Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Since, once mentioned I would write about this...Anyway, after having WoT open for 9 hours but 0 battles played today, and doing random other stuff, I wanted to write about eGPU. Since my laptop has one.

 

So, while just sitting in WoT garage and not playing a single battle, I had this idea to write about eGPU thing which helped me to get rid of poor performance of Integrated Graphics (Intel HD) on my laptop.

 

Maybe some of you, this thread readers, have heard about eGPU, maybe not, but as much as I know, its not that popular „upgrade” for laptops and not that common thing.

 

Im running on Lenovo G560 laptop. From graphical device technical data, mine has only Intel HD graphics adapter (a.k.a. integrated graphics card). No ATi or nVidia Mobility serie dedicated graphics card.

 

I spent my first 10k battles (I think) playing this way. But I started get tired of this low FPS. I couldn’t sit in bushes at all. Well, I could but I never had more than 10 FPS in them. When simply driving, shooting and doing other stuff, FPS was still 17-22. City maps were pleasure as they had very little of trees and bushes. I had to use very compressed textures, disable all additional effects.

I even kinda got into more-less serious clan, but I decided to leave it shortly afterwards because FPS problem was too big block in way towards normal performance in serious clan when they would need it.

btw, I still managed to get 50-something WR and keep above red

 

JbFvJCk.jpg

 

It did help very little. I got, maybe, 1-3 FPS increase. But bush situation was not solved.

 

Yeah, you can say: „Buy new computer.”, „Use proper dekstop PC” and so on. But, I had no wish to spend more money as I kinda had no that strong reason to invest in totally new computer.

 

Some long time ago, I heard about such thing as eGPU. I found some website with lots of info about that. But at that time, it seemed really complex for me and it all looked like there is a ton of cables, electrical stuff and other stuff.

 

Some time later, I decided to read all of it again and try to analize what is what there. It wasnt that much of complexity actually. But, overall, that thing sounded risky as it might not work. I would have to order some stuff from Taiwan which in the end might not actually work. Its price was not astronomical, but anyway, its money.

 

eGPU basically is setup, so to say, consisting of proper desktop PC graphics card connected to laptop. It could be done through Express Card or through MiniPCI. Luckily my laptop had both of them, but MiniPCI is already used for Wi-Fi card...So Express Card all the way!

 

Because of Express Card slot using, a cable-someboard equipment called PE4H-EC2C had to be ordered. There are different versions of PE4H, as far as I saw, but in my case, I had to take this one.

 

So, I ordered it from HWTools homepage. They are connected with creators of it or are creators of it themselves. 

 

ikd3GtZ.jpg

 

So, it arrived in small white box. Those anti-static bags contained all of the items.

 

Very first setup with all connections made.

 

wDdYrrV.jpg

 

Nevermind random stuff around.

 

Then I connected all of it together. How it looks and works in real life:

 

1)Graphics card needs to be powered on. For that, eGPU requires additional PSU with normal scale power. PSU 20-pin or 24-pin cable goes to tiny motherboard which has power switch.

                                           wYAJl3L.jpg

 

2) Graphics card also requires 6-pin connector from PSU. If PSU doesn’t have 6-pin (my current PSU for this has only 4-pin), there is adapter which creates that 6-pin connector from 2xMolex connectors.

                                           TuxaDPP.jpg

3)There is one another cable going from 2xMolex (again) to similar slot which floppy drives had.

 

4)When I switch the power switch, 2 out of 4 LEDs on PCI motherboard turns on. Plugging it in laptop changes LEDs.

 

                   h5m99SK.jpg

 

Cable going from PCI slot motherboard to laptop Express Card slot meets with adapter itself.  Adapter has to be plugged in laptop to  start working.

                                               atMLdCQ.jpg

 

In first picture of ready system, I used Ati Radeon HD4850. But it required an external monitor. So, I had to find why and if there is way to use laptop internal screen.

 

So, laptop does all the stuff and all the stuff graphics card needs from it to do, and shows in on external screen.

I don’t why it is like that, but nVidia has Optimus Technology allowing to use laptop screen. So, my field of choices decreased to nVidia cards only. I read that there is some way to make Ati card think its going to use external monitor, but it seemed really too complex.

 

By the way, monitor is connected directly to graphics card and not to laptops’ port for external monitor. That also means option to switch to any monitor I want.

 

Since Im that much of gamer and I mostly play only WoT I didn’t need that powerful graphics card. And I was not running after maxing out all settings. Im on Geforce GTX550Ti now. It price was kinda low and it was good enough for me. Also, from my experience so far, it is really capable of doing its stuff.

 

When I want to play WoT, I have to power on graphics card, plug adapter into Express Card slot. nVidia Control Panel (if it was called that way) and other software fully recognizes it, as Device Manager does the same.

 

W1wYHsi.jpg

 

 

aTK0wzRl.jpg

^Very first box for eGPU and Crysis 2 running on laptop which by default couldn't even launch it (graphics card not found error or something similar).

 

Laptop can’t be turned on while eGPU is plugged it. eGPU has to be started only when laptop is atleast at windows Welcome screen. Unplugging eGPU in hard way (simply moving adapter out of slot), is a 50/50 situation whether laptop will crash or not. It has to be done through „Safely Remove Hardware”.

 

There are some limitations for such system, as much as I found. There was something connected either with Express Card slot speed, either with PCI motherboard capability. I haven’t been looking that much for that information.

 

People who have dedicated graphics card on laptop (like Ati or nVidia mobility), have to do some changes in BIOS configuration or something like that, as there can be some conflict between eGPU and that dedicated. There might be more things to watch out.

As I said at beginning, some of people have heard about it here, but I also wanted to tell about this as it worked for me. Maybe you want to upgrade your laptop this way too, but dont want to risk ordering some hardware, this serves as example that it actually works.

 

There might rise a question: „Wasnt actually cheaper to buy new laptop?”

In my laptop situation, it wasnt. Other hardware parts are working fine enough and buying new laptop, I would have to buy things I have in this one. Plus, it allows to install a „normal sized” graphics card. I cant judge how much powerful it is than dedicated card built onto laptop motherboard, but as much I have read, people have their laptops running and using really powerful graphic cards using eGPU. And in my case, FPS increase was too obvious to make any comparisons with Intel HD.

 

More pictures (indirect links):

http://i.imgur.com/ZsPlJ0L.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/2FMo1QS.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/vayB8ZS.jpg

 

First two "cases" for it was from plywood and simple shoebox. But thing is, I couldn't "modify" them to provide necessary stability. Graphics card is not very tightly sealed in PCI port. It can lean about 2mm to one side. If it happens, BSOD would pop up after playing something for few seconds or even in stress test. 

Then I bought PC case and modified it to provide what is needed. Like some part of CD plastic case to hold PCI slot motherboard and dont let it slide down. It does have support from rear screw but its not a full sized motherboard which has some screws at multiple places holding it.

 

Here is screenshot of how WoT looks now when I have eGPU plugged in.

http://i.imgur.com/56Ivy36.jpg

 

I hope it was atleast a bit interesting read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats really interesting, I played on desktop for my whole wot playing time and for about 17k battles. My game literally looked like your first screenshot, was blue overall but barely, and had low purple 60day

 

Boy do those extra FPS really count, after I bought my new PC I was giddy with laughter as the game felt so easy, I could now utilize bushes and snipe accurately. It's great.

Glad you could figure out how to boost  your performance with a laptop. 

 

Really nice work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are writing all the time about PCI, but isnt that thing using a PCIe adapter?

 

You also might want to add, that these external solutions wont reach the full performance of the dGPU when its build into a real PC. Problem is that the connection between dGPU and the laptop is limited (bandwith). So you will get a performance increase over iGPU (IntelHD BS), but a GTX660 will probably be already limited by this solution.

 

Thunderbolt2 might change that ... .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are writing all the time about PCI, but isnt that thing using a PCIe adapter?

 

You also might want to add, that these external solutions wont reach the full performance of the dGPU when its build into a real PC. Problem is that the connection between dGPU and the laptop is limited (bandwith). So you will get a performance increase over iGPU (IntelHD BS), but a GTX660 will probably be already limited by this solution.

 

Thunderbolt2 might change that ... .

Yeah, my bad.

I did read a little bit about some possible bandwitch limitation, but it was already after I had set up this system.

Guess then I kinda guessed right on choosing graphics card as more powerful one couldn't use only little part of its potential.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...