2019 13" Razer Blade Stealth [10th,4C,U] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 1909 & Linux Pop!_OS 19.10 [itsage]
To fully test the RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box, I needed a capable 4K G-Sync monitor. While my FreeSync 2 monitors are considered G-Sync compatible, I wanted to see if there's a difference in smoothness during gameplay. The Acer Predator XB3 (XB273K Pbmiphzx) 4K 144Hz G-Sync monitor is an excellent candidate and was on sale for $850 at the local Micro Center. It's a bulky monitor due to a cooling fan and blinders. Last component of this setup is the late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth. The best configuration for eGPU users is iGPU-only with the i7-1065G7 CPU set to 25W from the factory [$999 deal link].
Late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth – i7-1065G7/Iris Plus Graphics iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD
There's not much in terms of installation process. Other than removing the monitor stand to access the VESA mount, everything else was plug-and-play. The late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent ultrabook. Razer has made some refinements to to make external graphics experience more seamless. The first change is Thunderbolt Security set to no approval, Thunderbolt devices will be automatically connected similar to Mac systems. There's also Large Memory allocation in the Device Manager. This laptop also has NVM firmware version 72.0, the newest one I've seen.
I manually installed the latest Nvidia drivers. I also installed AORUS Engine and RGB Fusion to control the RTX 2080 Ti eGPU and lighting mode. It's possible to use this eGPU with the Razer Blade Stealth in internal display mode but that would limit the RTX 2080 Ti capabilities.
AIDA64 confirmed the performance advantages Ice Lake provides for eGPU applications. Prior to this CPU, Nvidia eGPU through Thunderbolt 3 connection cannot reach higher than 2,2XX MB/s for H2D. There are two "Integrated Thunderbolt PCI Express" roots. Each can host two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Razer only made use of one in this Blade Stealth for a single TB3 port on the right side.
Razer marketed the 2019 Blade Stealth as a gaming ultrabook*. The asterisk denotes it needs an eGPU to do so. 😀
|Internal Display Mode||FHD External Monitor||QHD External Monitor||UHD External Monitor|
I will be installing a larger NVMe drive on this Razer Blade Stealth to download games then run more benchmarks. First impression from these results is that we can expect gameplay at 144Hz FHD, 120Hz QHD, and 60Hz UHD.
I believe Acer displays have a "show framerate" option to prove that gsync is working? In macOS the framerate is constant. Does it fluctuate in Windows during game play? Is it constant when not playing games?
@joevt Yes, you are right. You may be able to see the yellow number in the top right corner of the screen in one of my hardware pictures. This number stays constant in Desktop and fluctuates during gameplay.
I see it now, looks like it says "122" which is in the range of your benchmarks. That's very good for Thunderbolt eGPU.
I have been running the RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box through this 2019 Razer Blade Stealth vs 2019 13-in MacBook Pro to better understand Ice Lake TB3 performance vs older 8th gen CPU. One thing I noticed is that the RBS' i7-1065G7 CPU TDP seems to be limited at 15W when the eGPU was connected. Therefore the eGPU performance through the MacBook Pro's i7-8569U CPU can be better in some scenario. The crucial piece is not only cooling system but also thermal management profile in the firmware.
Here are Unigine and 3DMark numbers to compare with the ones in OP.
|Internal Display Mode||FHD External Monitor||QHD External Monitor||UHD External Monitor|
@itsage, so you're seeing about 11% faster performance at 1080p with the 13" MBPro 8th gen CPU vs RBS with 10th gen CPU?
I've been considering selling my 13" MBPro 8th gen for a new 13" HP Spectre with 10th gen cpu... Maybe 10th gen isn't much of a benefit for eGPUs??
@cnon297, It's not that clear-cut through those synthetic benchmarks. The i7-1065G7 and its direct Thunderbolt 3 connection can perform better but it seems the manufacturer has to fine-tune the laptop's firmware to make the most of eGPU. I spent the afternoon installing RTX & DLSS games to try. It's actually a great experience playing at 4K. Here's a one minute Battlefield V gameplay video for reference. It's very smooth and consistently average around 60 FPS.
Here are the settings for the 3 ray-tracing games I have.
Above 60 fps average at 4K is super impressive, especially with ray tracing in modern games... 😉
Agreed! 4K60 over TB3 is very impressive! Aorus really delivered with this new 2080Ti Gaming Box! It's a bit out of reach for me. But compared to other 2080Ti + eGPU combinations you're getting more for your money (IMO).
@itsage, did you notice any performance issues when using ethernet or USB3? How do you like the liquid cooling, any pump whine or loud fan noise? The removable air filters are a nice touch also.
@cnon297, I actually installed all the games onto the external Samsung T5 USB-C drive. It connects to the Razer Blade Stealth through the USB-C port on the left side. Ethernet port has been connected in the past week and it works very reliable at 1Gbps (no drivers needed in Windows). The Intel WiFi card in this laptop is finicky however but that's none of the eGPU enclosure's fault.
The liquid cooling system works incredibly well. The only issue I encountered was my fault; dislodged cooling fan connecter when I took the eGPU apart. I used it in different games for over four hours yesterday and the temps never reached above mid 60 degrees Celsius. I can hear the pump noise and air flow through the radiator. It's not as quiet as I'd like but very typical for an AIO liquid cooling system.
I've always admired Aorus's older compact gaming box designs. But it seems this new 2080T Gaming Box is the best eGPU on the market today! It makes you wonder what Aorus is working on for their next gaming box...
That would be ideal! OTOH, I've always been a fan of the original compact Gaming box design. A nano form of the RX5600/5700 should (hopefully) be feasible in the original, smaller Gaming Box. Tho I'd be hoping for an update to quieter fans and dual TB3 controllers to help with USB3 devices connected to the Gaming Box.
FWIW I'm hoping to eventually retrofit my Red Dragon Vega 56 to a Gaming Box; if I can find an empty box for cheap.. The Red Dragon Vega 56 PCB is quite small; only a couple cm taller than a Vega 56 Nano. The challenge is to find or fab a compact fan/heat sink combo. By the time I do maybe Gigabyte will update their Gaming Box and eliminate the need 😉
I upgraded the stock 256GB NVMe SSD to a 1TB one. This Razer Blade Stealth now has enough room to dual boot Linux. My preferred distro is Pop!_OS which has great battery management; set to [Battery Life] mode I can easily get 12 hours out of a full charge. To setup the RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box, I used hertg's egpu-switcher script.
During the SSD swap, I also removed the heat sink assembly to clean the factory thermal paste. As usual there's more paste on the CPU die than necessary. I applied a small amount of Kryonaut thermal paste. The RBS is a really nice ultrabook. The design and build material remind me of my 2005 12" PowerBook.
I have not encountered any issues with this laptop so far in the one month I have it. What I don't appreciate is the fact Razer put tiny stickers on the screws. Are they trying to deny warranty claims if these stickers are tampered? They are everywhere. I removed one on the M.2 screw and two on the heat sink.
@itsage. I recently got RBS 1650 1080p and a Razer Core X Chroma with RTX 2060 , my whole setup freezes randomly. I don’t know why, I have the latest drivers, also tried using other guides on how to make the egpu plug and play. Please help. It freezes and there’s a buzzing noise that sounds like something is ripping off internally. This happens very often when I watch youtube videos or any videos. Hasn’t happened while gaming.
@itsage, i did disable the dGpu at first. Then after some time it froze. Tried disabling dgpu and igpu, worked for 1 day, then froze afterwards. Tried everything enabled, froze one time. For the driver installation, I tried automatic updates from windows and geforce experience (freezing occured); tried uninstalling all nvidia drivers through ddu and installing manually trough nvidia website (there was still a random freeze), tried uninstalling igpu and nvidia drivers through ddu and reinstalling them using the cuda. Tried every solution I could see in reddit and in here, at least.
@donquixote_doflamingo, I would recommend running DDU again to remove the Nvidia drivers. Make sure you open Options in DDU to disable Windows auto detect and device driver installation. Before installing the latest Nvidia drivers manually, check Device Manager for two Microsoft Basic Display Adapters (one for dGPU and one for eGPU).
Okay will try that right now. Will update if freezing still occurs after 2-3 days. There’s never been a day without freezing apparently. Thank you much for your help
It sounds like an issue with a physical component.
The card may be damaged. The card may not be seated properly. The 8-pin power connector to the card may not be either.
Non-standard TB3 cables can also cause issues.
I removed the heatsink to apply a proper amount of Kryonaut thermal paste. Also swapped the stock 256GB NVMe drive for the SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB.
Gigabyte shipped me a media sample of the AORUS FI27Q-P QHD 165Hz monitor. It has FreeSync 2 which is G-Sync compatible. The panel is excellent and I will spend more time using it to compare with G-Sync certified Acer Predator XB3.
@donquixote_doflamingo Which Windows 10 version are you running? I installed the latest 1909 after I swapped NVMe drive. I have been experiencing random freezing with this Win10 version like you described. This never happened with the 1903 version using the exact same components.