2014 15" HP ZBook 15 G2 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win 8.1 Enterprise [Yukikaze]  

  RSS

Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 824
December 4, 2016 12:28 am  

The Galax GTX960 Mini (but not the EXOC) fits inside the Akitio if you remove the front fan, which in my case is immaterial because I am using the enclosure open, on its side, and using it as a base for my homebuilt laptop cooling pad so that fan was blocked anyway. It takes a single 6-pin power plug which meant that I needed to replace my 180W barrel-plug power supply with something that could feed an extra power connector.

The power solution is the ubiquitous 220W Dell DA-2 for 10$ off ebay: I split the connector with a 6-pin PCIe splitter and then soldered a power switch between the sense contact and one of the grounds. That lets me power it up and down easily and avoids paperclips. One of the 6-pin connectors goes into the PCIe 6-pin power on the video card, while the other was split into a 4-pin ATX plug (like the ones used for CPU power on a desktop motherboard) and a regular molex connector that has an independent power switch. The molex is used to power up the fans in the cooling pad (hence the separate power switch for when that is not needed) while the 4-pin connector powers the barrel plug (which has a 4-pin female connector to match).

Laptop:
HP ZBook 15 G2
Core i7 4810MQ
16 GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM
Intel Pro 2500 480GB SSD
nVidia Quadro K2100M 2GB GDDR5 dGPU (Note: The iGPU is disabled in the BIOS)
Windows 8.1 Enterprise 64-bit

eGPU and External Monitor (I do not run the eGPU with output on the internal screen):
Galax GTX960 OC Mini 4GB
Dell DA-2 220W PSU
Akitio Thunder 2
0.5m Apple Thunderbolt cable
LG 31MU97-B (4096x2160) monitor connected to the eGPU via Displayport
Dell 2007WFPb connected to the eGPU via HDMI-to-DVI
 
Setup:
This is my work laptop. As a result, I cannot fiddle with boot loaders, replace operating systems and in general I am under the constraints of the whims of the IT department. I suspect that Win10 would be a lot easier to work with here, but alas I cannot upgrade past 8.1, at least for now. This results in the following procedure to get this working once I get home from work. Note that I have the iGPU disabled in the BIOS, as it was giving me some trouble. It is a lot easier to work with just the nVidia driver, as opposed to both the Intel one and the nVidia one.

If the laptop is powered off:
1) Connect the Akitio's Thunderbolt cable to the laptop.
2) Power up the Akitio via the DA-2's power switch that I added.
3) Boot up the laptop and log into windows.
4) Either the eGPU will work, or it won't be recognized, or it will be recognized but the external monitor connected to it won't be detected, or it will Code 12.
     i)   If it works: All is great. Enjoy!
     ii)  If it is not recognized: Reboot the laptop, it will work after the reboot.
     iii) If it is recognized, but the external monitor is not detected: Reboot the laptop, it will work after the reboot.
     iv) If you get a code 12, then open up the Device Manager, right-click the eGPU and choose "Disable". Then right-click it again and choose "Enable". Windows will prompt you for a reboot and everything will work perfectly after the reboot.

If the laptop is on:
1) Power up the Akitio.
2) Connect the Thunderbolt cable to the laptop.
3) Either the eGPU will work, or it will Code 12.
4) If it works, great. If it Code 12s, do the disable-enable trick I described in the "If the laptop is powered off" step 4.iv and reboot.

I did not run into Code 43s or any other issues. Removing the eGPU while the laptop is powered up is possible if you disable it in the Device Manager first (since I don't have Windows 10, I don't have the neat nVidia tool to do it directly). Removing the eGPU cable without disabling the device first will lead to an immediate BSoD.

This is the cable arrangement to power up the eGPU, labeling the different connectors and parts. This connects to the Dell DA-2's 8-pin connector.

 

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


3RYL and nando4 liked
ReplyQuote
Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 824
December 4, 2016 12:35 am  

As in the T430s post, here are some benchmarks to compare my setup and a (relatively) similar desktop. This time the desktop CPU is more powerful because there isn't a similarly clocked i7 on the desktop platform. The i7-4770S is a 3.1Ghz part, with a 3.9Ghz boost clock, and 8MB of L3 cache. The i7-4810MQ is a 2.8Ghz part, with a 3.8Ghz boost clock, and 6MB of L3 cache. The desktop CPU is also much more likely to maintain its boost clock than the 4810MQ in my ZBook, as the ZBook15 only has a single cooling fan for both the K2100M and the CPU. Even when not loaded, the K2100M still generates heat. The desktop will have no such issue, even with a stock Intel cooler.

As before, I found 3DMark results using a card with similar clocks to mine.

3DMark11:

eGPU: P7837 (8062 Graphics Score)

Desktop: P10034 (10518 Graphics Score)

3DMark Firestrike 1.1:

eGPU: 5562 (6259 Graphics Score)

Desktop: 6646 (7583 Graphics Score)

The results are 76% of the desktop performance in 3DMark11, and 82% of the performance in 3DMark Firestrike 1.1

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


ReplyQuote
Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 824
December 15, 2016 5:48 pm  

I can confirm that the latest Zbook G2 BIOS (01.16 Rev.A
8 Nov 2016) maintains eGPU capability via TB2. nVidia driver 376.33 is working without issues as well.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


ReplyQuote