2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + GTX 750 Ti @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thu...
 
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2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + GTX 750 Ti @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win7 [Yukikaze]  

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I managed to win an ebay auction for a battery-less and SSD-less T430s for 136$ (it did come with 8GB of RAM). I used the SSD from my recently deceased NUC and batteries aren't expensive on ebay, so all and all I have a pretty capable laptop of my own. My main laptop belongs to my workplace, and I don't own a desktop, so it doesn't hurt to have my own laptop in the first place.

IMPORTANT T430s THUNDERBOLT NOTE: If you are here thinking of replicating this setup, keep in mind that not all T430s laptops have a Thunderbolt chip. The only T430s laptops that have Thunderbolt are the ones with an i7 CPU and no discrete nVidia GPU. That is, they only have the Intel HD4000 in the CPU itself. All other T430s laptops (such as the i5 ones, or the i7 ones with an nVidia NVS chip) only have a regular DisplayPort jack. If you are buying on ebay, make sure you see the lightning bolt icon next to the connector on the item photographs. While we are at it, don't confuse the T430 and the T430s, either. They are different machines (not even sharing a battery type), with the T430s being the slimmer version of the T430 and no T430 coming equipped with a Thunderbolt chip.

Setup Overview:

Laptop: Lenovo T430s (2355HKU).

BIOS Version: G7ET94WW (2.54)

CPU: Core i7-3520M (dual-core, 2.9Ghz).

Memory: 2x4GB DDR3 1600Mhz.

SSD: myDigitalSSD BP4e 120Gb mSATA SSD.

Operating System: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit w/SP1.

Thunderbolt Enclosure: AKiTio Thunder2.

Thunderbolt Cable: 1m cable (this is the cable that came with the Thunder2).

Power supply: Dell DA-2 220W with a barrel plug connector (this is the power supply that my old BPlus PE4C came with, it has a barrel plug instead of the 8-pin layout the regular DA-2 has).

eGPU: Gigabyte Low-Profile GTX750Ti (no PCIe 6-pin power required).

External Monitor: Sony 32" TV (1360x768), connected via HDMI.

Installation Instructions:

Lenovo has a solid record for supporting eGPU via nearly every possible interface, so I wasn't expecting trouble. This was really easy.

1) Make sure the Thunderbolt chip is enabled in the BIOS.

2) With the laptop powered off, connect the Thunder2's Thunderbolt cable to the laptop.

3) Power up the machine.

4) Boot to windows.

5) Install drivers.

6) Reboot.

That's it. There are no resource issues, no Code 12s, no Code 43s, no DSDT overrides or anything else. Both the HD4000 and the GTX750Ti are working in my case, with the HD4000 feeding the laptop display, and the GTX750Ti feeding the TV.

Now for some benchmarks, screenshots and photos:

3DMark11 Result: P4236 (Graphics: 4234)

Compare to a relatively similar desktop CPU: The i3-3220 with similar system specifications: P4698 (Graphics: 5481)

In 3DMark11 the laptop provides 77% of the graphics performance of the desktop equivalent via Thunderbolt1.

3DMark Firestrike 1.1 Result: 3125 (Graphics: 3728)

Compare to a relatively similar desktop CPU: The i3-3220 with similar system specifications: 3828 (Graphics: 4388)

In 3DMark Firestrike 1.1, the laptop achieves 85% of the desktop performance via Thunderbolt1.

T430sGTX750Ti

20161202 220910
T430sGTX50TiUnigineHeaven
T430sGTX750TiUnigineValley

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


3RYL, itsage, krazyazy and 2 people liked
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krazyazy
(@krazyazy)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I am very curious about this as I attempted this a couple of years ago and kinda failed. Forgive me for linking TI, but that's where I posted my result.

Krazyazy - T430s Expresscard vs Thunderbolt

When I failed with that, I moved on and made a desktop...but I'm back; with a new laptop and the Akitio. I'll make a thread for that this weekend.

2016 13" HP Spectre X360 [7th,2C,U] + GTX 1050 Ti @ 16Gbps-TB3>TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [build link]  

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dooku655
(@dooku655)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

How about CPU performance? Is i7-3520m comparable with i7-3612QM or others similar 4 core/8 threads Ivy Bridge CPU? 

Setup is really nice Smile

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: HWfreak

 

How about CPU performance? Is i7-3520m comparable with i7-3612QM or others similar 4 core/8 threads Ivy Bridge CPU? 

Setup is really nice Smile    

i7-3612QM benches 50% faster than a i7-3520M: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=890&cmp%5B%5D=892

These no replacement for (core) displacement [in the same gen].  3rd gen quad cores a favorite of mine. Run cool and fast, getting better TDP than 4th gen i-cores.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: krazyazy

 

I am very curious about this as I attempted this a couple of years ago and kinda failed. Forgive me for linking TI, but that's where I posted my result.

Krazyazy - T430s Expresscard vs Thunderbolt

When I failed with that, I moved on and made a desktop...but I'm back; with a new laptop and the Akitio. I'll make a thread for that this weekend.

   

This is interesting. I'll run some benchmarks and see how my results line up. It was easy to get it to work (trivial, even, as it is as PnP as it gets, pretty much). It doesn't look like you failed, though, it just looks like you did not get a performance increase over Expresscard, or am I misreading something?

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: HWfreak

 

How about CPU performance? Is i7-3520m comparable with i7-3612QM or others similar 4 core/8 threads Ivy Bridge CPU? 

Setup is really nice Smile

   

The 3520M will be better in single-threaded tasks, it will be worse in highly-parallel ones. It's clock speed is significantly higher than the 3612QM, so that will help it "win" when the load is only 1 or 2 heavy threads. There is no substitute for more cores, though, and once you start going into highly parallelizeable tasks, executing 3+ threads with high loads, the quad-core will wipe the floor with the dual-core.

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


nando4 liked
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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

Updated with some benchmark results. The important part is the 3DMark11 and Firestrike results compared to a desktop i3-3220. The i3-3220 is clocked at 3.3Ghz and has no turbo boost, and has 3MB of L3 cache. The i7-3520M is clocked at 2.9Ghz, but spends most of its time boosted up to 3.4Ghz when it isn't heavily loaded. It had 4MB of L3 cache. Overall, the CPU performance of the two should be similar enough as to leave the graphical performance difference mostly up to the PCIe x16 vs Thunderbolt1 difference. For the comparison, I chose a GTX750Ti clocked at the same clocks as my card, as well as a system with a comparable RAM setup.

The end result: The Thunderbolt eGPU provides 77% of the desktop equivalent performance in 3DMark11 and 85% of the desktop equivalent performance in 3DMark Firestrike 1.1. This is with Thunderbolt1, so results with a Thunderbolt2 setup in a different laptop will be obviously better. I'll run the same benchmarks to compare a Thunderbolt2 setup on my ZBook and how it is effected by the PCIe bandwidth. Stay tuned.

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


nando4 liked
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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I dug up my Expresscard PE4C v2.1 and gave it a shot with the T430s. It does work, and I seem to be getting the same result as krazyazy: The Expresscard graphics performance is better than the TB1 one. The one hypothesis I can bring up is that the nVidia compression might be kicking in here (even though I did not do anything special to enable it, so it has to have "simply worked"), which puts the Gen2 Expresscard close to the TB1 bandwidth, while lacking the overhead of the TB1 chip. With 4 benchmarks tests, it does look like Expresscard beats Thunderbolt1 in performance, at least in this specific configuration. We need more people to weigh in here with different configurations! For Science! Smile

I might be looking to borrow an AMD card to see if this holds true there as well.

EDIT: I just noticed that I was running a pretty old driver for the eGPU in this benchmark. I just re-benched with the latest and got within 4 points of the original result. These results are unchanged by driver updates, at least in the case of the GTX750Ti.

3DMark11: P4772 (Graphics: 4844) - This is 83% of the desktop performance.

3DMark Firestrike 1.1: 3583 (Graphics: 4061) - This is 92% of the desktop performance.

T430sGTX750TiExpresscardUnigineHeaven
 
T430sGTX750TiExpresscardUnigineValley

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


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krazyazy
(@krazyazy)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Darn, I'm sorry to see that. I was hoping that maybe I messed something up with my setup.

Per @nando4 in the other thread, I did try forcing a x1 link via taping off the other PCIe lanes.

My theory is something with the Thunderbolt implementation in the T430s; too bad we dont have schematics.

2016 13" HP Spectre X360 [7th,2C,U] + GTX 1050 Ti @ 16Gbps-TB3>TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + Win10 [build link]  

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Here's the thing: Benchmarks do not use a lot of PCIe bandwidth, while games typically utilize more. As a result, the overhead of the Thunderbolt is probably more acute for this specific case. In actual gaming (or in compute tasks with high I/O needs) the Thunderbolt should still be superior.

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"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."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


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