2017 15" HP ZBook 15 G4 M1200 + R9 [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + Win 10 Enterprise [Yukikaze]  

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
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Joined: 2 years ago
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September 22, 2017 4:50 am  

Thanks to work, I traded my ZBook G2 for a ZBook G4. The new ZBook G4 (which by itself is a small change from the G3) is a much improved take on the mobile workstation over the old Haswell-based G2. It has much better dual-fan cooling (it runs about 25c cooler than the G2 on the CPU load temps), an improved (but still ancient) dGPU in the form of a Quadro M1200 4GB (a.k.a a GTX960m, a.k.a a GTX750Ti in a dress), a 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) CPU, DDR4 memory in place of DDR3, a slightly different body construction (such as a much better ventilated bottom and a lack of an optical drive slot, and of course dual Thunderbolt3 ports. Overall, this is a very worthy workstation, but I am not here to discuss the merits of a gift horse, but rather to document how it works with an eGPU.

 

Setup:

Laptop: HP ZBook 15 G4.

CPU: Core i7-7820HQ (2.9Ghz, up to 3.9Ghz turbo boost).

iGPU: Intel HD630.

dGPU: NVidia Quadro M1200 4GB GDDR5 (GM107-based, this is essentially a GTX960m, which is essentially a desktop GTX750Ti).

Memory: 32GB of DDR4 2400.

Storage: 240GB m.2 SSD.

eGPU Adapter: Mantiz Venus.

eGPU: Sapphire R9 Fury Nitro OC.

Monitors: HP Z27q (5K) + Dell P2715Q (4K) via 3xDisplayPort1.2 cables.

I initially wanted to benchmark a Thunder2 via an adapter first, before tearing down the old setup and installing the new, but I ran into issues with the bitlocker encryption used by my workplace and had other problems such as stuttering. As a result I decided to scratch the idea, and went to setup the TB3 option. Installation was painless, with the AMD card appearing in the Device Manager immediately, and the driver installing without issues. High-res monitor setup was easy in Win10, with the internal monitor (and, interestingly, the Quadro M1200) powered off when the laptop lid is closed down and the external monitors picking up their native resolutions automatically.

Device access speeds are good:

However, there is a serious issue surrounding monitoring programs. If I run HWMonitor, or GPU-Z, they either crash my system, or cause the graphics performance to stutter badly every couple of seconds. This made it very hard to run benchmarks, as they typically include some monitoring features to track VRAM usage, GPU load, and/or temperatures. I am not sure if the issue lies in the AMD drivers, in the Thunderbolt driver and/or the enclosure FW, or some issue in the laptop architecture, but I have not yet been able to resolve this issue.

Gaming performance:

It looks like the monitoring issue does not affect gaming in any way, as I am able to play World of Warships maxed out at 3840x2160 without any issues or stuttering at around 50FPS (dropping the shadow and water quality a notch I can vsync myself to 60 FPS without any issue). I could not hit this mark with the previous setup, although I am not quite sure what exactly would've been the bottleneck (at medium FPS and very high res, I would not expect the difference between TB2 vs TB3 and a i7-4810MQ vs i7- 7820HQ to be quite this large). With the previous setup I could get a similar FPS at 2560x1600 and I could only dream of 4K.

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."


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3207
September 22, 2017 5:11 pm  

The ZBook G4 is a very nice host for eGPU. Can you look into PCIe «» Thunderbolt connection and share with us?

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 825
September 22, 2017 6:26 pm  

Looks like a classic PCH setup. Here is the connection view:

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."


theitsage liked
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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 825
October 6, 2017 7:19 pm  

A small update: I've been reading about a lot of crashes with monitoring programs and the latest AMD drivers. This might be the culprit to my benchmarking issues. I am a bit too lazy currently to roll back and test, however, so that will have to remain a hypothesis until I get my shit together (or AMD does).

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."


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