2011 15" Dell Vostro 3550 HD6630M + [email protected] (PE4C 3.0) +Win7 [3RYL]^
Here is my complete eGPU implementation with a Dell Vostro 3550.
I started this project in early 2015 to try out a performance improvement for my laptop with an EXP GDC Beast and the "recently released" GTX 960.
Getting it to work for the first time needed some effort in learning how to solve the errors then fixing the DSDT/disabling the dGPU as I did not have a monitor at the time. Then got it running at Gen1 w/ Optimus.
Gen2 required Setup 1.3x and a more stable adapter as My EXP GDC eventually glitched in Gen2. Next step was to purchase a PE4C 3.0 from Bplus ($65+shipping at the time). The first one received underperformed heavily at gen2 due to some manufacturing issue so I made an RMA to replace it. Months of waiting but the new one worked as expected. With a very nice performance gain and stability.
The laptop was upgraded with a quad core and the HDD moved to the dvd slot to install an SSD (The DVD port is just SATA 2 with no booting options in the BIOS).
I also made an acrylic case for the parts, using a compact SS-350M1U PSU.
-GTX 960 2gb OC Gigabyte
-PE4C 3.0 Expresscard (Previously EXP GDC Beast)
-SS-350M1U PSU (Previously SS-300TFX)
Dell P2214H 1080p monitor
Dell Vostro 3550
-Intel HD 3000 iGPU
-AMD HD 6630m 1gb dGPU
-I7-2630qm (upgraded from I5-2430m)
-6gb ddr3 1333
Windows 7 64bit
Setting it up (Windows 7)
1. Connect the graphics card to the EXP GDC/PE4C and a power supply with enough wattage. The detection delay must be set in the adapter switches in order to boot with the eGPU connected.
2. (dGPU models only) By default the system presents an Error 12 for the eGPU. That can be solved either by an DSDT override; by disabling the dGPU BUS in Device Manager; or with Setup 1.3x's Compaction.
With that problem fixed the eGPU should be able to work normally once drivers are installed.
3. To install the drivers, I firstly recommend wiping all installed video drivers with DDU for a clean start.
3.1 Next step is to install the latest iGPU driver from Intel, followed by the Nvidia driver after a restart.
3.2 (dGPU only) To have both the dGPU and eGPU active, I have found it's best to install the dGPU drivers with Device Manager.
Using the AMD installer with Catalyst Control Center often resulted in crippled performance and input lag because some sort of software conflict.
With all cards enabled the internal screen will not be accelerated by eGPU, but that's no problem when using a monitor. And the dGPU will be available on the go.
4. There is no BIOS option for Expresscard pci-E link speed.
Setup 1.3x should be used to set PCI-E Port8 to Gen2. I decided to create an automated startup USB stick to simplify the process at every bootup.
5. (dGPU only) For internal screen acceleration to work the dGPU must be disabled. This can be done in Device Manager by disabling the BUS the dGPU is connected to; Or with Setup 1.3x's dGPU OFF option.
Nvidia Control Panel should then be acessible on the laptop screen to confirm Optimus is working.
[-Just for curiosity, the first method I found involved using the OEM dGPU+iGPU drivers from Dell and selecting "Force integrated graphics" in the Windows Power Options. I don't recommend it. Too unreliable and requires connecting the eGPU in suspended mode to work.]
Total Score: 5614
Graphics Test 1: 31.84 fps
Graphics Test 2: 26.71 fps
3dMark 11 (Link)
Graphics Test 1: 39.22 fps
Graphics Test 2: 43.99 fps
Graphics Test 3: 55.31 fps
Graphics Test 4: 24.78 fps