2015 15" Dell XPS 9550 GTX960M + GTX970@16Gbps-TB3 (Powercolor Devil Box) + Win10 [KOAO]^  

 

KOAO
 KOAO
(@koao)
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Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 9
May 13, 2017 7:31 am  

Alright, so I managed to snag a Powercolor Devil Box for way less than MSRP. I was actually not planning on using it, but my Desktop decided that it no longer was for this world and decided to ‘An Hero’ itself, so why not see how using one device for everything goes?

The Laptop

 

Dell XPS 15 9550

  •        Intel i7 6700HQ
  •         16GB RAM
  •        Intel 530/Nvidia GTX 960m
  •         15” 4K display
  • eGPU Enclosure
  • Powercolor Devil Box.
  • MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G
  • Dell U2717H
  • Dell St2010F

Setup

So that other’s don’e have the same issue I did, here is my streamlined setup process.

  • Update Dell Thunderbolt Drivers.
  • Run DDU, reinstall dGPU latest Drivers straight from Nvidia.
  • Plug in enclosure.
  • Ignore many warnings.
  • Run the Firmware Update for the enclosure, and reboot.
  • Install Drivers for the GPU in the enclosure.
  • Then plug in external monitors
  • ???
  • Profit

I jumped into a few snags on the way, mainly that the enclosure needed Firmware that Powercolor decided to NOT provided on their site at all. A fellow reddit user was able to throw the firmware my way, but if anyone plans on using the enclosure and runs into the same problem, here is the firmware for it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/eGPU/comments/5w2npj/fresh_devilbox_firmware_update/

Now, unlike some people who have posted their eGPU setups I actually plan to use mine to game on. So here are the games I am going to test.

    • Rocket League
    • Battlefield 1
    • Players Unknown Battleground
    • Overwatch
    • GTA V

and CEMU

Having used it since Monday, I had to spend an additional $55 because that .5M cable the include is criminally short. Aside that, and an hour or so of figuring out Thunderbolt issues it was mostly plug and play. Nvidia’s optimus does a fantastic job of automatically switching between the 970 in the Enclosure and the 960m when unplugging it.

Its not all rainbows and unicorns though. First of all, the wallpaper on the display for the laptop is in FHD, and this is a 4K display…yeah. Another snag is the fact I needed to install additional programs onto the laptop that I had on my desktop, that isn’t a point against the enclosure but it is annoying. What is annoying are the fans, and that is a point I am knocking against the Devil Box. Its loud, really loud. To give you some insight, my Desktop had a Zalman CPU ball cooler that ran at full tilt all the time, and that was somewhat loud. These fans in the enclosure are twice as loud, even when I put on my Arctis 7 headset on. Another snafu is the 3 USB ports on the back. Yes, there is a USB-C port for a dongle but I would have love 1 more USB-A Port for my external drives. And I can’t reboot the laptop straight to the eGPU. I have to be logged in already, then it will display to the external displays. Boo…

Hot Plugging works whenever the laptop is in the mood, and wake from sleep displays black screens causing me to reboot to fix.

Games testing.

For Reference, my Desktop had an AMD FX 8350 and the same GTX 970 with 16GB of RAM.

The first game I tested was Player’s unknown Battleground. A Hunger Games style shooter that is in early access and it shows. On my Desktop, it ran at an underwhelming 26-32.4 FPS according to Afterburner. On the Laptop alone…it ran around 27-30 flat. With support from the eGPU, the laptop was running the game around 45-60 FPS. With the Desktop on Medium, the Laptop alone on High and the Laptop + eGPU on High. In fact, it was such an improvement I managed to finish in the top 5 for the first time ever, using this setup….weird. 

 

The next Game is Rocket League…not very intensive. It ran the same on all three setups the same. 75 FPS.

 Update on Rocket League, it seems that Rocket League is having issues, as the game dips below 60FPS to the mid 30’s for some insane reason. This makes it worse than my desktop if this doesn’t get resolved soon.

GTA V came after that. The fans inside the enclosure decided to have a competition to see who was the loudest for whatever reason at this point. I have posted screenshots of the settings for the Laptop + eGPU setup. The Laptop alone would do around 30-45 on medium, and the Desktop would do around 40-60 on high depending on Factors such as Lighting, actions, the Computer’s mood, etc. 

The eGPU did well. Really well….As in, it never dipped below 60FPS regardless of what I did. I even Crashed a jet into a Cargobob, which results in dropped frames on the Laptop alone and the Desktop. Nope, stayed at 60 all the way.

Here are the settings, from inside the game. 

 

GTA eGPU 3
GTA eGPU 2
GTA eGPU 1

Battlefield 1 and Overwatch I won’t be able to test because that needs to be reinstalled on the SSD, despite the fact I pulled this SSD with all the games on it anyway. So that will hopefully be soon. 

And, as a bonus, here is my setup. Two monitors, a Logitech G602 Wireless Mouse, a Black Dell Bigfoot (AT101W) and a Speaker bar I bought from Fry’s for around $10

I think that’s all that I can cover. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

 

Though before anyone asks…

  • No, I have not tried gaming on the internal display yet. At first I thought it would be cool, but since I have a dedicated Keyboard and mouse, gaming on a display smaller than the length of my keyboard doesn’t seem to sit right with me.
  • No, I have not run any synthetic Benchmarks. Those numbers mean nothing to me because those aren’t in real world use. It can have the highest numbers in the world (Unlikely because of the TB 3 x2 lanes on the XPS 15 but lets say hypothetically) but if it runs my games like dog poo, then its all invalid.

     

     

    Also. here is this bonus screenshot from Nvidia’s GPU Activity App. 

    eGPU 3

 

Edited: 9 months  ago

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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 1580
May 13, 2017 8:11 am  

KOAO, than you for posting your implementation. Would you like to add a CUDA-Z eGPU run as well?  The Devil Box not as yet with a TI83 H2D firmware fix. REF:  https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/alert-akitio-node-half-h2d-bandwidth-issue/

xenoshround noted CUDA-Z performance improvements on his TB2 Macbook upon applying a H2D firmware fix to his Node which we’d expect would be similar to your 2-lane TB3 arrangement:

Note that with the Node H2D firmware and the TB3->TB2 did improve from ~1100MiB/s to between ~1300 and 1400 MiB/s using CUDA-Z (i wish i had screenshots from before and after)

 

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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KOAO
 KOAO
(@koao)
Active Member
Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 9
May 13, 2017 8:51 am  
Posted by: nando4

 

KOAO, than you for posting your implementation. Would you like to add a CUDA-Z eGPU run as well?  The Devil Box not as yet with a TI83 H2D firmware fix. REF:  https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/alert-akitio-node-half-h2d-bandwidth-issue/

xenoshround noted CUDA-Z performance improvements on his TB2 Macbook upon applying a H2D firmware fix to his Node which we’d expect would be similar to your 2-lane TB3 arrangement:

Note that with the Node H2D firmware and the TB3->TB2 did improve from ~1100MiB/s to between ~1300 and 1400 MiB/s using CUDA-Z (i wish i had screenshots from before and after)

 

   

I would be more than happy to do so, but every time I try running CUDA-Z, I get this error 

X

 


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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 1580
May 13, 2017 9:22 pm  

Pls disable your dGPU, then connect your eGPU. CUDA-Z doesn’t properly handle multiple active Nvidia cards.

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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KOAO
 KOAO
(@koao)
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Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 9
May 14, 2017 1:58 am  
Posted by: nando4

 

Pls disable your dGPU, then connect your eGPU. CUDA-Z doesn’t properly handle multiple active Nvidia cards.

   

OK, I did it. Though I don’t have a TI82 Enclosure, here is my CUDA-Z Results. 

CUDA Z


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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined:1 year  ago
Posts: 1580
May 14, 2017 2:17 am  

KOAO, your CUDA host-to-device is underperforming by 200-300MiBs. You would need a Devil Box firmware fix to correct that.

REF:  https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/alert-akitio-node-half-h2d-bandwidth-issue/

eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference TableeGPU Setup 1.35


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KOAO
 KOAO
(@koao)
Active Member
Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 9
May 14, 2017 3:42 am  
Posted by: nando4

 

KOAO, your CUDA host-to-device is underperforming by 200-300MiBs. You would need a Devil Box firmware fix to correct that.

REF:  https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/alert-akitio-node-half-h2d-bandwidth-issue/

   

I see. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I will see if I contact Powercolor to provide update firmware to fix this, because as of now there is little support from their end that I can see.


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troywright
(@troywright)
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Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 17
May 14, 2017 7:50 am  

good to see you got it up and running eventually! 


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KOAO
 KOAO
(@koao)
Active Member
Joined:11 months  ago
Posts: 9
May 14, 2017 8:50 pm  
Posted by: troywright

 

good to see you got it up and running eventually! 

   

Thanks! It was hell at first, but a quick install of the firmware and it now works…though the only issues are wake from sleep and hot plugging sometimes.


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rogue0tter
(@rogue0tter)
New Member
Joined:8 months  ago
Posts: 1
July 10, 2017 6:01 pm  

Is there any way you could post a little more indepth rundown on your process? I have an XPS 9550 and no idea what im doing


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(@kartikeya_mishra)
New Member
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 3
January 12, 2018 10:05 pm  

How do u update the eGPUs fimrware? Everytime I try to launch it the program crashes. Also, Im running it on a razer blade stealth 2016.


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