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Lenovo T420 + GDC Beast 8.0 Expresscard + HD7770 + Dell DA-2 = win?
 

Lenovo T420 + GDC Beast 8.0 Expresscard + HD7770 + Dell DA-2 = win?  

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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hello guys,

As the title suggests, my setup is as follows:

Lenovo T420 (I'm upgrading to a safe-to-upgrade i7 2670QM)

GDC Beast 8.0 Expresscard version

Radeon HD 7770 GPU

Dell DA-2 adapter.

____

Two questions:

1. In theory, it should work, correct? I think I'm good but I wanted to double check.

2. What will power what and how? I think the DA-2 will power the Beast via the 8-pin and the Beast will power the 7770 via the 6 pin the Beast itself outputs (and with a provided cable, I think). Is that correct? Or do I need to fiddle with adapters or any other cabling nonsense in order to get it to work?

Thanks for all the help.

-Marcos.

++++++

EDIT:

I’ve used this setup for over a year now! This is my official review: http://www.infinitefrontiers.org.uk/hardware-review-exp-gdc-beast-egpu-adapter/

This topic was modified 3 months ago

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

1) Yes, it should work, assuming you plan to use an external monitor. If you want to use the internal, you need a GTX6XX or higher NVidia card.

2) Dell DA-2 powers the Beast, the Beast connects to your video card via a male-6-pin to a male-6-pin connector. There should be no adapters or anything else. Make sure that your Beast actually has that connector included when it ships, sometimes is costs another 2-3$ extra.

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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: Yukikaze

1) Yes, it should work, assuming you plan to use an external monitor. If you want to use the internal, you need a GTX6XX or higher NVidia card.

2) Dell DA-2 powers the Beast, the Beast connects to your video card via a male-6-pin to a male-6-pin connector. There should be no adapters or anything else. Make sure that your Beast actually has that connector included when it ships, sometimes is costs another 2-3$ extra.

Thank you for the reply, @Yukikaze !

1. Yep! It's an external monitor. Newer nVidia architectures aren't compatible with the video editing software I need to use, so I had to go with Radeon (even though it was a pain to find this particular card).

2. This is the exact item I bought: https://www.gearbest.com/laptop-accessories/pp_229102.html Does it include the cable I need? Or will I need the 6-pin to 6-pin separately?

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hmm, I think it doesn't:

"Package Contents: 1 x EXP GDC Beast Laptop External Independent Video Card Dock, 1 x Expresscard Cable, 1 x ATX Cable, 1 x Chinese Manual"

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Any ideas where I can get one, @Yukikaze? I can't seem to find one.

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

ebay has them (that was found via searching for "pcie 6-pin male to male"). I am sure you can find some on Amazon too.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Bought! Thanks, man (or woman).

I should have everything I need, I think. Here's hoping for smooth sailing!

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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: Yukikaze

ebay has them (that was found via searching for "pcie 6-pin male to male"). I am sure you can find some on Amazon too.

Hey @yukikaze I am getting my stuff on Friday (finally!). I was wondering though, if you guys knew the compatibility list for the Beast 8.0? Can I drop a GT 1030 in it? Or do I need a newer version of the GDC Beast to run newer cards?

Thanks in advance.

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

It doesn't care about what card it uses. A GT1030 would work just fine. I'd just recommend you don't get one, as their price-to-performance ratio sucks. You can get a Radeon RX560 4GB for 90$ after MIR right now.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: Yukikaze

It doesn't care about what card it uses. A GT1030 would work just fine. I'd just recommend you don't get one, as their price-to-performance ratio sucks. You can get a Radeon RX560 4GB for 90$ after MIR right now.

I'm actually in a bit of an odd position at the moment. I already have an HD7770 which I'm putting together with this thing, so in terms of performance with the GT1030 I'm basically there. The only reason for getting the NVidia card is to be able to power the laptop's internal display with it. Radeon cards can only power external outputs via this setup, and I'd like to use the internal display sometimes.

I don't need very heavy gaming performance, just something to do light gaming with. And the fact that the 1030 has a passive cooling version and consumes so little power makes it very attractive to me. But if you can recommend a more powerful alternative to the 1030 from NVidia's side within price range that I can still power with the DA-2 that I have (so basically 220w but I'd prefer to keep it below 150w max), I'd love to hear it!

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Be aware of the Code 43 issues with Pascal cards on some non-Thunderbolt eGPU setups. They even pop up on Expresscard from time to time, but there is a workaround here on the forums.

I'd recommend taking a look at EVGA's stock of b-stock cards:

GTX750Ti 2GB for 80$.

GTX1050Ti Overclocked for 120$.

Both cards are well under 150W.

 

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Wow, that GTX 750 Ti is very, very tempting! thank you!

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jorgehardaway
(@jorgehardaway)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: Marcos Codas

Wow, that GTX 750 Ti is very, very tempting! thank you!

Did it work for you? This is the exact setup I am planning to have

Does your PSU have the barrell connection (round) or the square connection?

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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

If you mean the T420 + Beast 8.0 ExpressCard + HD7770, then YES. I had it working beautifully, and it worked first time out by following the instructions in this forum. I had to replace the card after a lightning storm fried it.

The DA-2 had a square connector that plugs into the Beast, which has a 6-pin output which you can use to power cards that need it.

I never owned a 750Ti. 

I no longer use this setup as I moved to a desktop main rig, but it was great fun while it lasted.

Just be warned: the HD7770 is about the maximum performance you'll get out of this setup. Any more powerful GPUs will be throttled by the ExpressCard bus. 

Good luck!

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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hello guys!

You might remember me from such great hits as:

Lenovo T420 + GDC Beast 8.0 Expresscard + HD7770 + Dell DA-2 = win? : " https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/lenovo-t420-gdc-beast-8-0-expresscard-hd7770-dell-da-2-win/ "

Well, I've written up my official, long-term review of the GDC Beast here: www.infinitefrontiers.org.uk/hardware-review-exp-gdc-beast-egpu-adapter/

I've subscribed to this thread and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this setup and some slight variations I've tried (NVidia GPU's etc). 

Thank you so much to the community for helping me always! Hoping to do right by you guys now.

Much love!
-Marcos.

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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 

@marcos_codas
you write in your review
"I think anything beyond an AMD HD 7770 or nVidia GTX 465 will be bottlenecked by the Expresscard buss. "

This is not always true and depends on the application/game. Try doing an Unigine Benchmark with a GTX1080Ti and your beast and you will be surprised.

 

This post was modified 3 months ago

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: OliverB

@marcos_codas
you write in your review
"I think anything beyond an AMD HD 7770 or nVidia GTX 465 will be bottlenecked by the Expresscard buss. "

This is not always true and depends on the application/game. Try doing an Unigine Benchmark with a GTX1080Ti and your beast and you will be surprised.

 

Hi! 

While I no longer use this setup, I did try more powerful cards with it before I disassembled it. I saw very marginal increases after that sweet spot, personally. I've seen other people having similar experiences using the Expresscard buss. In my experience, you will see increases in performance  but they won't be a direct performance upgrade to the GPU's performance in a desktop computer. There are simply not enough PCI lanes in the Expresscard protocol. But I could be wrong  This is just my experience. Edit: also noteworthy is the fact that I took more care in measuring non-synthetic performance increases. Synthetic tests like Heaven aren't always representative of real-world gains.

This post was modified 3 months ago

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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: Marcos Codas

Synthetic tests like Heaven aren't always representative of real-world gains.

Of course, this is true. But real-world gains do behave different depending of the software.

a) I once made a comparison once between a x1 Lane and a x4 Lane card, which were the same in every other aspect. They may not be very representative, because they were not very strong (GeForce 310 and Ion), but they yielded exact same numbers in every benchmark, synthetic or not. (On low FPS though)

b) Further I compared a lot between x2 Lanes and x4 Lanes with stronger cards. Unfortunately they were different systems, so the comparison is not as clear, but the differences in benchmarks weren't bigger than from the system differences to be expected.

c) For reason unknown once my eGPU was initialised with x2 Lanes, I made some benchmarks, then I repeated the same benchmark with x4 Lanes => almost the same numbers. As mentioned before, on synthetics they were identical.

If would be nice if we had a tool to reduce the lanes artificially and the make a comparison. Is there a tool known which can do this? Somebody with AkiTiO Node Duo and another x4 Lane enclosure could do it. @itsage don't you have those?

This post was modified 3 months ago

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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(@marcos_codas)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hiya! Interesting stuff! Those cards  from the a) test will definitely not push the power of lanes, as even the more powerful HD 7770 didn't bottleneck on it. Very interesting stuff all around. It'd be great to have a more scientific measurement of when it really starts to bottleneck in which system. Also, remember that, as far as I know, Expresscard is a x1 lane slot, so the higher you go in bandwidth needs, the more you'll see the bottleneck. Even x2 and x4 lanes will handle pretty decent stuff, but x1 will definitely bottleneck sooner than that.

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