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2018 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T480s [8th,4C,U] + RX 580 @ 16Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) ...
 

2018 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T480s [8th,4C,U] + RX 580 @ 16Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + Linux Manjaro [Spiro]  

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Spiro
(@spiro)
Active Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

System Specs

  • Lenovo T480s
  • i7 - 8550U
  • iGPU intel UHD 620
  • No discrete GPU
  • Linux - Manjaro (Arch based)

eGPU Hardware

 

  • Mantiz Venus
  • Saphire Nitro+ RX 580 4GB
  • Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable 0.5m (far from the half meter they mention)

Installation Steps

In order to get my setup working I based on two users' threads on the forums, Sebulon and nu_ninja. It's mandatory to read the threads they have!

I'm using Manjaro which is an Arch based distro. So far it's the distribution I enjoyed the most. I've been on Ubuntu and Debian before. Manjaro is very friendly and has a nice community. Everything works out of the box.

Step 1: From the repos, installed the package bolt (thunderbolt 3 device manager)

Step 2: inside BIOS disable safe boot, enable usb on thunderbolt and something related to TB3 permissions (secure mode I think; bad memory sorry)

Step 3: Connect egpu to external display (I used display port)Step 4: turn on the switch of the egpu and connect it to laptop

Step4: authorize the egpu connected by thunderbolt 3. I saw many ways of doing this. Some people change a system file in order to authorize ALL devices; I prefer to allow the devices I use so I did the following in the terminal:

boltctl list

The output I obtained was:

TUL TBX-550CA
├─ type: peripheral
├─ name: TBX-550CA
├─ vendor: TUL
├─ uuid: 004189a4-2f5f-6801-ffff-ffffffffffff
├─ status: authorized
│ ├─ domain: d2030000-0092-9088-a0bf-7d0b94755120
│ └─ authflags: secure
├─ authorized: Thu 07 Feb 2019 22:24:18 UTC
├─ connected: Thu 07 Feb 2019 22:24:17 UTC
└─ stored: Tue 05 Feb 2019 23:03:46 UTC
├─ policy: auto
└─ key: yes

Then copy paste the uuid value to add the device to authorization list:

sudo boltctl enroll 004189a4-2f5f-6801-ffff-ffffffffffff

As soon as the egpu is authorized (and connected) it should start doing some noise (internal fan and gpu fans).

confirm the gpu is recognized by the system using

lspci | grep VGA

Step 5: Install sebulon script from his github using the commands he mentions in his thread:

wget  https://raw.githubusercontent.com/karli-sjoberg/egpu/master/gswitch_setup.sh  -O gswitch_setup.sh

chmod +x gswitch_setup.sh
sudo ./gswitch_setup.sh

If your card is Nvidia, you're ok! The script is written for Nvidia cards. If you have AMD then do the following:

Step5-AMD: edit the xorg conf file to replace nvidia driver for amdgpu. For that go to terminal and do the following

cd /etc/X11
ls

there should be a file called xorg.conf.egpu, which is our target!
(now use a text editor; Nano, gedit, whatever; I used mousepad)

sudo mousepad xorg.conf.egpu

My Identifier is "Device 0"
on Driver line write "Driver "amdgpu""
on BusID use the value shown from the lspci | grep VGA
I had something like "PCI:10:0:0" but from previous command I had to replace by "PCI:09:0:0"
Save changes and close file!

STEP 6: To make use of the egpu with the external display do

sudo gswitch egpu

when it prompts to reload write

y

internal display will go dark and external display will show log in screen. Screen may flicker a couple of times in first minute and then it stops
to switch back to iGPU and internal screen open the terminal and do

sudo gswitch internal
y

If you want to do step 6 using a graphical user interface then install Sebulon Gswitch-GUI from his github:

(optional) Step 7: go to his github page hosting the Gswitch-GUI
link: https://github.com/karli-sjoberg/gswitch-gui
On his readme (right on the main page) he has the exact instructions to install.

for debian based distros (Ubuntu, Mint, Elementary, etc), install dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essentials qt5-default

I already had these installed on my distro out of the box (as well as steam and some other cool stuff that comes really handy!). In my case, if I'd need to install, I'd go to repositories to look for it or install on terminal using "sudo pacman -S package_name"

clone the files, using this command it will go to /home/user_name:

git clone  https://github.com/karli-sjoberg/gswitch-gui 
cd gswitch-gui
mkdir build
cd build
qmake ../Gswitch-GUI.pro
make
make clean
./Gswitch-GUI

(these commands are copy paste from his github!)

(even more optional) Step 8: on your DE go to settings and add a launcher for the menu (I added to Applications list of top left in my Xfce):

Name: Gswitch-GUI
Command: ./Gswitch-GUI
(*)Working Directory: /home/user_name/gswitch-gui/build
Icon: choose whatever you like. You can create a blank image and write a circle and text box with app name or something 🙂

(*)or just put the application somewhere else. I was kinda lazy and just left on the default place. I'll change it later 🙂

Benchmarks

I still didn't run any benchmark program (need to install but it will depend if I have to build from scratch, not my strong point).

The egpu allowed me to play Heroes of The Storm (and Battle.net) using Lutris. I couldn't before because intel integrated gpu does not allow for the use of dxvk.

On steam, in CS:GO I went from 18-30 fps to 65-140 fps (high variability really)

I still didn't do any tweaks that could improve performance anyway.

Comments

I thought of buying a thunderbolt 3 normal dock before but I always had the idea of getting myself an egpu some day. I tried a normal dock and it was a pain to configure the monitors. So I decided to buy the egpu enclosure and an AMD (they were quite cheap on ebay in second hand good condition and open source drivers in kernel 🙂  )

I'm from Portugal and there was no way I could by an enclosure here. Furthermore, in Europe, at least for what I searched for a while, it's not yet a mainstream concept so it's not very easy to get them. The akitio and sonnets are available in some IT stores across Europe that provide shipment but they are A LOT more expensive then in the US for instance. I looked on ebay also. I was going to  buy a HP Omen since those were the cheapest but I kept waiting until I saw a listing for the venus mantiz. Razer core X was also available through razer website if i'm not mistaken.
I'd like the idea of having the usb connections also. I don't care about bells and whistles such as RGB litghing and stuff.
The HP Omen seemed to have cheap quality build and quite bulky with that weird angle thing. As soon as I set my eyes on the mantiz I took 2 seconds only to decide and I haven't regret 1 bit:
great build quality!!! (really, exceeded my expectations)
nice power supply (check their website for compatible graphic cards)
sleek design 🙂 Doesn't look like a monster on top of my desk

Any questions just ask.
A super big special thanks to @Sebulon and @nu_ninja!!! Their threads and help are extremely valuable regarding egpu setup on linux!!!!

PS: I'm not getting the text and code formatting correctly so if it is messed up I'll try to amend for it.

Setup 1
Setup 2
Setup 3
This topic was modified 10 months ago

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


Phlibap, stroi08, nu_ninja and 1 people liked
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itsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Thank you for sharing this build guide! We’d love to see hardware photos.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use | eGPU enclosure buying guide


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Spiro
(@spiro)
Active Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

@itsage done!!!

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


itsage liked
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stroi08
(@stroi08)
New Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 

@spiro

Great build description. I have the same laptop, but with i5-8250U and Win10. The Mantiz is my first prioriy, and now I'm seeing a listing with the exact same GPU as you have, so it could not come much closer to your build. A couple questions:

1. Have you tried attaching ethernet and usb devices, and can you comment on the performance with/without ports used?
2. Also, how hard do you need to push the GPU before it makes the entire eGPU noisier? I've read the Nitro itself is passively cooled at idle/low loads, so I'm wondering if the fans speed up graduadely, and in what situations I can expect them to be at the "load speed".

Thanks in advance!

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Phlibap
(@phlibap)
New Member
Joined: 4 weeks ago
 

@spiro

Thank you so much for the build guide! I have a T480 with Manjaro i3 as well and want to play CS:GO

You helped me so much on my decision!! Anything that came up after 9 months of using? 

 

 

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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