2017 14" Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 5 [7th,2C,U] + GT 1030 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sapphire GearBox) + Linux Ubuntu 18.04 & Win10 [Ondrej]
System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system)
2017 14" Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon G5 (Intel HD Graphics 620) [i7-7600U CPU @ 2.80GHz, 2C] + Win10 & Ubuntu 18.04
eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable, any custom mods)
GT 1030 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (SAPPHIRE GearBox)
Installation steps (what did you do to get it all going?)
First Nvidia driver installation freezed, worked ok second time.
Updated Thunderbolt driver using Lenovo Vantage.
Updated Gearbox FW.
Works fine, both internal/external display, plug'n'play.
boltctl list; boltctl enroll (had trouble with persistence, had to authorize every time, started to work somehow)
Followed Ubuntu guide to install nvidia drivers, set boot parameter (once)
Had to set DRI_PRIME=1 in /etc/environment
Need to connect, wait for TB to connect, run `nvidia-xconfig`, logout and login.
Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)
Even GT1030 is a huge improvement over the iGPU
The electric supply in the box makes annoying noise sometimes.
Using as a USB dock for mouse and external HDD. Didn't notice any slowdowns even when backing up to the HDD.
Overall I'm happy though the linux support could be better.
It's not possible to use internal display and hot(un)plugging would be very nice.
Connecting is also cumbersome as the internal display is hi-dpi and I need to change OS and firefox settings to scale properly.
Have anyone been able to fix the issues? I find it weird the internal display cannot be used in Ubuntu and hope hotplugging is underway.
@ondrej Nice build and welcome aboard! Does the PSU fan of your Sapphire Gearbox stays running in sleep mode? When I tested one for the review, the PSU fan stayed running as long as the enclosure was connected to a Thunderbolt 3 host. Maybe the Lenovo TB3 Graphics Dock would serve your needs better if it's available in your market.
For better Thunderbolt 3 support, try Ubuntu 19.04 or better yet Pop!_OS 19.04 which has an Nvidia ISO.
Yes, I've noticed changes to hot-plugging behavior based on kernel version. Upgrading to 19.04 or turning on hardware enablement to get kernel 5.0 seems to improve hot-plug.
The DRI_PRIME variable is only for the open source drivers I believe. I think nvidia-prime is what you want for internal display acceleration.
It makes no difference if it is connected or if the host is turned off, it only stops when gearbox is turned off.
The Lenovo Graphics Dock's gpu can't be upgraded, so I haven't even tried to get my hands on one. I quite like the possiblity of upgrading gpu and notebook independently.
You're right that DRI_PRIME is not needed, I forgot to remove it after trying out the nouveau drivers.
I installed kernel 5.0 via HWE but still can't use both displays (the internal display is now on, only showing 'Started bpfilter', disabling wayland did not help) nor noticed any change with hotplugging (certainly unplugging doesn't work).
I noticed there is a new nvidia-driver-430 - with it I can see the internal display in settings, but errors when I try to set it (Could not set the configuration for crtc 478) and causes other problems so I run 390.
I'll try to upgrade to 19.04 next weekend.