Need help with a few issues remaining (after setting up my first eGPU build)
 
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Need help with a few issues remaining (after setting up my first eGPU build)  

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Cthugha
(@cthugha)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

Hi,

This weekend I added a eGPU to my laptop. The eGPU enclosure is a Razer Core X Chroma, the GPU is a Asus RTX 3070 TUF OC, and my laptop is a Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020).

I've started a build post with more details here.

 

A few issues remain that I haven't found a solution to yet...

#1 - GPU BIOS cannot be updated. I've downloaded a new BIOS from Asus website but the installer doesn't work (sometimes with an error saying "get current version is null" and nothing more, sometimes it starts the update but freeze during the progress). How can I work around this?

#2 - To avoid graphics stuttering in both Windows desktop and in games I had to manually disable my dGPU (1650 Ti). Is there another way to solve this?

#3 - Sometimes when I start the laptop, connected to the eGPU, I get the BitLocker Recovery screen. If I press Esc and turn the laptop off it reboots to Windows. Can this be solved without turning BitLocker off? I plan to use the laptop both mobile without eGPU and stationary with the eGPU connected.

#4 - Every time I start or reboot the laptop my external monitor (connected via the eGPU and DP cable) is blank (no input) until after I log in to Windows. Can this behavior be changed in the laptop BIOS? Maybe with the TB security, boot and pre-boot settings? I want my external monitor to be active before login, so I don't have to use the laptop screen.

Any ideas to help solve these issues?

 

Other things to note

This is my first eGPU and my first TB3 laptop - my previous one was a Surface Book 2 15" where MS had skipped TB for security reasons.

The eGPU is connected directly to one of the TB3 ports on my laptop, with no extra charger or dock. This results in a low wattage warning from BIOS and Windows, but I'm 99% sure that can be safely ignored. The laptop requires 130W but the Core X Chroma can only provide 90-100W. But since the dGPU and laptop screen is never used when it's connected this way the laptop is ok with only ~90W. Laptop battery stays at 100% charged, even during longer gaming sessions.

Asus GPU Tweak II wasn't working well for me, but I found the version III beta and that one seems to be better (but not perfect).

I had lots of issues with USB devices disconnecting and reconnecting when I used a USB hub with the Core X Chroma. After removing the hub it works great.

After login the system and eGPU works great in both games and applications. I get a significant boost in GPU performance @ 3440x1440 Smile Will do some more benchmarking this weekend.

 
 
 
2020 15" Dell XPS 15 9500 (GTX1650Ti) [10th,6C,H] + RTX 3070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

Boltoway liked
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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@cthugha

 

#1 - GPU BIOS cannot be updated. 

If possible, try to update the GPU BIOS in a desktop system. 

 

#2 - To avoid graphics stuttering in both Windows desktop and in games I had to manually disable my dGPU.

This is normal..(and I am unsure if anyone has found a fix for it).

 

#3 - Sometimes when I start the laptop, connected to the eGPU, I get the BitLocker Recovery screen.

I believe this issue is specifically related to how Dell implemented their BIOS security settings. I had the exact same issue with my XPS 13, but could never fix it beyond disabling BitLocker. I now have a Thinkpad E14 Gen 2 that has BitLocker active on both drives with no issues at all. This issue is because Thunderbolt 3 devices have the ability to access your system during BIOS Pre-Boot state and your TPM / Windows BitLocker Security don't really like that.  

 

#4 - Every time I start or reboot the laptop my external monitor is blank.

This is extremely common. I have the same situation and haven't found a solution for my setup, although maybe someone has one for yours. 

 

2020 14" Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 (MX450) [11th,4C,G] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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Cthugha
(@cthugha)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 
Thank you for the reply @boltoway

Replies below in green.

 

#1 - GPU BIOS cannot be updated. 

If possible, try to update the GPU BIOS in a desktop system. 

Unfortunately I don't have access to a desktop system.

Will GPU BIOS updates never work with a eGPU enclosure?

 

#2 - To avoid graphics stuttering in both Windows desktop and in games I had to manually disable my dGPU.

This is normal..(and I am unsure if anyone has found a fix for it).

I think Nvidia should be able to solve it, since they have their GPU activity (in taskbar notifications) where you can manually connect and disconnect GPUs. Well, I'll keep looking for a solution.

 

#3 - Sometimes when I start the laptop, connected to the eGPU, I get the BitLocker Recovery screen.

I believe this issue is specifically related to how Dell implemented their BIOS security settings. I had the exact same issue with my XPS 13, but could never fix it beyond disabling BitLocker. I now have a Thinkpad E14 Gen 2 that has BitLocker active on both drives with no issues at all. This issue is because Thunderbolt 3 devices have the ability to access your system during BIOS Pre-Boot state and your TPM / Windows BitLocker Security don't really like that.  

I have several Thunderbolt settings in the laptop BIOS, for example:
- Enable Thunderbolt Boot Support - off by default
- Enable Thunderbolt (and PCIe behind TBT) pre-boot modules - off by default
- Thunderbolt Security - disabled, user auth (default), etc
Could those help?

 

#4 - Every time I start or reboot the laptop my external monitor is blank.

This is extremely common. I have the same situation and haven't found a solution for my setup, although maybe someone has one for yours. 

Could the TB BIOS settings mentioned above help?

Dell support says it's a driver thing, because the eGPU driver (ie Synapse) isn't loaded before login. I don't believe that, since the USB devices start working before login.

 

 

 
 
This post was modified 1 week ago
2020 15" Dell XPS 15 9500 (GTX1650Ti) [10th,6C,H] + RTX 3070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@cthugha

 

Unfortunately I don't have access to a desktop system.
Will GPU BIOS updates never work with a eGPU enclosure?

The update problem could be having trouble communicating with the GPU. Updating the BIOS through a desktop system would either work (proving the problem is eGPU related) or present the same issue, which would suggest the problem is elsewhere.

 

I think Nvidia should be able to solve it, since they have their GPU activity (in taskbar notifications) where you can manually connect and disconnect GPUs. 

Yeah, I am not sure why this is the case but it just seems to be how it is. I have my MX450 permanently disabled while my ThinkPad is docked. 

 

I have several Thunderbolt settings in the laptop BIOS

I messed with the same settings when trying to solve my XPS BitLocker issue but couldn't find a fix beyond disabling BitLocker. You could do a bit of trail and error and see if your results are different from mine.

My BitLocker would lock me out on some occasions and other times not. If I hot plugged the eGPU then restarted it would be fine. If I removed and re-plugged it while it was off it would lock me out, etc. 

 

Could the TB BIOS settings mentioned above help? 

Maybe, but probably not. The problem with different implementation of BIOS and Thunderbolt Hardware means that one person's solution doesn't always work for the next. 

 

2020 14" Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 (MX450) [11th,4C,G] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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Cthugha
(@cthugha)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

@boltoway

I'm discussing the GPU BIOS update issue with both Asus and Nvidia support. If no solution is found I'll have to find someone with a desktop PC (quite rare these days) willing to install the card and run the update. Looks like the update contains the new Resizable BAR tech. Do you know if that could cause any issues in a eGPU system?

NVIDIA Resizable BAR flashing tool
This VBIOS update enables Resizable BAR technology, which gives a system’s CPU direct access to the entire GPU frame buffer. Multiple CPU to GPU transfers can be made concurrently instead of being queued, leading to a performance boost for memory-intensive games and workloads.

I ended up disabling BitLocker, as no settings would permanently solve the recovery prompt 😕 

After that - as a bonus - the eGPU and external monitor activated before Windows login 🙂 

I would love to have a laptop power button on the Core X Chroma (like on my WD19TB dock) but at least I can now close the laptop lid after it's turned on.

Now I just have to buy a good 2m active TB3 cable so I can move the enclosure from its temporary position. Any recommendations?

Thank you for your replies.

 

 

2020 15" Dell XPS 15 9500 (GTX1650Ti) [10th,6C,H] + RTX 3070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@cthugha

I'm discussing the GPU BIOS update issue with both Asus and Nvidia support. If no solution is found I'll have to find someone with a desktop PC (quite rare these days) willing to install the card and run the update. Looks like the update contains the new Resizable BAR tech. Do you know if that could cause any issues in a eGPU system?

I hope you do and that it works. No, the resizeable BAR update shouldn't have any impact on your eGPU, but you won't be able to use it, as I do not think it is supported in eGPU systems at the moment.

I would love to have a laptop power button on the  Core X Chroma

I got around this by turning on "enable boot on power connection" or similar option in BIOS and turn off my eGPU. That way, when I turn my eGPU on, my laptop turns on automatically with it. 

Now I just have to buy a good 2m active  TB3 cable

Nektek, Cable Matters, and StarTech all have 2m Active Cables. 

 

 

2020 14" Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 (MX450) [11th,4C,G] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  

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