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T420 eGPU help

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I'm running out of ideas with my eGPU setup, so I think it's about time I ask for some help.

First of all, here's what I have:

ThinkPad T420 with Quadro NVS 4200

Core i5-2520M

12GB RAM

EVGA GeForce GTX 660 ("Superclocked")

Corsair CX430M PSU (430W)

PE4L v2.1b with EC060A

External screen with DVI connection to the eGPU

Windows 7 x64

And this is what happened so far:

The day I got my kit I connected everything and booted up my existing Windows installation. After playing around with the existing Quadro drivers and Desktop drivers, I got it all up and running and managed to run some benchmarks. But then I decided to do a clean Windows installation and this is where all the trouble started.

First I had trouble installing the drivers, but after several ties and removing my Intel HD drivers, I got the hang of it.

Now with the NVIDIA drivers for my eGPU on the clean Windows installation, my Windows just breaks. I've experienced a mix of following symptoms so far:

- eGPU actually initializes properly and has 2.0 x1 link but runs extremely unstable (even dragging windows is sluggish) and falls back to 1.1 x1 eventually

- eGPU boots up with 1.1 x1 link and seems to run okay but randomly gets a "driver recovered/ not responding" error or just crashes the entire system

varies betweeen just a couple of seconds on desktop and some minutes of Battlefield 3

- random black screens / system freezes

- Windows get's stuck in login screen (sometimes manages to load Desktop with if I wait for several minutes but with broken themes) / Windows get's stuck on shutdown

I've tried various settings in Setup 1.x and several driver versions (Desktop and modiefied Verde) but I just kept making things worse.

Seemed like a messed up Windows first, but even a second clean installation didn't help.

Once I unplug my eGPU, everything is back to normal. I also tried to test with 4GB of RAM only and with dGPU disabled.

I've already wasted too many hours on this...

Can someone provide me with a working configuration (driver version/Setup 1.x options) for a similar configuration?

Or is there a way to debug this properly? That way I could at least narrow down the problem..

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Important observation I made yesterday: once I set my ExpressCard reader to Gen1 in BIOS, everything seems to work fine. I'll try to do some stress testing tonight.

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I can confirm that switching from Auto to Gen1 improves performance substantially. I was getting ~15 fps on all low setttings on BF3 on auto. After switching to Gen1 I got ~60 fps on auto settings.

I have a T420 with an i5-2450M w/o NVS and 6 GB RAM. I'm using an MSI GTX 650 Ti (OC edition, I think that's what it's called) with a 350W Rosewill PSU (12V 15A I believe). I am also using the latest BIOS afaik.

Let me know if you need help with your setup since I have my T420 working.

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I can confirm that switching from Auto to Gen1 improves performance substantially. I was getting ~15 fps on all low setttings on BF3 on auto. After switching to Gen1 I got ~40 fps on auto settings.

I have a T420 with an i5-2450M w/o NVS and 6 GB RAM. I'm using an MSI GTX 650 Ti (OC edition, I think that's what it's called) with a 350W Rosewill PSU (12V 15A I believe). I am also using the latest BIOS afaik.

Let me know if you need help with your setup since I have my T420 working.

This is strange. Auto (Gen2) should boost performance significantly as it allows a x1 2.0 link with twice the bandwidth. Maybe the x1.2 link is just not stable enough for you as well.

Which driver are you using and are you booting your system with Setup1.x?

I ran benchmarks with Gen1 and both 3DMark 06 and 3DMark 11 finished without any problems. When I switched back to Auto after that, my system crashed the second I tried to open GPU-Z.

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I'm just using the latest desktop drivers from Nvidia. I have not used Setup 1.x.

Also, I made a typo in my last post bf3 floats at around 60 fps on auto (ultra settings are playable too).

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By now I suspect the HDMI connection of the PE4L to cause all this trouble. I moved the setup on my desk around a bit and actually got into Windows with a x1.2 link. I tried the render test in GPU-Z and it started off very sluggish until my eGPU changed back to x1.1.

The problem is that I can't seem to find a way to arrange my hardware without bending the HDMI cable by at least 90 degrees...

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Assuming something internal of the cable isn't messed up (which would be terrible to replace), check the wires on the adapter itself.

I had a very similar issue where two wires were very close together/shorting. And it pretty much did as you described. Get some plastic implement and make sure the wires coming from the HDMI cable aren't touching (or very close). If you see some that are remotely close, separate them a little bit.

With mine, two were nearly touching and it was recognized but would hiccup often, separating the wires fixed it. I know it sounds pretty obvious but I kept think it was a software issue, but it wasn't. And no glancing at the wires either, look closely.

I have a very similar setup to you:

i7-2620M

16GB RAM

NVS 4200M

GTX 660 Ti

Windows 7 Enterprise x64

As for what I did (briefly, I plan to write a full write-up in a new thread):

If you can, you should perform a DSDT override, I will have more in my post

Disconnect your eGPU

Uninstall all Nvidia drivers (keep the Intel graphics driver)

Use Driver Sweeper and check all the Nvidia options, run, reboot, turn off computer -- don't install the driver for the NVS 4200M yet

Connect eGPU and go to Setup 1.x

Set your eGPU port to G2

dGPU off

32-bitA compaction for iGPU eGPU

chainload to your OS

Windows may yell at you to reboot due to hardware changes, don't quite yet

Check device manager, you might (I did) have error 43

Attempt to install the latest Nvidia drivers for you eGPU -- still don't install drivers for your dGPU

If your lucky, it will install, if not:

shutdown/reboot

Setup 1.x

do the same as before (dGPU off and such)

Attempt to install the Nvidia drivers again for your eGPU

After a few hours of fiddling around, you should get them installed

(keep your dGPU off this whole time)

ONLY AFTER YOU GET YOUR eGPU DRIVERS INSTALLED

(and as such, error 12 in device manager)

Go to Setup 1.x

Set port G2 on your eGPU port

32-bitA compaction for iGPU dGPU eGPU (or choose 36-bit if you performed a DSDT override)

chainload

You will probably get the reboot due to new devices again, but before you do, check device manager

Might have a generic VGA device or something instead of the NVS 4200M

Attempt to install the drivers for you dGPU now

If now luck, reboot and do the same Setup 1.x as before (with dGPU on)

Attempt to install dGPU drivers again

Reboot after you get your dGPU drivers installed

Keep the same Setup 1.x method

If your lucky you should have your iGPU dGPU and eGPU show up fine in device manager.

You can go to the Nvidia control panel and dedicate your NVS 4200M as your PhysX processor, it works really well.

^ over 20 hrs of fiddling around well spent ;-;

I hope that helped in some way. Lemme know if you have any issues.

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Assuming something internal of the cable isn't messed up (which would be terrible to replace), check the wires on the adapter itself.

I had a very similar issue where two wires were very close together/shorting. And it pretty much did as you described. Get some plastic implement and make sure the wires coming from the HDMI cable aren't touching (or very close). If you see some that are remotely close, separate them a little bit.

With mine, two were nearly touching and it was recognized but would hiccup often, separating the wires fixed it. I know it sounds pretty obvious but I kept think it was a software issue, but it wasn't. And no glancing at the wires either, look closely.

I have a very similar setup to you:

i7-2620M

16GB RAM

NVS 4200M

GTX 660 Ti

Windows 7 Enterprise x64

As for what I did (briefly, I plan to write a full write-up in a new thread):

If you can, you should perform a DSDT override, I will have more in my post

Disconnect your eGPU

Uninstall all Nvidia drivers (keep the Intel graphics driver)

Use Driver Sweeper and check all the Nvidia options, run, reboot, turn off computer -- don't install the driver for the NVS 4200M yet

Connect eGPU and go to Setup 1.x

Set your eGPU port to G2

dGPU off

32-bitA compaction for iGPU eGPU

chainload to your OS

Windows may yell at you to reboot due to hardware changes, don't quite yet

Check device manager, you might (I did) have error 43

Attempt to install the latest Nvidia drivers for you eGPU -- still don't install drivers for your dGPU

If your lucky, it will install, if not:

shutdown/reboot

Setup 1.x

do the same as before (dGPU off and such)

Attempt to install the Nvidia drivers again for your eGPU

After a few hours of fiddling around, you should get them installed

(keep your dGPU off this whole time)

ONLY AFTER YOU GET YOUR eGPU DRIVERS INSTALLED

(and as such, error 12 in device manager)

Go to Setup 1.x

Set port G2 on your eGPU port

32-bitA compaction for iGPU dGPU eGPU (or choose 36-bit if you performed a DSDT override)

chainload

You will probably get the reboot due to new devices again, but before you do, check device manager

Might have a generic VGA device or something instead of the NVS 4200M

Attempt to install the drivers for you dGPU now

If now luck, reboot and do the same Setup 1.x as before (with dGPU on)

Attempt to install dGPU drivers again

Reboot after you get your dGPU drivers installed

Keep the same Setup 1.x method

If your lucky you should have your iGPU dGPU and eGPU show up fine in device manager.

You can go to the Nvidia control panel and dedicate your NVS 4200M as your PhysX processor, it works really well.

^ over 20 hrs of fiddling around well spent ;-;

I hope that helped in some way. Lemme know if you have any issues.

Thanks for the detailed instructions!

I checked the wires on the adapter and moved them around a bit to have some more space in between. My Windows didn't crash right away, but the performance still is extremely bad.

I will give your setup method a try once I find some more time next week.

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Thanks for the detailed instructions!

I checked the wires on the adapter and moved them around a bit to have some more space in between. My Windows didn't crash right away, but the performance still is extremely bad.

I will give your setup method a try once I find some more time next week.

I did manage to install latest NVIDIA drivers for my GTX 660 by disabling dGPU through Setup 1.x and now have all 3 GPUs active on my system without any warnings running perfectly with x1.1 eGPU speed.

BUT it seems like this is already enough to make my CPU the bottleneck in Battlefield 3. After some minutes of playing I get massive FPS drops. All points to my CPU downclocking because it overheats (goes up to 95C). Guess I'll have to fix this issue first before I can try out x1.2 speeds.

But coming back to your guide, if I understood correctly, a DSDT override only affects the address allocation for my GPUs. Are you sure it's neccessary for a T420? It looks like it's not really required for my system.

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DSDT - If it is not required for your system then don't worry about it.

You really need to set the port to G2, it will help SIGNIFICANTLY overall. I suffer with high temps too. I normally don't have issues with it though. Try the x1.2 first and see if that helps.

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DSDT - If it is not required for your system then don't worry about it.

You really need to set the port to G2, it will help SIGNIFICANTLY overall. I suffer with high temps too. I normally don't have issues with it though. Try the x1.2 first and see if that helps.

That's what I thought, thanks for confirming.

I even have temp issues when running a Virtualbox + Netflix on my Linux. It's not just eGPU related. Although I feel the performance loss most when gaming. Will have to take my T420 apart, clean all fans/heatsinks and replate the thermal grease I guess.

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On a gen1 link you will notice a performance loss. On gen2 you probably won't unless you are playing something super intensive. You should be able to run something like Borderlands 2 on Ultra with little issue. It should run even with a high temp. Even before some of my cooling modifications, my CPU was in the 90s C and I still wouldn't see a significant performance hit.

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On a gen1 link you will notice a performance loss. On gen2 you probably won't unless you are playing something super intensive. You should be able to run something like Borderlands 2 on Ultra with little issue. It should run even with a high temp. Even before some of my cooling modifications, my CPU was in the 90s C and I still wouldn't see a significant performance hit.

I know, but I'm trying to get a stable Gen1 setup before I start looking into my Gen2 issues.

Turns out, my temperature issues are not as bad as expected. With the fan set to full blast, I was able to keep the temp around 88C in BF3. Strangely enough, I'm still having the performance drops. My CPU multiplier is going down from 30 to 8 for one or two secons every 30s or so. And it's not eGPU related. Have same behavior when running dGPU only.

I wonder if the BIOS update messed something up for me. I didn't have these issues before I installed everything for eGPU.

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My computer runs hotter when I am using my CPU (probably due to CPU compaction and w/e). You will have random CPU multiplier drops even though you don't quite hit the thermal limit (may hit the thermal limit for a second). Run Real|Temp on another screen (if you have multiple) and see if the 'OK' changes to 'LOG' while gaming. If you don't have another screen, just have it running while gaming.

I have no idea why you are so hesitant for establishing a Gen2 link, I had essentially all my issues resolved by establishing a Gen2 link (moving from Gen1). It helps immensely, so just do it.

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My computer runs hotter when I am using my CPU (probably due to CPU compaction and w/e). You will have random CPU multiplier drops even though you don't quite hit the thermal limit (may hit the thermal limit for a second). Run Real|Temp on another screen (if you have multiple) and see if the 'OK' changes to 'LOG' while gaming. If you don't have another screen, just have it running while gaming.

I have no idea why you are so hesitant for establishing a Gen2 link, I had essentially all my issues resolved by establishing a Gen2 link (moving from Gen1). It helps immensely, so just do it.

When I use RealTemp it's more often HOT than LOG, but it stays around 95 which is more or less borderline. Will have to do for now.

After flashing several BIOS yesterday and playing around with my power settings, I found my Lenovo power manager at fault. It somewhat didn't like my Windows power profile. Once I set everything to performance in the Lenovo manager, my multiplier problem disappeared.

Now I'm ready to test Gen2. Fingers crossed.

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When I use RealTemp it's more often HOT than LOG, but it stays around 95 which is more or less borderline. Will have to do for now.

After flashing several BIOS yesterday and playing around with my power settings, I found my Lenovo power manager at fault. It somewhat didn't like my Windows power profile. Once I set everything to performance in the Lenovo manager, my multiplier problem disappeared.

Now I'm ready to test Gen2. Fingers crossed.

You should check your fan and heatsink to make sure it is nice and clean. Try a cooling pad too. You normally shouldn't be seeing HOT that often. (after you see HOT it will stay at LOG) Or you can follow what I did to my laptop to try and cool the thing down.

http://forum.techinferno.com/general-notebook-discussions/3437-thoughts-how-fix-insanely-hot-laptop-75c-idle-100-c-load.html

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Thanks Nando for answer. I think my T420 is not have Intel Series-6+ chipset because i did not see any that type of status windows. I can use external GPU without any enabling or disabling iGPU or dGPU. but 3dmark dosent showing GTX560. any solution to switch off dGPU so that i can set eGPU for applications??

thanks again NANDO. I like add that i do not have setup 1.2 and i do not know where can i find.

You need to ensure the eGPU is detected after bios boot using the same two methods as described at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4182-thinkpad-t400-gtx-650-ti-2gb.html#post58356 . If the eGPU is detected by the bios then it will be given primary video card adapter status and the iGPU will be disabled.

With iGPU disabled you'll get poor eGPU performance. With iGPU disabled or enabled and dGPU enabled, you'll also get poor eGPU performance. To get best NVidia eGPU x1.2Opt performance you need the iGPU enabled and the dGPU disabled. You may have a BIOS option to disable the eGPU. If not, please contact me to organise a copy of Setup 1.20 to do that for you.

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You need to ensure the eGPU is detected after bios boot using the same two methods as described at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4182-thinkpad-t400-gtx-650-ti-2gb.html#post58356 . If the eGPU is detected by the bios then it will be given primary video card adapter status and the iGPU will be disabled.

With iGPU disabled you'll get poor eGPU performance. With iGPU disabled or enabled and dGPU enabled, you'll also get poor eGPU performance. To get best NVidia eGPU x1.2Opt performance you need the iGPU enabled and the dGPU disabled. You may have a BIOS option to disable the eGPU. If not, please contact me to organise a copy of Setup 1.20 to do that for you.

Actually I have PE4L and my Bios version is 1.45 not detected eGPU. I don't know if my PE4L is 1.2 opt?? as far as i know that it is version is 2.1b.

Dear Nando please check PM.

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Dear Nando, i have tested benchmark on 3dmark06 and got 14200 mark as default setting. The primary card is showing Intel HD3000. is it all right or i have to collect your setup 1.x ??

I can not set PhysX set to CPU in NVIDIA control panel due to not installing customized verde driver..

please suggest me.

Edit: Dear Nando04 at last i achieved 16997 in 3dmark06 as we wish and as you PMed me with fresh install windows7 , i think windows 8 getting problem with verde driver so that NVS can't be disable by bios and drivers not loaded. so thanks again for your hard work and suggestion.

hear is 3dmark11 benchmark

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There is an old post in NBR which asserts (even "explains") that/why one needs to downgrade the BIOS to 1.15 or earlier in order to have any chance of success with a Thinkpad 420.

Could I ask for confirmation please that this is no longer true?

The explanation in the earlier post was that the BIOS itself enforced TOLUD=3.5 or greater. This might have been a deal killer before, but with DSDT Override it is no longer a problem. Correct?

2. Next "problem" with using stock current T420 BIOS would be the whitelist (If you're using the mPCIe slot). In various places there is an assertion that to get around the whitelist, you "MUST" either use setup 1.x or do a hotswap with a supported Wifi card. (i.e.. start the machine with the Wificard in the slot, and carefully swap the card after the BIOS has finished loading). Again, please check my understanding: this whitelist business is not a big deal anymore, because it's easy to find modded BIOS without the whitelist, which are otherwise identical to the stock BIOS. correct?

3. Next, there seems to be some issue around the CLKRUN signal. This is a bit obscure, but my understanding is that that at present, both the hotswap method and using setup 1.x work around this problem as well. Correct??

however, unfortunately:

4. Using F12 to conveniently pause the boot after the BIOS has loaded, to give us time to hotswap the cards, causes at BSOD a few moments later, just after the Windows logo appears. So it's not enough to wait for the BIOS to load. My understanding is that when the Windows logo appears is exactly when DSDT is loaded -- and I"m sure we all remember the fun we had mucking about with the DSDT to create the 36-bit space that would enable the eGPU to actually be loaded. So it makes sense that if the eGPU is loaded **BEFORE** that modified-DSDT gets loaded, then the eGPU will have to take the regular 32-bit bus, instead of the nice spacious 36-bit bus that will be in service after the modified DSDT loads.

Question: is there some reason that it's important that this swap happens as early as possible? tt's very fiddly and a PITA to have to get it "just right." Can we just boot into the desktop with the Wiifi card in and then when start-up is all over, hot-swap the Wifi card with the mPCI-e adapter. My hope is that when I do this, the laptop will just immediately switch over to the graphic card and external monitor.

Is there some reason why it's important that the eGPU needs to load BEFORE windows starts graphics?

(If this seems like a strange question, or an academic one: my problem right now is that my eGPU card is just not being detected at all. It doesn't even appear in Device Manager. It turns out that there are endless threads about this problem in the NVidia Forums dedicated my card -- ordinary installations see the same problem. I'm trying to understand if I really only have a split-second window to make this setup work. Or if I can relax about when the hotswap happens.

Thanks!! )

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