Drive the 8K display Dell UP3218K (fed via two DP1.4): Using Sonnet Puck 560/570 or other solution, thoughts/comments?
I have a Windows 10 laptop with Thunderbolt 3 (backed by four PCIe lanes so full bandwidth), it's a recent Thinkpad with no internal graphics.
I now got the Dell UP3218K display. It will only go into 8K mode when you connect it to a compliant graphics card - for other graphics cards it gives 4K 60Hz.
Now my question is what's a suitable Thunderbolt 3 eGPU solution to run this display in 8K?
Dell's only specification is in http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_display_projector/esuprt_display/dell-up3218k-monitor_use r's%20guide_en-us.pdf page 21, they say:
With two DP ports that are compliant to DP1.4 support HBR3, DisplayID 1.3 supporting Tile Display feature"
I emailed Sonnet and they responded:
"Unfortunately the official answer is no.
Furthermore, the use of data bandwidth by using an 8k monitor (approx. 72 GB/s) cited from https://www.extron.com/product/videotools.aspx
would exceed the throughput of standard TB3 connectors used for connection (40 GB/s).
While there are some situations that would technically work (downscaling, using only an 8 bit color depth,
using only 30 or 24 fps. etc.) the throughput would be spotty at best."
"Regrettably, the Sonnet pucks do not support this kind of setup at this time.
I would absolutely not recommend this as a setup for you.
While I have seen some instances of this setup similarly using the Sonnet pucks, they are very unstable from egpu.io and do not work either within warranty, or consistently."
I find this really weird.
Of course the Thunderbolt interface could be a bottleneck in some extreme situation, however, office software has low graphics throughput and uses acceleration features already, video is compressed and uses acceleration already also, and computer games cache textures in the GPU also -
So practically I think running 8K x ~14bpp x 60Hz should work quite well with the Puck and any other >=Radeon 480 Thunderbolt 3 eGPU?
Can you please let me know
* If the Puck 560/570 should work,
* If you recommend any other solutions, and
* Any references to other people's experiences running this same screen.
Now - the only hints I have from Dell is that the GPU should be 480 or newer (that's what the people I talked to say), and that it needs two Displayport 1.4 connectors, and it needs DisplayID 1.3 and High Bit Rate 3.
The Puck 560/570 has all of this already, doesn't it? So why are Sonnet suggesting I not use it?
@mbp8k reports here https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2017-15-dell-precision-5520-m1200-rx-57016gbps-tb3-sonnet-puck-win-10-mbp8k/ that he has some issues with graphics dropping out on display resume and some issues with system freezes, when he uses the Puck with the 8K display, and he says the problems were resolved by using an Aorus Box 1080 instead.
I would prefer ATI over Nvidia though as ATI has open source drivers.
Lenovo released a Nvidia GTX 1050 Thunderbolt 3 eGPU, https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/the-lenovo-gtx-1050-tb3-dock-is-on/#post-31649 , however I presume it will not drive the 8K.
I am not running 8K, but I am running 5K via two DP1.2 connections. I am doing this with a R9 Fury in Windows 10 (max supported resolution is listed as 4096x2160@60Hz) and it just works (tomorrow I'll be able to report back about a 980Ti for a green team perspective as well). If I had to guess, the 8K should work just fine, as the AMD drivers support the link aggregation required.
Their answer with regards to the "bandwidth exceeding the TB3 bandwidth" is honestly rather ignorant: There is no relation between the GPU interface and the interface between the card and the monitor. The latter is pushing a very high bandwidth due to the large size of the (usually, except at the latest DP specs) uncompressed image stream. The connection between the host and the GPU doesn't handle, nor require, nearly as much bandwidth.
That is the exact reason why an eGPU can be used to drive a 4K monitor off an Expresscard or a TB1 connection. TB1 lacks the bandwidth to drive a 4K display at 60hz, but it works just fine, even in gaming if the GPU is up to the task (I've been running Stellaris and Cities: Skylines on a T430s and a GTX1050Ti eGPU at 4K, and since the games are not "heavy", it works just fine), if you use a GPU that has an HDMI2.0 or DP1.2 (or newer) output.
Now, can we guarantee it will work? No. Unfortunately, you won't know until you try. If you can buy from a place that allows returns, that will give the opportunity to try the setup and see if it actually works.
"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."
@Yukikaze, what mbp8k writes at https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2017-15-dell-precision-5520-m1200-rx-57016gbps-tb3-sonnet-puck-win-10-mbp8k/ is that the Puck is not stable when used for 8K, in particular there are some issues about the display requiring a power cycle after resuming the laptop, but if I understand him right there are also situations where you need to reboot the computer, so it's a bit of a hassle.
It sounds like Radeon via Thunderbolt has not been really refined by AMD/Intel yet.
However then mbp8k went on to say that he had a great reliable experience with Nvidia, right.
I researched the market additionall now - I like silence and for this reason I should have a Thunderbolt chassi with a passive PSU.
That means we disqualify
* Razer Core, noisy PSU fans reported at https://insider.razerzone.com/index.php?threads/razer-core-noise.21636/
* Gigabyte Aorus 1070 - noisy PSU fans reported at https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/gigabyte-showcases-tiny-aorus-graphics-dock-at-pax-east/paged/3/ , and also it has only one DP1.4 connector. The 1080 has two DP1.4 connectors though, but should have the same noise.
* Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box, internal PSU so should be noisy.
Further, the "Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock" has external PSU but has been reported to be noisy due to very small ventilation design, see https://egpu.io/lenovo-thunderbolt-3-graphics-dock-review-doa/ .
And we also don't consider the Sonnet Puck 560/570 based on the instability reports above.
This leaves us with two chassis which both have passive PSU:s:
* Zotac AMP BOX Mini - 185 watts, 22.9 x 18.2 x 9.9cm, no fans in chassi, https://www.zotac.com/product/accessories/amp-box-mini
* Asus XG Station Pro - 330 watts, 37.5 x 20.5 x 10.7cm, two big fans in the chassi that should be silent and maybe you can disconnect them, https://www.asus.com/Graphics-Cards-Accessory/XG-STATION-PRO/
The Zotac has been discussed in these threads:
I'll check out now if any GPU:s I'd want are supported by it.
So this seems to be the best way to drive an 8K monitor today - buy Nvidia due to present Radeon instability, and use one of these two chassis.
(@Yukikaze, I agree with you that SoNet's response appeared incomplete, indeed Thunderbolt is better at driving a GPU than the support person suggests. So it's not lack of bandwidth that would be a reason not to buy a Puck, but that Radeon doesn't work reliably with 8K.)
Haven't read the whole thread, I'm a bit short on time at the moment, will try to get back in a more detailed manner later, but:
The sonnet 570 puck works mostly fine in that configuration for me (a non-gamer). I'm pretty sure the sonnet box 560 won't work / is not capable of this resolution.
Regarding the crashing I discussed from earlier threads - that turned out to be a very subtle instability in the power grid (e.g. doesnt affect anything except for egpus apparently). And it caused both the aorus box 1080 and the sonnet 570 to disconnect about once a night, which in turn also caused the sonnet to crash, but the aorus box never crashed. To prevent disconnecting entirely I bought a battery backup and that seems to be working fine.
Make sure you have reduced the number of colors to achieve 8k on the sonnent. Amd didn't do it automatically whereas nvidia does, this will prevent 8k / force 4k. I recommend reading the up3218k manual's faq and troubleshooting sections, they mention some of this.
There is one annoyance with the sonnet 570 that the aorus box 1080 never does - when waking up the computer the sonnet occasionally wakes up with a weird resolution (something stretched really oddly), this probably abouts about 1/10 wake ups. The solution is just to press the sleep button and wake it up again. The aorus box never had this problem.
If you use the sonnet box, the very first time you connect it to your display, you need to connect it with a single connector first, get it working with 4k, and only then connect the second connector and get it working with 8k. This is only necessary for the first time that you connect it after installing a new set of drivers. This could be a driver issue and might not be applicable any more, I haven't tried the latest drivers (my drivers are from 2017 nov).
Overall I prefer the aorus box 1080 over the sonnet 570 from a functional perspective, its just seamless. But the sonnet is nice and compact and doesnt require a huge fan so it takes up less space and I ziptied it to the back of the monitor which was nice.
Haven't tried hot plugging so cant speak towards that except that it probably has similar results to what I was experiencing when I had 'power grid instabilities', e.g. amd crashes, and nvidia didnt but even nvidia showed signs of disconnect with windows rearrangement / etc.
Some more notes:
I wanted to elaborate on the need to reduce the bits per color setting to achieve 8k @ 60hz. The monitor is capable of 10bpc, but you can only run that at 8k with 48hz or lower due to maximum bandwidth over the two displayport 1.3 / 1.4 cables.
As Yukikaze mentions, the TB bandwidth wont be an issue at all. I ran 8k@60hz@8bpc fine with both 20gbps (long non-active TB3 cables OR internal 2lane pcie in dell precision 5520) and 40gbps (short TB3 cables AND 4lane internal pcie in macbook pro) just fine.
If you like ATI, then Rx 570 works well, I'm mostly happy with it even after the issues I had. What I really want is hot plug capability now so that I can use these laptops as laptops instead of desktops, but that's another story.
Also this starting to get off topic but if your laptop is still up for selection I'd recommend buying one thats 4k so that it can sit side-by-side with the 8k screen with the similar DPIs, seamless.
@mbp8k , thanks a lot for responding
Today is the Puck 570 as seamless to you as the Nvidia?
If given the choice between Asus XG Station Pro + Asus Strix or EVGA 1070, and a Puck 570, which would you choose?
Re hotplug, to disconnect the laptop you just need to go through Windows' hardware disconnect procedure in the system tray before unplugging the Thunderbolt, that's all, isn't it - there's no need to reboot the computer or the like right?
So overall you think Sonnet's support were too pessimistic in their extreme recommendation against using the Puck 570 for 8K, right?
I find it strange that they suggested I'd void the warranty if using it in 8K, err.
@mbp8k , Sonnet told me 8K is "very unstable from egpu.io and .. not .. consistently".
Are you aware of anyone else who had issues or success with running the 8K on the Puck 570?
My search for related experiences on the egpu.io forum led me to you only.
1. I'm running older drivers (late 2017) but currently I'd say the nvidia is slightly more seamless because it doesnt have the weird display stretch issue upon wake up 10% of the time, but again, this isn't a big issue because to fix it you simply sleep it and wake it again and its fine the next time.
Those would probably all work, although i didn't review the specs too carefully. I'd say its up to your risk / reward / price trade offs. I'd probably pick the sonnet over those others because its smaller, extremely quiet, and i know for a fact that it works with 8k even with the minor issues i already mentioned - since basically no one else has confirmed working 8k displays with egpus which is a risk for other configurations. Either that, or if your preferred card has a good return policy and you have the time you can always try that first.
2. Thanks for the tips I'll have to try it out sometime. I'm not sure myself, I havent looked into this much yet but i will eventually when I have the time.
3. Yeah definitely. Maybe their info is from older drivers? Maybe they didntget past the setup issue (needing to plugin one cable at a time after first driver install). Not sure though because i bought the sonnet puck as soon as it came out. I can't see how that it would void the warranty, I've never heard that anywhere else. In fact I think I read somewhere else that rx 570 was theoretically capable of 8k which is why i took the risk of buying the sonnet puck.
4. No, I haven't heard of anyone else attempting to run 8k on any egpu. Although there are many 5k'ers with 2 x displayport 1.2 which are quite similar, to 8k with 2 x displayport 1.3 / 1.4. That said even 5k is more well supported than 8k - macos for example does not support 8k at all last I tried (4 mo ago) but it does support 5k.
Enjoy the new monitor, it extremely nice. You'll probably want display management software to use apps efficiently on this high resolution display, dell has one on the monitors support driver page - dell display manager. It works well, but eventually i switched to displayfusion for imo a slight improvement.