Looking for advice or opinions on setup - Thinkpad P71 i7-7820HQ with eGPU 1070TI
I'm new to this forum, but I have been browsing around on the site.
I've been curious about eGPUs for a while, because I have a pretty old desktop that I use for gaming, but a good work Laptop.
My setup at home, is so I can easily switch between my desktop and my laptop and they share mouse, keyboard, screens and other peripherals.
Desktop PC: i7-2600K / 16GB 1300MHZ RAM / Asus ROG 1070TI / Asus P8Z68-V / Corsair AX860i PSU
Work laptop: i7-7820HQ / 32GB 2400Mhz RAM / Nvidia Quadro P3000
Screens: 2x Thinkvision P27h-10 (QHD 60Hz)
I don't have mega requirements for gaming since my screen is 60Hz and it's mostly old or light games like Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, Apex Legends. Visuals do matter to me and I prefer being able to set graphic settings to high and run them at QHD at 60Hz.
Nvidia Quadro P3000 is pretty terrible for gaming, so I have still been using my desktop. However, I think my desktop motherboard finally turned in. (RIP)
So now I need to consider whether to spend a sizable amount of money getting a new Motherboard (which also requires new RAM and CPU), get a eGPU cabinet for my 1070TI for the laptop, or just accept the ~40Hz my P3000 can provide.
I was hoping for some advice or opinions on whether I would see any meaningful performance upgrade from going eGPU 1070TI compared to my P3000 running on 60Hz monitors at QHD resolution.
If it's relevant my P71 has 2x Thunderbolt 3 (15D2) ports.
Thanks in advance!
Hello and welcome to the forum!
There is a good argument to be made to upgrade your desktop. Not only will you see the best performance, but you currently have the most expensive component (graphics card) ready to go. A 10th or 11th Generation Intel i5 CPU (such as the 10400f), entry level motherboard and 16GB of RAM are faily cheap in comparison, and will outperform your 2600K by an extensive margin.
The eGPU is a good idea, as you have a fairly powerful Thunderbolt equipped laptop. You would definitely see a performance increase from a P3000 to a 1070Ti in a Thunderbolt enclosure, but how well it performs might be dependant on your laptop's implementation of Thunderbolt 3. Older generations of the Thunderbolt Controller are embedded onto the motherboard of the device, and performance can vary depending on how well the chip is cooled. Modern Thunderbolt Controllers are embedded into the CPU architecture and often perform far better in comparison. There is no absolute way to describe what kind of performance you will get with an eGPU without testing it with your system.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for the perspective and considerations, I very much appreciate it.
I suppose it mainly boils down to an economic decision and whether the choice is "good enough". Generally, I prefer making purchases for long term, finding that sweet spot between the hardware being future proof but not so high end that the prices explode.
I'll admit that I did not really consider an entry level motherboard and just going cheap ram, because I was very focused on future proofing it. But you make a good point, that it will be better than my previous dinosaur regardless.
With my line of work, I'm pretty much guaranteed a decent workstation, which is why the eGPU concept is very appealing for a long term solution. (along with the fact that I already have the graphics card)
I have no clue or reference for eGPU performance on my machine, but in general I am very pleased with the performance. The P71 chassis is massive and the cooling works flawlessly for the CPU and dGPU. The copper cooling lines are huge and I have never seen either CPU or GPU above 60°C when rendering CAD models or running games.
What you describe with the Thunderbolt controller being external and requiring cooling. Is it only cooling that can bottleneck or should I expect a performance loss just from the fact that it is external?
Thank you for the proposals for eGPU docks. However, currently there are quite a few used eGPU stations for sale in my vicinity; ASUS ROG XG Station Pro, Razer Core X, Sonnet Breakaway 550 and HP Omen Accelerator. All of them in the same price range of the ones you have proposed, so that would probably be my go-to if I were to try TB3 eGPU.
You will receive a performance loss from both a lack of cooling (if applicable) and from it being external.
If you were happy with your desktop, I would just upgrade it. It will only ever be better than it was.