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EXP GDC v9.5 NGFF (M.2) with Lattepanda Alpha SBC
 

EXP GDC v9.5 NGFF (M.2) with Lattepanda Alpha SBC  

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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

So I have been wanting to build a SFF Mac Pro (Classic Style) at 2/3 Scale. I preordered the Lattepanda Alpha SBC and it should arrive in the next few weeks. I might build a hackintosh with it down the line after I get it set up. (Almost identical components to MacBooks) That is not such a big priority though. I saw a youtube video Here that showed a GT 720 running on the EXP GDC v9.5 NGFF m key. Obviously I don't want a wimpy card like that and am wondering if I can place a GTX 1060 3GB with it. (Gigabyte Windforce OC Ed.) My setup will include a 550W or 600W Cooler Master power supply as I have those as spare units laying around. I do have some potential problems and I wanted to make sure I would get them resolved before they start. 
Questions about the EXP GDC beast v9.5:
1. I heard there was potential driver conflicts and Nvidia does not support eGPUs with drivers newer than ver 372.90.
2. Will the dock get enough power to a GTX 1060 or higher GPU provided at least a 550W PSU? I saw some pictures of the Beast powering a GPU off of the six pin connector on the end, Can I just run 6pin and/or 8pin AUX power leads directly from the power supply to get the extra juice to the card or do I have to run the power directly through the dock. 
3. Would the dock shut down the power supply with the main part of the system when it is turned off or will I have to manualy shut down the card separately.
4. Potential Sleep/wake problems?

I was also thinking I might put a new 7nm AMD GPU in my setup when it comes out. The primary uses for this machinate as light to medium video editing and some 1080p gaming with mining at all other times of day to help pay of the expense of the dock. So there is likely a CPU Bottleneck but as long as the mining performance is good and all other performance (gaming video editing) is ~90% of the Cards regular desktop performance I should be happy. I will try to make the system a dual boot of Linux+Windows with Mac OS running later on.  
I might also consider any other m.2 docks but I can't find many. I know the board has type C Display port but that is different than a Thunderbolt III connection.

Any help would be appreciated and I have weeks to do my homework and research on a potential solution. Thanks again to any that may respond and give advice/help.

Long Live Fermi... LOL  

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


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phinicota
(@phinicota)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I was just googling my way around egpus and m2 adapters when I found your post.
I'm trying to evaluate how much of a loss I would get with a cheap gpu (HD6850 or RX560, which I have) when using the E key of the lattepanda alpha with a 2x for egpu (I plan to use a pcie ssd on the M key slot). I don't plan to do much gaming, so maybe the E key would be enough.

I also intend to use linux, so there's now chance I'm going with nvidia for this build (I'm posting this in case a future search arrives here with similar doubts and can ask). I see you might run linux too, I would strongly suggest you go with AMD in that case (open source drivers will be easier to manage in the long run and are pretty good for amd lately, nvidia has no intention of ever releasing such a thing).
Just to add a little more, I'm planning on using prime to offload the charge on the card... I know that's a little bandwidth dependent (yeah, another choke point) but... would like to try anyway.

To answer some of your questions:

  1. Can't answer, thought this is the kind of stuff that makes nvidia nvidia. There's a pinned thread on that topic though, check it out?
  2. Will the dock get enough power to a.. ?: AFAIK pcie should be able to provide 75W per slot (doubt the lattepanda psu would be able to supply that though). Worst case scenario, you should be fine with an external psu, like Dell DA (think that was the name?). It's pretty cheap. High end cards consume more power, so you should probably be careful when choosing the external psu.
  3. Would the dock shut down the power supply with the main part of the system?: I would like to know this too. What kind of dock are you thinking?
  4. Potential Sleep/wake problems?: sure, that never works 😕 . On linux, it should be treated as a regular pcie slot, so I expect to have no more issues (as in none) than if it was a regular desktop gpu.

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


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phinicota
(@phinicota)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Ok, I did some more reading.
Not entirely related to the thread, but I'll try to answer some of my doubts (which are definitely going to come up often for lattepanda alpha users). So....sorry to kidnap the thread.

Can the M2 E key slot be used for an egpu?
Probably: There are AE key adapters, though they seem to be x1.
The M3-7Y30 should be capable of 2x2 pcie lane configuration, meaning the M2 E key could be set to x2.
I haven't confirmed these (if you have the answers please update the thread or pm me):

  • I don't currently know if there are x2 AE key adapters (or if those listed as x1 work as x2).
  • I don't know if the lattepanda alpha will offer a configuration option to set pcie lanes per slot.

Seems possible:
lattepanda_alpha_ekey_gpu

 

Will there be a performance drop from using x1 or x2?
x1 would be 8Gbps (x2 16Gbps), so you can draw your own conclusions from here.

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


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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Ok so I will start with the power supply. The latte panda will come with a 45W USB C power adapter. It will also come with a 12v power cable that with an adapter will be able to run off of an ATX power supply. I will not use the USB C power adapter as that is a perfectly usable lovely USB C port. I have several large wattage name brand power supplies available.
Now on to bandwidth. First of all the m.2 slot needs to support an NVME SSD to be able to support an eGPU. Technically the Lattepanda has 4x lanes only in the M key slot. The E key slot is designed for an additional modem such as 4G LTE or another WiFi/Bluetooth Card. (I2C and UART also available) The problem here is the E Key slot with an adapter would not support a GPU or an SSD. Plus any adapters I have found have been few and far between. I wanted a NVME SSD in the E Key slot but there was none out there and very few and sketchy adapters. I guess that GDC has only a 2x speed. This link might be helpful , It appears that this brand is the best option. 
-BTW did you back this on Kickstarter or Indiegogo? I only preordered it from DF-Robot and I have not heard any of the backer only messages. 
-Hopefully we can sort this out here and then other owners of the Lattepanda Alpha can find more help on this. 
-I emailed the developers a week or so ago asking more about the UEFI settings and what would be available. What would be nice would be if they would have a setting in the UEFI that would detect the eGPU and help fix sleep state issues at the hardware level. 
-Yes, I know about Nvidia and Linux drivers. I would use the open source drivers and deal with it. Worst case scenario I could put a HD 3450 as a placeholder until the new AMD cards come out.  
-No you did not kidnap the thread as all this stuff is related 'Undiscovered Info' that potential Lattepanda GPU users might need.

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


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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Here is a link to a picture of completed builds using several revisions of the EXP GDC 8.4+.
The highest used GPU for this dock was a GTX 1060 but it did not specify a 3Gb or 6GB model. 
I am currently looking at bandwidth and seeing how much performance degradation there would be with different GPUs.

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


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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I have created a view only Google Doc that will have more info on my research. If anyone want's to help in it PM me and I will add you (person wanting to help) as an editor. The link to it is here. That way with the Doc there can be real time updates that don't require 50 difernt posts in this forum that require moderation and are hard to sort through. There is documentation on the various revisions of the EXP Beast but it is often in Chinese. There I will post corrected translations (google translate makes mistakes) of all the documentation on the various revisions including pictures and infographics on it. As an added bonus other potential users of the Beast can more easily look at the documentation. Bear in mind that it might take me a few days to get all this compiled.

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


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phinicota
(@phinicota)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I will not use the USB C power adapter as that is a perfectly usable lovely USB C port. I have several large wattage name brand power supplies available.

So, there's another power input on the board?

Now on to bandwidth. First of all the m.2 slot needs to support an NVME SSD to be able to support an eGPU. Technically the Lattepanda has 4x lanes only in the M key slot. The E key slot is designed for an additional modem such as 4G LTE or another WiFi/Bluetooth Card. (I2C and UART also available) The problem here is the E Key slot with an adapter would not support a GPU or an SSD. Plus any adapters I have found have been few and far between. I wanted a NVME SSD in the E Key slot but there was none out there and very few and sketchy adapters. I guess that GDC has only a 2x speed. This link might be helpful , It appears that this brand is the best option. 

I don't know about the nvme support needed. Project founders have confirmed in comments on kickstarter that the E key slot can be used for an egpu.
I've seen EXP GDC adapters that connect with an AE key cable, leaving the M key slot for a ssd.
You only get 3.0x2 (~16Gbps) on each slot, which might bottleneck the ssd a little but I don't think it should be noticeable and latency shouldn't be affected.
It should be fine for middle to low end graphics (plus, if you go with something like a 1060+, wouldn't the cpu bottleneck the performance?).

-BTW did you back this on Kickstarter or Indiegogo? I only preordered it from DF-Robot and I have not heard any of the backer only messages. 

I backed it on indiegogo. Last updates from kickstarter seem to be the same as the ones on indiegogo, can you see those?

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


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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

The last progress update I have seen was from June 19 on Indiegogo. On kickstarter I can't see any updates other than the title about confirming shipping addresses. It won't let a non backer see more info on that. Well anyways they should be shipping soon in the next couple of weeks. 

Power Input:
Yes there is an additional 4 pin 5-17v power input. If you look at pictures it is right next to the USB C port. They emailed me a couple weeks ago after I asked for more info on it. Apparently a cable will come with the board in the box. They did not specify exactly what connecter it was though. I bet there are adapters for that somewhere that make it be able to connect to a ATX power supply. They also said that it(board only) usually will consume roughly 10w through there and it can pull upwards of 40+ watts when under load with many devices connected. An ATX power supply has many power supply leads so the GPU will be powered separately. 

Startup and shutdown:
The dock said it had support for soft power and power down. Here is how I think we will get this thing to work. All ATX power supplies have a always on standby rail. (2.5 [email protected])  What is referred to as the system control pins is basically the lead for a power button. The board would always be powered by the standby pins when off but when the power button is pressed it powers up the board. As soon as the board is powered (in a millisecond) it would send power through the m.2 m key slot to the GPU dock signaling a power on. The dock would respond to this by switching on the power supply from standby and run its juice in parallel with the standby line to the Lattepanda giving it all the power it could ever need. The other leads from the PSU would power other components such as the dock and any extra HDDs that may be connected. I have tried to decipher the manual and here is what it says in terrible English. (the manual seems to have sort of been updated recently but it does not have pictures of the v9.5, I believe it only has the pictures of the v8.0)

"The main board and the equipment of the power supply interface, support soft switch function (notebook starting power starting, notebook shut down power off). The power of this interface, you can use 1 special DELL 220W, 2, can be matched with ATX cable using the ATX power to support external graphics power, soft switching function."

My translation of this bad English:
This dock supports a soft power on and soft power down. You could use a Dell 220w PSU or a second option, to use a regular ATX power supply. (further down in the document it basically says that) It can also be powered from a DC power supply with the plug sized as follows.
    -Outer Diameter 5.5MM
    -Inner Diameter 2.1 MM
The DC jack interface only supports GPUs up to 150W.

Bandwidth restrictions:
 I might just allot the 1060 all 4 lanes and disable the E key. I could run any additional SATA SSDs through a USB 3 connection to the board. It would be fast enough for me and the 1060 would enjoy happy bandwidth. Many of the games today at 1080p are usually GPU bottlenecked (at least the ones I play) as I have paired a mid to high end card with an older pentium and have achieved good frame rates. Granted I don't game at 144HZ in 4k so a CPU bottleneck is not an issue. CryptoMining does not use more than a PCIe 1x Gen 2. 

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


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FlamingFermi480
(@flamingfermi480)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

BTW @phinicota I would not recommend the HD 6850 as it is not that fast. The RX560 would go great with the m3-7Y30 as it is comparable with a 1050. Combine that with the better Linux support for AMD and the newer architecture and lower power consumption  and you get a nice little rig.

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


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Raxx208
(@raxx208)
New Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Anything above a 750ti will give u a cpu bottleneck. According to  http://thebottlenecker.com

I preordered a lattepanda alpha back in February. Im going to use this m.2 m key to pcie extender with my 750ti (the bigger gpu with 6 pin, not the small one)

Using a 100w power brick.

I will splice a 6+2 pin cables into a dc barrel female jack so the power brick can plug to it.

http://www.era-adapter.com/m2-keym-to-pcie-x16-extender-cable-r4s-r3f-p-301.html

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


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phinicota
(@phinicota)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 

Just saw this video, it seems the bottleneck would be kind of heavy with anything above a 1050ti.

I'm planning on using it with linux, so the equivalent AMD would be an RX560 I guess.

Anyone tried this build? I will be doing some tests when I get mine (it's already shipped but it won't be in my hands until January).

I'm dead set on going the E-key route as I'm planning on using the M-key for a NVME ssd that I already have.
2x should be enough for this kind of ssd (16GBps will amount to ~1500MB/s, which is pretty decent  for my ocz rd400 sequential performance). I think samsung ssds might be more of a challenge? 2000MB/s+?

In don't know yet if 1x (8GBps) would be too limiting for a RX560 card. I hope it won't, being on the low end...

Anyway, if anyone has any info or tried a lattepanda alpha build please share!

edit: format and added a few links (I'm documenting this for future me)

edit2:

- Another quote showing E-key gpu is possible and viable with low-end cards:

egpu ekey lattepanda

edit3:
we're being quoted from this post in the official forum.
I'm not completely sure what ccs_hello means. Is he saying we should be able to use 4x M-key and 2x E-key at the same time (giving effectively 6x)?
Because from what I gather on the official intel specs for m3-7Y30, it says:

PCI Express Revision 3.0 

PCI Express Configurations ‡ 1x4, 2x2, 1x2+2x1 and 4x1 

Max # of PCI Express Lanes 10 

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ProDigit
(@prodigit)
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Joined: 11 months ago
 

It really depends on what you're going to do with it.

A regular PCIE 1x slot on a desktop gets about 30% usage with a GT 1030 doing folding, and 50% under stress test (Gaming).
A regular GTX 1050 (non TI) will use up 100% of the bandwidth of a 1x slot, just folding or bitcoin mining.
Gaming performance is reduced in Windows.

This board, I'm not sure if the CPU can provide the PCIE bandwidth slot with the speed needed. It might throttle with a 1050 folding or mining, and will not be able to get the full 100% performance of the card.

A PCIE 2x slot could probably be maxed out with a 1050 to 1050 TI card under Windows.

Reports have been made that Linux uses less PCIE bandwidth than Windows, so it might run better under Linux.

That being said, does the regular LattePanda with CherryTrail not have a 1x slot as well?

 

Any news on experimenting if EGPUs work?

Posted by: FlamingFermi480

 

Bandwidth restrictions:
 I might just allot the 1060 all 4 lanes and disable the E key. I could run any additional SATA SSDs through a USB 3 connection to the board. It would be fast enough for me and the 1060 would enjoy happy bandwidth. Many of the games today at 1080p are usually GPU bottlenecked (at least the ones I play) as I have paired a mid to high end card with an older pentium and have achieved good frame rates. Granted I don't game at 144HZ in 4k so a CPU bottleneck is not an issue. CryptoMining does not use more than a PCIe 1x Gen 2. 

It does with the latest Nvidia RTX 2070 and 2080 cards, as well as with the 1070 and 1080 cards.

Folding and bitcoin need at least PCIE 4x slot with those; with a 2-20% performance drop on a PCIE 2x 2.0 slot.

A PCIE 1x 2.0 slot maxes out with a GTX 1050 card

This post was modified 11 months ago

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trickyaamir
(@trickyaamir)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

Here i installed a NVME SSD and a external graphics card (eGPU) on a Lattepanda Alpha

Used M Key slot for SSD and E Key slot for eGPU,

Check Tutorial:

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


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joevt
(@joevt)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@trickyaamir There exist M.2 length extensions that can increase the length of the EXP GDC's M.2 connector.
https://egpu.io/forums/which-gear-should-i-buy/thunderbolt-3-external-drive-slot-m-2-ngff-adapter/paged/2/#post-67817

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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