(XPS 15 L502x ) / ThinkPad T530i / Dell e6320 + EXP GDC v8.4d + R9 270 and Beyond!  

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wimpzilla
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March 22, 2017 6:18 pm  

@Nando4:

So i swapped the 2670QM and the new ram on the T530i, everithing work like a charm on this new QM77, will see if i can mod the LCD pannel to fit the old FHD pannel insead of the 720p pannel even i dont care. Performances wise i got the same cpu perfs on sigle thread but a bit less on cpu-z multi, with the old os.

But my problem now it is the mpci-e port are whitelisted, like when i plug the eGPU, blank screen and the laptop reboot.

Is this procedure still available on eGPU setup?

Please try Setup 1.x anti-whitelist:-

  1. Boot with WLAN card attached.
  2. Enter Setup 1.x
  3. Go to "PCIe Ports" > Anti-Whitelist > !Save Ports > (select WLAN)
  4. Removed WLAN card
  5. Reboot
  6. Enter Setup 1.x again
  7. Go to "PCIe Ports" > Anti-Whitelist > "Restore Ports"
  8. Connect eGPU & press F5. Make sure eGPU is detected.
  9. Chainload into windows.

 

Or i need to prepare myself to unsolder the bios chip and edit/flash with a SPI programmer. Give me some hope, that i could try this evening.

Edit: Gotcha, will look for this evening and report back if i can remove the white list in this way, would be awesome. Thank mate, it is ok, for me it was not the $$ that hurt, but to loose a fully working nice piece of hardware. Usually i'm the one that bring them back to the life, i do not get the habit to have something die under my hands. ^^

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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nando4
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March 22, 2017 6:25 pm  

@wimpzilla, yes, can try try the PCIe Ports->undo-whitelisting functions to attempt eGPU for a whitelisted mPCIe detection. If do it right then hotplugging after boot as you are doing may not be necessary.

here ◄ is a very good reference guide to work through for mPCIe issues, eg: if the system doesn't boot with the wifi card then use the EXP GDC PTD delay switch to hide it from the system.

Just about your previous post. Sry for your L502x loss. The commitment to getting x2 port1 registered via a ME FW flash is remarkable.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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wimpzilla
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March 23, 2017 11:11 am  

Update with the new T530i and the v8.4d:

 So like always, never work on without knowledge, here you can find the laptop schematics: Here

  • So Lenovo aka IBM board are a bit more complex even been cheaper than the Dell one, same generation. It should not have any sense, but i feel it less user friendly by the way they build up the pcb. In few word to reduce cost, you cut the price on some component by replacing them by your own custom ones, cheaper. If it is done well it should not be an issue, the issue is mainly adding a lot of custom checks and firmware for these EC, that could sometimes hurt performances.
  • The T530i have issues with white listening mpci-e ports, i tried to swap my old Dell Intel wifi card, laptop refuse to fully boot, saying wifi not supported, lol ok. I thought it would be enough to use eGPU setup to restore ports, like asked in the previous post. But just by plugging the eGPU is enough crash the laptop causing black, white screen, also the sleep trick do not work. If you boot with the v8.4d always on, PDT 15/7s/OFF the laptop refuse to boot or loop boot or reboot fine but refuse to recognize the eGPU!
  • I tried also to tape almost all unused pins on the v8.4d connector, same result the laptop crash. The issue came from the PERST pin and the WLAN DISABLE pin, imo, resulting in both white listening the port and crashing the signal on QM77 pci-e lane. If you look the schematics, both WLAN DISABLE are connected to the same EC chip along a signal called GLOBAL WL DISABLE. This EC chips seems take care of starting the white list check sequence and care also a signal that shut down completely the wifi detection on pcb, i think.

 


 

What you need to know to sort it out:

  1. The pci-e wiring scheme seems to use only the lanes 1-4, the lanes 5-8 are unused. Since the laptop is crowded with a lot of stuff connected, only the WLAN slot use a pci-e lane, the WWAN slot instead relies on a sata pci-e lane. So you must connect your eGPU on the WLAN slot and i can't anymore have both wifi and eGPU working together like on the old Dell, sigh. On WWAN slot it did not worked in my tests.
  2. You need to disable the GLOBAL WL DISABLE switch, in few word disable the laptop wifi through the switch near the usb ports on the left. On laptops that do not have this switch but have the signal on the EC chip, it could be nice to try emulate the same thing. Since it seems that even taping the pins leaving only the PERST crash anyway the laptop. So disabling completely the internal wifi work as trick, as it is wrote on the EXP GDC manual: Lenovo Z470 If you encounter a black boot, turn off the wireless NIC hard switch.
  3. As always go into the bios, disable all the things you need to disable to accommodate your eGPU to boot. Connect the eGPU to the laptop firmly, connect your external display or dummy display, boot the eGPU power always on, boot the laptop. The laptop should boot, hang on a bit, shut down, reboot fine and pass the bios screen.
  4. Lunch eGPU setup and check if the eGPU is recognized, if yes, do your usual stuff then chainload windows.

 


 

So far everything is working like before, performances wises, i feel the game play a bit smoother on mafiaIII, even the overall performances are equals to the Dell XPS 15 L502x. What changes is the overall build quality and attached devices quality. I can still slowly upgrade it with the Dell devices where i can.

How it look inside, when i was swapping the cpu. Repasted and remounted, the overall T° are not bad, even better than the XPS15. But running actually with a 65Watt power supply, this could explain the lower cpu-z multi-thread score. I feel the case robust and nice to care with, the Dell was beautiful but more fragile, less bulk/compact inside.

The die size difference between an i7 and i3, sort out who is the i7 2670QM and who is the i3 3110M.

The stuff connected, i had to hold up the connector firmly on the slot, otherwise had detection issues.

The laptop running, in this picture you see only the second screen on the laptop 720p LCD, the main one had valley running, similar trick used with the XPS 15 should apply.

The overall performances on the external, same score, more or less, i see a bit smoother game play. Will test further with a clean install, again!

 

@nando4: So at the end i paid my sins, killing a better laptop easily moddable, replacing it by even cheaper one, not user friendly at all, but i admit i got lucky this time. ^^

Now i don't think the 2x pci-e egpu should be a remarkable thing, was fun, learnt a lot and at the end it should be quite easy for someone who deal with these stuff daily, i'm only a molecular biologist engineer with electronics/computer like passion. Now that said, with this cheap laptop it is even harder to mod the bios unfortunately, don't even know if, even after unlocking the descriptor, the laptop would allow me to flash the ME, without removing the bios chip.

I really didn't found any modded bios for the T530 series, any implementation guide or thread, after that dunno if it is the same as the W550 series. But i saw people having hard time with the mods, so i will need some time to gather info's and go further. The only thing i found is to mod the bios to remove white list and flash it with a SPI programmer.

See here, i'm actually running with the stock v2.54 bios, even scared to update it: Lenovo Custom Bios T530i Stock Bios White list + Flash Bios

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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March 28, 2017 7:44 pm  

Little update on the T530i, default bios when i bought it V2.54, default ME Firmware V8.­1.­0.­1265, both are not the latest revisions.

  • I successfully fitted my old FHD panel coming from the XPS15 removing the old 720p, laptop boot without a mess, the HD3000 manage the panel fine as it should, brightness control is the same as the XPS. It give to the laptop a really nice look. I also swapped the 1600mhz CAS11 memory and the SSD, everything is working fine, the performances are there!

 

  • After swapping everything i started again with a clean install, since this board is based on the QM77 instead of the HM67 + dell drivers, with a full updated win10. Like i wrote in the previous post, i was using the explained trick to allow the eGPU to boot along the laptop, since hot plugging and sleep tricks crashes it! But it didn't work all the time, sometimes you need to reboot the laptop, discharge caps, try a couple of times before it work! Depending the laptop bios mood. So there is something else that make the laptop hang on boot.

 

  • I decided  first to begin to update the Intel ME firmware with the latest, to look forward to maybe mod it, the T530i seems to use the corporate ME firmware instead the consumer one, sure thing since it should aim to business people. So i updated the ME with the latest gave on the lenovo support v8.1.70.1590. USING THE LATEST INTEL CORPORATE ME FIRMWARE coupled with the v2.54 BIOS the laptop REFUSED to boot anymore with the eGPU plugged. Returning you a black screen, no matter what, just having the EXP GDC plugged but not POWERED!!! REFUSED also like before the hotplug.

 

=>With this Intel ME update something changed on the mpci-e boot/detection: even if before playing with the wifi hard switch gave some result, here the laptop just refuse to boot if something is plugged. Since i already covered all unused connectors pins, the issue came from the pins the GDC actually use!!!

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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Yukikaze
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March 28, 2017 8:15 pm  

Doesn't the T530i have an Expresscard slot? You should be able to get an Expresscard cable for the GDC Beast without buying the whole adapter. Granted, that won't be multiple lanes, but it would be a lot more convenient to work with.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
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"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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wimpzilla
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March 28, 2017 9:46 pm  

How to circumvent the cold boot with latest Intel ME firmware and old bios revision like, V2.54, latest v8.1.70.1590 ME, atm i wrote the post, with a EXP GDC [email protected]!

@Yuki: you are right, it was my my last resort yes! Really i felt from high, i understood now that each time i will update something on this laptop, i would create issues! Unfortunately like i wrote in the past post, i paid my sins killing an easy moddable laptop, even it was not entirely my fault. ^^ I can't start again the lane mod on this laptop: since the pci-e configuration is crowded. The first port is wired to the smart card, so i can't do the ME pci-e mod on this port without sacrificing it. The port3 express card is free to get a 2x but sacrificing the ethernet lan controller on port4 cutting the pcb/chip traces! The port 5-8 are not wired, meaning it would required to find the BGA pads, if they came out, under the QM77 and solder there even 4 lanes! Dunno if the BGA pad even possibly came out on the rear pcb, the schematics says "not wired on pcb"! I'm screwed and stuck with 1x unless i decide to kill something on pcb!! ^^

 

  • Like i said before, i taped each unused pins of the GDC connector without any further success to boot. Meaning that the used ones were creating the issue. I though only the PERST pin could give an issue since it is the only pin related with the detection/link activation. Atpoint, bored i tried to plug the GDC connector or powering up the eGPU randomly on boot. I managed in a clumsy way to get it recognized another time but was not able to repeat the successful boot operation!

 

  • I sorted out trying again and again and again, with a shit ton of luck i admit! I was very lucky they pinned the 3.3v on shortest pin of the HDMI connector, dunno if it is a basic specification recommendation. I taped all the unused pins, the renaming ones are the fundamental pins to support pci-e link specifications, but the 3.3v pin. I plugged just a bit the HDMI connector into the GDC when i was trying and got the stuff working surprisingly lol! If the 3.3v, that is wired on the EXP GDC connector and feed the GDC, is cut out, it sort out all the boot issues, the laptop boot right the way with the eGPU connected. This along the WLAN switch disable, didn't tried with the switch enable. If the overall issue is really related the the WLAN EC chip white list at the end, even i was sure to troubleshoot definitely another kind of issue with the stock ME, more than that it was working before the ME patch!

 

  • Atpoint if you are absolutely unable to boot and hotplug the eGPU on your T530i, try to tape the pin2 aka the 3.3v_RUN of the GDC mpci-e connector like this, it solved all my cold boot issues! So this laptop could be again included into the green list with this bios/ME config.

 

Last thing to do is to update the bios to the latest! Really dunno if i should, but what could possibly go worst than the issues i got until now. Performance wise it is very good but i'm stuck with the TDP turbo lock, unlike on the XPS 15, it s**k! I loose 1k pts on cpu-z multi-thread score just playing MafiaIII for 1 min, 4350pts before an heavy load, 3500pts after/during heavy load. The turbo just do not steep up and fix the cpu speed to 2.6Ghz!!! That's why i do not like laptops, it is shame to offer such bad performances on high end i7QM true quad with stock bios/ME! On the XPS 15 with BCLK [email protected] turbo@3.225Ghz constant 4550 pts! Both with the 130Watt power supply, since i modded the dell one to fit with the new mb connector.

So either i just try to update the microcode, latest stock bios (pray),  unlock the ME overclocking stuff, either i just try this UEFI NVRAM patch to unlock features!

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 7, 2017 9:47 pm  

Some updates on the T530i. (DYI only purposes, take it at your own risk)

I finished to update the T530i:

  • I tried to build the IFR.txt and edit the UEFI variables with using the cmd setup_var under EFI shell. I'm not sure i was reading the correct variable values, i.e i read the turbo variable, should be enable x01, but was x00!
  • Updated the bios to the latest version, v2.67.
    • Hopefully everything is working as before with the latest ME. The eGPU boot along the laptop! No significant performances increases.
  • Updated the microcode.
    • Usually it should be included with windows/bios, but who knows! Follow this guide, if you need, Here. Full download pack with both .bin files Here!
  • Modded the ME to set the chipset into oc mode.
    • Again after looking into the schematics, i found 2 point where do the mod. To enable the flash descriptor at the boot, the pin HDA_SDO should asserted up, high. Here a couple of pics to help who need it, pm me for further info will not detail everything. I can again mod the pci-e config along usual ME related stuff.
      • The pcb near the HDA chip, i killed a pad soldering to the wrong point, it stayed attach to the wire, hopefully was a missing component pad. 
      • I found this place easier where to do the mod occasionally if needed. A flying wire glued into the case is enough. The interested part of the QM77. 
      • The job done after a lots of hours spent, mostly to understand really what i was doing and not simply repeat. Success!

 

On overall i got a nice performance gain, now playing MafiaIII 1680*1050 low, cap 60fps. the R9 270 push out a 30fps overall driving with 25fps low. On foot depending the places ranging from 28fps to 50fps. I can say the games is almost smooth and nice, nothing to complain about for 5 years old stuff.

 

  • Some questions and thoughts:
    • I should perform the DSDT and load it with eGPU setup even the laptop install the card straight? Would i get better overall performances allowing more resources?
    • Someone know why people reprogram the Thinkpads laptops bios with fancy ways, couldn't really find the answer, just threads about unsoldering the bios chip or with a programmer?! The bios flash is locked if modded?! Why so difficult stuff to unlock hidden menus?
    • I can't change the cpu TDP lock, it end throttling, with performances like a cpu without turbo! If someone knows how to fix that, with R&W or any software, tool, plz let me know thanks. My cpu-z multithread score steep down from 4500pts to 3800pts just lunching MafiaIII. Throttlestop don't work either!

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 10, 2017 6:53 am  

Update: Another day in hell with IBM/Lenovo, seeking max performances from your video adapter!

  • I noticed i got better performances using only one cable to supply the EXP GDC, it seems the power supply do not gave full current if i split the output into the cpu 4pin and a molex! So i decided to mod the power supply, to finally get rid of all the unused cables. I reused the GDC adapter soldering the merged the 12v/GND lines and cutting the rest but the sense wire. Then i soldered back the power_ok wire to the ground through a resistor! Slewed the cable, much easier to deal with now! 
  • With the power supply now delivering decently the current to the adapter, overclocking the cpu to 104.5mhz bclk, overclocking the R9 290 to 1050/1500mhz, MafiaIII surprisingly ran very well. Running 1680*1050, low, fps cap 60fps, the output is nearly 30+fps driving, on foot, with a decent frametime, the game is smooth and decently playable, happy with the result!
  • Then i decided to mod back the r9 290 bios, since it seems the power supply could handle it maybe, so flashed back the modded bios with 1.255v on VCCD allowing +/- a stable 1150/1550mhz overclock! Bumped the TDP to 115Watt, +/- 20% 96-138Watt!
  • Modding the bios remove the UEFI patch of the vbios!
  • I flashed the card under the EXP GDC adapter, I do not recommend this, you could brick your card, you would need a desktop pc and another card to recover it. But just FYI, it seems to work with the appropriate version of ATIwinflash, the bios get recognized under eGPU setup.

 

=> It ended with the card not recognized again on boot!

  • When i boot, after passing the bios the laptop halt and give me again the error 1808: WLAN whitelist! Do not matter it the WLAN switch is enable/disable, if i cover the 3.3v pin! If i do not cover the 3.3v  pin, got a direct black screen!
  • The eGPU is not recognized if i hotplug it in after the bios boot! It work only if i activate the mpci-e with the WLAN card before on boot, as usual if your mpci-e is blocked as fuck!
  • Then if i hotplug the WLAN, switch, plug the eGPU, i got it recognized under eGPU setup, now prepare to laugh, since the laptop TOLUD is 3.5Gb when i boot under windows, i got the eGPU recognized under error12, L O L! No dGPU, but since the eGPU do not booted along the laptop, the bios could't allocate it anyway, sigh!
  • I can't flash back the default bios, ATIwinflash do not recognize the card under error 12, i'm not sure it is safe to do it under dos, i will try with the eGPU setup dos maybe.

=> At the end of the story, it seems the UEFI vbios is able to get rid of the whitelist, specifying to the UEFI bios the adapter name and type. If i got it well, it is precisely what i removed modding the bios! We should keep this in mind, it could help for further implementations or mod. So the best combo should be UEFI vbios + UEFI only laptop to get rid of  the whitelist, or force to specify the adapter type!

=>I will start again a DSDT and try to load it, i will report back if it work with the modded bios.

TPFAN, a nice tool to manage the thinkpad fan speed.

(This is the last try with this laptop, i admit i got a bit bored, spend more time to get decent performances than to play, with the Dell L502x was plug&play everywhere!)

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 10, 2017 11:51 pm  

The end!

  • I performed the DSDT, loaded it under eGPU setup, ACPI BSOD no matter what! I should have checked the file more carefully but the errors where corrected, maybe the length of the file?! Tried to resolve the compaction in many way, with the auto-chainload, nothing! The main issue/error was like the ssd disappear during the compaction.
  • I used this tool GOPupd to restore successfully the UEFI module of the modded vbios. Unfortunately it didn't work anyway. I mean it work fine on my desktop, but not on the laptop on boot. This other tool may help some others, powerfull tool to update UEFI modules with the last ones available UBU.
  • Messing around when i was restoring the stock UEFI vbios, i flashed the wrong one, with elpida memory instead hynix.

=> End of the story, restoring the good wrong stock vbios allowed the eGPU to boot along the laptop, but obviously BSOD during the driver install due to the wrong memory tables! ^^

I got satisfied from the results at the end like i wrote in the previous post, pushing more seems always bring mess and often far away from my knowledge, unfortunately.


 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 15, 2017 9:33 am  

The end, not so much! When the hardware work but the software not! AMD HDMI High definition Audio, Intel HD3000 and AMD eGPU performances! EDITED III

  • Well at the end i discovered my windows install was not the best and creating issues, even after the update. I thought about after, i modded the ME and updated the bios, but didn't did a clean install behind, so it would explain the few bugs i got, i.e the multithread score drop and bad power management. So this time i wasn't lazy, made a new usb key with GTP partition for full UEFI install. Installed a basic .iso of win10 under UEFI partition. Then used the Microsoft MediaCreationTool, to update to the latest. Everything went surprisingly smooth, drivers install were easier, again astonished how fast the laptop is!

 

  • When trying to solve and troubleshoot the x360CE issue. Since i was misusing x360CE too, i reconfigured it in the good way. Before it, i tried the almost everything technique, since i'm bad software side to solve the issues i got first and stumbled on a nice issue regarding the AMD HDMI Audio.
    • I notice under MafiaIII the frame time was really poor, i felt the gpu freely computing the amount of frame it could depending the load, i understand a R9 270 is completely fulled by the game, that's why i get it. But the frametime was poor, the delay between frames was bad even with 30/40fps. Since it is a ported game the smoothness is calibrated to low fps i.e fps cap 30fps, if the frametime is good as well the refresh rate of the monitor.
      • The feeling is a slow and heavy game even you notice the gpu compute decently the frames! It feel more a bandwidth issue than gpu/cpu horsepower issue, especially when you go down with the resolution but this feeling do not change.

 

  • So i went to disable the AMD HDMI Audio Device and Bus, get back nice performances gain, especially regarding the frametime, i finally felt that what was going on the screen is the actual fps computed by the gpu/cpu depending the game load! So dunno if mine is a single spot issue, or this would apply to all eGPU AMD cards!!!!! I would suggest to other AMD card users to try and report back any fps/frametime improvement.
  • I further noticed that disabling the HD3000 free some power consumption TDP within the cpu, or just remove some conflict somewhere, dunno. Giving you back better in game performance, as far i can notice. It is always good to give it a try!

 

  • At the end this is my gaming sequence lunch, a bit boring, but it ensure a stable game play for hours without crash, max performances. I also get bored with the turbo TDP lock and went into the bios to disable the CPU power management. Sometimes i enable it back, seems no real big difference, the cpu TDP is locked to 38.5/39Watt!!!!
    • Laptop rebooted with 104.5mhz BCLK, stable 2.712Ghz oc when under full load, multi x26. Disabled HDMI Audio Device. Disabled iGPU HD3000.
    • Disable antivirus real time protection
    • Disable further AMD HDMI Bus
    • Lunch TPfans full speed
    • Lunch Throttlestop set Chipset Clock Modulation 100%, C1E only without monitoring
    • Lunch MSI Afterburner, set up OSD infos
    • Set the gpu to 1050/1500mhz/TDP+20%/60%Fan, Set the Texture Filtering into AMD control panel to performances
    • Lunch the game
    • When into the game Alt+Tab, Task manager, check if anything is eating resources, come back gaming!
    • Win10 Game Mode enable but Xbox stuff disabled. 

 

I ended up playing with 1280*720 resolution low details fps uncapped. Constant 30FPS +/- even when driving full speed in crowded city places, now i'm even very very astonished of the output under an badly optimized and heavy game like MafiaIII. Very impressive for a low end gpu and an old laptop!

As far i can say the gaming experiences is smooth (except car driving in the middle of the city at night, the cpu and gpu can't follow) for this resolution and graphics! I ended up playing a game that had just testing purposes!

I will install msi afterburner to overclock the gpu a bit more if i can, since can't use a modded bios, will record some data and some in game bench and edit the post.

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 23, 2017 12:29 pm  

In game benchmark update to the previous post! The game ran with the gaming sequence stated in the previous post! Disabling Intel HD3000 iGPU.

 

  • MafiaIII 1280*720 Low Details AVG 30/35FPS: Keep in mind that MafiaIII is an open world game very heavy cpu/hardware side, it is hard to bench since not all the part of the city are homogeneous sharing the same framerate, there is even a bigger difference between day/night/car/foot framerate, it is worth to mention. The pics represent more or less 20min of game play and missions with various scenario around the city, on vehicle/foot.     
  • MafiaIII 1280*720 Low Details: I disabled completely not only the HDMI Audio Device and Intel HD3000, but also the HDMI Bus itself. I felt the game play even smother and will use this setting, the best i could find at the moment to boost as much i can the locked cpu performances. The framerate drop less when the cpu usage goes up, even with a bit worst frametime!                                      
  • MafiaIII 1366*768 Low Details AVG 30FPS: The game is playable, smooth enough without too much stutter. Especially if the game bring you a bit out of the city, where there is less physics/graphics, like in this benchmark picture. The only real game smoothness issue, is when driving! Same overall setting as before.                            
  • MafiaIII 1920*1080 Low Details AVG 25FPS: 1080p is too much, imo, for the setup, either been bandwidth/cpu bottleneck. I mean you feel the game is playable and it is, but 17/20FPS Low when it drop really deteriorate the game play and smoothness. Not saying that pushing over 25/30FPS in 1080p is bad, the opposite, it mean you can at least play AAA games sacrificing details over framerate and frametime. That said if you are a real gamer that enjoy games, the eGPU solution offer you a cheap way to achieve overall good results!!             

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
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April 25, 2017 2:47 pm  

In game benchmark update to the previous post! The game ran with the gaming sequence stated in the previous post! Disabling Intel HD3000 iGPU.

 

  • Resident Evil 7 1920*1080 Low Details: Here the opposite of MafiaIII, to bring you a complete example of performances and frametime, so you can analyze yours. This game is poorly cpu dependent, as far i played all the game scene were inside, really smooth game play. So you can assess easily the gpu and bandwidth bottleneck. Keep in mind that even if a small increment, on SB/YB the BCLK clock is still linked to the pci-e clock, so my results can differ because of chipset/Bclk set into oc mode through ME!!                                        

 

  • Resident Evil 7 1920*1080 Low Textures/AA/Shadows/Ambient Oclusion, Rest Maxed details: The games allow you to easily tune your setting to achieve a decent FPS/frametime output against nice details. As i said, i use MafiaIII as demanding bench, RE7 game play result reflect perfectly the good overall output in MafiaIII. You can see cards like a R9 270 shine under these conditions, the game is simply smooth.

 

  • Same stuff here but with the the HDMI Audio disabled:

 



 

  • I tried back to use the internal screen, since the game is fairly light and seems run fine on the external. Keep in mind i disabled my HD3000.
    • To get the internal work you only need a dummy resistor and i think the Fn overlay buttons from Lenovo driver.
    • Just boot your eGPU as usual into windows, plug in your dummy resistor, scan for the dummy screen into the device manager.
    • Switch you display mode into Duplicate Screen using the Fn+F7
    • Lunch your game
    • Alt+Tab, change display mode again Fn+F7 and came back on Secondary Display Only or Extended. The primary should be the dummy display.
    • Came back to your game, adjunct full/windowed screen, in my case under RE7 i can go full screen 1600*1200!

 

  • 1600*1200 Internal Low Genral Detail: Just to show the internal screen performances, i did not try to tweak. Just snapshot running around in a room then stopping and staring at a wall. To show the frametime difference, obviously it feel laggy, i didn't even tried to out of the room, but more or less it should be the same FPS output. 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
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Posts: 378
May 3, 2017 6:34 pm  

New toy brought back to life from a thrash can, insight into a Dell e6320 and EXP GDC [email protected] 270!

 

  • Got this Dell e6320 from a thrash can, with broken screen, no audio, no HDD, turbo/cpu/general performances issues. Schematics
    • Got a cheap second hand 1378*766 spare screen form 30 bucks with a couple of dead pixels! Added 8GO of 1333Mhz DDR3!
    • Fixed the cpu/turbo issue, modded ME, modded NVRAM under EFI shell. Updated to bios to the A19 revision, ME to the latest Corporate revision!
    • Full win10 creator updated [email protected]@Dead 500Go 7200Rpm [email protected] AMD Relive drivers.
    • 130Watt genuine Dell power supply.
    • EXP GDC [email protected] [email protected] 2 taped(isolated)@mpci-e [email protected] 2.0!
    • Completely unmounted/cleaned/repasted, modded some heatsink/thermal pads on VRM!

 

  • DIY mods thoughts:
  1. Even with the ME mod, the laptop refuse to have his BCLK changed!!! Dunno how, but this is the first time i mod the ME, even deeper mod under FITC and still the cpu refuse any overclock. Dunno why, tried a lot, with different XTU versions, again atpoint it goes far beyond my knowledge.
  2. Same thing with the NVRAR setup_var EFI bios settings. I dumped the bios, extracted the IFR.txt file, edited the variable settings checking if the EFI shell returned back decent register values. It was the case, i felt the laptop giving me back the right values for the different variable setting! However even if the changes were saved, i did not noticed any changes/improvement under windows, no TDP/MSR unlock! Again i maybe missed something.
  3. The laptop and logic board are well done/packed, Complal inside, the i5 2520M is soldered to the motherboard, coupled to a QM67 chipset and a 5MB corporate Intel ME. With an extended pci-e config, with 3 mpci-e port allowing the 4x pci-e mod. Most interesting part is the EC build, with two SMSC EC instead of the common ITE one. I only suppose the the whole laptop is controlled by these two chip denying any mod, unfortunately also, the EC mod go beyond my knowledge!
  4. I got no luck solving quickly the audio issue, the IDT audio controller is not detected into the device manager, only a basic HD audio device! I suppose the chip itself or something near by is dead. I tried to disconnect a couple of audio related things, nothing. Reflowed a bit the chip, nothing! The laptop run without any issues but sound! I will not leverage the whole audio diagram wiring part!

 

  • eGPU thoughts:
  1. The EXP GDC mpci-e connector have the pin2 isolated/taped
  2. Booting the laptop with the eGPU and EXP GDC v8.4d already powered ON, PDT 15s do not give back any issue!
  3. The bios setting for the gpu boot is set auto into the bioswith extended options that include PCI/External!
  4. The e6320 switch automatically to the mpci-e eGPU, the built in laptop LCD screen stay dark. The windows boot appear on the external monitor only.
  5. The eGPU is recognized straight into windows, the iGPU HD3000 is automatically disabled and not present into the device manager!!!
  6. Install the AMD drivers, reboot, job done!
  7. The build in LCD screen do not work with an eGPU configuration, in my case!!!!
  8. The laptop is clearly fast and responsive, even with an HDD. Show good perfs under CPU-Z benchmark. Overall the laptop feel solid and perform well!

 

  • Result:

 

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
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Posts: 378
May 5, 2017 12:04 pm  

New toy brought back to life from a thrash can, insight into a Dell e6320 and EXP GDC [email protected] [email protected] Bench!

 

  • A couple of considerations 1st!
    • CPU: I7 2670 vs I5 2520, both cpu share the same IPC (Instruction per Clock) but the I5 deliver half of the CPU-Z multithread being a dual core!
    • Newer CPU show a 25/30% IPC gain compared to the old SB, at the same clock!
    • QM67 vs Qm77, don't think it would drive the performances difference, but still good to precise it.
    • 8GB 1600Mhz vs 8GB 1333Mhz, here to i don't think it impact much on overall performances.
    • SSD vs HDD, from 300/500 Mo/s to a basic 80/110 Mo/s from a old 2.5" 7200rps HDD. It could impact also but do not think is the major issue.
    • Game setting LOW Uncapped FPS, 1270*720 resolution, R9 270 overclocked as same as before, same win10 updated version, last Relive Drivers.

 

 

  • What to conclude!
    • The average FPS is 25FPS, but dig into 18/20FPS when under stress, max FPS 40FPS, playable but meh!
    • Even with lower FPS i got a better overall frametime, the game is laggy but not stutter to much compared to the Lenovo T530i that suffer the TDP lock under heavy load.
    • The eGPU utilization DO NOT REACH 100%!
    • The major issue here is the CPU bottleneck, it is an old but solid dual core but still, even with the last Intel dual core and 30% IPC gain, i don't think it could recover more than 5/10FPS ingame.
    • The CPU utilization cap almost 80/100%, clearly the bottleneck there, fit well since the quad as 60/70% utilization.
    • The only real issue on MafiaIII is when driving, as explained before, since it required higher computation power to update the world physics. The foot game play is fine, especially in closed places.
    • I did not bother to try 1080p, because the performances will scale in the same way than my previous bench with thge quad core.
    • On overall in game, i got half of the performances confirming the previous data with the quad.

 

  • Conclusions:
    1. After all these bench and personal experiences, what really matter IMO with an eGPU solution, is the hardware itself, laptops are the same of desktops, but with locked performances. Your eGPU experience is PRIMARY depending of your hardware AND THEN by the bandwidth available to your gpu! FPS/Frametime = CPU+GPU computation! If the bandwidth allow 30fps at a definite resolution but your CPU/hardware can't keep these 30FPS, the bandwidth overhead became useless!
    2. Do not believe the basic benchmarks and basic average fps in game! They do not reflect effectively the in game experience, these bench are badly done, if you want troubleshoot your eGPU performances use MSI afterburner and look for the general laptop performances. Frametime, Framedrop/Framedip, Max/Min fps and then average FPS. A graph showing an 50FPS average could be explained in two ways: the FPS will spike/drop anyway providing stutters and lag depending the hardware performances or your hardware is good enough to remove these variations and effectively keep 50FPS stable even under heavy load.
    3. Obviously this apply much more to old systems and for people that have a cheap budget but still wanted to get a decent game experience on 1080p. Newer systems will suffer less for sure, no doubt about it. Do not bother to read this if you are a fancy 1070/1080 owner, removing hardware bottleneck spending more than 300/500$ is not the good way to go. These bench aimed to highlight performances on cheap and old systems.

 

  • Advices:
    • Get a decent CPU Quad core, even old. From the 2nd Generation of Intel cpu know as Sandy Bridge and up, avoid if you can the 1st gen coming from Nehalem architecure.
    • Do not bother to look for the turbo MAX boost but the turbo BASE boost clock. At least 3.0Ghz on four cores under BASE clock would be nice.
    • Prefer laptops with modded bios or the ones you know you could unlock the TDP features. This impact a lot on laptop performances.
    • Prefer an SSD and get at least decent RAM.
    • Monitor your CPU t°.
    • Avoid to use any high end gpu beyond to GTX 1060/1070, RX480/580, especially on a pci-e 1x and basic dual core laptop.
    • Avoid to use lower end gpu than a GTX 960/970, R9 280.

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
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Joined: 2 years  ago
Posts: 378
June 2, 2017 9:58 am  

Some insight into an ASUS Pro P2530UA eGPU wise!!

 

  • I got under my hands on this entry level ASUS P2530UA based on:
    • Intel I5 6200U
    • Skylake PCH
    • 4GB of DDR4 2133Mhz
    • 5400Rpm 500GB HDD
    • No dGPU, iGPU HDXXX
    • Basic locked bios

 

  • Review were not friendly on performances wise, i can completely agree and can give some insight why:
    • Swap the low 5400Rpm HDD for an SSD, you will recover the expected performances from this entry level laptop, the HDD bottleneck the performances.
    • Add 2GB of DDR4, Win10 will thanks you.
    • Perform a full clean install of Win10, the laptop is shipped with an Win7 to Win10 upgrade, the MB CDKEY support a full Win10 install.

 

  • Some insight if you want "test and try" an EXP GDC eGPU adapter:
    • Removing the basic back cover do not give access to the mpci-e connectors, only the HDD and the RAM can be swapped.
    • Once the back cover fully removed, some screws and plastic clips near the battery, you can access to the MB. Not so hard to do, just be careful with the plastic clips, then the cover came out easily.
    • The MB have a single NGFF/M2.E Key connector for the wireless card, double check anyway the connector type.
    • I can't unfortunately test it with the R9 270 mpci-e, so i can't say if it will work!
    • Remember that the Cpu is a dual core, so do not expect games sky rock if it work, so good so far for the bucks spent, as always!

 

  • Here some pictures of the MB for who need them to check the connector:

 

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
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Joined: 2 years  ago
Posts: 378
June 8, 2017 5:36 pm  

Essential component of any eGPU setup, the Power Supply. An alternative to the Dell DA-2/3, Named Desktop power supply!!

 

The power supply is an important piece of any eGPU setup, decent, stable, reliable power source matter for the gpu. Where big enclosures can relies on good named desktop psu, portable setups relies only on a few good named power brick.

The Xbox360 203Watt power supply is a very good example and a cheap alternative to the Dell DA-2/3 or mini-itx psu.

  • The Xbox360 power supply are rated 120/150/175/203Watt, outputting 10/12/14/16A on 12V rail. The most powerful ones are also the oldest ones!
  • Very good circuit/pcb protection with fault detection led, built to be reliable against shorts. Built by Delta.
  •  Heavy heat sink actively cooled, good component quality, good build, good pcb traces, reliable/stable current, powerful!
  • Easy to mod, provide 12V1 16A, 12V2 low current,  5Vsb 1A stand-by mode, can be booted by other sources, not so heavy but bulky, relatively quiet.

 

  • This is the model rated 16.5A, here a look at the wiring setup, please consider that other model could not have the low current rail wires:
    • 3x 12v big yellow high current wire
    • 1x 12v small yellow low current wire
    • 3x GDN big black high current wire
    • 1x GND small black low current wire
    • 1x 5Vsb big red wire
    • 1x PSW big blue wire

     

 

  • Configuring the power supply is easy, there is plenty of guides :
    • The power switch Blue wire will turn ON the psu when a signal is supplied to it, ranging from 1.5v to 5v 1A max i guess.
    • Just by connecting the 5Vsb Red wire to the Blue switch wire will turn ON the psu. But you can also connect this blue wire to something that want to boot the psu.
    • You can also put a switch near the led, between the Blue/Red wire, to power up the psu on demand. In my case the psu is always powered ON when plugged to the wall.
    • Gather together the 3x 12v BIG Yellow wires and the 3x GND BIG Black wires, these are your mains!
    • ISOLATE the SMALL Yellow/Black wires if you do not plan to use the low current rail, you could even not found these wires in other models.
    • The 5Vsb Red wire provide 5V 1A, use a GND from BIG Black wire to build a connector. Remember it is Always On as Stand by. I did not used the 5Vsb rail.

 

  

 

  • I finally tested the power supply:
    • Overclocked the R9 270 1050/1500Mhz, 20% TDP boost.
    • Ran a couple of Heaven to stress the gpu, then game bench.
    • Let the setup stand for a while, then sleep/wake.
    • 12V is pretty stable 12.38v when the system boot, 12.06v when under load with my R9 270.

 

 

Hope it help, i think the benching will stop here for the moment, until i get my hand on a newer laptop and newer eGPU solution. I'm enjoying my setup enough for the price.

This couple of month in this forum, with this eGPU solution highlighted me a lot thanks you to all forum members, now i clearly know what to buy, to get a almost perfect eGPU solution under PCI-e link.

I was missing the laptop hardware part, this have been fixed, so my knowledge now extend to gaming under Desktops and Laptops solutions, Thanks you again!

 

AGAIN, Thanks for read, remember like i wrote before, this thread have DIY/instructive purpose only, i'm not responsible of anything/anyhow you do on your own hardware!

 

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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