Toughbook FZ-55 NVME questions?
I work for a company called Rugged Depot. We are the largest Panasonic PRIME Toughbook reseller in the world. As such I have access to the latest and greatest. The new Toughbook 55 came out a couple months ago and I got my hands on one days after it was released. Linus was impressed with the modularity of it as well (Check his Youtube channel for that video).
Anyways, Panasonic, as much as I love them aren't the best at answering SUPER in depth questions so I figured maybe someone on here might know the answer here. Heck, they support NVMe SSD's but come with regular SATA drives from the factory... Crazy right?
The problem I have is that I want to use a Razer X Chroma with an Nvidia 1070 TI in it to have more monitors and better performance when it’s docked and being used as a desktop anyways. As it sits now I have a total of 4 USB 3 plugable video cards in addition to the dual HDMI + VGA output on the docking station. The inherent problem here is that my laptop is not very stable because of all the crappy $59 USB cards. I have a total of 6 screens for my workstation (I’m one of the VP’s at this company so having 6 screens is perfect for my productivity use).
Anyways I started poking around in Device Manager with hidden devices shown and I see not one but *TWO* “Standard NVM Express Controller(s)”. As such I have installed a Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB NVMe SSD as the main drive which sits on the bottom of the machine. However in the DVD slot there is a USB C type of connector which is used for a 2nd SSD, along with a proprietary connector for the AMD Radeon Pro WX4150 and another for the or a Blu-Ray or DVD drive. Being that this laptop is VERY modular it accommodates many different “things” in that bay in the left of the computer.
This got me to thinking… If it’s an NVMe controller and the interface is USB 3 isn’t that the same as Thunderbolt 3?? I would gladly forgo the AMD WX4150 which I have in there now and use a regular eGPU with that 1070 I have to not only increase the performance but also eliminate the 4 crappy USB 3 plugable video cards which are slow and cause stability issues.
I don’t see “Alpine Ridge” or anything of the sort in my Device Manager or anything like that but like I said I do see “Standard NVM Express Controller” TWICE in there under “Storage controllers”. The one is solid in color and the other one is faded (disconnected/hidden) and says “Currently, this hardware device is not connected to the computer. (Code 45). To fix this problem, reconnect this hardware device to the computer.” When you go into properties of it.
In addition this there are the following under “System devices”:
Grayed out – “Intel® PCI Express Root Port #13 – 9DB4”
Active - “Intel® PCI Express Root Port #13 – 9DB4”
Active - “Intel® PCI Express Root Port #7 – 9DBE”
Active - “Intel® PCI Express Root Port #9 – 9DB0”
“PCI Express Root Complex”
“PCI standard RAM Controller”
Thanks for everyone’s time in advance!
@jb007rules I checked the spec sheet for ToughBook FZ-55 and Thunderbolt 3 was not one of the I/O. The Universal Bay Unit is really cool however. Can you share with us what the connector looks like? I imagine if it supports the dGPU through the module, the connection has to be PCIe. An option for NVMe drive means it can use M.2 eGPU adapter such as the ADT-Link R43SG. This would make for an awesome mag-reload action when you connect the eGPU.
Here is a link to my forums website showing the pictures. The proprietary conecter is obviously the video card/DVD/Blu-Ray/Smart-card etc etc and I'm 99% sure the USB C connector is for the 2nd SSD. I don't have the 2nd SSD to test though and getting one is expensive and arduous.
According to the FZ-55 notebookcheck review, there is no Thunderbolt 3 port. However it does have a SATA slot and easily accessed 2 x M.2 slots:
Servicing the SATA bay, M.2 slot, and batteries is easy as only a few latches need to be loosened.
A total of two internal "quick release" storage bays (2x M.2 2280) are available that require no screwdrivers to access.
That means you could attempt a M.2 eGPU implementation with one of the M.2 slots. Advantages over Thunderbolt 3 being it's lower cost for the eGPU adapter and it's faster performance as I outline in a recent build:
I'm very interested in this issue.. I am a sailor and Love my Toughbooks I've had a cf-29 cf-30, cf-50, cf-31 currently using the cf-31 and its maxed out with an 1 TB SSD and 16 gig ram.. etc... yeah am I field techie... anyhow before I fork out 6000 grand for a laptop that will be with me for at least ten years I wanted to know if I could put an EGPU or should I wait for another couple of years. but in all reality I'm surprised that panasonic is getting rid of the cf-31 platform and going to tablets... guess I'm just getting old and set in my ways :/ anyhow
I tried calling you on the two numbers I have on file but both aren't in service. This is Rob with Rugged Depot and your name rang a bell in my head when you replied just today... You've bought Toughbooks and parts from me lol. Call or text me (I'm in the US and you're in Canada I know so I can call you back so you don't have to pay long distance.) 630-300-8877.
Rob - Rugged Depot