2018 13" DELL XPS 13 + NVIDIA 1060 6Go (KFA2 GALAX SNPR Enclosure) + Windows 10  

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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 5, 2018 3:14 pm  

System specs

Dell XPS 13" 
Ultra HD display (3840)
16 Go RAM
1To SSD
Intel i7-8550U CPU @ 1.80GHz (1991MHz) x4
Intel UHD Graphics 620  1Go 
Windows 10

eGPU hardware
 

KFA2 GALAX SNPR 
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Thunderbolt 3 included cable (50cm)

Hardware pictures 

Installation steps 

Nothing special. Just plugged it and waited a long time for everything to be recognized. Finally I installed the latest NVIDIA drivers.

Benchmarks 

Benchmark on internal monitor for Uningine Heaven (windows is UHD 3840 and bench tested either in Full HD (1920) or UHD (3840)) as seen on the Unigine scores printscreen. Then the Unigine Superposition again on the internal monitor in Full HD (1920) with settings to medium.

 

Comments 

I am not a real gamer, but it felt so much better that I can only be very happy. Will modify the info in the fly while using it. First use was 4th of August 2018.
My other comments :
- The TB3 cable is short (50cm)
- Its is really quiet and is not hot even at full load.
- Really small (same dimensions of a PSU but a little less tall)
- Cannot power the laptop. I have a message indicating that not enough power from the laptop.
- The galax name (white letters on the black plastic rectangle) on the front panel as seen on the builder website, does not show anything on mine.


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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August 6, 2018 2:25 pm  

Thank you for sharing the very first build with a GALAX SNPR eGPU enclosure. I noticed the H2D speed showed 11XX MiB/s. Dell had confirmed the XPS 9370 has four PCIe lanes and OPI 4 GT/s. It's likely then the Thunderbolt firmware of the enclosure has H2D limit.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 6, 2018 2:58 pm  

Hi, I am no expert so I cannot say more. If you have other tests I can run, I will be happy to try and provide that.
Only thing to keep in mind that I use the internal monitor so maybe there is something to look there as well if the performances are not up to specs.


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 10:08 am  

I checked on other builds here and indeed the H2D is half compared to others. Could it be the included cable?
Also, I have a Dell Dock plugged as Well to handle my Keyboard, mouse etc, but it also has VGA/Displayport outputs. Maybe it is shared between both? Will have to try tonight without it to see if I have full bandwidth.

EDIT : So after I tried, the presence of the Dell Dock barely changes the bandwidth and I still have 1200 Mibs with the enclosure alone on the TB3 port. Not sure what to test next (besides the cable).


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joevt
(@joevt3)
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August 7, 2018 4:18 pm  

It could be the cable. Windows doesn't show Thunderbolt connection speeds for Thunderbolt devices like macOS does so it will be difficult to tell unless you find a cable or device that shows an improvement.

You can at least use HWiNFO to verify that the Thunderbolt 3 controller is 8GT/s and x4.

The Dell Dock shouldn't affect the H2D this much if it has no display connected to it. Even if it did, it shouldn't matter if it's connected to a different Thunderbolt 3 port.


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theitsage
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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 4:30 pm  

So after I tried, the presence of the Dell Dock barely changes the bandwidth and I still have 1200 Mibs with the enclosure alone on the TB3 port. Not sure what to test next (besides the cable). I will have to buy a longer cable anyway so I will be able to test that (OMG the prices  🙁 ).

Here are the HWiNFO results. Seems ok for the TB3 controller as I understand the results window. Maybe as stated before by theitsage, the enclosure is bottlenecking somewhat.

 


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 4:43 pm  

Thanks theitsage for your message. Will check the links  😉


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 5:00 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

Thank you for sharing the very first build with a GALAX SNPR eGPU enclosure. I noticed the H2D speed showed 11XX MiB/s. Dell had confirmed the XPS 9370 has four PCIe lanes and OPI 4 GT/s. It's likely then the Thunderbolt firmware of the enclosure has H2D limit.

Ok, now I understand the content of your first message. It is sadly a recurrent issue that will net be easily fixed. I will shoot an email to KFA2 support to see what they have to say. Who knows, one can have dreams 🙂


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joevt
(@joevt3)
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August 7, 2018 5:00 pm  
Posted by: Stéphane Betzi

Here are the HWiNFO results. Seems ok for the TB3 controller as I understand the results window.

It shows CPU and GPU information but not all the PCIe information. PCIe devices are connected in a tree structure. Each branch has a PCIe bridge. Different PCIe devices and bridges can run at different link speeds and widths. You need to check all the bridges starting from the root port, down to the Nvidia card to find the minimum speed. I think we just care about the root port that the Thunderbolt 3 controller is connected to (can ignore the Thunderbolt 3 bridges except the one at the top nearest the root port).

HWiNFO shows 2.5 GT/s for the Nvidia card because you don't have a graphics program running such as what GPU-Z shows when you click the ? button.


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 5:12 pm  

Sorry, my knowledge is limited so I am not sure where to look for that in HWINFO (tree stuff).


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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August 7, 2018 5:18 pm  

@stephane_betzi If it's an older firmware that restricts H2D bandwidth, KFA2 should be able to request Intel to certify a newer firmware. Once that becomes available, you can update the SNPR enclosure's firmware.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

68 external GPU build guides


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 6:09 pm  

Ok thanks. Amazing forum  😉


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joevt
(@joevt3)
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August 7, 2018 7:14 pm  
Posted by: Stéphane Betzi

Sorry, my knowledge is limited so I am not sure where to look for that in HWINFO (tree stuff).

In the HWiNFO64 main window (the one containing the menu), click the [+] button next to "Bus" in the left pane, then again for "PCI Bus #0" and each of the "Root Port"s and each of the "Bus"es for the Root ports until you come to one that says "Thunderbolt 3 Bridge". Then click on the Root Port containing that bridge to see the current Link Speed in the right pane.


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 7, 2018 7:35 pm  

Ok, 

I checked on every lane. It's written the same thing all other the place (Max 8, Curr 2.5) except on the main one i.e (Max 8, Curr 8). 
Here is a screenshot of the lane where the graphic card appears.
Not sure it what is expected there.


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joevt
(@joevt3)
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August 8, 2018 12:44 am  

I don't know why, but bridges inside the Thunderbolt controller ("Downstream Port of PCI Express Switch") do not show correct link speeds (2.5 GT/s x4 is only 1000 MB/s which is much less than the bandwidths you've seen). You just want to look at Root Port #5 and the top Thunderbolt bridge (under Bus #3) which is the "Upstream Port of PCI Express Switch".


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 8, 2018 3:34 pm  

Both, the Root port 5, and the top bus under BUS 3 indicate the same thing i.e. :

Maximum Link Width: 4x
Current Link Width: 4x
Maximum Link Speed: 8.0 GT/s
Current Link Speed: 8.0 GT/s


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joevt
(@joevt3)
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August 8, 2018 4:28 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

@stephane_betzi If it's an older firmware that restricts H2D bandwidth, KFA2 should be able to request Intel to certify a newer firmware. Once that becomes available, you can update the SNPR enclosure's firmware.

A screenshot of the Thunderbolt details for the Thunderbolt controller will tell us the firmware version ("NVM Firmware version")
https://us.answers.acer.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/45779/~/check-thunderbolt-firmware-version
http://www.caldigit.com/KB/index.asp?KBID=204&viewlocale=1

I don't know how informative the version number will be though. But we can at least compare it with similar eGPUs using the same Thunderbolt 3 controller.


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 8, 2018 7:00 pm  

It says 23.00 but I guess this is only related to the laptop not the egpu ... Sorry it's in French bit I guess it does not matter :

BTW I got an answer from the KFA2 support and they will transmit my question to R&D... let's see where this goes ...

Oh, and another (probably a silly) question ...

Do I need to eject the enclosure like we do on windows for a USB Thunbdrive? 
It appears when I click on the USB icon in the tray.


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 14, 2018 7:03 pm  

Just to add that I just bought a 2m Active TB3 40Gs cable from Belkin (Belkin 5K).
So far working fine. 

Also sometimes if I play with it (plug/unplug the unit for exemple), the unit won't boot. Have to unplug the electric plug, turn it on unplugged to discharge the capacitor (old trick from my 90s computers) then replug and then it will boot (green light).


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Alan49
(@alan49)
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August 21, 2018 3:26 pm  

Hello,

I have the same confirguration as you, have a return of kfa2 to update the firmware of the controller? This case has the error H2D, I have contact support but for now no response.

I think I'll have to send it back to take akit akitio + gpu but it costs double. It is really a pity that KFA2 does not update the product because technically everything is good.

Thank you


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(@stephane_betzi)
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August 21, 2018 4:49 pm  

No answer yet. I will come here as soon as I have anything.
For me, even with the bandwidth limit, it is soo much better than the intel GPU that I will stick with it for this price 😉


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