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Clean M.2 build?  

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @tilchev

It would seem R42MF ( https://www.adt.link/product/R42M.html ) is the variant I would use for my side port idea, although I'm not sure where I would fit the 5cm cable without too much folding (my M.2 slot is like 1cm from the side, facing frontally). I'm also not sure how this PCIe x4 connector works - it has some sort of power connector - is powering it mandatory, because if it is this idea goes trough the window. I'm a total noob here and I've never handled neither M.2, nor PCIe x4 cables and connectors.

The M.2 slot doesn't supply 12V which the PCIe x4 slot requires, so the power connector exists there. Maybe it's possible to not supply power there if you're using an extension that has power input at the other end.

I don't think you can know if it will melt your laptop until you try.

I think it's safe to go for 50cm R43SG (did you mean R23SG?) +5 to 10 cm. I don't know how reliable it would be. I remember an LTT video where they used like 3m of PCIe x16 extensions to connect a GPU... Found it:

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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tilchev
(@tilchev)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

@joevt, Thanks for the answer!

The most info I could find about PCIe power connectors was from some mining rig riser related videos:

Based on the first video mostly, the power connector is definitely optional. And for eGPU purposes even if we go the full M.2 way we still have power at the end, so I suppose any M.2 to PCIe riser (which even the R43SG is) would be designed in such a way to protect the powerless M.2 port. As a matter of fact some builds here have been made via R43SR or similar which is the same thing, just M.2 to x16 instead of x4.

All in all going for only M.2 wiring is definitely safer (and actually cheaper right now). I will research the PCIe x4 option a bit more before ordering anything as I believe it's convenience and durability factor is worth it.

As for the length of the cable I guess 50cm is fine, but I might still go for 25cm just to be sure (and save some cash as a bonus).

 

2015 15" Dell Latitude E5570 (R7 M370) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1060 @ 32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 [build link]  

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

@tilchev , myself and @jkeychen found unreliable results using extenders.  Choosing 25cm or 50cm cable length of a ADT-Link R43SG has less impact on reliability than when introduce new edge connectors along PCIe pathway via extenders or m.2 protect boards. 

For that reason the most reliable method of using a M.2 eGPU is via a hole cutout on the system. The hole can be as little as 40mm wide, the size of a reduced M.2 connector on a R43SG.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 // compares M.2 vs TB3 performance inc unoptimized H-CPU BIOS [build link]  


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tilchev
(@tilchev)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

@nando4 What do you mean by reliability exactly? If you mean some performance drops - I'm willing to make some sacrifice in the sake of a clean build and science (this is what we are talking about here after all). You recommended (well 2 years ago that is) using a M.2 slot protecting extender if one still plans to occasionally detach his laptop and not turn it into a makeshift desktop. Do you not recommend this anymore? I haven't seen any build using the PCIe x4 (R23SG and so on) connectors. Maybe they will perform better? I'm willing to be the one to test the performance if it's just that what I am risking and not burning my laptop or having random BSODs  😀 . Alas as @joevt said the only way for me to know if it will melt my laptop is to try.

Sorry for milking this so much, I just wanted to try and revive some discussion in this topic. Looks like I will most probably go for 50cm R43SG and get creative with using my laptop with no bottom cover (+ some stand) or hack it up and order a backup one just to be sure.

@jkeychen (I saw your like on nando4's comment 😀 ) How has your dell e5570 build held up with time? Can you post some update in the thread about it? I was trying to contact you via PM but the platform still doesn't allow me to. Guess it's because of me being a new user and some sort of spam protection.

 

2015 15" Dell Latitude E5570 (R7 M370) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1060 @ 32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 [build link]  

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SanderV
(@sanderv)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

That's a lot to take in!

@tilchev: The PCI connector idea seems pretty nice. It crossed my mind too, but my ultrabook is simply too thin to fit something like that. And indeed I am looking for "clean" not just detachable. As for reliability: I think @nando4 means the signal quality. Lots of people have complained about signal quality with the EXP GDC Beast v9, for example. It doesn't just degrade performance but also generates PCI bus errors. But maybe you can prevent that by using gen2 PCI signalling speed instead of gen3. @nando4, is that correct?

For me this is a passion project, and if I can't find a way, I simply won't do it. I concluded that m.2 extenders, PCI adapters or U.2 adapters all won't fit this purpose, so I have only one last option that I am willing to try, which is to make my own adapter. I have done some PCBs before, so maybe this is something I could handle.

The idea is to order a simple m.2 extender from ADT-link, then de-solder the cable from both sides, leaving me with separate female and male M.2 connectors. Then, I would fit both of them with a custom PCB which connects it to a connector of my choice. I saw some interesting, high-speed and very low-profile board to board connectors such as the Molex SlimStack series. They are high pin-count and only a fraction of a mm high, so I could make a tiny cut-out in my backplate to access that. What remains to be seen is how fragile these connectors are for repeated plugging.

So into the laptop I would plug my modified ADT-link M.2 to Molex board. I can then hook up the GPU by connecting the modified ADT-link Molex -> female M.2 board, into which I plug the ADT-link eGPU adapter. I wouldn't expect major signal degradation since no cable length is added.

Of course this is a bit on the ambitious side. I have ordered the ADT-link parts to at least test whether I can get the eGPU running in the first place. I will first carefully test with a throwaway PC, including with the custom connectors, before I dare go near my laptop. Let's see if I get anywhere...

Xiaomi Notebook Pro 15.6" (i7-8550U, MX150). Looking for a nice M.2 eGPU solution


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SanderV
(@sanderv)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@tilchev about the laptop warnings on the ADT-link site: it's hard to say. M.2 eGPUs are something that I think no-one would dare to officially support. The laptops were never designed for it, so it is a case of hit and miss. Maybe ADT-link is simply staying on the careful side.

There is at least one example of someone successfully hooking up an eGPU to their laptop including the m.2 extender cable that ADT-link says is "not compatible with laptops".

So there is definitely a risk involved.

Xiaomi Notebook Pro 15.6" (i7-8550U, MX150). Looking for a nice M.2 eGPU solution


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Ferran GC
(@ferran_gc)
Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 

@joevt, Hello, I'm working with an eGPU (for the moment just bought the components and waiting for them to arrive), here is what i bought and my laptop spects. I'm really interested on one of those:

Posted by: @joevt

The extender is the items with the purple or grey QC stickers in the first picture at
https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/thunderbolt-3-external-drive-slot-m-2-ngff-adapter/paged/2/#post-68188

to not stress the computer slot with the plugs and unplugs. But there's no way I found them. I've even bought one that seems to be this, but the description says it's an ngff adapter, although the picture don't looks like.

Anyone could tell me the name of this kind of extender or the place to buy them?

Thanks in advance, I will update my progress when the pieces arruve.

-- UPDATE --

Found this M2 NVME protection on Aliexpress that I hope will be perfect for my purpose, be able to PnP but not directly to the laptop slot. I've already bought every component and they are arriving in about 10-15 days. 

For anybody interested I will update photos and results on on this post.

 

2020 15" Xiaomi Mi NoteBook Pro (MX250) [10th,4C,U] + GTX 960 @ 32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@ferran_gc,

NGFF is the old name for M.2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2

This is the item I bought:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CSB1ETE

 

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Ferran GC
(@ferran_gc)
Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 
Posted by: @joevt

NGFF is the old name for M.2

Oh thanks @joevt, I thought it referred to another type of connection. 

 

I've recently found M.2 eGPU builds around youtube, but instead of using the ADT-link, he uses a straight M.2 to PCI-E 4x adapter. He have some success builds using this method, for example:

Is that method less powerful than the ADT-link method? Because if in both methods you go from 16x to 4x, that may be a better solution for PnP on some builds

2020 15" Xiaomi Mi NoteBook Pro (MX250) [10th,4C,U] + GTX 960 @ 32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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