- Model: Dell Inspiron 5379 (2-in-1 w/ Touch + Pen Support)
- Screen Size: 13.5”
- Screen Resolution: 1920x1080
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4 SODIMM
- Storage: 256 GB SSD (SATA)
- CPU: i7-8550U
- iGPU: UHD 620
- OS: Windows 10 (Reinstalled from Home --> Pro)
eGPU Hardware ($63.85 for me)
- [$55] M.2 Key A --> PCIe 16x Hardware: EXP GDC 8.4
- [~ $100 - Already had] eGPU: MSI GTX 1050 2GT OC
- [~$20 - Already had] PSU: 500W PSU – Unknown brand
- [~$200 - Already had] External Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 [connected via HDMI (eGPU) --> HDMI to DVI converter (monitor)]
- [$8.86] USB 3.0 --> Ethernet converter (1000 MBPs)
Will post step by step pictures on a later date if this receives enough attention.
Good news – The Dell Inspiron 5379 (and I assume the Inspiron 7373 as well) are not whitelisted!
Before you start – make sure you buy everything you need from Amazon so that you can just return with free shipping if it does not work!
Tips to keep in mind while setting up hardware:
- DO NOT try to setup optimal wiring/placement of eGPU and PSU when setting it up for the first time, as you will need to have access to everything to troubleshoot
- If you plan on keeping on the back cover, some of the clips securing the bottom cover will be snapped off.
- Remove the back cover
- Locate the WiFi/Bluetooth chip in the top left corner (near the CPU fan)
- Remove the single screw securing the chip down
- Gently lift and remove the metal piece securing the chip in place
- Using your finger (dry), or a non-metal tweezer, gently unplug the antennas (little gold things with wires coming out of it)
- Gently lift the chip up a tad bit, and then pull out GENTLY
- Match up the wedge in the M.2 slot with the M.2 Key A end of the converter cable and plug it in all the way.
- Press down gently and secure the single screw back into place.
- Route the converter cable out the right side vent of the chassis (near the RAM) [optional]
(9a. Using a tweezer, gently lift the right side of the ventilation screen near the hinge and cut off enough to expose enough width for the cable to pass through one of the clips
9b. Using a tweezer break off the plastic clip where the cable will pass through
9c. Match up the cover with chassis to ensure that there is nothing obstructing the rest of the clips (otherwise they’ll break too…)
9d. Press down and secure the clips back into place and screw the cover back on)
- Connect the HDMI end of the converter to the EXP GDC device
- Power off your PSU and plug in the matching cables to the power cable (20pin + 4pin --> 8 pin). There’s the 20 pin one, and a 4 pin one. The 4 pin needs to match the yellow/black wires.
- Insert your GPU into the PCIe 16x slot
- If your GPU requires additional power, attach from the PSU
- Finally, set up your external monitor so that the HDMI cable from the monitor connects to the HDMI port on the laptop. Don’t connect anything to the GPU yet, as you’ll just get a black screen.
- Power on your PSU and turn on your laptop.
- If both the PSU fans and GPU fans are spinning, you can start setting up the software, if not… check your wiring!
For most people, the software setup will just be a matter of obtaining the drivers from Nvidia or AMD, installing them, and rebooting. If your eGPU is being recognized in device manager without any warning symbols, you may skip to the end of this thread for operating instructions.
However, I am using a GTX 1050 and I keep getting Error Code 43. Some GTX 10 series cards will experience the same error, so here’s the thread I referenced to troubleshoot this issue – but needed to modify some steps:
- When Window’s boots up, right click the Window’s icon and click device manager. You should see under “Display Adapters”:
- UHD 620
- Microsoft Basic Display Adapter
Or just UHD 620… in which case check “Other Devices” for VGA Display Adapter
If you do not either, click “Actions” in the ribbon and click “Scan for New Hardware”
- Let Window’s update the driver by itself, do not manually update
- Follow the steps mentioned in the thread – BUT reference back to this thread before each step as I had to do some extra things to get mine to work.
- Download the latest GeForce Driver instead of the 385.41 version listed in the post
- Download 7-Zip to unpack the .exe files (unpack = extract)
- Skip Step 1 as I wrote it above already
- For editing the 368.81 driver, use the Find function in notepad to quickly skip to the section. Search up “%NVIDIA_DEV.1C82%” for the first edit, and “NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti” for the second edit. Do not change them to your code/card as it probably is not in it. If it is, you wouldn’t need to edit the file!
- Remember to unpack the latest driver (not 385.41 as you didn’t download that)
- In Step 3, I was able to skip steps 1-4, but do so at your own risk…
- You may encounter this BitLocker Recovery Key screen before reaching the screen allowing you to choose your startup settings. You can find this code here
- Open registry editor by pressing “Win+R” and then typing “regedit” and pressing “OK”
If everything goes smoothly, your eGPU is now up and running! If not, you most likely decided it would be a good idea to plug the HDMI cable into the eGPU…
Only unplug your HDMI cable from your laptop once you have booted into windows and checked that the eGPU is working with the latest drivers. Then you may proceed to plug the HDMI into the GPU for higher framerates in games.
You may notice that the graphic quality in Windows seems to be quite buggy and sluggish. This is probably due to confusion between using the UHD 620 or the eGPU. To avoid this issue, I disabled the UHD 620 in device manager (don't uninstall it) and only used my GTX 1050 which fixed the issue. Normally, your eGPU would kick in once you run something intensive enough for the drivers to know to change to the eGPU.
I am still not certain why this is necessary, but I needed to follow a certain procedure to startup my computer + PSU + eGPU each time I startup from sleep/hibernate/shut down. If this happens to you too, follow the steps:
- Unplug your HDMI cable from the GPU (not the EXP GDC!) and plug it into your laptop. This somehow creates something like a “complete circuit” and allows you to power on the laptop.
When your laptop starts up, you should see that the PSU and GPU fans are spinning.
- Only after completely booting into Windows, unplug your HDMI cable from the laptop and reconnect it into the GPU.
If someone knows how to fix this issue, please let me know!
I have yet to run any benchmarks. Although I do expect somewhat of a severe bottleneck of 20-30% due to the M.2 Key A slot to only have 2 lanes of PCIe. I do not even know what generation the PCIe slot is. However, on the Inspiron 7373 (released at the same time as 5379), the storage controller uses a M.2 4x3 (4 lane, 3rd Gen) PCIe, so I am guessing it might be a third gen PCIe controller with two lanes.
I did install a few games, and I have not noticed any less frames compared to what I got when I used it on my desktop (FX 6300 + 8 GB DDR3) These are popular AAA titles like:
- League of Legends
- Far Cry 5
For Fortnite, I get 60 FPS (capped at 60 FPS) most of the time with frames dipping to 50s when diving out of the bus.
- 100% Rendering
- Low shadows
- Low post-processing
- Medium Effects
- High Anti-aliasing
- Medium Terrain
I get almost constant 60 FPS in Overwatch
- All maxed out (ULTRA)
Far Cry 5 – I used the recommended settings given by GeForce Experience and I get 60 FPS on average
I’ll run some benchmarks if requested.
I’m planning on 3D printing some sort of enclosure for my PSU and eGPU setup to make it more portable! Since I have te back cover still on, I would be able to carry my laptop around, albeit having the converter cable dangle around.
Also – I cannot seem to be able to use the USB port on the EXP GDC, if anyone can let me know how it works that’d be amazing!