2019 13" Razer Blade Stealth [10th,4C,U] + RTX 2060 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (mini eGF...
 
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2019 13" Razer Blade Stealth [10th,4C,U] + RTX 2060 Super @ 32Gbps-TB3 (mini eGFX) + Win10 1903 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I have been waiting on a good Ice Lake host laptop to test with eGPU. The late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth recently went on sale [$999 deal link]. The configuration I wanted is iGPU-only with the i7-1065G7 CPU set to 25W from the factory. The dGPU configuration has the CPU set at 15W to fit within the thermal capacity of the cooling system, not great for eGPU users.

The ideal eGPU enclosure to me is not an enclosure at all but rather a dock with an exposed PCIe slot that we can quickly insert a GPU. Many graphics cards are nice looking and it's a shame not showing them. The RTX Founders Edition cards are beautiful so I wanted to do a build with this eGPU dock idea. I found the perfect donor in the TUL mini eGFX prototype I bought off eBay last year. The mainboard is barely larger than the footprint of a two-slot wide ITX graphics card.

 

System specs:

Late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth – i7-1065G7/Iris Plus Graphics iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

Prototype mini eGFX + RTX 2060 Super + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

At the moment there's no casing for the mainboard. It simply sits underneath the graphics card. The 240W external power adapter is a perfect match for the RTX 2060 Super. I'm hopeful I can use @mac_editor's TBT-Flash.sh [discussion link] to get a 45W PD firmware running on this board. The current firmware only allows 15W PD so I have to connect the charger on the other side of the laptop through USB-C port.

The late 2019 Razer Blade Stealth is an excellent ultrabook. At $1000 it's a great value for eGPU use. During my early testing, I noticed a few refinements Razer has done to this laptop 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 had installed Nvidia drivers previously with the AORUS RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box so RTX 2060 Super worked immediately. It is a lot quieter compared to the RTX 2070 Super in my observation. This open-air approach also helps with cooling. Hot air moves through the top fins so I'm not too concerned about overheating the Thunderbolt 3 mainboard and components.

AIDA64 and HWiNFO64 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. We see 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.

Despite its tiny footprint, the TUL mini eGFX mainboard packed a lot of components. It has dual Thunderbolt 3 controller setup to daisy-chain 2x USB-A ports and 1x Ethernet port. Alpine Ridge JHL6540 handles the eGPU and JHL6240 handles expansion ports. It's worth noting TUL used Intel I210 Ethernet controller for native macOS support. Another advantage of dual TB3 controller setup is preboot support on Mac systems. I've been using the VisionTek mini eGFX (same board components) at my work office and it's a very reliable setup in both macOS and Windows.

 

Benchmarks:

Razer marketed the 2019 Blade Stealth as a gaming ultrabook*. The asterisk denotes it needs an eGPU to do so. 😀 

Intel Iris Plus Graphics iGPU RTX 2060 Super Internal Display RTX 2060 Super External Monitor
N/A

 

Comments:

Internal display mode performance is slightly better than RX 5700 XT. Nvidia drivers are a lot more stable; hot-plug and surprise-removal did not cause any errors in Windows. Unless you have a Mac, it's really hard not to recommend RTX graphics cards. After seeing Ice Lake Thunderbolt 3 eGPU performance, I'm very excited about the next 13"/14" MacBook Pro. Implementing the same processor would allow direct CPU-Thunderbolt connection to four TB3 ports. 

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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Michal Horčičko
(@michal_horcicko)
New Member
Joined: 7 months ago
 

Amazing build - love the dock. Im about to buy that laptop myself - IMHO it really is the best egpu laptop - thermals, icelake cpu, razer tweaks, .... Are you planning on testing this unit with an AMD card? Im currently rocking the RX 5700 XT with MacBook Pro and would love to see some numbers and issues.

This post was modified 7 months ago

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@michal_horcicko Yes I will pair it with RX 5700 XT + Mantiz Venus next and add the results to benchmark table.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

AIDA64 and HWiNFO64 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. We see 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.

 

Thank you for another great build. That's an impressive +500 MB/s (+23%) additional bandwidth on the Ice Lake TB3 controller when using a Nvidia card. Do AMD cards also see such an increase in bandwidth?

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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ritterbutzke
(@ritterbutzke)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Great Build! Hope you are able to do a head to head with Kabylake-R

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@nando4 Ice Lake + AMD Radeon eGPU shows no difference in terms of H2D speed.

@ritterbutzke I will try the same build with my 2019 13-in MacBook Pro [i7-8569U]

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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ritterbutzke
(@ritterbutzke)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage Didn't the Macbooks already have better TB3 integration than windows machines before Icelake?

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@ritterbutzke The 15-in and 16-in MacBook Pro have direct Thunderbolt 3 controller to CPU attachments, but this is not the case on 13-in model.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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ritterbutzke
(@ritterbutzke)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage Ah ok, thanks for the clarification

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage would love to see an RX 5700XT vs 2060s eGPU shoot out, including some FPS in your vintage games 😉 .

Against my better judgement I've bought my 4th RX 5700xt (Anniversary edition) for my SFFPC, lets hope this one actually works. I was very close to getting the founders edition 2060s hence interest in the comparison, and I think I want a simple Nvidia set up for my next eGPU.

 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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