2016 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 [win32asmguy]^  

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win32asmguy
(@win32asmguy)
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April 12, 2017 3:21 pm  

Summary

This eGPU setup has a unique combination of performance that offers the following benefits:

  • A workstation build quality laptop that offers great portability and battery life and warranty support
  • Mid to high grade gaming performance when at a desk (or if you take the eGPU with you)

 

Host Laptop

The Zbook Studio is a 15 inch workstation notebook designed by HP. It has dual Thunderbolt 3 ports connected via a DSL6540 controller with a x4 PCIe 3.0 interface. It uses quad core i5, i7 and Xeon mobile processors (45W TDP) and has an optional Nvidia M1000M onboard graphics card.

I have used configurations of the studio both with and without the optional Nvidia Quadro graphics card. By far, I liked it better without the dedicated card. Either configuration uses a dual fan, dual pipe heatsink to cool the system, so with only a 45W CPU the system can run at maximum load for extended time without throttling or getting very warm or loud. Unfortunately the fastest processor HP offers in this configuration is the 6820HQ, but that processor does support overclocking up to 4 bins above stock via Intel XTU.

eGPU

I used an AKiTiO Node combined with a Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition. Installation was simple and easy.

Software

I use Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, and the latest version of the Thunderbolt Software available from Intel. I have the most recent system bios and Thunderbolt firmware available from HP. I also updated the Node with the latest firmware to fix the H2D issue and allow the eGPU to be used by the Zbook (which does not natively support them).

When I originally began using this setup, I would simply hotplug the eGPU when I wanted to use it, then unplug it after I was done. I have later learned that it is best to remove the eGPU before putting the machine to sleep, and to use the Nvidia GPU status icon to "connect" and "disconnect" the GPU in software after physically connecting or before disconnecting the cable. After I began doing this I noticed increased stability resuming from sleep.

Performance

So far, I have measured about a 10% performance drop compared to similar configurations (6700HQ, GTX 1070) when using an external display connected directly to the eGPU. More to follow...

2016 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node) + Win10


Tadas Šubonis, switch, enjoy and 1 people liked
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enjoy
(@enjoy)
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April 13, 2017 2:44 pm  

Can you run Optimus (the Internal Display)? I want you to run some benchmarks for my thread - PCI Express vs. Thunderbolt 

ϟ AKiTiO Thunder2 + EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC Gaming (macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and Windows 10)
 MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU


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torncanvas
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May 1, 2017 3:45 am  

Can you elaborate on why you liked having only an iGPU more "by far"? Is the cooling performance that much better with an iGPU vs a disabled dGPU? It seems intuitive to have a dGPU just for the times where you can't lug your eGPU with you.

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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win32asmguy
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May 1, 2017 3:18 pm  
Posted by: torncanvas

 

Can you elaborate on why you liked having only an iGPU more "by far"? Is the cooling performance that much better with an iGPU vs a disabled dGPU? It seems intuitive to have a dGPU just for the times where you can't lug your eGPU with you.

   

The Quadro M1000M doesn't really bring a lot to the table for a dGPU. It is only as powerful as a Geforce GTX 950M, and runs quite hot in the Zbook Studio chassis, making the palm rest uncomfortable and the fans very loud when it is active. HP also routes the TB3 / HDMI display outputs through the M1000M if it is present, which may complicate using an eGPU setup. I have also noticed a difference in battery life, even with the M1000M inactive at idle it still seems to use more power and run warmer than the iGPU only version.

2016 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node) + Win10


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torncanvas
(@torncanvas)
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May 4, 2017 4:30 am  

Thanks, this is really helpful. I have a ZBook Studio G4 on the way, so I'm very interested. 🙂 I decided on an M1200. Sounds like I want to disable it in the BIOS when I'm using an eGPU setup and only re-enable when I know I'll be on the road without it. I suppose at idle it could still eat up as much as 10W of power, especially since it's Maxwell, right?

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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win32asmguy
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June 4, 2017 3:48 pm  
Posted by: torncanvas

Thanks, this is really helpful. I have a ZBook Studio G4 on the way, so I'm very interested. 🙂 I decided on an M1200. Sounds like I want to disable it in the BIOS when I'm using an eGPU setup and only re-enable when I know I'll be on the road without it. I suppose at idle it could still eat up as much as 10W of power, especially since it's Maxwell, right?

Let me know when you get your G4 in how it works.

I don't think the bios allows the Quadro GPU to be disabled (the options for the G3 were Hybrid or dGPU only). There have been a few other HP notebooks that did allow you to only run on the iGPU but those had AMD dedicated graphics. I would be curious what the G4 bios options are like!

I am curious if there is much difference between the GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 with the eGPU. The 1070 performed pretty well, although it doesn't seem to be the sweet spot for pricing or deals (I have seen the GTX 1080 go for very close to the GTX 1070 at times).

2016 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node) + Win10


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torncanvas
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June 5, 2017 2:46 am  

I could switch to integrated only but had to turn off DreamColor.

I ended up returning it due to extra whiny fans and since the display had so little viewing angle it looked like a rear projection screen, which was likely a backlighting issue. I called (premium business) support and the rep I talked to said my video and photo footage seemed normal to him and that he was concerned a replacement would look exactly the same. That concerned me because it was much worse than every other decent laptop you'd see at Best Buy etc.

I liked the build, but the fans were definitely louder than I had hoped, not sure if it was just crappy thermal paste or more of a design issue. Because I ended up spending about as much as a 2016 MBP, I begrudgingly ended up going with that but returned that as well Thursday since it seems an update is imminent.

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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switch
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June 16, 2017 7:10 pm  

Skip the ZBook STUDIO and go for the full-on ZBook. Get one with the kick-ass CPUs, like the Xeon models and forget anything that doesn't have UWVA in the panel's description - that means it's a shitty screen. I went with a 1080p UWVA and it looks perfect (it's a G3 though). Like win32 above, I don't recommend getting the dGPU as that uses a LOT of power while not really bringing much performance onboard.

I have the ZBook G3 with Iris Pro 680 and that alone is enough graphics for day-to-day applications. Sure, I can't game on it (actually I can, but have settle for 2012-level graphic settings), but that's not what this laptop line is about.

 

@win32asm -- any update on you build? I'm VERY curious as I have pretty much the same setup as you do and I'm looking to get an enclosure.

2016 15" HP ZBook 15 G3 [Xeon E3-1545M, Iris Pro p580, no dGPU] + [email protected] (Aorus Gaming Box) + Win10pro


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win32asmguy
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July 16, 2017 2:38 pm  
Posted by: switch

Skip the ZBook STUDIO and go for the full-on ZBook. Get one with the kick-ass CPUs, like the Xeon models and forget anything that doesn't have UWVA in the panel's description - that means it's a shitty screen. I went with a 1080p UWVA and it looks perfect (it's a G3 though). Like win32 above, I don't recommend getting the dGPU as that uses a LOT of power while not really bringing much performance onboard.

I have the ZBook G3 with Iris Pro 680 and that alone is enough graphics for day-to-day applications. Sure, I can't game on it (actually I can, but have settle for 2012-level graphic settings), but that's not what this laptop line is about.

 

@win32asm -- any update on you build? I'm VERY curious as I have pretty much the same setup as you do and I'm looking to get an enclosure.

I actually ended up returning the Akitio Node and GTX 1070 back in May, mostly because of financial reasons. However now I have a BenQ PD3200U on the way so I may end up getting another Node and GPU so I can drive the external display with it if the HD530 doesn't perform well driving the 4k + FHD internal display well enough on its own.

The Iris Pro GPU would be really nice, my friend has a Macbook Pro with the previous Iris Pro GPU only and it can easily drive 3 displays (the built in Retina display and a pair of WQHD externals) without any lag. You also get a few other nice benefits like larger battery and a number pad. However I think the cooling solution only uses one fan and a smaller heatpipe instead of the larger ones that come with dedicated GPU models.

2016 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node) + Win10


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Adan
 Adan
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December 6, 2017 4:04 pm  

Hi, I have your system (zbook studio with gtx1070), but after monitoring (CPUID HWMonitor) I see that rendering video in Adobe Premiere still useses the Quadra at approximately 80% and the 1070 at 20%. Simmilarly a video program (RED CINEX) which is customized for using video cards only utilizes approximately 30%. 

I'm using the Akitio Node via tb3 and disabled discrete video settings and put it to hybrid? Any thoughts?

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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(@marek_szulc)
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January 10, 2018 4:33 pm  

Reading your post I am happy that I bought G3 studio with igpu only, not getting hot or noisy except most demanding tasks (gaming), as soon as I get some eGPU I will update you with results

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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