2018 15" Razer Blade 15 GTX1070 + GTX [email protected] (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 1803 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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September 19, 2018 3:11 pm  

I received a Blade 15 on loan from Razer PR for eGPU testing. This Razer Blade 15 reminds me so much of the 2015 15" MacBook Pro retina. It's as if Razer heard the complaints about the TB3 MacBook Pro and decided to build upon the strengths of Apple's previous generation MacBook Pro. A MacBook Pro user would definitely appreciate the Blade's build quality, trackpad, and matte display.

For eGPU use I went with the FHD 144Hz model instead of the 4K 60Hz. The GTX 1070 Max-Q dGPU is a great choice for 1920 x 1080 @ 144Hz. I quickly tested eGPU detection with both AMD RX Vega 56 and Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti and there was no issue with the Blade 15. In this build guide I'm using the 1080 Ti.

 

System specs:

2018 15" Razer Blade 15 - i7-8750H/GTX 1070 Max-Q dGPU/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/16GB RAM/512GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

ASUS XG Station Pro + ASUS Strix GTX 1080 Ti + 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

Windows laptops are plug-and-play as long as Intel Thunderbolt Software is present. Once you approve the new Thunderbolt device (eGPU enclosure) all subsequent hot-plugs require no interaction. All you do is to wait for either AMD XConnect or Nvidia Optimus icon to show up in the Taskbar and you're good to go. The Razer Blade 15 is also eGFX certified. To make sure the latop runs at full power, I plugged in the power adapter and switched to gaming mode within the Razer Central software. This mode speeds the cooling fans up quite a bit to ensure no thermal throttling.

One thing I'm disappointed to learn is the routing of the Thunderbolt 3 port. While it has full 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes, it's through the PCH. This means the TB3 port shares bandwidth with other components such as NVMe SSD, wireless card, and USB peripherals. Razer system designers used all 16 PCIe CPU lanes for the dGPU. A better option for eGPU use would be to allocate a x8 connection to the dGPU and a couple x4 connections to the Thunderbolt 3 controller. Such arrangement can be found in the Thunderbolt 3 15" MacBook Pro.

 

Benchmarks:

Here are AIDA64 GPGPU screen captures for GTX 1070 Max-Q dGPU and GTX 1080 Ti eGPU.

 

Here are synthetic benchmark results:

GTX 1070 Max-Q dGPU GTX 1080 Ti eGPU external monitor

Comments:

I will run the GTX 1080 Ti in internal display mode in the coming days. The RTX 2080 will be available soon so I'll include those numbers as well.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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metalshock
(@metalshock)
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October 5, 2018 2:18 pm  

I exactly have the same setup and have a question for you,

as far as I observe, all razer blade 15's with egpu have low firestrike "graphic" score (under 20k with 1080ti) . even 2017 razer blade 14 can hit 20-21k graphic score with 1080ti egpu; what is the reason for that? is razer blade 15 have different tb3 architecture than the others ? This issue really bugs me while some of other tb3 - pch - cpu devices can hit 20-22k firestrike graphic score with egpu with 1080ti .

thank you for your prospective answers!

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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Jim 80
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October 25, 2018 1:36 pm  

Has anyone tested the new "base model" Razer Blade 15? I'd be interested to know if it has the same design in terms of available PCIe lanes...

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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Joikansai
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October 25, 2018 3:00 pm  
Posted by: Jim 80

Has anyone tested the new "base model" Razer Blade 15? I'd be interested to know if it has the same design in terms of available PCIe lanes...

They always use PCIe3x4 lanes since first their TB3 laptops in 2016. The difference is only if it’s directly to cpu like Blade stealth line or not directly like Blade with 14/15, so because it’s with dGPU I believe not directly like Blade 15 which make a bit gpu performance slower compared to stealth, though it’ll be covered with more powerful 8750H cpu performance in overall performance.

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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theitsage
(@itsage)
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October 25, 2018 3:08 pm  

@joi_kansai I tested all three generations of the Razer Blade Stealth. They use U processors which only provide PCI lanes through the PCH. The Blade and Blade Pro have H processors which have PCI lanes available through the CPU and PCH. I have not tested the Blade Pro but the Blade 15 as seen in this topic reserved all 16 CPU lanes to the dGPU. Its Thunderbolt 3 connection attaches to the PCH.

Of the few dozens Thunderbolt 3 latops I tested, I found only a few with direct CPU attachment from the eGPU. They are 2016-2018 15" MacBook Pro and 2016-2018 Alienware 13/15/17.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Joikansai
(@joi_kansai)
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October 25, 2018 3:33 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

@joi_kansai I tested all three generations of the Razer Blade Stealth. They use U processors which only provide PCI lanes through the PCH. The Blade and Blade Pro have H processors which have PCI lanes available through the CPU and PCH. I have not tested the Blade Pro but the Blade 15 as seen in this topic reserved all 16 CPU lanes to the dGPU. Its Thunderbolt 3 connection attaches to the PCH.

Of the few dozens Thunderbolt 3 latops I tested, I found only a few with direct CPU attachment from the eGPU. They are 2016-2018 15" MacBook Pro and 2016-2018 Alienware 13/15/17.

Thanks for confirmation, I don’t know the route of pci lanes since I’m new on this egpu world. I only noticed from Graphics performance between my setting. And stealth graphics score like on 3D mark is similar with MacBook graphics scores that I saw on benchmarks unlike Blade 14 and 15 that I have, it brought the conclusion that it has similar PCIe3x4 lanes architecture with MacBooks Pro. Here’s some of those results in same gpu.
1080ti
Blade 15
https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/27972555
Blade 14
https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/26298494
Blade stealth 
https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/26320000

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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Jim 80
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October 25, 2018 11:58 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

@joi_kansai I tested all three generations of the Razer Blade Stealth. They use U processors which only provide PCI lanes through the PCH. The Blade and Blade Pro have H processors which have PCI lanes available through the CPU and PCH. I have not tested the Blade Pro but the Blade 15 as seen in this topic reserved all 16 CPU lanes to the dGPU. Its Thunderbolt 3 connection attaches to the PCH.

Of the few dozens Thunderbolt 3 latops I tested, I found only a few with direct CPU attachment from the eGPU. They are 2016-2018 15" MacBook Pro and 2016-2018 Alienware 13/15/17.

Excellent info, thanks!

I'm surprised that it’s still so rare to provide direct CPU lanes to the TB3 port, but maybe things will start changing soon

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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(@andrea_munegato)
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October 30, 2018 2:54 pm  

Hi, so is it possible to have both gpu's active at the same time! Didn't Razer Gpu switcher force you to disable one card?

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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October 30, 2018 3:01 pm  

I can run both at the same time. You don't have to install the Razer GPU Switcher software. I never did.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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(@andrea_munegato)
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October 30, 2018 4:34 pm  

Will this, in your experience, work this way also in the Alienware 13R3 with an internal 1060 and external 1080?

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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October 30, 2018 4:42 pm  

Yes the AW13R3 can run both the dGPU concurrently with TB3 eGPU. When you run the AGA eGPU though, the BIOS may disable the dGPU at boot. Take a look at my AW15R3 build that compares AGA vs TB3.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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(@andrea_munegato)
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October 31, 2018 11:57 am  

Thank you very much! Ordered the Core X, lets see now! 🙂

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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Jellylegs
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November 9, 2018 1:04 am  
Posted by: theitsage

I can run both at the same time. You don't have to install the Razer GPU Switcher software. I never did.

Hi theitsage, this is my first post to this forum and I'm new to the world of eGPU's. I'm trying to decide whether to buy the RB15 or dell xps 15 9570/xps 13 9370 but I feel that if the RB15's dGPU can be used in conjunction with the eGPU would that not always offer better realworld performance than the XPS15?
Thanks

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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