2017 13" Alienware 13 R3 (GTX1060) [7th,4C,H] + RTX 2070 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + Linux Pop! 19.04 & Win10 1903 [itsage]
The Alienware 13 R3 is currently my favorite laptop. It’s built like a tank. The bulky design is purposeful and easy to handle. Unlike the larger 15″ and 17″ siblings, the 13″ AW13R3 doesn’t have G-Sync display and therefore the GTX 1060 dGPU can be turned off. This is good when pairing with an eGPU for internal display acceleration. It’s also beneficial in Linux when I want to get the most battery life (nearly 10 hours on a full charge). Dual M.2 slots let me install one NVMe drive for Windows and another for Linux. Last but not least, the 45W quad-core processor and direct CPU-attached Thunderbolt 3 connection make it a very capable eGPU host.
2017 Alienware 13 R3 – i7-7700HQ/GTX 1060 dGPU/HD Graphics 630 iGPU/16GB RAM/512GB NVMe SSD + 256GB NVMe SSD
Being an Alienware computer, this 13 R3 has two options for external graphics. Both the AGA port and Thunderbolt 3 port have a 4 PCI lane connection directly to the CPU. I’m using the Thunderbolt 3 connection in this build because it’s more convenient (hot-plug). The Alienware Graphics Amplifier would yield better performance. In Windows 10, everything was plug-and-play. I installed Thunderbolt Control Center to monitor Thunderbolt 3 device detection because it can be finicky. I also downloaded and installed DCH drivers rather than standard drivers for best compatibility with Win10 1903.
Thunderbolt 3 detection in Linux was straight forward. As soon as I hot-plugged the eGPU, the system prompted me to authorize the Thunderbolt 3 device. Once it’s authorized, Linux would load compatible drivers (if installed). RTX Super cards require 430.34 or newer so I upgraded the drivers in order to use it. Also needed was easy-to-use setup script by @hertg.
I also ran some synthetic benchmarks. The external monitor was an ASUS USB-C portable monitor off the RTX 2070 Super USB-C port.
|Internal Display||External Monitor|
What surprised me the most was how loud this card runs. It’s slightly better than the RX 5700 XT in terms of performance but produces more noise. The build quality, looks, and USB-C port are great but for $100 less, the RX 5700 XT is a better value.
On my blade 14, my score is lower than yours, do you know why? My setup is really similar to yours.
@yitong_dai It’s likely due to the difference in Thunderbolt 3 connection routing. Most laptops have the Thunderbolt 3 connection going through the PCH. Alienware laptops and 15″ MacBook Pro have the Thunderbolt 3 connection going directly to the CPU. You can run HWiNFO64 to check on your Razer 14.
Thank you for bringing it up. I notice, for my blade, eGPU controller is under PCI-E root port instead of Intel PCI-Ex16 controller. Only my native 1060 is under Intel PCI-Ex16 controller. Also in my case there is no PCI-E x 4 controller.
@yitong_dai That means the Thunderbolt 3 connection is through the PCH for your Blade 14. Razer decided to use all 16 PCIe lanes for the discrete GPU. In the case of my Alienware 13R3, there were one x8 to the dGPU, one x4 to the Thunderbolt 3 port, and one x4 to the AGA port.