2017 15" HP ZBook 15 G4 M1200 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node Pro) + Win 10 Enterprise [Yukikaze] // R9 Fury vs GTX980Ti benchmark comparison  

  RSS

Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 832
March 14, 2018 5:37 am  

Figured I won't really need to update my build guide for a change in GPU, but switching to a GTX980Ti came with some surprises.

Hardware details

  • Laptop: 2017 HP ZBook G4 (i7-7820HQ, Quadro M1200, 32GB of DDR4-2000, 256GB NVMe SSD)
  • Screens: HP Z27q (5120x2880 via 2xDisplayPort), Dell P2715Q (3840x2160 via DisplayPort)
  • OS: Windows 10 Enterprise 64-bit (Version: 1607, Build: 14393.2608)
  • eGPU: Asus GTX980Ti Strix Gaming (GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING: If the Fury was a massive card, this one is even larger! Mostly on account of being extremely tall for a PCIe card).

The physical installation itself was rather uneventful and the massive card, despite being way higher than a PCIe card has any right to be, still fits into the Node Pro. Even getting the Z27q to work at 5K via two DisplayPort cables was not an issue, as the display was properly detected in windows. Setting color to 10-bit also works.

At this point I nuked all the drivers (AMD and NVidia) with DDU, rebooted and set about installing the latest NVidia driver. That part went along pretty well and the driver installed with no issues, but as I opened monitoring software, the machine started getting stuck every couple of seconds for about half a second, then proceeding as normal. Closing the monitoring software would resolve the problem immediately. It happened with GPU-Z, CUDA-Z, AIDA64, HWMonitor and MSI Afterburner, and it made the machine completely unusable. Things would work just fine with monitoring off, but as I wanted to edit the fan curve on the 980Ti, I needed to run Afterburner.

After trying various drivers and scratching my head a lot, the solution was rather unexpected: Once I disabled the M1200 in the Device Manager, the problem vanished. Not the most convenient of solutions since toggling the dGPU on and off is a bit annoying, but to be honest I don't need the M1200 enabled when I am off the dock, so that doesn't really matter in the long run. Enabling the M1200 back can actually be done via the NVidia GPU monitoring icon, but disabling it is only possible through the device manager:

Update: Another solution to the same issue is disabling the hybrid graphics in the BIOS, turning off the HD630 in the CPU, and only working with the M1200 as the sole graphics adapter. Both the M1200 and the 980Ti co-exist peacefully in this case, which means the M1200 can be dedicated to PhysX if desired. This leads me to believe the issue with all three cards enabled lies somewhere in Optimus-land.

Surprisingly, the Host-to-Device bandwidth is lower than it is with the R9 Fury, despite this being the same exact Node Pro:

The benchmark performance, however, is markedly superior. The 980Ti Strix is a massively overclocked card, coming in at ~20% over the stock clocks of a 980Ti (and allowing for another 10% or so of an overclock), which is pretty much why I opted for this card, since I could have it for relatively cheap (~350$) as compared to the 500+ USD a GTX1070 costs today.

Unigine Valley, 5120x2880:

Unigine Valley, 3840x2160:

Unigine Heaven, 5120x2880:

Unigine Heaven, 3840x2160:

Superposition, 1080p Extreme (with the M1200 thrown in for good measure):

As a side note: The PSU fan in the Node Pro can get crazy loud under prolonged load. Worse still, it starts resonating on my desk, despite the rubber feet, and I had to fashion some improved vibration dampening in order to reduce the racket. Still, I think I might need to look at replacing the PSU and the case fan with something quieter.

Update:
Since I am sick at home, I got some time to tweak things around. The noise was driving me crazy unless I had my headset on (at which point I was risking driving my wife crazy unless she had a headset on). I decided to tweak the setup for silence, and the obvious way to start is to simply yank every single setting in Afterburner to the minimum and see what happens. This results in -90Mhz to the base clock, -43% to the TDP and -592Mhz on the (effective) memory clock. I ran through the three benchmarks to see the effect on performance and noise. On the noise front, this pretty much keeps the Node Pro PSU fan from revving up too much, leaving the ZBook as the noisiest part of the setup. Voltage wise, the Min-Power setting rarely rises above 1025mv, while the Max-OC usually runs at 1200mv under load. A 17% reduction in voltage equals a significant reduction in power consumption.

As for performance, it turns the 980Ti back into an R9 Fury performance wise, but one that eats a lot less power judging by the PSU noise (the Fury at stock would cause the enclosure PSU fan to rev up under load and become quite noisy, the slowed-down GTX980Ti remains silent compared to the base laptop. I need to get a power-meter to do actual measurements of the sort).

The R9 Fury and the minimum-power GTX980Ti are equal in the 1080p Superposition benchmarks, while the GTX980Ti remains slightly faster in Valley (~5% faster) and Heaven (~12% faster). This will work well enough for my kind of gaming (Cities: Skylines, Stellaris, Crusader Kings 2) without making a lot of noise, while leaving me with the option to ramp up for heavier games. This also means I can wait for a good sale of a quality SFX PSU, rather than go and look for one right now.

Here is the performance summary for the R9 Fury and both GTX980Ti settings:

Benchmark R9 Fury GTX980Ti Min-Power vs Fury GTX980Ti Max-OC vs Fury vs Min-Power
Valley 2160p 1298 1359 104.70% 1866 143.76% 137.31%
Valley 2880p 730 777 106.44% 1137 155.75% 146.33%
Heaven 2160p 595 674 113.28% 821 137.98% 121.81%
Heaven 2880p 310 359 115.81% 479 154.52% 133.43%
Superposition 1080p Extreme 2889 2875 99.52% 3895 134.82% 135.48%

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"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."


3RYL, theitsage and nando4 liked
ReplyQuote
nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1816
March 14, 2018 6:09 am  

@Yukikaze, thank you for your implementation guide.

You haven't conteplated getting a US$599 GTX1070 Aorus Gaming Box, extracting the GTX1070 and using it, then offloading the sell for US$150-$200 on ebay or here? Other non-eGPU users are taking that route to get a cost effective GTX1070 or 1080 card.

As for toggling on/off the dGPU, this can be automated via desktop shortcuts using devcon batch files in a similar way to done here.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


ReplyQuote
Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 832
March 14, 2018 6:18 am  

Yes, I could get an AORUS, remove the 1070 and then resell the case, but that would mean dealing with re-selling yet another thing, and a very highly clocked 980Ti is faster than an ITX 1070, while still coming it at a few dozen USD less in this case. It does eat more power, but that is not a consideration I care about as my power bill is flat, rather than by KWh.

Thanks for the desktop shortcut tip, that will come in handy!

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"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."


nando4 liked
ReplyQuote
dani_tx
(@dani_tx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 166
March 14, 2018 6:38 am  

@yukikaze did you run Superposition on ext.display? If you did can you do one 1080P Extreme on internal(with 980Ti),i just want to compare the results.Thanks.

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)


ReplyQuote
Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 832
March 14, 2018 6:42 am  

Yeah, it was on the external. My setup doesn't really let me open the internal display (the laptop is sitting below the monitor arms and can't be opened more than a couple of inches) so it will be a little bit of a hassle to get the setup relocated so I can do so. I'll see what I can do in the next couple of days.

EDIT: Tried to do a quick run with a half closed laptop and it refused to run on the eGPU. Will need to tinker with it.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"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."


ReplyQuote
theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3232
March 15, 2018 3:07 pm  

@yukikaze When I took the Node Pro apart, I felt the PSU was somewhat trapped. The rubber feet elevate the enclosure to provide some airflow but not enough to my liking. How about switching the enclosure fan to be intake rather than exhaust and leave the lid open?

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


ReplyQuote
Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 832
March 15, 2018 3:33 pm  

@itsage, I bought the damn thing to not keep the card exposed to dust, else I'd just keep using the naked Mantiz board 🙂

I thought about rotating the exhaust fan (an exhaust on the bottom struck me as silly from the beginning), but I am not sure it will help with the PSU. The PSU itself has its own intake and exhaust, so I am not sure ambient temps in the rest of the enclosure affect it a lot.

I'll probably just go and replace it at some point. Am I right to assume it is a standard SFX sized unit?

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"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."


ReplyQuote
theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3232
March 15, 2018 3:47 pm  

The PSU is standard SFX. Top-lid removal is for OC mode. You can get access to the enclosure fan easily. Remove the two hex screws to the left then the square fan mount will come out.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


ReplyQuote
jankymankey
(@jankymankey)
New Member
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 2
August 20, 2018 6:44 pm  

@yukikaze I recently acquired a ZBook 17 G4 with a Quadro P5000 dGPU and i7-7820HQ. I'm fortunate enough to have gotten a model with an already very respectable dGPU, but I'm looking to push as much performance as I can out of this machine, especially when I'm docked in at home. While they've been on my radar for a while, I only just started taking a good look at eGPUs (finally having a decent machine with TB3) and after saving up a bit, I'm hoping to dive in. I was hoping you, or anyone else here, might be able some questions I had . . . 

Can both TB3 ports be used without bottlenecking? I've been trying to figure out how these two ports are wired for a while now, because I get some annoying behavior with the dGPU at the moment. I can connect a TB3 to 2x DP adapter to one of the TB3 ports (or I can also connect this to the TB3 port on the ZBook TB3 dock) and get 2 full bandwidth DP ports (and drive 2x 1440p displays at 144Hz). Unfortunately, at this point, my only option for a 3rd display seems to be either the VGA on the ZBook dock or the built-in HDMI port. Every attempt at connecting every brand of TB3 to DP adapter on the second TB3 port has failed to establish a display connection. The HDMI, being 2.0, has a fair bit less bandwidth and does not support HDR properly without 4:2:2 subsampling. On a related note, I can't use the DP ports on the dock at all as no matter what else is being used, these always seem to be throttled (I can't activate 2x 1440p @144Hz at all on these no matter what else is or isn't connected). More specific to the eGPU though, I'm wondering if I'd be able to use both the ZBook TB3 dock and an eGPU unit like the Node Pro and have displays hooked up to both with no issues (or bottlenecking) as I'd rather not have the P5000 go to waste.

Do you by chance know what the actual measurement (in or mm) for the maximum card width the Node Pro supports is? The specs I've found for it only mention that it supports 2.5 slot width cards. Does anyone know which eGPU enclosures have the most room on that side of the GPU, or even just the most available room inside?

I know I had some other questions come to me while I was going off the deep end researching this with some 2 dozen tabs open, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Thanks for your time

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


ReplyQuote
jankymankey
(@jankymankey)
New Member
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 2
September 22, 2018 1:07 pm  

So I went ahead and purchased an AKiTiO Node Pro from Amazon which, after some issues with delivery and a chat with customer service, ended up only costing me about $150, as well as a ZOTAC GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme which I obtained from eBay for around $560 -- All in all, both very good deals. I have everything connected to my ZBook 17 G4 and so far, it's running smoothly. Unfortunately, I'm not at home, and won't be able to plug into my full setup for a while, though I'm excited to do so. Looking forward to some surround gaming sessions.

I did run into the stuttering issue described in this post as well as in here. Interestingly enough though, ZOTAC's software, FireStorm, (which has both monitoring and the ability to edit the fan curve) never triggered this issue for me and I'm happily running all three GPUs together without disabling anything. FireStorm is compatible with non-ZOTAC GPUs as well so maybe give that a go? As reported, other solutions like GPU-Z and MSI Afterburner did cause the same stuttering on my system though.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


ReplyQuote