Latitude 5290 2in1 throwing me some curveballs... Can anyone clarify?
So after the Blackbeast Pro shenanigans killing my hopes for an accessible one-cable solution last month, I decided to finally pull the trigger on a "starter" eGPU enclosure.- After much self-debate I went to my old choice of a used, large device that I could later mod into a smaller box. So I settled for none other than the humongous, overengineered, unsupported-since-2018, yet cheap and fully featured HP Omen Accelerator.
Previous to this I got my hands on something to replace my XPS 9570. The 9570 is very good, but problematic and cumbersome for me to carry with the work MBP. The fact I've also had some issues with shielding, QC and lukewarm support service made me simply lose faith in such an expensive laptop... It's now up for sale. Enter the Latitude 5290 2in1 with optional Thunderbolt 3.
My choice was really about needing something with a dual form factor. This boy has that, a quado-core, fan'd i5 8350U (i7 didn't make much sense), and luckily found a rare i5+16GB+Thunderbolt3 model, as the i5's on this are usually configured only with 8GB and DP USB-C only, and i7's are much more expensive on eBay. Note that it has TWO Thunderbolt 3 ports. I've previously noted this is one of, if not the only sub-13' Windows laptop out there with more than one (it so happens to be a tablet too!). Lest not we forget that it also has none other than 3 (!!!) internal m.2 slots - 2280 occupied by factory SSD; 2230 occupied by WLAN+BT and an empty 2230 which states "SSD/WWAN" which I'm pretty sure is where the optional Cellular modem would be if it was included - I'm planning to get a Toshiba BG40 here as soon as I can and get this bad boy up to 1TB cheap NAND. With it's wonderful 16:10, FHD+ 1980x1200 400NITs, the only thing this lets me down on is not having the (optional) IR/3d Hello-compatible camera combined with the fact that the Fingerprint reader REALLY SUX no matter how many fingers and workarounds I try on it. Oh, it also has 1x USB-A 3.0 and a smartcard reader, which is kinda useful for my country's state websites' authentication and whatnot. Charges at 20v-2.x amps (45w), which the Omen is just a hair above, thankfully. It is also easily disassembled with screws, not unlike the Thinkpad X1 tablet, but very unlike its counterpart Surface Pro 6.
Fun fact: this has one more m.2 slot than the 9570's two, but also has less 2 RAM slots (read: ZERO QQ).
I had read many reviews and forum posts stating this Surface-Pro 6 clone (actually, after owning it for about 2 months I'm pretty sure Dell designs the Surface tablets for Microsoft and just rebrand it some and add a better screen and worse price-tag and IO: the keyboard and vents are WAY too similar. But that's another story), and most people seemed to believe this device was on OPI 2GT/s mode due to the SSD capping out at ~1800MB/s reads.
Well, today I found out it most likely supports 4GT/s (at least on the TB3 ports!)
Enough with my long-form rambling (sorry, I'm always too verbose). I'm gonna show you some screen caps so you guys can formulate your opinions:
Edit: actual 1070 reporting 2.5GT/s on HWiNFO:
(I couldn't find any way to embed pictures on this Wordpress wysiwyg, and no option for HTML, so IMGUR album it is...)
The noteworthy things here (and please correct me if I'm wrong, it's my first time looking deep into these bus details even though I am technically savvy) are:
- external 1070 seems to manage well over 1800MB/s fine
- it shows as 4x, Max and Current Speed 8GT/s (I'm gonna assume that's bi-directional hence why it caps at 4GB/s)
- NvME factory drive (Samsung PM981, 256GB) seems to be 4x-capable, yet Port #5 where it seats only supports 2x, yet it still states link speed 8GT/s as well...
- ATTO reports max speeds of around ~1600MB/s (note drive at 2/3 capacity, and I don't know its use before it reached my hands and I didn't care to do a CDM wear check yet)
- due to the fact this drive is the 256GB model and those seem to cap out below 2000MB/s, I can't put my finger on it being OPI 2GT/s limit or the drive itself...
My questions here for you guys are:
- Am I right to say that this indeed supports
4GT/s( 2.5GT/s apparently? Omen Accelerator limitation?after noticing improved behavior on my XPS 9570, I dug deeper and both laptops were being power limited at the CPU level. I installed Throttlestop, tweaked some stuff and now both the XPS with power cable and the Latitude just with Omen power delivery report current speed of 5GT/s!) on Thunderbolt3 PCI-E lanes?
- And does it look like the SSD drive is indeed capped by the opposite, at 2GT/s?
Furthermore, I am also wondering about the empty m.2 2230 slot this device has. There doesn't seem to be a way to check since HWiNFO nor AIDA64 list unplugged bus details, and I don't have anything other than WLAN cards in the 2230 size to test. I'd appreciate tips on this, even though the 2230 SSDs around (the Toshibas and some SK Hynix stuff) likely will be the bottleneck before that, but it's always nice to be prepared with knowledge before making decisions.
I am planning to do a more thorough review later on this setup, but it's my first day yet and this is the extent of what I could find, don't wanna jinx it if later I improve it. Only thing I tried on it was Apex Legends on my Ultrawide, and performance is mediocre compared to this 1070 sitting on my old I5-3570K desktop (about 30-70FPS vs 70-100FPS 2560x1080 everything on low and bells/whistles all disabled, except Adaptive VSYNC and 4GB mem pre-alloc).
Edit: so after some more poking, it seems I missed expanding the actual 1070 fork of the TB3 device tree. It appears to be using
2.5GT/s for some reason, but I blame the enclosure for now. Reasoning is I get the same 2.5GT/s on my 9570 (a known OPI 4GT/s device) but I digress.
Edit 2: Dug deeper and found a CPU Power Limit throttling the Latitude to 1.7Ghz. Tweaked a bit with Dell Power Manager and Throttlestop, and it got to 5GT/s "Current" link speed. The 2.5GT/s is what I was getting both in the XPS (slow-charging in the Omen) and the Latitude (supposedly fully charging by the Omen). I noticed clear FPS improvements in both machines at 5GT/s, and a particularly long low-fps stretch at the start of each match is now gone. Both laptops perform now equally at around 90FPS using all low settings, no vsync @2560x1080, and curiously just 5-10FPS less @3440x1440! But since Apex is a bit CPU-dependant, the improvement might not only have been from the 2.5GT/s increase. For reference, I get the same framerates now using the eGPU 1070 as I got with the same card on my 8GB RAM, i5-3570K desktop OC'd to ~4.2Ghz.
@tiago_borba Good to see a thorough investigation on your host system. It's set for OPI 4GT/s. Your NVMe M.2 drive is capped by the 2 PCIe lane connection through Root Port #5. It's a good thing HP reserved 4 PCIe lanes for the Thunderbolt 3 connection. The i5-8350U Processor only has 12 lanes total so I don't think you'd find another x4 connection unfortunately.
@itsage Thanks for the observation. You probably meant to say Dell about reserving those lanes, HP just makes the enclosure
I wonder if I should've gotten the i7 instead at least for SSD uncap, as I completely neglected the fact Intel limits PCI-E lanes at the CPU tier level. Edit: seems like the i7 8650U also caps out at 12 lanes.
I guess it's the pros and cons of having so much expandability with ports and m.2 slots... Also wouldn't matter, seems all U-series Kaby-Lake R only have the single 4x lane on the configuration they allow. Details on each CPU spec here.
Any thoughts on why the "current" link shows as 2.5GT/s for the 1070 branch, both on the Latitude and my XPS 9570 i7? Enclosure board design or firmware perhaps?
This may be unrelated, but something I noted in my test sessions of Apex Legends and Halo Reach is that there seemed to be no actual hit in performance when tweaking most settings, including resolution. I noticed really harsh FPS drops when the viewport comprised open fields on the Apex multiplayer map, yet indoor locations and the Firing Range training/tutorial were closer to my desktop performance. As I turned resolution all the way down to 1280x720 (minimum my BenQ seems to support timings for without looking awful), I didn't note improvements for open field on the viewport and frames were still sub-40. This may also be a CPU bottleneck, but I have to try Apex on the XPS. I only tried Halo Reach there and it did 3440x1440 unlimited without a hiccup playing the last level (huge model load,
@tiago_borba Energy settings would often drop the link speed to 2.5GT/s when there's no activity. You can go into Windows Advanced Power options and turn that off if you'd like.
There are only a handful of U-system with 16 PCIe lanes. The 13-in MacBook Pro is one example.
@itsage ah, that's a bummer. I guess that's probably why Nvidia won't make peace with Apple - they may not want to give special treatment like Intel and AMD do for their systems (e.g. Iris Pro Graphics and optimised MacOS drivers on AMD). It's quite disturbing that a single manufacturer can have such a power over chip makers and this hampers innovation for other OEMs that want to use Intel's and AMD's off-the-shelf stuff.
I'm assuming the power options you mention are the selective PCI link state, correct? I neglected these as they don't show up by default due to Connected Standby, this is all I had before I went to regedit and disabled that:
- "Desktop background settings"
- "Power buttons and lid"
Loads of stuff missing when CS/Modern Sleep is enabled. Will have to test this again when I get home with all the good stuff turned to the MAX and report back 😉
Thanks again for your insight.
Edit: note that the 2.5GT/s "Current" link speed only shows down the device tree of the TB3 device. The top of that branching actually still shows 8GT/s, so I wonder if it was because I was using LAN, Mouse and Keyboard all connected to the Omen box. Perhaps it's the box itself doing throughput management (although I would expect it to prioritise GPU as it clearly got keyboard stutter as many users of the Omen box reported). Will also double check without anything else connected to the box. Can't even imagine running a game from a Sata drive on the box, online, and using all of those USB peripherals all at once 😀
First of all thanks for posting this. I own a Latitude 5290 2-in-1 as well (i7 8650U, 16GB, TB3, etc.) and this was quite interesting to read since the TB3 controllers are most likely the same. I'm quite interested in building an eGPU Setup and while searching I found your thread and would like to ask you a few questions about it:
- Which settings did you actually tweak in order to achieve 5 GT/s?
- Have you done some more testing to measure the performance?
- Are you still planning on doing a more thorough review?
@mrcat, user is active but apparently I don't have notifications set up for email 😀
- I tweaked nothing more than I said in the previous post: Dell Power Manager on Ultra Performance. As you may read around the webs, OPI mode isn't really tweakable. The increase in OPI throughput was likely because the CPU modulates
- I've got a bunch of benchmarks here (see notes below)
- honestly, I doubt there's much interest in a thorough review of a 2018 machine in a 2017 enclosure. My experience has been generally good. I sold the 1070 and upgraded to AMD 5700XT which was a bit of a problem to get working on the XPS 9570 (error 12 will pop up even from cold boot plugged in and all TB3 preboot shenanigans tweaked), but on the 5290 2in1 all good. Hibernate seems problematic as it will usually BSOD when waking. I've been mostly gaming on 1080p60 screen this quarantine (no access to my 100Hz UWQHD) with solid performance on Witcher 3, Apex and Doom Eternal, but I have been using Radeon Chill in order to keep the card from going overkill on temps, limitting it to 60FPS manually - I find no benefit on stressing the card for a 1080p60 screen, especially given my frametimes on CPU are about triple or quadruple of the GPU on medium-high settings.
I've also tweaked the CPU a bit using an old XTU version that actually installs on my i5 model. Increased the turbo window to maximum allowed successfully, but even though I get a slider for short and standard turbo power max they reset on apply, meaning I am still limited to about 11-17W on this 2in1, even if it does get to 3.7Ghz. You will likely have the same problem on the i7, since this appears to be a motherboard limit. People report the X1 Tablet with the same processor reaches constant 35W, but it does have 2 fans to cool that (and in contrast, it only has OPI GT2 last I heard). And I have to say, even at constant 11W, and I use the laptop with the kickstand out to improve thermals, the laptop gets extremely hot on the outside. So I have been a bit more aggressive on the Throttlestop limits as of late setting it to go down to 2.7Ghz on all cores as soon as it reaches 25 DTS (or ~75C), and I noticed no serious hiccups but once again, I am limiting FPS to my current scenario of 1080p60 screen
Benchmark Notes: Unigine Valley is not a fair comparison (1070 runs at higher res) as I probably had Sapphire Trixx doing it's low-res-upscale thingie at the time, but added it for contrast. Superposition was run on equal terms. Nevertheless what matters is the performance vs desktop which if you google around 5700 XT values at medium will tell you this is within expected TB3 overhead performance drops (10-15%), at least last time I checked.
Thank you for feedback! I haven't found anything on the Internet regarding this tablet and eGPUs, for beginners like myself it's extremely useful. I share the same opinion about a thorough review, still I believe a build thread for the database could be useful for the community