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 [email protected]) 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 [email protected]@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.
1) Do you use old ATI drivers for some particular reason, or you just didn't have time to upgrade - should I use newest drivers?
2) The stretch issue, is that when you power on the display, or when you resume the laptop from sleep, or when you power on the laptop, or in other situation?
3) With your Puck, did the stabler electricity fix all monitor and system crashing issues you mentioned before, or do any of those issues remain?
4) Do you have any more palpable benefits with your Nvidia eGPU over your Puck, except for the screen stretch now?
5) On your Puck, re silence, when you're doing accelerated 2D (web browsing, office apps etc.) and 8K video playback, does the fan ever turn on, if so in what kind of situations?
6) Do you have any guesses why Sonnet tried to scare me so much by email, when I asked them about 8K support?
Right, Mac OS X doesn't do 8K at all yet. I find that weird.
The puck is integrated so you can't change any hardware, however also it's cheap and small compared to the combo Asus XG Station Pro chassi + graphics card. Hm. I'll make up my mind about what to buy after your next response. Thanks again 🙂
7) Why do you think the Puck 560 wouldn't drive the 8K display?? Did you see any signs of resource saturation/exhaustion in your 570??
no, resources in 570 are fine.
maybe 560 is fine too, i cant remember a reason now.
8) Where in the manual ( http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_display_projector/esuprt_display/dell-up3218k-monitor_use r's%20guide_en-us.pdf) do you see that it will only do 48Hz in the 10 bits per channel mode?? I can't see it.
Did you experience any difference between Nvidia and ATI in 60Hz 10 bit mode support??
RX560 is not really meant to drive 8K panels. Correction - RX560 does support 8K displays, but I still do not feel like that's the right GPU for the task. I
- RX570 and above: AMD will be posting a new driver early next week - Adrenalin 18.3.3, please give it a try (download the driver, disconnect from Internet (through entire process of driver uninstallation/installation), uninstall the old driver, install the new driver; if something goes wrong, please use DDU to clean the system and then install the new driver)
- Stability: PLEASE do make sure that your laptop, etc. has the latest system BIOS update and Thunderbolt firmware; I know Dell for example updated NVMs for many laptops, and the combination of updated BIOS/NVM makes pretty stable eGFX experience with AMD Graphics cards
- 8K support: guys, there is only one panel on the market and it is very new. Things will mature.
By the way, Sonnet Breakaway Box 550/650 are very quiet. I have XConnect setup in a small room, and I do not ever hear the power supply when in use - I hear RX580 GPU fan going louder under load and/or laptop's fan, never heard the PSU.
You saw mbp8k's worries and then the Sonnet support's freakout. The latter left me really wondering. Do you have any idea why they did that?
P.S. Guys - I know I keep saying it - but really - your external graphics experience is a combination of platform (BIOS, Thunderbolt firmware), box (Thunderbolt firmware, power supply), and only then GPU + graphics driver. This is why I insist on making sure your setup is fully updated. Unfortunately, I do not see other OEM (HP, Lenovo, etc.) doing what Dell did with Thunderbolt firmware...
HP is pretty notorious for being really slow in providing updates, if doing so at all. My ZBook G4 (and that's a high end workstation, one you'd expect to have top notch support) is still stuck at NVM16 for the TB3 controller, and other system components are also on versions from give or take launch date. Lenovo tends to get around to it at some point (my T430s is still getting updates, 6 years after it was launched), but they aren't as quick as Dell.
"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."
2) Its driver downloads are here https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/nl/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-x-series-laptops/thinkpad-x1-yoga-type-20jd-20je-20jf-20jg/downloads . Its Thunderbolt firmware is in the "Display and Video Graphics" section, and has the version "NVM : 27 TI : 2.14, 10 Jan 2018". Its README with changelog is at https://download.lenovo.com/pccbbs/mobiles/n1nth05w.txt .
What's the NVM thing about anyhow, is it some sub-protocol version number within Thunderbolt?
Is "27" satisfactory?
3) @Sky11 thanks for following up with Sonnet. Actually what will you do, test the new ATI driver with their product and tell them the results?
4) Didn't we clarify that Puck 570 functions well already for driving 8K, @mbp8k seemed to have a good experience - I can as well just go and buy one?
2) I do suggest you to download and update BIOS: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/ca/en/products/LAPTOPS-AND-NETBOOKS/THINKPAD-X-SERIES-LAPTOPS/THINKPAD-X1-YOGA-TYPE-20JD-20JE-20JF-20JG/downloads/DS121063 and yes. NVM27 is fine.
NVM is the Thunderbolt firmware - that's what controls Thunderbolt chip itselt
4) If driving 8K panel is the sole purpose of buying Sonnet Puck RX570, please wait for confirmation. Sonnet Pucks were only qualified for 4K panel support - back then 8k was simply not available to Sonnet.
Re 4), @mbp8k already ran 8K on the Puck. Have you done it too? Anyhow what is there to wait for, mbp8k already confirmed it works??
And re 2), what Thunderbolt firmware feature was added that's good for driving eGPU + 8K?
Someone said 8K 10bit mode will only run at 48Hz.
Are there any other relevant differences in office / 2D / video land between ATI and Nvidia: The Puck 570 is small, silent, and has open source drivers, however Asus XG Station Pro + EVGA 1070 would be a workable solution also - bigger, maybe as silent, and closed source drivers. If there are any functional advantages with the 1070 I would strongly consider it though. Are you aware of any?
The 8k 10bpc 48hz limit is due to the monitor displayport bandwidth, not the gpu.
My prior note was simply that:
- nvidia defaulted to 8k/8bpc/60hz
- amd defaulted to 8k/10bpc/48hz
You only need to configure it once the way you prefer.
@mbp8k, cool, aha.
Other than this, any palpable quality differences for office/2d/video between ATI and Nvidia, in particular with next week's driver?
Still thinking of what to get. Puck 570 is certainly a slimmer, more open, and more integrated solution. Would there be any normal online or offline video (e.g. A265) that Nvidia would do well and ATI would fail?
They look the same to me, but I only use desktop apps, no games or even video for that matter.
@mbp8k , would you mind playing a couple of the 8K videos on YouTube on both cards (ATI and Nvidia) and see if playback is any smoother on either?
It seems to me that some video codecs are more demanding than others. This 4K video is particularly hard for my laptop to decode: , the "stats" popup menu shows it's encoded with "Codecs vp09.00.51.08.01.01.01.01 (315) / opus (251), Color bt709 / bt709".
@Robert , I think Mac OS X does not support the 8K resolution yet. I read documentations from 3 months ago saying that clearly. Also I tried to connect this 8K display to a recent MacBook Pro with dedicated graphics and it only gave 4K.
Macos doesn't support [email protected], at least I never got it working when I tried late 2017. I did also try hacking / overriding the EDID but no luck there, although I can't be entirely sure my hacks were correct given that there really isnt much documentation or online help in that area.
The switchresx [email protected] must be using a single DP1.3/1.4 connection.
Macos does support displayport tiling for 5k (2 x displayport 1.2), so you'd sort of think it may work for 8k since its the same deal only with bigger tiles. Theres a series of threads (outside of egpu.io) on folks debugging an early dell 5k with 2 displayport 1.2 connection with macos where they use EDID overrides to get it to work. I gave a half hearted attempt to do the same for 8k but no luck.
@mbp8k how well does the Puck 570 work for you now, shall I be caught by enthusiasm and run to shop my own 570 right away?
Any reason to wait til the driver update next week is released?
* When did you see the stretch issue most recently?
* When did your laptop bluescreen or reboot because of the Puck most recently?
* When did the Puck disappear from the Windows devices manager so you needed to reboot, most recently?
* When did you have any other issue with your Puck most recently?
- Stretch probably happened a couple days ago, but it's always easily fixed by just sleeping and waking again.
- Last crash was 1-2 months ago when I was using it on a power grid that seems to suffer a very slight fluctuation once a night (maybe the building experience a major load change at that time). After changing to a different grid it's been stable. My other egpu (nvidia) also had issues with that power grid until I gave it a battery backup.
- The device manager disappearance is the same issue as the the crash issue, just for some reason the symptoms aren't consistent. I think in this case, it experienced the same problem but simply didn't fully crash.
- Other issue: as mentioned previously, you need to connect one displayport first, get it working at 4k, and then the next displayport to then enable 8k. E.g. you cannot start with 8k on first shot. Could be a driver issue which was fixed that i've never confirmed.
- Other issue: as mentioned previously, you need to switch to 8bpc to get 60hz (default is 10bps at 48hz).
All of this is from windows10.
I think that about sums it up.
Sonnet emailed me this
I paraphrase this as: we have 30 years of experience making great hardware, Puck is great hardware, however 8K is a mindblowing new spec that we will not write our name on just yet, you do whatever but don't hold us accountable for it.
Forgot to mention there was actually one more issue I found with the AMD card. Slipped my mind because I had uninstalled the software and stopped using it. Seems like a driver issue, would be great if it gets fixed (or it may already be, i havent tried the latest driver):
Basically flux / ms nightlight dont work properly, they only change the color on half the screen, certainly a display tiling issue.