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Dell XPS 15 9560 + Asus ROG XG Station 2 = a tragic love story
 

Dell XPS 15 9560 + Asus ROG XG Station 2 = a tragic love story  

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jackeyjoe
(@jackeyjoe)
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Hi all, as some of you already know, I'm the guy from reddit who has spent a heap of money to become the guinea pig for you all, I purchased both a 9560 and XG station. As the XG Station has a TI83 chip, I am reasonably sure that is why it doesn't want to play nice with the 9560, which 'doesn't support external gpu's'. So at this point, if you have any questions, or even a potential solution for me(which would be AWESOME, but from my reading seems very unlikely) I'd love to hear it. Links to the /r/egpu thread  for anybody interested in seeing what I've already done, and created a thread in the dell subreddit in the hopes of getting some answers about these devices not having official egpu support.

 

A question that I have been meaning to ask, should the TI83 still work if I plug in another PCIe device(aka a wifi card) or will it still block it if egpu's aren't supported by the PC? If it should work, could that point to a fault of some kind in the GPU dock?

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


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nando4
(@nando4)
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The behaviour you are reporting is exactly the same as the TI83-based AKiTiO Node did prior to a wonder firmware update. Powercolor Devil Box users also experiencing detection issues depending on whether they have an older or newer unit: https://www.reddit.com/r/eGPU/comments/5pde9h/alert_does_not_work_powercolor_devil_box_dell_xps/

It would make sense then that either the NVM on the 9560 needs to add eGPU support or the XG2 needs a firmware updated, like the Node, to unblock eGPUs. https://www.akitio.com/firmware/node-firmware

 

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@jackeyjoe like Nando said Thunderbolt firmware update on the Asus ROG XG Station would be the most likely outcome to resolve this incompatibility with your XPS 9560.

I was stuck in the same issue with the XPS 9350 (Thunderbolt Controller 1575) + the AKiTiO Node for a while. Then AKiTiO released a Thunderbolt firmware update to specifically add compatibility for hosts that are not currently supporting eGPU (per Intel Thunderbolt Software).

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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jackeyjoe
(@jackeyjoe)
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Recieved an interesting reply from Asus support re: adding support

It is not that we do not want to, this is more to we are unable to. As I have mentioned in the initial email, there is a total of 5 Thunderbolt 3 controllers from Intel, each require different firmware build to work with external GPU. This can only be supplied by the host vendor, as incorrect firmware will cause the controller to malfunction.

The other part is the system BIOS for that system. This again can only be supplied by the host machine vendor, as we won't have their BIOS source code and secure boot key to build or modify BIOS for you. The driver I have provided is working driver to allow full functionality on the host system if the firmware and BIOS are ready to support external GPU. If your host system vendor cannot help you with that request, it just cannot support external GPU, regardless whichever vendor's external GPU enclosure you choose to purchase.

Please kindly consult your host system vendor for support on the Thunderbolt 3 firmware and BIOS end, and we will be more than happy to support you for the rest. 

If it's running off the same thunderbolt controller as the node and devil box, I wonder why they are saying they can't provide a firmware update to add support?

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


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itsage
(@itsage)
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The Thunderbolt firmware needs to be certified by Intel. Asus’ current firmware for the ROG Station 2 specifically checks whether the host has support for external GPU. If it says NO in the Intel Thunderbolt Software, it’s no go regardless which Thunderbolt Controller the computer has.

At this point, you can hope for either Dell to release a Thunderbolt firmware with eGPU support or Asus to release a Thunderbolt firmware which work with hosts that has no eGPU support.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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nando4
(@nando4)
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Posted by: jackeyjoe

 

Recieved an interesting reply from Asus support re: adding support

If it’s running off the same thunderbolt controller as the node and devil box, I wonder why they are saying they can’t provide a firmware update to add support?   

Back to the old days of vendors trying to get you to buy a solution.. the ASUS notebook + eGPU enclosure, the Razer notebook + Razer Core.

I’d suggest get a refund for the XG2 and wait for AKiTiO EXP which will presumably have that same magic firmware allowing huge compatibility like their Node received. The EXP overcoming the Node’s charging and port configuration shortcomings: https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/akitio-exp-tb3-egpu-enclosure/

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table


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jackeyjoe
(@jackeyjoe)
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@itsage

Chances are either would take a significant amount of time. I still have a desktop, although I was planning on selling it, I may as well keep it until a configuration with both the laptop and eGPU that I like is known to work. Both don't seem to be making compatibility a priority(unlike what we've seen from AKiTiO and powercolor), why should they get my money?

 

@nando4

Unfortunately I think that might be the case.  If so I'd probably return the XPS15 as well though, I purchased this so I could replace a desktop and a laptop with just a laptop and eGPU. Kinda defeats the purpose if I'm not getting an eGPU upgrade, and still have a GTX1080 sitting here right?

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


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Kayy
 Kayy
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I thought the thunderbolt 3 port on xps 15 has only 2x PCIe lanes instead the 4x that thunderbolt 3 can support so would be a bottleneck even if you did get it to work!  

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


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nando4
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Posted by: Kayy

 

I thought the thunderbolt 3 port on xps 15 has only 2x PCIe lanes instead the 4x that thunderbolt 3 can support so would be a bottleneck even if you did get it to work!  

   

x2 3.0 16Gbps link speed is fine with an external LCD. It’s only if wanting to drive the internal LCD that the lacking bandwidth slows things down. See https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/how-much-bandwidth-ovehead-does-optimusx-connect-accelerated-internal-lcd-mode-add/ for a table showing dimishing returns with higher resolution internal LCD operation.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table


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AquaeAtrae
(@aquaeatrae)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: jackeyjoe

A question that I have been meaning to ask, should the TI83 still work if I plug in another PCIe device(aka a wifi card) or will it still block it if egpu's aren't supported by the PC? If it should work, could that point to a fault of some kind in the GPU dock?   

@jackeyjoe Glad you found the enthusiasts here. 🙂

I share your curiosity as to why PCI devices other than GPUs (wifi cards, etc) also don't work in your XG Station 2. Can someone clarify if this is a normal limitation with other eGPU enclosures? If not, I still think it'd be very worthwhile to try a replacement from the seller while that option exists. It couldn't hurt and you might find you were just sent a defective XG Station 2. Otherwise, returning it should still be an option.

 

nando4's chart suggests that with a FHD (1080p) display, bandwidth might still be sufficient to feed the internal display despite having just x2 PCIe lanes. I've also added a comment questioning if we shouldn't instead be expecting full duplex, bidirectional bandwidth of 16GBps upstream + 16GBps downstream.

Like jackyjoe, I'm most interested in the ASUS XG Station 2 and Dell's XPS 15 9560. The XG Station 2 took a very interesting approach to its expanding bandwidth: users can (optionally) connect a USB 3.1 cable to augment the 40GBps of Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth. This would alleviate any impact of connected storage devices, network, etc. In other words, our game library and wired network could all be docked without further restricting the eGPU performance as seen with other enclosures.

Thanks all for the feedback and testing here. 

PS: I'd also encourage others interested in Dell's support of eGPU to chime in to @AzorFrank's tweet asking if there's demand.

"@jackeyjoe True that we haven't validated any eGPU boxes with XPS 15 yet. We never stated that we did. Based on demand we will begin to now." - @AzorFrank

https://twitter.com/AzorFrank/status/829719350961696768

 

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


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jackeyjoe
(@jackeyjoe)
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In regards to PCIe bandwidth over TB3, I never plan to use the internal display, so the performance drop over x4 lanes(and honestly even x16 lanes) isn't that big with my chosen GPU, a GTX1080.
Posted by: AquaeAtrae

 

Posted by: jackeyjoe

A question that I have been meaning to ask, should the TI83 still work if I plug in another PCIe device(aka a wifi card) or will it still block it if egpu's aren't supported by the PC? If it should work, could that point to a fault of some kind in the GPU dock?   

@jackeyjoe Glad you found the enthusiasts here. 🙂

I share your curiosity as to why PCI devices other than GPUs (wifi cards, etc) also don't work in your XG Station 2. Can someone clarify if this is a normal limitation with other eGPU enclosures? If not, I still think it'd be very worthwhile to try a replacement from the seller while that option exists. It couldn't hurt and you might find you were just sent a defective XG Station 2. Otherwise, returning it should still be an option.

 

nando4's chart suggests that with a FHD (1080p) display, bandwidth might still be sufficient to feed the internal display despite having just x2 PCIe lanes. I've also added a comment questioning if we shouldn't instead be expecting full duplex, bidirectional bandwidth of 16GBps upstream + 16GBps downstream.

Like jackyjoe, I'm most interested in the ASUS XG Station 2 and Dell's XPS 15 9560. The XG Station 2 took a very interesting approach to its expanding bandwidth: users can (optionally) connect a USB 3.1 cable to augment the 40GBps of Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth. This would alleviate any impact of connected storage devices, network, etc. In other words, our game library and wired network could all be docked without further restricting the eGPU performance as seen with other enclosures.

Thanks all for the feedback and testing here. 

PS: I'd also encourage others interested in Dell's support of eGPU to chime in to @AzorFrank's tweet asking if there's demand.

"@jackeyjoe True that we haven't validated any eGPU boxes with XPS 15 yet. We never stated that we did. Based on demand we will begin to now." - @AzorFrank

https://twitter.com/AzorFrank/status/829719350961696768

 

 

 

If anybody has that knowledge, please share. I have a Razer Core on the way from the US now, so I will have something working soon(I don't have a TB-3 to DP adapter, [email protected] through HDMI on my monitor is driving me insane!). I'd still prefer to get the XG Station working though, I think I'd be able to sell the core easier than the XG Station

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


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AquaeAtrae
(@aquaeatrae)
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I recall reading that some have discussed installing firewire, 10G network, and other PCI cards but I can't seem to find evidence that these worked or not. Hopefully someone with an Thunderbolt 3 enclosure can plug something in and give you the feedback you need. Since you're seeing the built-in USB hub and network, it seems likely you have a defective PCIe slot.

In other news, I'm seeing a lot of others interested in Dell certifying their laptops for eGPUs. It really shouldn't take much effort on their part since Intel's doing the hard part already. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Dell XPS 15 notebook could receive eGPU certification to work with newer enclosures
Read more:  http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/dell-egpu-certification-xps-15/#ixzz4Yi7zFIFT  

Thanks all for tweeting to @AzorFrank about these #eGPUs. Let's keep the pressure on!

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


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jackeyjoe
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Posted by: AquaeAtrae

 

I recall reading that some have discussed installing firewire, 10G network, and other PCI cards but I can't seem to find evidence that these worked or not. Hopefully someone with an Thunderbolt 3 enclosure can plug something in and give you the feedback you need. Since you're seeing the built-in USB hub and network, it seems likely you have a defective PCIe slot.

In other news, I'm seeing a lot of others interested in Dell certifying their laptops for eGPUs. It really shouldn't take much effort on their part since Intel's doing the hard part already. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Dell XPS 15 notebook could receive eGPU certification to work with newer enclosures
Read more:  http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/dell-egpu-certification-xps-15/#ixzz4Yi7zFIFT  

Thanks all for tweeting to @AzorFrank about these #eGPUs. Let's keep the pressure on!

   

If anybody has, please chime in. I'd have no issues returning it, and it would be a great thing to test. At this point I don't really have anything to lose.

 

I'm happy the news has spread a bit, I was going to start annoying him again in a few weeks, ask how it's going. Hopefully it goes somewhere!

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


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fattymax
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https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?90858-Asus-ROG-XG-Station-2-my-experiences/page2

Sounds like Jackyjoe is working on XG2 now? Any update here?

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


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itsage
(@itsage)
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In the past couple of days, there are firmware updates for PowerColor Devil Box and Mantiz as well. Public release has not been announced though.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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fattymax
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That would good if there is a database on the updated firmware list and version of each egpu box. 

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jackeyjoe
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Posted by: fattymax

 

https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?90858-Asus-ROG-XG-Station-2-my-experiences/page2

Sounds like Jackyjoe is working on XG2 now? Any update here?

   

Apologies. Firmware update is confirmed working as per that thread. I'm doing a proper writeup of my experiences, I'll get that done soon hopefully. 

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link626
(@link626)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

please do a battery of benchmark tests.

If the xps still has the JHL6240 thunderbolt controller, it would give us a good idea how the Asus gaming laptops would perform with the xg station.

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