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Suggestions for HP Spectre x360 15t?
 

Suggestions for HP Spectre x360 15t?  

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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

Been lurking on these forums for a bit and I thought I'd ask a couple questions.

I have a pretty power-hungry laptop, and am looking for a one-cable solution so I can just come home, plug in the TB3 cable to the eGPU, and everything is connected. Here's everything:

  1. Laptop: HP Spectre x360 15t with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, and 135W AC adapter.
  2. GPU: Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC: 10-260W
  3. USB: 4-drive external hard drive bay (haven't bought one yet, but plan to use one for 3x 3.5" HDD + 1x 2.5" SSD
  4. USB: Portable 4TB hard drive (doesn't have its own power)
  5. USB (2x): Two receivers/transmitters for wireless keyboard and mouse
  6. Ethernet: Connected to Gigabit router.

I'm trying to decide between an eGPU + USB-C hub, or an eGPU with its own USB/ethernet ports. My current eGPU options from what I've read so far:

  1. Mantiz Venus: Has USB+ethernet ports, provides 87W, but does GPU bandwidth throttle if I'm also using the USB ports on the Venus?
  2. Akitio Node Pro: Has second TB3 port where I can connect USB-C/TB3 hub, provides 60W, but will it provide enough power to the laptop?
  3. Razer Core V2: Has USB+ethernet ports, provides 65W, but will it provide enough power to the laptop, and bandwidth concerns with built-in USB ports?
  4. Razer Core X: Provides 100W charging, but no second TB3 port, so can I use the USB-C port on my RTX 2080 instead to connect a USB-C hub?
  5. Razer Core X Chroma: Has USB+ethernet ports, provides 100W, but bandwidth concerns with built-in USB ports?

Any suggestions?

What are the bandwidth considerations? Does this laptop have independent PCIe lanes to the two TB3 ports; if I use a hub, will it make a difference if the hub is connected directly to my laptop vs. to the eGPU enclosure vs. to the USB-C port on the 2080 in the eGPU enclosure?

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

I’d recommend going with a dual Thunderbolt 3 controller enclosure. Unless a Thunderbolt 3 computer has more than 2 TB3 ports, it uses only one PCIe connection. Therefore using the eGPU and hub in separate ports would carry data through one PCIe connection only. The Razer Core X Chroma is the front-runner in your list.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use | eGPU enclosure buying guide


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
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Joined: 6 months ago
 
Posted by: itsage

I'd recommend going with a dual Thunderbolt 3 controller enclosure. Unless a Thunderbolt 3 computer has more than 2 TB3 ports, it uses only one PCIe connection. Therefore using the eGPU and hub in separate ports would carry data through one PCIe connection only. The Razer Core X Chroma is the front-runner in your list.

Thanks, this answers an important question I had.

The Razer Core X's were my preferences too because of the 100W charging.

What do you think about using the Razer Core X (non-Chroma) and a Thunderbolt/USB-C hub and plugging the hub into the USB-C port on my RTX 2080? Only because the Core X is a bit cheaper than the Core X Chroma, and I have a USB-C hub already.

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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joevt
(@joevt)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

The USB-C port on the RTX2080 doesn't do Thunderbolt. If you use a Thunderbolt dock then it needs to have a Titan Ridge Thunderbolt controller, which allows it to work with USB-C (non-Thunderbolt) ports.

I believe the problem with eGPUs with single Thunderbolt 3 controllers (Alpine Ridge) is that their USB ports use the second Thunderbolt port (which is one reason why eGPUs don't have a second Thunderbolt port) which causes some kind of lag in USB input? Need a link to a description of the symptoms here because I'm just going from memory. The problem seems like a design flaw in the controller, because there is no logical reason why moving USB devices to a second Thunderbolt controller should improve things unless the movement of Thunderbolt traffic through the first controller from the second takes less resources than having the first controller do the USB? Anyway, with a second controller, PCIe devices can be added to the second controller to increase the kinds of devices that can be connected.

The BlackMagic eGPU uses a single Titan Ridge. I don't think anyone's reported problems with the USB on that. The design of the chip is different, as Titan Ridge has a separate USB port from the Thunderbolt port which allows the eGPU box to have both USB and a Thunderbolt port. I don't know if anyone's tested the BlackMagic eGPU for the problem that exists with single Alpine Ridge eGPUs.

Back to the RTX, the USB is handled by the USB controller in the RTX so you don't need to worry about the USB controller of the single Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller (if you don't use the USB of the eGPU box).

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
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Joined: 6 months ago
 
Posted by: joevt

The USB-C port on the RTX2080 doesn't do Thunderbolt. If you use a Thunderbolt dock then it needs to have a Titan Ridge Thunderbolt controller, which allows it to work with USB-C (non-Thunderbolt) ports.

I believe the problem with eGPUs with single Thunderbolt 3 controllers (Alpine Ridge) is that their USB ports use the second Thunderbolt port (which is one reason why eGPUs don't have a second Thunderbolt port) which causes some kind of lag in USB input? Need a link to a description of the symptoms here because I'm just going from memory. The problem seems like a design flaw in the controller, because there is no logical reason why moving USB devices to a second Thunderbolt controller should improve things unless the movement of Thunderbolt traffic through the first controller from the second takes less resources than having the first controller do the USB? Anyway, with a second controller, PCIe devices can be added to the second controller to increase the kinds of devices that can be connected.

The BlackMagic eGPU uses a single Titan Ridge. I don't think anyone's reported problems with the USB on that. The design of the chip is different, as Titan Ridge has a separate USB port from the Thunderbolt port which allows the eGPU box to have both USB and a Thunderbolt port. I don't know if anyone's tested the BlackMagic eGPU for the problem that exists with single Alpine Ridge eGPUs.

Back to the RTX, the USB is handled by the USB controller in the RTX so you don't need to worry about the USB controller of the single Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller (if you don't use the USB of the eGPU box).

Thanks!

So if I also want 100W charging for this beefy boi, looks like my only two options are the Razer Core X's:

  1. Razer Core X + USB-C Hub (cheaper):
    • Core X plugged into a TB3 port on my laptop, and USB-C hub plugged into the USB-C port on the RTX 2080, and peripherals connected to the hub, OR if that causes performance / input issues (there are two controllers in use here so hopefully it won't?),
    • Core X plugged into one TB3 port on my laptop, and USB-C hub plugged into second TB3 port on my laptop, and peripherals connected to the hub (not preferred because it'll be two cables that I have to plug/unplug every time)
  2. Razer Core X Chroma (more expensive):
    • Chroma plugged into a TB3 port on my laptop, and peripherals connected to the Chroma's USB ports

Any idea which one of these three configurations will be least likely to cause issues with HDD performance / input lag, in the rare cases that all six devices in the "Everything" list in my original post are under load?

This post was modified 5 months ago

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

Will something like this work plugged into the USB-C port on the RTX 2080 inside a Razer Core X? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY73BNQ/ It's a 4-bay HDD enclosure with USB-C, and an additional USB-A and USB-C port to which I could plug in an ethernet dongle and my mouse/keyboard transmitters.

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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joevt
(@joevt)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: jenesuispasbavard

Will something like this work plugged into the USB-C port on the RTX 2080 inside a Razer Core X? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY73BNQ/ It's a 4-bay HDD enclosure with USB-C, and an additional USB-A and USB-C port to which I could plug in an ethernet dongle and my mouse/keyboard transmitters.

Probably. The USB of the RTX2080 is like any other. It's implemented as a PCIe function of the graphics card instead of as a device (no PCIe switch), so I guess it has access to all 16 lanes of the PCIe slot so it won't be limited like the ASM1142 USB controller. I don't know what the performance will be like though - it could be limited in other ways. I think I read someone saying performance was less than expected for a USB with SSD drive. If it can't get 980+ MB/s then there's a problem - I haven't seen any benchmarks.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 
Posted by: joevt

Probably. The USB of the RTX2080 is like any other. It's implemented as a PCIe function of the graphics card instead of as a device (no PCIe switch), so I guess it has access to all 16 lanes of the PCIe slot so it won't be limited like the ASM1142 USB controller. I don't know what the performance will be like though - it could be limited in other ways. I think I read someone saying performance was less than expected for a USB with SSD drive. If it can't get 980+ MB/s then there's a problem - I haven't seen any benchmarks.

Yeah I'm planning to use only 3x HDDs for storage and 1x SSD for caching, so I don't think I'll ever get close to that 980 MB/s number.

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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blawlog
(@blawlog)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

I'd be really curious to know how this went as I'm considering an upgrade to the new 15t. If you get a chance, could you let us know how this all went, particularly whether the CPU was able to operate at full power without slowly draining the battery?

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 // i7-8550U with undervolts of -.1V core and -.04V graphics // MX150 (disabled) // 16GB RAM.
Razer Core X Chroma // Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP with overclocks of 44MHz core and 499MHz memory.


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 
Posted by: blawlog

I'd be really curious to know how this went as I'm considering an upgrade to the new 15t. If you get a chance, could you let us know how this all went, particularly whether the CPU was able to operate at full power without slowly draining the battery?

Definitely! The laptop is not yet in the "order assembly" phase according to HP so it'll be a couple weeks at least. I should have the rest of the setup earlier, so I can probably test it with my current laptop (Lenovo Yoga 730 15"). The final future setup is likely to be (each sub-level denotes that that list item is connected to the parent):

  • Laptop: HP Spectre x360 15t with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
    • eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      • eHDDs connected to 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB 3.1 Type-C 4-Bay Enclosure with USB 3.1 Hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD 
        • portable 4TB external drive connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
        • Small USB-C hub connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
          • 2x receivers (keyboard and mouse)
          • 1x SD card (occasionally)
          • 1x ethernet

So. Many. Levels. Deep. Fingers crossed.
If only the Core X Chroma wasn't so expensive I could've avoided this clusterfudge.
Aside: Suggestions for the smallest USB-C hub/dock with 1x SD card reader, 2x USB-A 2.0/3.0, and 1x Gigabit ethernet?

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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lldeaganll
(@lldeaganll)
New Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

Wow! Excellent proposal for setup.

Any updates on how this went? I too have a Spectre 15t with an Intel 8705G and Vega graphics, and may just duplicate the setup you've detailed.

Was there a conclusion on the bandwidth constraints using the USB-A ports on the Razer Core X Chroma vs routing the peripherals through the GPU directly on the Razer Core X? Why is it that the USB-C VirtualLink port can support an entire storage expansion hub, USB devices, and ethernet? Excuse my ignorance, but shouldn't that cause limitations in our TB3 graphics capability to the laptop, or is it unrelated because the data from the storage hub, and any peripherals attached to the storage hub, are somehow routed through the GPU?

I just want the most bandwidth efficient setup as well. I already have 1080p and 1440p 144hz external monitors ready, it's just a matter of connecting the peripherals (USB receivers, audio interfaces, ethernet, etc.) with as little effect on the eGPU's performance as possible.

Thank you for the post, quite helpful so far! Look forward to hearing anything!

This post was modified 5 months ago

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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jenesuispasbavard
(@jenesuispasbavard)
Active Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 
Posted by: blawlog

I'd be really curious to know how this went as I'm considering an upgrade to the new 15t. If you get a chance, could you let us know how this all went, particularly whether the CPU was able to operate at full power without slowly draining the battery?

Posted by: lldeaganll

Wow! Excellent proposal for setup.

Any updates on how this went? I too have a Spectre 15t with an Intel 8705G and Vega graphics, and may just duplicate the setup you've detailed.

Was there a conclusion on the bandwidth constraints using the USB-A ports on the Razer Core X Chroma vs routing the peripherals through the GPU directly on the Razer Core X? Why is it that the USB-C VirtualLink port can support an entire storage expansion hub, USB devices, and ethernet? Excuse my ignorance, but shouldn't that cause limitations in our TB3 graphics capability to the laptop, or is it unrelated because the data from the storage hub, and any peripherals attached to the storage hub, are somehow routed through the GPU?

I just want the most bandwidth efficient setup as well. I already have 1080p and 1440p 144hz external monitors ready, it's just a matter of connecting the peripherals (USB receivers, audio interfaces, ethernet, etc.) with as little effect on the eGPU's performance as possible.

Thank you for the post, quite helpful so far! Look forward to hearing anything!

Good news everyone! Finally got everything set up this weekend (see signature for setup).

@blawlog: Yes, the CPU can run at full tilt when it's charging over USB-C!

According to the Spectre manual page 58, chapter 12. Specifications, section Input Power, the x360 15t accepts up to 20V @ 4.5A = 90W over USB-C, compared to 19.5V @ 6.9A = 135W using the provided A/C adapter. And the Razer Core X provides up to 20V @ 5A = 100W over USB-C.

So, when the eGPU is connected and therefore the internal 1050 Ti Max-Q is not being used, USB-PD provides more than enough power to let the CPU run at ~42W (max TDP I've seen on this laptop), while also charging the battery.

@lldeaganll: No conclusion regarding USB-A throttling using the Razer Core X Chroma (I don't have one), but using the Razer Core X and hub far downstream as seen in my signature, I see no input lag on a keyboard / mouse, and no issues with ethernet.

One thing that I did have to watch out for was using the right USB-C hub. My first choice was a Ucouso USB-C hub with 3x USB ports and 1x ethernet, but that got really hot and caused unbearable lag and repeated keystrokes with my keyboard / mouse. I returned that and got the larger AmazonBasics hub, and that works perfectly.

And yes, any use of the USB-C hub and anything downstream from the graphics card, connected to the USB-C "VirtualLink" will reduce the bandwidth to the GPU itself, because the entire setup is still connected to your laptop through a single ThunderBolt 3 port with 32Gps of non-video bandwidth (so with no external monitors connected directly to the laptop, only to the eGPU).

Thankfully, the three controllers (Titan Ridge TB3 controller in the laptop, Alpine Ridge TB3 controller in the Razer Core X, and the NVIDIA USB-C controller in the RTX 2080) manage traffic well enough and I can still continue using my USB devices even when playing games, i.e. when the laptop -> GPU connection is stressed. I've expanded the relevant hierarchy in the attached screenshot (So. Many. Layers.).

2019 06 23

-> Laptop: Dell XPS 15 9570 with i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
 └--> eGPU connected to laptop TB3: Razer Core X + Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC
      └--> eHDDs connected to RTX 2080 USB-C: Mediasonic USB-C 4-bay with hub (HFR7-SU31CH) + 3x 8TB HDDs + 1x 128GB SSD
           └--> WD 4TB portable hard drive, connected to Mediasonic's USB-A port
           └--> AmazonBasics USB-C to 3x USB-A Hub with GbE, connected to Mediasonic's USB-C port
                └--> 1x ethernet cable (w/ 200 Mbps internet)
                └--> 1x Transcend USB SD card reader


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