Intel HD4600, HDD 1TB PCIE NVME (upgrade), DVD, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, webcam, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 2 (PCIe2 2x lines, I think), USB 3.0, TPM,  Number: HPBN4252b, Windows 10 r1709 Enterprise

 

eGPU hardware

Akitio Node, R9 Fury X, Apple TB2 cable, Apple TB3-TB2 cable 

 

Hardware pictures

In followup.

 

Installation steps 

 Basically everything should work out of the box - but see followup for how it actually went.

 

Benchmarks

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Basic (external screen)

FPS:
166.0
Score:
4181
Min FPS:
9.6
Max FPS:
273.1

 

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Extreme (external screen)

FPS:
65.7
Score:
1655
Min FPS:
8.7
Max FPS:
133.2

 

Comments

Its great, but the effort was almost too much. Only my experience in HW and electronics and some equipment I have ready on hand saved me and made this a success.

 

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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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
March 30, 2018 8:53 pm  

Final build pictures.

Note that AMD guidelines for Fury X watercooling state that the radiator should be mounted above the GPU with the tubing set on the bottom/lower side.
Note my mounting using additional (Akitio Node original fan compatible 120mm) fan - its really simple to mount the radiator to the fan and screw it to the front panel.
Note that I have made holes (3mm drill) in place of original screws in front panel and placed some spacers/M3 screws for ease of mounting (otherwise the front panel cannot be remounted after installation).

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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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
March 30, 2018 9:08 pm  

Now the build guide and trouble I have faced - brace yourself!

1. Windows 10 x64 - Enterprise, 1709 - Ever since the update I have trouble with hybrid mode of M5100 and HD4600, lucky me that this is prevented by setting hybrid graphics to off in BIOS and it does not affect eGPU.

2. Finding Thunderbolt Software and drivers, 16.2/3.xx - Look at different sites, mainly Intel NUC downloads to get the correct version. Firmware must be obtained from laptop vendor. Took some time to understand how this works. I couldnt see the Node at the time due to (3.)

3. BIOS Thunderbolt Security - I have found out Akitio Node is not detected when No Security SL0 is set, you must set it to SL1 or SL2 in BIOS.

4. Updating Akitio Node firmware - Have a friend with TB3 laptop - It cannot be updated otherwise. Chipset and converter cable are not compatible with Akitio SW. This can be trouble some, took me a lotta messages to find one.

5. Have another PCI-E card -  To test if enclosure works. I got a USB3 PCIe Expander. It worked. My GPU didnt show up for some reason.

6. Have a good PSU - I got myself a better, quieter 500W aftermarket PSU. You need to use jumpstart hack, shorting 2 pins to start it. Be sure to take SFX factor, its compatible. This was not the main issue.

7. Fix the Node - I have identified issue with the Node that prevented the GPU to work, details in next post. I fixed this with a lot of custom soldering.

Thanks @itsage and @yukikaze for inspiration and support. The power issue was also mentioned on this forum and it inspired me on how to fix this.

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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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
March 30, 2018 9:22 pm  

Attached are files detailing PSU jumpstart and board modifications I have made to make it work + forgotten TB controller screen - how it should look like.

What is not needed: The 2 additional capacitors, are not required - previous experiment, didnt care to remove them.
What is probably not needed: The big ass capacitor - didnt test without it, but I think its helpful.
What is definitely needed: The AWG16 wire providing power to PCIe rail. AWG16 is rated up to 22A for chassis wiring and 4A for power transmission, solder points probably worse than that. 

I have concluded its all or nothing - voiding warranty by custom soldering. It paid dividends in the end. Soldering is overall easy - be sure not to use transformer, but micro solder iron.
Conslusion was that the mosfet must be at fault, cutting power to GPU randomly - this could be caused by Fury X low power consumtion or some other factor like faulty comparator, there is no signal wiring to the part. Thing is now it just works and I am happy about it.

AMD XConnect works wonders and with some settings in windows the switch on is seemless automatic. To power down GPU just disconnect using tray icon and power off. Very nice.

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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Sky11
(@sky11)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 309
April 1, 2018 4:15 am  

@petas3thank you for the comment about the XConnect tray icon 🙂

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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WiredBrain
(@wiredbrain)
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Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 3
May 4, 2018 1:12 am  
Posted by: WiredBrain
Posted by: Petas3

System specs

Intel Core i7 4710MQ Haswell, 15.6" LED 1920x1080, RAM 16GB DDR3L (2*8GB, upgrade), AMD Firepro M5100 + Intel HD4600, HDD 1TB PCIE NVME (upgrade), DVD, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, webcam, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 2 (PCIe2 2x lines, I think), USB 3.0, TPM,  Number: HPBN4252b, Windows 10 r1709 Enterprise

 

 

 

Thanks for the info of your configuration. What has me intrigued though was how you were able to install win10 on the pcie nvme m2. As you may be aware HP mad it a pain to do so as they did not allow natively for the m2 drive to boot windows. Were you able to do this through the installation of another hdd/ssd and placing the efi boot onto that drive, thereby allowing the system to boot from the pcie m2? Or did a BIOS/firmware upgrade allow for the native booting from m2? I'm interested since I recently bought a used zbook 15 G2 and was not aware that HP still had this issue even after this product launched after the probook 6*0 series which had the m2 booting issue as well.

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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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
May 25, 2018 9:01 am  

Quick update: Windows 10 r1803 x64 and recent AMD drivers work like a charm - M5100 is finally recognized as M5100 + as a bonus finally all 3 GPUs work together nicely - Fury X + M5100 + HD4600 😀 - too bad you cannot crossfire/hybridize it yet without proper DX12 support.

About the NVMe: @wiredbrain Its a complicated process. You need 1 SATA drive (I have small 40G ssd) with custom build of EFI shell with NVMe drivers and custom bootloader. After this is done you can boot from NVMe. Boot time is increased by like 5 seconds to run the EFI thing, but after that all works normally. You can contact me for files or google them, they should be still available.

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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WiredBrain
(@wiredbrain)
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Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 3
May 27, 2018 8:13 pm  

Thank you very much for reply. So if if I comprehend correctly, after installing both the nvme and the sata drive with the custom build, then after the first boot, I would no longer need the sata drive to boot windows installed on the nvme drive?

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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Petas3
(@petas3)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 17
May 29, 2018 2:45 pm  

For some reason I am not getting email notifications, even thought I subsribed this 🙁

Sadly you need the SATA drive to work its magic every time you boot Windows. Only pernament solution is to get BIOS support for consumer NVMe, which is not going to happen - supposedly I think if you use the official HP part - the "ZDrive" (AHCI card, not NVMe) or something like that, it should then work.

There is extensive discussion:  http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/zbook-g2-owners-alternatives-to-z-turbo-drive.769103/page-7 - its one of the forums I took the infos.

In my setup I have also put the modded EFI partition on SD card, it should also work with SD card as boot device can be set to either. I have it as sort of backup 🙂 - SD cards are fragile, Id recommend you prepare 2 of them and carry at all times.

The actual migration process is as follows:
1. Copy Windows disk to NVMe using some free cloning software.
2. Modify the EFI partition
3. Reset, check success

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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WiredBrain
(@wiredbrain)
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Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 3
May 29, 2018 7:08 pm  

Thanks. I reckoned that it was still required. I had to do same with a probook 640 G1 when I wanted to boot from the m2 ssd. I guess HP did this across the board for all these 1st gen. products. What I had to do was to clone the efi partition from m2 sdd to a sata ssd/hdd and the remainder space of the hdd I used for data (drive D). Also had to increase boot time to 5 secs so that system would have enough time to find the 'efi' on the sata ssd/hdd and then the windows on the m2. I guess for the nvme it won't be the same as I had done previously. I will try that. Thanks again.

p.s
I'm also registered on that same forum and post. I just couldn't get a clear answer on whether the extra drive was still required after initial boot.
Also I'm unable to send private messages currently to your or probably anyone's inbox

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(@rafal_be)
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Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 1
October 19, 2018 1:02 pm  

If you have problem with "Basic Device" and no AMD card visible, you must change in bios /advanced/device thunderbolt to PCIe/DisplayPort .

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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