2021 15" ASUS TUF Dash F15 [11th,4C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 // my 3rd RTX 3080 build
This ASUS TUF Dash F15 is the first model available in the US with Tiger Lake H-CPU and Thunderbolt 4 implementation. I got the configuration with i7-11370H quad-core 35W TDP, RTX 3070, 16GB RAM, and 1TB NVMe. I would have chosen the lower configuration with the RTX 3060 dGPU or no dGPU at all but they are not available yet.
2021 15" ASUS TUF Dash F15 – i7-11370H/RTX 3070 dGPU/Iris Xe Graphics iGPU/16GB RAM/1TB SSD
It was plug and play to get the RTX 3080 Gaming Box going in Windows 10 2004. Windows automatically installed Nvidia that works with the RTX 3080 which caused error 31 on the RTX 3070 dgPU. I ran DDU to not only remove drivers but also disable Windows auto detect and install of new devices. Then I proceed to install the latest GeForce drivers (without GeForce Experience). The laptop can run with both dGPU and eGPU once drivers were installed this way.
As seen in HWiNFO64, the Thunderbolt 4 connection in this laptop is similar to Ice Lake and Tiger Lake G-CPU laptops. The integrated Thunderbolt controller allows a direct-to-CPU connection. This helps reduce latency through better encoding/decoding optimization.
This laptop can charge through a barrel plug as well as Thunderbolt 4 Power Delivery. A funny observation is that 100W PD is not enough in some scenarios and Windows would deny the Thunderbolt connection. I first encountered it when the laptop had less than 50% charge. The RTX 3080 Gaming Box got disconnected and Windows showed this notification. I thought something broke with the Gaming Box PSU but closer inspection of the ASUS power brick shows the laptop needs up to 200W.
I ran all benchmarks off an external SSD, Samsung T5 500GB. Both RTX 3070 dGPU and RTX 3080 eGPU used to the 43" Frame TV for monitor output (4K @ 60 Hz over HDMI). The computer performance level was set to Turbo in Armoury Crate.
|RTX 3070 dGPU||RTX 3080 eGPU|
TDP and cooling system greatly effect eGPU performance. I'm a firm believer in iGPU-only ultrabook. There's only one main component to cool and it keeps things simple regarding graphics switching. In the screen captures above, you could see the 3DMarks Physics score are higher during eGPU runs. Another benefit iGPU-only configuration would allow is PCIe 4 lanes for NVMe M.2 slot. I checked the two M.2 slots in this laptops and unfortunately they are only PCIe due to the PCH/chipset connection. I will try ADT-Link R43SG eGPU next and compare M.2 vs Thunderbolt performance with this laptop.
Internal component access is very straight forward. ASUS only uses standard Phillips screws to attach the plastic bottom cover. There's a single capture screw at the bottom left. This makes swapping between using an M.2 eGPU to going portable fairly quick. I ran some disk tests to check performance of M.2 NVMe drives and the external Samsung T5 500GB (Steam Library) through USB-A port.
This eGPU pairing is the highest performance Thunderbolt 3 setup I've personally used. We see inquiries about whether high-end eGPU is a waste through Thunderbolt connection and/or over a gaming laptop with a good dGPU. IMO if you're spending the money for an RTX 3080, FHD should not be considered and 4K should be the target. At that resolution, we're seeing the RTX 3080 Gaming Box eGPU almost doubled the performance of RTX 3070 dGPU. On top of that, the laptop was running better and with less heat and noise. I played Cyberpunk 2077 briefly and the average was high 30 to low 40 FPS (RTX Ultra settings).
I ran Forza Horizon 4 on this setup. While the liquid cooled RTX 3080 can be removed, installing it in the R43SG adapter isn't very safe. I will do M.2 adapter testing with the RX 6900 XT in a different build using this laptop.
|RTX 3070 dGPU||RTX 3080 eGPU||RX 6900 XT eGPU|
Thanks for detailed comparison, looks great that 4k performance of TB4-RTX3080 exceeds dGPU-RTX3070 noticeably, I'm sure m.2 setup will surpass it further, looking forward to see your new setups, especially m.2-rx6900xt one