2018 15" Dell XPS 15 9570 (GTX1050Ti) [8th,6C,H] + GTX 1660 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (HP OMEN Accelerator) + Win10 [peeweekVFX]
Disclaimer : I did not test out Ethernet or internal SATA features.
Installation (1st Attempt)
First attempt was a bit disappointing, before using a 1660Ti, I used my old GTX 1060 6GB, setup seemed working like a charm, however, after disconnecting the eGPU, the GTX 1050 was not available anymore. After hours of investigating it seemed that a collision in drivers was the cause of the issue. TL;DR version was :
1) Dell drivers are installed by default and use the DCH release track ( https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4777/~/nvidia-dch%2Fstandard-display-drivers-for-windows-10-faq)
2) DCH drivers are not compatible with standard release track (downloaded from nvidia)
3) Dell provides poor GPU support in their drivers (see compatibility)
I tried uninstalling GeForce Drivers provided by Dell, and disabling driver auto update, but somehow something was preventing me from installing official drivers even after cleanup.
At that time I was planning on buying a RTX 2070. After looking at Dell's GeForce driver INF file, i saw that RTX2070 were not supported (neither GTX 1060 which confirmed the uncompatibility), only 2060 GPUs (RTX did support 2070 and 2080 Max-Q though). So I decided to buy a 1660 Ti (since it was pretty much the same perf as a RTX 2060 and way cheaper).
Installation of GTX 1660 Ti
After buying the 1660 Ti, the installation was also pretty simple in the enclosure, and driver install was also super easy (as it was supported by Dell's Drivers) However, driver update was requiring to have both GPUs enabled to have them detected and installed correctly (see Driver Update Section).
Then happened a System fail (absolutely unrelated to eGPU, but my own mistake), Blue screens, unable to recover a boot to windows. Reinstalling System....
I had the choice of reinstalling Windows 10 using a Windows 10 ISO written to my USB drive, or using the utility provided by Dell in order to restore partitions. The latter option would wipe all my partitions (even my split D:) so I preferred the first solution.
It turned out that this was the best for me. Reinstalling using Vanilla Windows 10 enabled me to install GeForce drivers using nVidia release track instead of dell's.
After using the Omen for some weeks
The setup is pretty cool to use, performance-wise I did not attempt at any benchmarks as I do not play High-End games. However Doom 2016 runs at solid 120fps at 1080p/vulkan.
The HP Omen Utility is pretty simple to use and the switch is basically under the hood, toggling eGPU and dGPU in Hardware manager. There's a downside to that : if you shutdown the laptop with the eGPU enabled (dGPU disabled), unplug your computer then restart it at a later time without the eGPU, the dGPU willl be disabled. This can easily be re-enabled in Hardware Manager.
Another issue is regarding the update of drivers : somehow, the nVidia driver installer does only take into account enabled hardware when performing an install. Which means that if you want to update for both graphics cards you should update with your eGPU switched on AND your dGPU enabled as well : this can be done through the Hardware Manager as HP Omen Software only allows one enabled at a time. Once the update is done, you can switch your dGPU off.
Take-Aways and Corner Cases
- While use and install is easy, driver can become a pain if not understood correctly
- Dell drivers are a pain, and default installs prevent from using any GPUs you want
- Reinstalling a fresh windows 10 WITHOUT any Dell bloatware is advised.
- HP Omen Software is useful in order to perform the GPU switch, but not much more useful.
- Updating Drivers require you to be enabling both your GPUs in order to update correctly.
@peeweekvfx Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree with the convoluted process when setting up and updating graphics drivers when both dGPU and eGPU are from same brand. I’ve learned to always use DDU to remove existing drivers and disable Windows automatic search and install of new devices. This way I have full control of the graphics drivers being used.
Hi I'm trying to get almost identical setup to work, the difference is that I'm using Dell XPS 13" 9380 (2019) without dGPU.
Fresh windows 10 install wiping any Dell nonsense, after some fiddling managed to get the Thunderbolt application to work it needs the DCH drivers for my Laptop, Installed the NVIDIA DCH driver and everything attached to the HP Omen accelerator seems to be working. Just 2 issues:
- The HP Omen app doesn't detect the enclosure (from your post the app doesn't sound to be that much of a use so probably a minor issue
- It doesn't charge my laptop - which is the big issue.
Have you encountered any of these and/or do you know solutions
Managed to fix the charging issue by updating the HP Omen Accelerator Firmware. It was a bit of a chore as most of the update utilities out there don't work with the new DHC driver and Thunderbolt control center. For future readers the way to resolve is to Download the FW update utility from the Lenovo website:
In the zip there is a folder "TBT\TBT_WHL" In it is the new version of the Thunderbolt firmware update utility that works with the DHC driver and the new control center.
I.m pretty confident that the Omen accelerator app is not working, because of the new DHC driver. Unfortunately I have little/no hope for HP to release a new version of the app.