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2012 12" Lenovo ThinkPad X230 [3rd,2C,M] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5...
 

2012 12" Lenovo ThinkPad X230 [3rd,2C,M] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 4Gbps-EC2 (EXP GDC 8.5c) + Win10 [Boelly] // quiet mods  

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Boelly
(@boelly)
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Joined: 8 months ago
 


System specs:

  • Intel Core i5-3320M processor (dual-core, 2.60GHz, 3MB Cache)
  • internal GPU - Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz RAM
  • 12.5“ inch display (1366 x 768)
  • 300 GB SSD (Intel 320 Series)
  • Windows 10 Pro 1809
  • Dell 24 UltraSharp U2417H external monitor

   


   
 eGPU hardware:


Additional cabling I bought:

  • 2 x Molex to PCI-E adapter cables - depending on the PSU you are using, you might only have a total of three molex connections so it is better to buy two SATA to PCI-E adapters instead.
    If you have four molex connections, you can buy two of those.
  • 2 x SATA to PCI-E adapter cables - buy those if you do not have four Molex connections on your PSU
  • 1 x Mini HDMI to HDMI cable for the external monitor from the Geforce 560 Ti

   


   
Hardware pictures:

BIOS Express Card settings - Automatic - Generation 1
Complete cabling

 


   
Installation steps:

These are all the steps and problems I have encountered during my testing with the eGPU adapter and both GPU's. At the top, you have steps valid for both GPU's and at the bottom, I will describe steps specifically for the 560 Ti and 1080.
  

  1. Make sure that you update to the newest BIOS version (2.74) via the System Update 5 tool, provided by Lenovo.
  2. Change the Express Card speed in BIOS from "Automatic" to "Generation 1". This setting can be found in BIOS under "Config" -> "Power" -> "Express Card Speed". This is necessary to prevent freezes/glitches during the Nvidia driver installation, which I have experienced while the setting was on "Automatic".
  3. If you are using a 65W charger, you will have to download ThrottleStop in order to utilize the full power of the CPU. If you have a 90W charger, you can skip this step.
  4. On the eGPU EXP GDC adapter - set the PTD setting from off to 7s via the physical switch.
  5. In order to prevent any unexpected errors, it is best to boot Windows 10 into safe mode and remove any previous drivers with the Display Driver Uninstaller tool.
  6. Make sure you set Windows to not update the GPU driver automatically.
  7. Put the GPU into the eGPU adapter and connect all the cabling, as shown here, while the laptop is powered off.
  8. If you did everything correctly, you should find an additional display adapter in the Windows device manager after powering it on.

  
560 Ti steps:
  

  1. Install the Nvidia driver - for the 560 Ti I have used version 391.35 from Nvidia's homepage.
  2. Reboot and change the Express Card speed settings in BIOS from "Generation 1" to "Automatic" again. You can verify the current speed by using GPU-Z. Correct speed after the BIOS change is shown here.
  3. Change the preferred graphics processor in the Nvidia Control Panel to "High-performance NVIDIA processor" as shown here. On top of that, I have adjusted the GPU settings as shown here.
  4. You can now plugin you external monitor via the mini HDMI to HDMI cable and setup everything how you like.

  
1080 steps:
  

  1. Install the Nvidia driver - for the 1080 I have used version 388.71 provided by Guru 3D as the current version 417.71 did not work for me. You can update to 417.71 after you install version 388.71 first.
  2. Reboot and change the Express Card speed settings in BIOS from "Generation 1" to "Automatic" again. You can verify the current speed by using GPU-Z. Correct speed after the BIOS change is shown here.
  3. I have experienced the "error 43" phenomenon after the driver installation - solution can be found here. Download and run the script and that's it.
  4. For some reason, the setup will not boot, if your external monitor is connected via DisplayPort. Easy workaround - unplug the monitor and plug it back in after Windows 10 has loaded.
  5. Change the preferred graphics processor in the Nvidia Control Panel to "High-performance NVIDIA processor" as shown here. On top of that, I have adjusted the GPU settings as shown here.

  

I did not do any benchmarks for reference but I have tested the performance only in World of Warcraft. I have gained 30-50 fps on the 1080 and increased the graphics settings from 2 to 7.
  


  
Future plans:

  
After all this experience and the performance boost, my future plan is to buy the Dell DA-2 PSU and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Mini and build a custom frame for transportation. If my research is correct the 1060's power consumption is "only" 120W, which the Dell PSU should manage. On top of that, you will need this cable to connect the eGPU adapter to the GPU's 6 pin PCI-E power connection.
  

Hope this post gives you all the input you need for your eGPU journey.
  

Cheers,
Aleks

This topic was modified 7 months ago

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


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