2015 15" Dell Inspiron 7557 GTX960M + [email protected](EXP GDC 8.x) + Win10 [hardtospellwrong] // All running, Poor performance  

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hardtospellwrong
(@hardtospellwrong)
New Member
Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 1
January 6, 2018 3:18 pm  

Of course, thanks to all the help from the posts on this forum and Nando himself, who replies to emails at the speed of sound and is extremely helpful every time. List of posts that got me as far as I did get are below.   

https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/mpcieecngff-m2-resolving-detection-bootup-and-stability-problems/
https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/nvidia-is-killing-off-mpciengff-m2-egpus-error-43-with-372-90/
https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/FIXED-Nvidia-GTX1050Ti-error-43-on-mPCIe-or-M2-non-hotplug-.....

https://www.youtube...(Make sure to open up the top comment also)

     I'd like to preface this by saying that I'm typing this up on my work laptop, and that while I did get everything running, I never got it running well enough to justify how much it cost to get it all setup - even ignoring the full week of errors, reboots, and general frustration that enveloped my post-Christmas break. As I had purchased everything from amazon and Best Buy, I was able to get full refunds on everything (except the EXP GDC) - I realized eventually I could return everything and sell my 7557 on ebay for ~$500, and have more than enough to get this crazy good deal of a laptop. Seems the Inspiron 15 7000 gaming line of laptops only gets better and better - most importantly, this thing has a thunderbolt port, so I can move on with my life and know I can upgrade my GPU ezpz from now on, unless windows 10 or nvidia or meltdown/spectre fixes wreck it all. The tipping point was that before the 7557 itself would get ~30 fps on lowest settings for newer games like Nier Automata. When I did have the eGPU stable, it ran NA at ~40 fps at medium settings. The improvement was too minor to me to justify the time and cost spent, so I just went for a fully utilized 1060m in the Inspiron 7577 instead (that actually has 6 gb dedicated also, sheesh).

       But I digress. I did get the eGPU setup running two different ways, and for almost a full day each time - but each time, after I tried to unplug the laptop from the eGPU and move it around to do laptop things out and about, it stopped working. Plugging it back in and rebooting ended with unplayable framerates on games, or error 43 returned, or blue screens, and a full overhaul. The second setup I had was actually very stable from a normal use standpoint, but ended up being unsatisfactory as well. 

        TLDR: This guide will take my week of complete nonsense and trial and error where I tossed hardware around like flaming bowling pins with my two left hands and compress it into steps so that somebody else might actually get to a stable setup.

System specs 

 Laptop:   Dell Inpiron 15 7557 
 CPU:        4 Core i5, 2.3 gHz.
                         This bottlenecked. Like really badly. If you have an i7, you might just be straight up golden.
iGPU:        Intel HD Graphics 530
dGPU:       Nvidid Geforce GTX 960M

Keep in mind this Laptop's M2 slot for boot SSDs cannot have an eGPU in it- it's a SATA port, not a PCI, so even though an m2 plug will fit in, it won't run.

No SSD.
Edimax WiFi + bluetooth 4.0 dongle is magic, getting back both functions you lose when you replace the wifi card in one USB port is awesome. Wifi range isn't the best but it works in an apartment.

eGPU hardware 
   No eGPU enclosure. Just stuck the EXP GDC to my table with strong double sided tape. [Youtube Link Boiii]
   V8.5c  EXP GDC Beast adapter, NGFF version. Specifically NGFF with A+E Keys. I wish ports and cables were labeled with more clarity and consistency, but oh well. This is the plug type that goes where your WiFi card does.
I plugged this in where the WiFi card was and screwed it in, then cut a hole in the back of the laptop's removable bottom lid with a box cutter, just big enough for the HDMI side to fit through. After that, I sealed the hole with the wire with electrical tape. Since that peels, I then sealed it with a layer of foil tape (for water heaters and ducts. It sticks through high temperatures). 
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB -  Yep. 2 fan version. 
Corsair CX650M PSU  - Maybe overkill, but this GPU and PSU were at best buy - and they even REFUND TAX, which is insanity. Just keep all the packaging and manuals in good shape and repack it how it came out and you won't have to pay a restocking fee either! Both were maybe 10/20 dollars more than they might've been somewhere else, but this is some high risk stuff and I fully welcome no questions refunds.

This hardware was chosen with regards to this recent youtube video. He has an i7, which could've been a large part of why his setup worked and mine didn't.

      At this point you may ask, "Hey dummy, did you say tape and a hole in your laptop, and the GPU just sitting on your desk? Aren't you worried about a bad connection?" To which I reply, no, but I should've been. It is absolutely possible that at the end of it all, that's what messed me up. Unfortunately, plug and play is VERY important to me, so I had to make sure that worked - and it didn't for me.

Installation steps (what did you do to get it all going?)

       I managed to get two setups working, but each only for a hot second. Both start in the same place, so I'll start with those steps and then diverge. The two setups are:
            - Laptop plugged into EXP GDC, Monitor plugged into GPU. Gpu runs external monitor. I did have both monitors going, but the internal 
                     laptop screen was running of Intel HD Graphics 530, which is interesting.
            - External monitor plugged into laptop, Laptop plugged into EXP GDC.  Dual screening normally, with the eGPU recognized as a dGPU. Pros
                     and cons below will make it pretty obvious why I shot for a setup like this at all - I know making data jump through that pcie 1.3 really
                     gums things up.

Pros and Cons -  So you can choose which path to try (first...?).
        Monitor in GPU - A direct output from the GPU is supposed to help framerates quite a bit, although I never got enough data points to say that
                for sure. What I do know is that even if I shut off all GPUS besides the eGPU and only use the external monitor, I got massive lagging in
               windows itself.

          -While games seemed to work okay like this, the i5 CPU simply got overloaded by System Interrupts and Desktop windows manager, of all 
                things.   
          -Both of these processes would jump to 80-90% CPU at times - when I managed to get those running on the GPU instead, the GPU would get
                maxed out by those processes.
          -This would cause consistent blue screens every time anything intensive happened - opening any two windows at once, youtube videos, etc. 
          -Limiting CPU usage to 95% in power settings did help, but that only served to turn blue screens into a 5 minute black screen that was
                eventually recovered from, which isn't much better.
          -My USB hub also caused constant dropouts of USB devices.

        eGPU as a dGPU -  Honestly, I was really excited when I thought to try this. Once I got it running, not only did Windows actually run completely
                normally, the Nvidia driver would actually choose the 1060 over the 960 without my disabling the 960, treating it as the higher
                performance GPU.
          - Game performance was limited. Severely. I played Everspace at max settings for 40 fps for a while at one point, but later couldn't get it past
                15. I never got Nier Automata to run past 20. I'm not sure how that first playthrough of Everspace managed to do what it did, but I swear it
                was running on the 1060 (I had task manager open and showing GPU usage on my second screen, that was also still running
                throughout all that).
           - Extremely easy to use setup, everything is plugged in how it normally is. 
           - If both setups were working perfectly, this one should in theory be worse - I'm not sure about all the other limiting factors that could
                overshadow this anyways though.

Actual Steps:
Preparation - Some things are easier to do before you even take out your WiFi card. It'll save you a lot of hassle:
  1) Make an offline folder somewhere you can see in safe mode. Put a .txt notepad file in there for notes. Heck, just copy these steps into it.
  2) Download and install HWiNFO64.
  3) Download and install DDU.
  4) Download the latest Nvidia Game Ready Driver, and also these Driver versions:  368.81   372.90  385.41
  5) Use 7-zip or winrar or something to extract all 4 drivers into their own folders in your offline folder.
  6) If you're using a GPU that isn't supported by 368.81 or 372.90 drivers, go ahead and make a "Modded" folder and copy 368.81 and 372.90 into it, then follow Step 2 of this guide and save those modded drivers there.
   7) In the notepad .txt file, also throw in this line of text, because remembering cmd inputs is insane  and not for me.
             Bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING OFF
   8) Open cmd as an administrator. System 32 should be displayed in the current line. Go ahead and put in: Bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING ON
   9) Open HWiNFO64. In the tree of stuff, open up your computer and find Bus. Expand that category, and then expand everything in there looking for your Intel network adapter. You can expand the Network tab farther down on the tree to find the name of what you're looking for, probably Intel Dual Band ____. 
   10) Once you find it, go up one step in the tree and note which PCI bus your wifi card is in. This is the PCI bus your eGPU will be in. I actually never confirmed that this is 1x, but in Setup I couldn't set it to 2 or 4x lanes, so idk. Maybe that's on me somehow.
   11) Next, do the same to find your dGPU - the GTX 960. Go up one step in the tree and note which PCI bus that's in. Go up one more step and click on it. You should have on the right a row for "Device Class". Take note of that, and take note of the hardware ID below it too. That'll help you find it in device manager (to disable the port it's in, not just the GTX 960 itself) - for example, my 960 was a PCI to PCI bridge, and there were 2 of those. The hardware ID told me which one to disable (in device manager, go into system devices, find the device class, and go into properties for each one, then details, then change the dropdown to hardware ID and match the one you got in HWiNFO). Disabling this is optional, I was never hurt or helped significantly by doing so.
   12) Unscrew all four screws in the corners of the EXP GDC. Flip the switch labeled "ATX PW" to on. If you plug it into a PSU, its green LED should come on even if it isn't connected to your Laptop.
   13) For clarity, I'll just say that you can get to Device Manager by typing Device Manager into your start menu. 

SETUP 1 - MONITOR IN GPU

1) Hold shift while clicking restart to do an advanced restart.
2) Go into troubleshoot > startup settings > advanced startup, then click restart.
3) Once you restart, get into safe mode. 
4) In safe mode, open that offline folder, and run DDU. 
5) Clear drivers WITHOUT restarting.
6) Once that's done, shut down your laptop.
7) Unplug your laptop battery carefully, before taking out your WiFi card and replacing it with your EXP GDC, or whatever you're using. 
8) Plug in your GPU, then plug your external monitor into your GPU directly.
9) Boot up. the 1060 6GB I had would spin up really fast here, and then slow down. 
10) Boot up. the 1060 6GB I had would spin up really fast here, and then slow down. 
11) Once in windows, open HWiNFO and see if your GPU is detected in display adapters. Alternatively, if you have Setup 1.35, you can just check at boot for it.
12) If it's not there, debug with Setup 1.35, check your wiring, etc. If your hardware is all above board, it'll detect it at least.
13) Install driver 368.81. If you made a modded one, install that.
      For this and all Gameready drivers, make sure to choose custom installation, and then ONLY INSTALL PHYSX AND THE DRIVER ITSELF, and don't check clean install.
14) If it fails, restart, then run it again. Seriously, just run it again. 
      If at any point during this you're asked to restart, you can go ahead and do it. We're in test mode until we turn it off, so it's okay to reboot.
15) If it fails again, run 372.90. If that fails.... r....run it again. This one should work at some point - I started to see my external monitor flash in for a little at a time. The installer should still finish, and at that point, restart the laptop.
16) If the external monitor isn't on at boot, go into device manager. You should have an error 43. Disable the eGPU, then re-enable it. That... should make it pop up on your external monitor. I don't know why this works. I just don't know.
17) Go ahead and run 385.41. Again, not sure why easing it in made it work, but it just did. This should just succeed. 
18) Now install the latest driver. Bing bang boom, you're in. You can restart just to be certain it's all working. On reboot, if the external monitor isn't on, just go into device manager and disable/enable the eGPU, and it should flicker on. 
19) If that didn't work, go into windows settings >apps and then uninstall Nvidia physx normally. Then start at the first driver again, but select clean install for the first driver. Then make your way through all 4 again. For me that made it work. Somehow.
19) Once that's all set, you can disable Intel Graphics HD 530 (your iGPU). Either way, your Laptop's internal screen will stay on. If you open Nvidia Control Panel, however, you'll find that the laptop screen isn't in there. You can turn it off from windows display settings (right click desktop and click display settings).
20) After it's all said and done, grab the text in that text file and paste it into admin cmd to turn off test mode again, and reboot.
    Test mode only really is there to allow modded drivers - if you didn't need to mod your drivers, I'd still turn it on - I did all this with it on, and honestly just didn't confirm that it worked without. Maybe it does?
21) Open Task Manager (right click taskbar, or hit Ctrl + Alt + del). Open the detailed view and sort processes by CPU used. Open a window and move your mouse around while looking at task manager. Is your mouse lagging?  Does "System Interrupts" or "Desktop Windows Manager" jump up into the top at ~40 or more %? Both of these processes should be under 2% at all times, and while games may play well in this setup, if your CPU is getting loaded hard it'll blue screen or lag a lot, making getting to the game itself nearly impossible. 
22) If that's happening, right click on your power icon in your taskbar and go to power options. Click change plan settings for the one that you're on and then advanced power options. Scroll to Processor Power Management - set min to anything below 95% (I had mine at 75) and then set max to 95%. That should keep your laptop from bluescreening, but instead, it'll just blackscreen when it runs out of memory.
23) To get it to use your eGPU for these processes instead, open device manager.
24) disable intel HD Graphics and the dGPU and then restart your laptop.
25) Once restarted, the external monitor should be on. If not, open Device Manager. If error 43 is there, disable the eGPu and then re-enable it. That should flicker your external monitor back on. If it doesn't, disabling/enabling again doesn't hurt.
26) Once the external is on again, check task manager again. Sort by GPU engine. 
27) Now when you open windows or move stuff around, your should see System interrupts / Desktop Windows Manager jump up the eGPU usage. This is better than loading the CPU, but still not the best...
28) And that's where I gave up. IDK what else to do from here - the seat of my pants is gone and I'm flying on nothing.

CONFIRMING/TROUBLESHOOTING SETUP 1
1) Honestly my favorite tool is just task manager. Right click your task bar to get to it, or use ctrl + alt + delete. Click the arrow for more detail if you haven't already sometime in the past, and go to performance. That'll tell you which GPUs are being used, and how much they're being used.
2) You can also just stay in the list of running processes. Right click in the name box and you can add GPU and GPU Engine to the columns - sort by GPU Engine so that processes always lists at the top which GPU is being used and what processes are using it. Use the Performance tab to check which GPU is which number.

SETUP 2 - eGPU AS dGPU
1) Hold shift while clicking restart to do an advanced restart.
2) Go into troubleshoot > startup settings > advanced startup, then click restart.
3) Once you restart, get into safe mode. 
4) In safe mode, open that offline folder, and run DDU. 
5) Clear drivers WITHOUT restarting.
6) Once that's done, shut down your laptop.
7) Unplug your laptop battery carefully, before taking out your WiFi card and replacing it with your EXP GDC, or whatever you're using. 
8) Plug in your GPU, then plug your external monitor into your laptop as you would for dual screening.
9) Boot up. 
9) Once in windows, open HWiNFO and see if your GPU is detected in display adapters. Alternatively, if you have Setup 1.35, you can just check at boot for it.
10) If it's not there, debug with Setup 1.35, check your wiring, etc. If your hardware is all above board, it'll detect it at least.
9) Install driver 368.81. If you made a modded one, install that.
      For this and all Gameready drivers, make sure to choose custom installation, and then ONLY INSTALL PHYSX AND THE DRIVER ITSELF, and don't check clean install.
10) If it fails, restart, then run it again. Seriously, just run it again. 
      If at any point during this you're asked to restart, you can go ahead and do it. We're in test mode until we turn it off, so it's okay to reboot.
11) You should be able to get 368.81 to successfully install with very little problems in this setup, as its very easy for Nvidia to just ignore the eGPU. In fact, after installing this, go into device manager. It should have your eGPU by name, maybe with error 43.
12) Now for the fun part. If you try to open Nvidia Control Panel, it should say you don't have a GPU on a monitor.
13) Disable your eGPU. If your dGPU port isn't disabled, disable the dGPU itself (not the port, it should still be greyed out in Device Manager).
14) Now disable Intel HD Graphics 530 (your iGPU). Your screen should flash, but the laptop screen should come back on with a small resolution. 
15) Enable the eGPU. You should get some flickering again, and the external monitor should still be off.
16) Enable your iGPU. Your external monitor should now turn on. Try to open Nvidia Control Panel.
17) It should open, with settings you can adjust. In 3D settings, you can adjust whether programs try to open with your iGPU or your eGPU.
18) And that's that! You can re-enable your dGPU if you want, or don't. Your call from here.

CONFIRMING/TROUBLESHOOTING SETUP 1
1) Honestly my favorite tool is just task manager. Right click your task bar to get to it, or use ctrl + alt + delete. Click the arrow for more detail if you haven't already sometime in the past, and go to performance. That'll tell you which GPUs are being used, and how much they're being used.
2) You can also just stay in the list of running processes. Right click in the name box and you can add GPU and GPU Engine to the columns - sort by GPU Engine so that processes always lists at the top which GPU is being used and what processes are using it. Use the Performance tab to check which GPU is which number.
3) When you open a game, I think Nvidia drivers will choose the GPU that it thinks is better. If your eGPU isn't getting chosen but is simply better in terms of hardware, something is happening software side that's letting nvidia drivers know things aren't going to go so hot if it chooses the eGPU. 
    a) Go ahead and disable the port your dGPU and reboot, then run the game again. it should go for the eGPU. See how that goes.

And that's all I got! If you read all that, I appreciate your interest. eGPUs are insanely awesome, and were a dream of mine from high school that I forgot about. Seeing them develop a community is awesome! For those of you with Inspiron 7557s, best of luck. I hope you blow my nonsense out of the water.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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Souly
(@souly)
New Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1
February 17, 2018 12:17 pm  

Hi, i have a EXP GDC 9.0b which use M.2 key M connector, my computer have they m.2 key M but when i plug my egpu on the motherboard he steal no't detected, i have an unlocked bios do you know if their is a feature i should activate ?

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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anggriawan_rilda
(@anggriawan_rilda)
New Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 2
May 15, 2018 1:44 pm  

hello, hardtospellwrong its very good to know your vga can root well in laptop. can you give me some advice? I try to run my vga gtx 960 to my laptop lenovo thinkpad e450 with processor i5 5200u on ngff cable. egpu detected, but there is error code 31 show "this device is not working properly because windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (error 31). the specified request is not a valid operation for the target device.". and my external monitor not showing while egpu plugin. how should I do? I have very frustation about it. wait some advice from you. thanks.

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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