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2011 15" Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (Q 2000M) [2nd,4C,Q] + GTX 1060 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP G...
 

2011 15" Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (Q 2000M) [2nd,4C,Q] + GTX 1060 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [Norbert Z]  

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(@norbert_z)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 

System specs
- notebook: Lenovo ThinkPad W520
- CPU: intel Core i7 2920XM
- RAM: 16GB
- SSD: Crucial MX500 250GB 1000GB
- GPU (integrated): intel HD Graphics 3000 & Nvidia Quadro 2000M 2GB
- display: 15" FullHD, 1920x1080
- OS: Windows 10 Pro

eGPU hardware
- EXP GDC Beast v8.5C with Expresscard , used 25EUR (additionally: wrapped cable in aluminium foil for EMI/RFI shielding)
- ASUS Dual 1060 GTX 3gb, used 135EUR
- Evolveo 450W ATX PSU, used 18EUR
- SEASONIC S12II-330 Bronze ATX PSU, used 15EUR
- slightly modded mini ITX case Silverstone Sugo SG13, 39EUR
total costs: 217EUR


Hardware pictures

Installtion steps

- disabled Optimus and Nvidia Quadro in BIOS, i.e. switched to integrated graphics only (intel HD graphics 3000)
- information sources: eGPU.io, ChimyChunga's W520 build and youtube (see link below)
- I used the following (older) driver version (as recommended): 372.54-desktop-win10-64bit-international-whql.exe
- Installed newest available driver from nVidia (417.35-desktop-win10-64bit-international-whql-rp)
- got error 43 (can be seen in Device manager) and card not working
- applied nando's "error 43 fixer" registry patch, to be found here:  https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/script-nvidia-error43-fixer/
- restarted, works now
- important: not to update graphics card drivers (ideally disable updates in Windows, otherwise you end up getting error 43 and reverting back to older driver version)

 

Benchmarks 
Internal display
CUDA-Z here https://imgur.com/a/907o8zx  
3DMARK TimeSpy won't run  https://imgur.com/a/GF0xG0K   :((
3DMARK FireStrike v1.1 score was 6840 points, see here https://imgur.com/a/Bp2R3iR  
Valley results here https://imgur.com/a/mGxYi9p  

External display results below (!)
Valley benchmark https://imgur.com/a/bdnIPnM

Comments 
Tried with Destiny 2 and Battlefield 3 both on max settings in FullHD resolution (1920x1080) on the notebook's internal display, getting 35-50 fps in Destiny 2 and around 40-50 fps in Battlefield 3.
Both very nice and playable so far.

Will be more than glad to get comments, especially how to improve performance of this build if possible.

Strange thing: fps is almost always around 50, goes up to around 80 only if I lower the game resolution - this is valid for the internal display.
I think the limiting factor must be the bandwidth of the expresscard interface.

I found out later on that the internal display is really limiting the performance (see Valley benchmarks above, internal vs external display -- scores 1500 vs 2000 points)

This topic was modified 1 week ago

2011 15" Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (Q 2000M) (2nd,4C,Q) + GTX 1060 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10


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jamesq1028
(@jamesq1028)
New Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

Thanks for sharing. I am using the same W520. I have used 2920xm with gtx 1070 for years. Just one question: is your gtx1060 working under PCI E 1.0 or 2.0. Mine can only work under PCI E 1.0 or it will get randomly crash.

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


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(@norbert_z)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Hello James,
I am aware of the PCIE 1.0 /2.0 mode, did not manage to find out how to switch between them however.
Please give me a hint how/where you switched it, I will try and update my post with the results.
The only thing I could think of is in BIOS, where it is possible to set Expresscard to:
- Generation 1
or
- Automatic
whereas from the explanation (directly in BIOS) it seems, that Automatic has the chance to use mode 2.0 (if the card supports it).
I have set "Automatic" from the beginning and it works without issues, no crashes or so.

Note: I just got myself an external monitor and hooked it up via DisplayPort, getting a lot more performance out of the card.
e.g. Fallout 76 running 2x-3x better on the external monitor (from the framerate point of view, where on the internal monitor it barely reached 20-25fps, on the external it is between 30-60fps), on Full HD, game on ultra settings.

This post was modified 10 months ago

2011 15" Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (Q 2000M) (2nd,4C,Q) + GTX 1060 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10


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(@norbert_z)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: @jamesq1028

Thanks for sharing. I am using the same W520. I have used 2920xm with gtx 1070 for years. Just one question: is your gtx1060 working under PCI E 1.0 or 2.0. Mine can only work under PCI E 1.0 or it will get randomly crash.

Hi James,

I am back to correct my previous answer to the above question of yours.

After a year of using my setup, I am experiencing instability too (I think it was there from the beginning, just did not manifest itself often enough).
I started to notice it 1-2 months ago since I play games (Apex legends, Fallut  76) much more often than before.

It started with:
- game crash+error saying that the graphics card was disconnected from the system
- self-restart mid game (rarely also when computer was idle), just out of the blue without any warning: boom, black screen and reboot

It happened like 1-2x a week but seemed very random.
I was experimenting for a solution: reapplied thermal paste on the CPU, replaced the PSU powering the GPU for a Seasonic branded one (supposed to be a higher quality PSU). Nothing seemed to have an effect.

Then I remembered your question and switched to PCI 1.0 (Generation 1 in BIOS).
It seems that this solved the problem, just the performance went down significantly = no enjoyable Apex legends anymore ;_(

So I have been searching the eGPU.io forum again, and found (a maybe crazy sounding) idea: wrap the cable going from the Expresscard slot to the EXP GDC in aluminium foil. I additionally wrapped it in self bonding electrical tape, so the foil is covered and the cable is more durable this way.
Reason: this cable is not shielded (according to the information I read about it).
Note: in general, the EXP GDC is mentioned on a lot of places online that it has no or insufficient shielding.

Now, with PCI E 2.0 set (set to: "Automatic" in BIOS) it seems to be working without the game crash or system restart issues.
CUDA-Z shows 360 MiB/s host to device, so it really is PCI E 2.0 (with PCI E 1.0 CUDA-Z show around 180 MiB/s)

I ran Unigine Valley + Furmark + Prime95 (max heat), all at the same time to simulate gameplay and "force" the crash/reboot.
Before the foil was applied: the system always rebooted during the first hour of such a test.
After wrapping the cable in aluminium foil, it ran 2+ hours without a problem, then I turned the test off.

I will report back here may the issue come back.

Hope this helps other EXP GDC users. Would be nice of the manufacturer to switch to shielded cables, they are causing bad reputation to their own product this way..

This post was modified 1 week ago

2011 15" Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (Q 2000M) (2nd,4C,Q) + GTX 1060 @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10


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