2018 Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB (i5-8250u, UHD 620, FHD) + [email protected] (Akitio Node Pro) + Win10
System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system)
- 2018 Lenovo Yoga 730 -13IKB
- Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM
- Intel UHD 620
- Output to LG 4k Monitor (LG 27UD69P-W)
- Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable, any custom mods)
- Akitio Node Pro + included TB3 cable (the included cable is incredibly short. I'm thinking about getting this cable so that I can leave the Node Pro on the floor rather than on my desk)
- MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Duke
Installation steps (what did you do to get it all going?)
- Installed the GTX 1080 into the enclosure
- Attached power cables
- Attached TB3 cable from Node Pro to Yoga 730
- Had to approve the Node Pro as a TB3 device
- No output yet, but after I opened the device manager on my computer, it was able to see the GTX 1080. Then I got output to my external monitor. I'm not sure why that happened.
- Installed nvidia drivers
- CUDA-Z shows that it's running at full TB3 speeds.
- I've been testing out Far Cry 5, and I'm able to run it at 1440p on high settings to @ 60fps on my external monitor via the benchmark. On Ultra, I'm getting ~54fps.
- On the internal monitor, I've been able to run it at 1080p on high settings @ 60fps via the benchmark.
- CPU temps are ~70C, with approximately 70% load, and is running mostly @ 3.2ghz! It occasionally dips to 2.9-3.0, but for the most part it stays between 3.2-3.3!
- Using Throttlestop, I set the multiplier to 32T and the Turbo limit on 4 cores to 32; Speed Shift to 0; -125mv on CPU Core + Cache (I could probably go lower and be stable... I think I've gotten my chip down to -140, but I'm happy with -125); -90.8mv on the Intel GPU; -70.3mv on the System Agent
I picked up the GTX 1080 on ebay last week when they had the 20% off coupon for ~450, and my cousin helped me get the node for ~280 (using the coupon). The Yoga 730 in this configuration is normally $849. It's on sale right now @ Best Buy for $749, and if you get the student deal coupon, that's an extra $100 off--for a final price is $649.
Final Price of Yoga + Node + GTX 1080: $1,379. 😯
I was hesitant about getting the Yoga at first because there's a dearth of reviews/benchmarks about its egpu performance, and I was concerned about the way that 15W chips power throttle. Moreover, I've always had 16GB of RAM in every computer that I've bought since 2011, so stepping down to 8GB made me a bit anxious about whether or not I'd end up having a sluggish experience due to swap.
I'm happy to say that the experience has been phenomenal. 8GB RAM is working out just fine. The Node Pro was recognized almost right away, drivers installed without a hitch, and I can plug/re-plug/unplug the Node Pro without any problems.** With the GTX 1080, I'm able to output to my external monitors and game when I want to, and I'm satisfied with the performance. Moreover, while gaming, the laptop/keyboard stays fairly cool, which is important to me. For whatever reason, my fingers are especially sensitive to heat.
I'm not a heavy gamer--I am a grad student who needs tablet functionality, and I wanted to display up to 3 4k monitors in addition to my laptop monitor so that I could read and research more effectively. I'm coming from an m3 surface pro 4 + a mid-2014 15" rMBP combo. I feel like this setup replace both of those machines for the most part once I replace the 256GB SSD with a 512GB one (minus my reliance on some OS X apps). The Yoga 730 and its keyboard stay relatively cool, even while gaming. My rMBP would get uncomfortably hot whenever I used it with just a single 4k monitor.
**except for when I unplug any display adapter and Chrome gets "stuck" somewhere and I can't see it displayed even though I am able to alt+tab to it. As a result, I close all the tabs from taskbar and reopen it, and judging from the window it looks like it's confused about which monitor it's supposed to be on, as it's always offset to the left and half of the window is off-screen. But that's not the Node's fault, as it also happens with my TB3 to Dual-DP adapter
except for when I unplug any display adapter and Chrome gets "stuck" somewhere and I can't see it displayed even though I am able to alt+tab to it. As a result, I close all the tabs from taskbar and reopen it, and judging from the window it looks like it's confused about which monitor it's supposed to be on, as it's always offset to the left and half of the window is off-screen. But that's not the Node's fault, as it also happens with my TB3 to Dual-DP adapter
The issue with a window opening off-screen is easy to solve. Hover over the program on the taskbar, a "preview" window appears. Right-click it and choose move. Now, don't click anything, just hit one of the arrow buttons on the keyboard. This locks the mouse cursor to moving the window. Now just move the mouse around to get the window on screen.
Selecting the program and telling it to go full-screen, or dock to the top/left/right/bottom of the screen also works.
This is not eGPU related. It happens when you have several different screen setups that you can dock up to. My machine gets just as confused between different docks and screens/projectors at work, regardless of any eGPU use.
My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."
@theitsage: thanks! I've lurked for a few weeks while thinking about what to get and found all the information super helpful. I'm glad I could contribute something here.
@Yukikaze: Good to know! I was starting to get a little annoyed at having to close/re-open all these windows and their tabs! Thanks.
Now after more than 6 weeks, are you happy with the setup's speed, responsivity and stability?
What kind of pressure did you expose your 1080-Node Pro to during this time?
Also how much noise does it make?
The Node Pro with its daisy chain connector is indeed very appealing, however I want to be sure it works like a charm preferably before getting one. Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks for sharing your build!
Thank you for sharing, I am strongly considering this exact setup! Can you tell me if the single connection keeps your yoga charged while using it?
@Janks, that's an excellent spot of you - indeed the Lenovo Yoga 730, together with the newest Thinkpad Yoga and X1 series, and the Apple MacBook Pro 13", come with chargers in the intervals 61-65W today, so the Akitio Node Pro having 60W is just around the mark where it could suffice but also as a prospective Node Pro user, you want to be really sure too.
@Janks did you learn anything more on this topic in the interim?
A watt meter like this is useful for getting an idea of a laptop's real world watt consumption also.
I'm considering the i7 of the yoga, currently, I have an old i7 Lenovo z570 2011 with gtx 1060 3gb on mPCIe slot
would you recommend keeping the GPU and getting a node lite or should I upgrade the GPU too? the total cost of 830+200=1030$
I was considering the Acer helios 300 too which come with a full gtx 1060 6gb and i7 8750h costing 1200$
does it worth it to keep the 3gb 1060?
I am a bit unsure, i am offered a Lenovo YOGA 730-13IKB model code 81CT ?
Is this exactly the one you are using ?
I am confused because the Info on the german Lenovo Page is strange.
For the 730 offered to me the data page says:
USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (with the functions of Thunderbolt 3),
USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (with the functions of Thunderbolt 3 and power delivery)
The part "with the functions of Thunderbolt 3" sounds fishy to me.
So could you double check if yours is also 81CT ?
I suspect that German Model codes may differ from the US models, but if the model code on yours is the same i'll try...
P.S. German site reviewing that exact model 81CT:
Thanks a lot !