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Dell XPS 13 (9380)/Aorus Gaming Box 2070  

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madweazl
(@madweazl)
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March 11, 2019 6:36 pm  
I do a lot of travel for work and wanted to replace an aging 17" Sager with something that I could actually use while I'm on the airplane. The XPS 13 looked like a good choice; I initially wanted to go with the I5 but they only come with 8gb RAM and since it is soldered to the mobo, I figured is was probably a good idea to go with 16gb for as much future proofing as possible. I also wanted to find an eGPU that was fairly small so I could do some gaming once I arrived at the destination (avoiding MXM); the Gaming Box 2070 looked to be about the best compromise. 
 
The initial install went well, the eGPU was recognized right away and everything worked. I was having some stability issue but was able to resolve them by installing the Thunderbolt Control Center (which was a major pain to get working). After a little help from another forum member, I was pointed towards and older Dell version (16.x). This seemed to totally clear up the connection/disconnection issues and it also allowed me to flash the H2D firmware to improve bandwidth.
 
You can disconnect the cable and reconnect without issue. You can sleep and shut down without issue. When the laptop sleeps, the eGPU fan continues to run but the lights shut off (if you have them enabled). When you shut the laptop down, the eGPU also shuts down. It behaves exactly how you'd expect it to. The eGPU is a bit noisy at idle; the fan has the typical whirring noise but it's a bit louder than you'd expect for no load. Additionally, there is some intermittent, mild, coil whine. Once you're in game, the video card is all but inaudible if you have just about any volume set. 
 
With ambient room temps of 23°, the eGPU idles at 26° and under load while benchmarking or gaming, it will typically max out in low to mid 60° range. It has reasonable overclock potential; I typically game at +175/1125 which equates to approximately 2055/8125 max boost. I've benchmarked as high as +193/1240 (some apps will only go to +185 on the core) but it still only boosts to about 2080 on the core so +177 is likely all that is beneficial (for my card). The max temp I've seen overclocked so far is 76°. By default, the fan seems to run at about 57% for the low which seems higher than necessary given the idle temps.This makes custom fan profiles relatively useless but perhaps another utility would open up more functionality. 
 
GPU scores in 3dMark seem to indicate that the Thunderbolt bandwidth is good enough to produce results similar to the MXM equivalent but CPU throttling is a significant bottleneck. I did pick up significant gains after replacing Dell's thermal compound with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut and I also added a 120x20x.5mm thermal pad over the heatsink fins (do not go thicker than .5mm). If you go this route, you'll need a #5 Torx bit to remove the back cover (the plastic clips are a pain on the bottom panel are a pain). The heatsink and pipes are held in place with four Phillips screws (it pops out as a single assembly). 
 
There is a little room for improvement in some of these benchmark results but I dont expect much more. All results are with an external monitor with the exception of Tomb Raider, I'll run that on the external at a later date.
 

Time Spy - 6570 (Stock/Liquid Ultra/Internal monitor)
Time Spy - 7045 (Overclocked/Liquid Ultra/Internal monitor)
Time Spy - 6643 (Stock/Liquid Ultra/External monitor)
Time Spy - 7338 (Overclocked/Liquid Ultra/External monitor)
Firestrike - 14229
Superposition - 15185
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 73fps (internal monitor and exclusive full screen selected)

 

I'm playing Anthem at the moment and that is the only game I've played through the system thus far. On ultra settings (1080), it will dip into the low 30s during the more intense battles but remains very playable. So far, I'm extremely pleased with the setup and the combination is actually 2lbs lighter than my Sager (w/power adapter)! If you're a frequent traveler that enjoys gaming, this may be a good solution for you as well. 
This topic was modified 1 week ago

XPS 13 (9380)/AORUS Gaming Box 2070


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(@christopher_luc)
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March 12, 2019 4:02 am  

If you get a chance, could you run the benchmarks at https://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/benchmark/

I just purchased the laptop, but the benchmarks for that game are significantly lower than my older macbook, so I'm tempted to return it.  I'm curious as to how much your mods help

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


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madweazl
(@madweazl)
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March 12, 2019 12:51 pm  

Sure, are there specific settings you'd like me to run?

Max setting at 1080 - 12601

Edit: internal monitor

This post was modified 1 week ago

XPS 13 (9380)/AORUS Gaming Box 2070


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(@christopher_luc)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 2
March 12, 2019 2:03 pm  

Sorry about that, was about to post.  That works, thanks 🙂

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


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Joikansai
(@joi_kansai)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 167
March 12, 2019 4:19 pm  

For travel I prefer buying portable gaming laptop than bringing egpu even it’s quite portable like gaming box, more often it’s moved higher risk hardware defect it would be. Keep in mind it contains full gpu on tiny space. But it’s only my opinion. For a bit more expensive than your xps you can get 1070maxq laptop that performs around similar with your egpu setting and get more portability. Here is 3Dmark comparison between 2070egpu and 1070maxq dgpu and its at home egpu setting with 2070. SoTR benchmark i put shows also not big difference, Anthem gave me better FPS on dgpu in 1080p.

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Razer Blade 15 2018, i7 8750H 16gb ddr4 2666mhz 1tb 970Evo
Razer Blade Stealth 12,5 2016 i7 7500U 8gb ddr3 1866mhz 500gb 970Evo
MacBook Pro 13 mid 2012 i5 3210M 12gb ddr3 1600mhz 500GB HDD
Razer Core V2 rtx 2070 Black 2040mhz Boost clock
Previous setting: rtx 2080ti Asus Turbo, rtx 2080 xc gaming, rtx 2080 Fe, Zotac Mini 1080ti, Evga 1080 FTW2 gaming.
Dual Monitor Predator XB241YU 165Hz 1440p, LG l24UD58 60Hz 4K
Portable Monitor Magedok 1440p HDR 60Hz usbA/C monitor


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madweazl
(@madweazl)
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March 14, 2019 11:52 am  

I've tried a few different thermal compounds in the XPS 13 now (left overs from desktop builds). After running it stock for about a week, I applied some Noctua NT-H1 and it worked really well; I was able to maintain a much higher clock (above 3000mhz vs the stock compound that would clock down to approx 2500mhz) for a much longer period of time before the CPU would thermal throttle. A few days later, I tried some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut but it worked much like stock (not impressed for this application). Yesterday I decided to try some Cool Laboratories Liquid Ultra and that has produced results similar to the Noctua NT-H1 (I have to do some more testing under similar conditions to know for sure if real world performance is better but it seems likely). 

Idle temps with the Liquid Ultra were 31° with ambient temps of 23°. After running some stress tests, it typically idles at 41° for quite a while because the bottom panel retains quite a bit of heat for a longer period than stock with the thermal pads I installed. The weather for Sunday morning looks like it will be fairly cool so I can go for some benchmarks runs in similar conditions to the Time Spy personal record run of 7068. Based on some quick tests, the CPU maintains a considerably higher clock through the physics test with the Liquid Ultra so I think I can up that score quite a bit; previous runs had a pretty sharp fall-off after a few seconds in due to thermal throttling but it is pretty flat through the whole test now.

XPS 13 (9380)/AORUS Gaming Box 2070


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madweazl
(@madweazl)
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March 14, 2019 11:27 pm  

OK, the Liquid Ultra made a significant difference. The room was 24.5° when I ran this benchmark as opposed to 15.5° when I ran the previous best. 

Time Spy - 7338
Comparison

XPS 13 (9380)/AORUS Gaming Box 2070


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madweazl
(@madweazl)
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March 15, 2019 1:06 pm  
Posted by: Christopher Luc

If you get a chance, could you run the benchmarks at https://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/benchmark/

I just purchased the laptop, but the benchmarks for that game are significantly lower than my older macbook, so I'm tempted to return it.  I'm curious as to how much your mods help

I ran the benchmark again after the Liquid Ultra was applied and it picked up about 380 points.

Edit: just noticed the overclock was applied to the eGPU so that is likely responsible for most of it. 

This post was modified 1 week ago

XPS 13 (9380)/AORUS Gaming Box 2070


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