2018 14" Clevo N141ZU + GTX 1060 6GB [email protected] (ADT R3G) + Win10 [timginter]  

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timginter
(@timginter)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 8
January 8, 2019 10:27 pm  

Hi everyone.

Thanks to all who posts on this forum, for the research and support. It really makes a huge difference when setting up an eGPU.
Time came this year to replace my old Lenovo x230 with GTX 950 STRIX OC (and later GTX 1060 6GB STRIX). When I was setting it up a few years ago, it took me days of reading, swearing and hair-pulling to troubleshoot all the issues and finally get rid of Error 43 . Compared to around 30 minutes for the new setup including @nando4 's nvidia-error43-fixer.bat (instead of installing older drivers, editing registry and installing newer drivers on top) - this forum is a must-read.

When I found out about Thunderbolt3 enclosures I was looking for a good laptop, preferably 13'' with at least quad core processor and Thunderbolt3. It all took a year and I read up quite a bit in the meantime - now I'm really glad I didn't have the money to buy a TB3 laptop - I didn't know how expensive enclosures were (being spoiled with ~£90 ExpressCard adapter) and that TB3 has ~20% performance loss even when it claims full x4 lanes.

If I didn't mind the performance drop (e.g. offsetting with a more powerful gpu) and spending A LOT more money wasn't an issue, I would have bought a TB3 laptop and enclosure for convenience. I loved the x230+EC and that I could just eject my eGPU from tray and take my laptop with me, then plug it back in when I was back at my desk.
The scrooge tinkerer in me won, though.

Without further ado:

 

System specs

14'' Clevo N141ZU (Lafite 14 III)
i7-8565U quad core 1.8GHz, 4.6GHz turbo
Intel UHD Graphics 620
16GB (2x8) Samsung 2400Mhz RAM
Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA SSD
Acer XG270HU 2560 x 1440 144Hz
Windows 10 Pro x64 1809

 

eGPU hardware

ADT R3G M.2 NVMe
ASUS STRIX GTX 1060 6GB
Dell DA-2 PSU

The R3G didn't come with the 8pin power cable from the adapter to graphics card and neither with the metal hexagon bar to stabilise the card. I had these from previous PE4C 3.0 setup, just needed a couple of extra washers for the metal bar - R3G is much thinner than PE4C and the screw was too loose.

 

Hardware pictures

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Motherboard (screen hinge on top):

 

Installation steps

1) Download latest nVidia drivers and @nando4 's nvidia-error43-fixer.bat
2) Turn laptop off
3) Connect all cables - PSU to ADT R3G, power cable from R3G to card, M.2 cable to laptop's M.2 slot
4) Power laptop on
5) Check device manager - if graphics card not detected as "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter" - restart laptop
6) Install latest nVidia drivers, reboot. Device Manager should show "Error 43" for the card.
7) Run nvidia-error43-fixer.bat
8) Drool

 

Benchmarks

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Comments

Holy crap... the difference is huge. Moving from PE4C v3.0 ExpressCard adapter to M.2 and a new laptop blew my socks off. I haven't had a desktop for over 17 years now (not counting anything up to Win95) and an MSI GX720 gaming laptop around 12 years ago. I got used to lowering graphics to play a game smoothly and I don't mind it, but only now I can see how everything progressed over the years.

I generally don't play a lot of new shiny games, but I run PUBG on 1440p maxed out and had stable 45-50 fps even in the plane / parachute phase. Homefront: The Revolution is next on my list - my previous x230 + 1060 6GB on ExpressCard really struggled with it. Then probably Witcher 3 (after Jagged Alliance 2 and other games from stone age in the meantime 😉 )

I do miss the convenience of ExpressCard (I could eject my graphics card like you'd eject a USB stick and take my laptop from my desk), but Thunderbolt3 version was 200 EUR more for a 13'' clevo laptop, with slightly worse spec, worse battery life and then the cost of the enclosure on top - I'm good with connecting the M.2. With an SSD system boots in a few seconds so turning it off to plug/unplug is not a problem.

Next step is to figure out how to make the M.2 more plug-n-play'able (see motherboard photo above). I have a few ideas so far:
1) Cut a hole in the bottom of the laptop at (probably) the second half's length of M.2 - R3G would slot in, but the connector and half of the M.2 "bar" would be hidden under the chassis, and I can still use the screw to secure it. Only worry is the hole will be fairly big and gunk can get inside the laptop. Also, looks like the temperature sensor is next to M.2 so the readings may be less accurate with a hole right next to it.
2) Have an M.2 extension cable slightly hidden inside the laptop, cut the side-bottom of the chassis under the power button to slide the R3G in (like an SD card). The problem is 10cm between M.2 connector on the motherboard and the side of the chassis - even a 5cm extension cable would be too long and the connector stick out.
3) Have a longer M.2 extension cable, cut the same hole as above but have the extension stick out of the laptop. There's a thread where someone put adhesive velcro and attaches the sticking out extension with it, but his laptop is black - on an aluminium chassis it would look like crap.
4) Cut a smaller hole on the side or underneath and have an M.2 extension cable bend in an "S" shape inside the laptop to slide the connector in and out when needed. Not sure yet if the "S" bend would fit inside, cause any performance issues or rub against other parts of the motherboard, though.

At the moment I took all screws from the bottom and put 2 of them loosely back on the opposite side of the M.2 - I can lift the bottom slightly to connect/disconnect the R3G when I need, but the bottom doesn't just fall off if I lift/move the laptop. KISS (keep it simple stupid) while I wait for a spare bottom part to cut up 😉

Any suggestions welcome

This topic was modified 1 week ago

Lenovo x230 + Win8.1 + EC PE4C V3.0 + GTX 950 2GB STRIX OC
Lenovo x230 + Win8.1 + EC PE4C V3.0 + GTX 1060 6GB STRIX
Clevo N141ZU + Win10 + M.2 ADT R3G + GTX 1060 6GB STRIX


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DamianS555
(@damians555)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 10
January 13, 2019 2:01 pm  

Interesting build. How is the laptop under load ? Reviews say that this series of laptlaptops can have a quite loud fan noise.

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


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