2017 Alienware 15R3 GTX1070 + RTX [email protected] (Razer Core) + Linux Pop!_OS 18.10 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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Posts: 3232
October 26, 2018 2:31 am  

I had wanted to test eGPU with Linux for a while. I'm a novice and prefer to stay as close to the GUI experience as possible. Pop!_OS provides two installer ISOs, one of which is for Nvidia GPU system. The OS installation was straight forward and Nvidia 410 drivers was ready to go.

 

System specs:

2017 Alienware 15 R3 - i7-7700HQ/GTX 1070 dGPU/HD Graphics 630 iGPU/32GB RAM/512GB NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD

 

eGPU hardware:

Razer Core + Nvidia RTX 2080 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

This Linux distribution is largely based on Ubuntu. The kernel version is 4.18. Under Settings > Devices is where I found the Thunderbolt section. The first option called Direct Access was turned on by default. External GPU is one of the devices that needs direct access. As soon as I connected the Razer Core, the system prompted me to authorize the Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.

There was no notification of a connected eGPU such as an icon in macOS or Windows taskbar. I ran CUDA-Z and saw both GTX 1070 and RTX 2080.

 

Benchmarks:

I haven't figured out how to make the eGPU provide monitor output. The connected monitor had no signal. Nvidia X Server Settings showed only the dGPU. I would appreciate any help you can provide to enable monitor output. In the mean time I ran Unigine benchmarks through the internal display with GTX 1070 dGPU.

 

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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nu_ninja
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October 26, 2018 2:56 am  

Very interesting. With the display issue, would it be possible to disable the dGPU and run the internal screen using the iGPU? @gt0242 's post makes me think that a single nvidia gpu works well, whereas your and @hunabku 's builds use a nvidia dGPU and eGPU.

Mid-2012 13" Macbook Pro (MacBookPro9,2) TB1 -> RX 460 (AKiTiO Node)
+ macOS 10.14.1+Win10
+ Linux Mint 19


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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October 26, 2018 3:06 am  

@nu_ninja I tried the Power setting drop-down to switch Nvidia Graphics to Intel Graphics. After restarting the system stuck on a black screen at boot.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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nu_ninja
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October 26, 2018 5:24 am  

Sorry about that, if you still can't boot with or without the eGPU connected then the iGPU must not be starting correctly. If you're able to get to grub (hold shift at boot) then you can boot into the console without graphics by hitting "e" on the linux boot entry and adding: systemd.unit=multi-user.target to the end to the boot line. Then if you're able to login from the console you should be able to use 

sudo prime-select nvidia

and restart to get back to normal.

Mid-2012 13" Macbook Pro (MacBookPro9,2) TB1 -> RX 460 (AKiTiO Node)
+ macOS 10.14.1+Win10
+ Linux Mint 19


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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Posts: 3232
October 26, 2018 1:43 pm  

@nu_ninja No worries man. Black screen and booting issues are part of life when doing this. Thanks to your instructions I got it back to the way it was. I will try connecting a GTX 1080 Gaming Box and see if that makes a difference with monitor output.

The display panel of this laptop is 120Hz G-Sync. When I disabled the dGPU in Windows, the system used basic graphics drivers to power the display. I've always struggled forcing the iGPU to power it even in Windows on this laptop.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Hunabku
(@hunabku)
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Posts: 5
October 29, 2018 4:31 pm  

It's good to see others trying to utilize eGPUs on Linux. My eGPU was automatically detected by Nvidia X Server Settings, unless it's plugged in after booting the laptop (just had to restart the desktop manager in that case, however nvidia-smi and TensorFlow works with the usual plug-and-play). This might not help you right now since it's kind of the next step, but I placed the option "AllowExternalGpus" into the device section (the one for the eGPU) of my X conf file to get the a display output on the external monitor. The X server seems to automatically disable eGPUs with the default settings. Maybe this helps your server settings to recognize the eGPU.

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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nu_ninja
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November 26, 2018 5:04 pm  

@itsage

Hey are you starting using wayland? I don't think it's supposed to be the default on this distro, but I was thinking that might be the issue you're having with this setup as no x commands seem to be working for you. You can check using the commands from this issue report. You should also have a gear icon next to the sign in button on the login screen and clicking the gear on the login screen (disable automatic login if you have it) should give the option to login with "Pop on Xorg" if it's not already using it.

Mid-2012 13" Macbook Pro (MacBookPro9,2) TB1 -> RX 460 (AKiTiO Node)
+ macOS 10.14.1+Win10
+ Linux Mint 19


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 26, 2018 5:08 pm  

@nu_ninja Thank you for pointing this out. I will check and report back.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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