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17" MSI GT70 + GTX960@4Gbps+c-mPCIe2 (EXP GDC Beast) + Win8.1 [Bungermin]

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This is a provisional guide to getting the MSI GT70 to work with an EXP GDC Beast eGPU set up.



(I will be adding pictures at a later date)

Warning: Some of the things described in this guide may void your warranty. I am in no way responsible for anything that goes wrong. This worked for me it might not work for you.

Firstly a bit of background: Last summer my internal dedicated GPU (a GTX 675M) died in my MSI GT70, long story short, MSI screwed me over on the warranty and I couldn't RMA it. This summer I decided I would try and breathe some life back into the laptop with an eGPU set up.



My Laptop: Model: GT70-0ND 444US (2012) dGPU: (Dead) GTX 675M iGPU: Intel HD 4000 CPU: Intel Core i7-3630QM Memory: 12GB

Why should you consider an eGPU set up on a GT70?
Spoiler

The GT70 is a very powerful line of gaming laptops each possessing powerful mobile graphics cards. In my case I was left with an Intel HD 4000 which severely limited my gaming choices and performance. Therefore ANY improvement over the Intel HD was a victory for me as I didn’t want to fork over 500 USD to buy a new replacement dGPU that might not have worked.

The Pros: -The internal display can be used by an eGPU. -Huge performance boost compared to Intel HD. -Nvidia Optimus can be utilised for a performance boost. -Components can be used in a future desktop set up. -In most cases will offer performance increase over dGPU (500m-600m)

The Cons: -The mPCIe has a bandwidth of 4Gbps. -High end games cannot be played properly. -ATX PSU and monitor make it less portable. -Removing the Wi-Fi card will mean no Wi-Fi.

What I used: -EXP GDC Beast (mPCIe version) -MSI GTX 960 2GD5T OC (Tiger) -XIGMATEK Calibre 500w ATX PSU -ACER 24" S242HL external monitor (this is optional but will yield better results)

What you need: -EXP GDC Beast (mPCIe version) -A small form factor GTX 960 -An ATX PSU or the DA-2 -An external monitor (This is optional) Tools needed: -Tweezers -Small screwdriver

[H][/HR] Installing the mPCIe connector. Step 1: Accessing the mPCIe slot.

The Wi-Fi card in the GT70 and the GT60 is located under the power button bar. This makes for a relatively easy access point which doesn’t require opening bottom of the laptop up. There are 6 points you will need to pop to free the bar from its slot, use tweezers for this. Once freed be very careful not to pull away the bar, it is connected to the motherboard via a ribbon cable, do not pull this apart.

Step 2: Remove the Intel Centrino Wi-Fi card.

Remove the Wi-Fi card by disconnecting the two antenna located on the rear of the card. Next unscrew the card from its slot and remove it. Make sure to keep the screw as it will help to secure the EXP GDC Beast’s mPCIe connector and prevent it from falling out.

Step 3: Inserting the connector. Insert the EXP GDC Beast’s mPCIe connector into the mPCIe slot and screw it in, done.

[H][/HR] Disabling the dGPU:

Note: I never had to disable the dGPU as my GTX 675M is dead.

I would recommend those who have a fully functioning dGPU to just live with it as the results from the EXP GDC beast will be only marginally better.

Warning: (The following should not be attempted unless you know what you’re are doing, do not take apart your computer unless you understand the risks associated.)

If you are determined to get this working and are unable to disable the dGPU through the bios then you can simply remove the dGPU, this will invoke the same situation as myself. This can be accomplished by removing the back panel, removing the fan, pulling out the dGPU heatsink, unscrewing the dGPU and un-slotting it. Now the dGPU will not be detected and Nvidia Optimus will work.

Note: (Follow a GT70 disassembly guide to help you)

Fan issue: To get this working in any capacity you will have to accept that when the dGPU isn’t detected by the motherboard it will max the fans out, this is because it isn’t getting a temperature reading. If you can’t stand the sound of maxed fans then don’t try this guide. If you do find a way around this please let me know.

BIOS fan fix: The fan issue can be remedied by Flashing an unlocked BIOS for your GT70. This will give you the option to swap the primary graphics device to the Intel HD4000 when not using the eGPU, this is very useful if you intend to use your laptop for anything besides gaming and provides a best of both worlds solution. However this does mean that you have to boot into the BIOS each time you wish to swap graphics solutions. To find an unlocked BIOS I suggest asking Svet, he is big in the GT70 scene.

[H][/HR] Setting up the EXP GDC Beast: Wiring: Please ensure you use the correct wiring. If you do not it could result in a cable fire and could kill your EXP GDC. I have included a basic diagram for ATX power set ups. (Warning: If your PSU fans do not spin or spin for briefly and stop your wiring is incorrect, turn off the PSU immediately and ensure you correct it)

Placement of eGPU: My advice is to put your eGPU out of harm’s way. Without any enclosure many of the components are exposed. As you can see in my picture I have chosen to place it on a shelf above my desk however I intend to create an enclosure at some point.



Performance:

Graphics set up 3dmark 11 3dmark 13 Fire Strike.
GTX 960 eGPU 7785 5800
GTX 675M dGPU 3248.8 2182


Gaming performance:

I have tried the following games out on my eGPU set up through the external monitor. You may notice that these are not ‘modern’ games, these are games that I like playing, I think they are a realistic group of games to test eGPUs on lower bandwidths.

Note: For each of the following titles I turned anti-aliasing off. I find that it has the biggest negative impact on performance. All the following games were run at 1080p. V-Sync was enabled for each of these games.

Skyrim: High settings (60 FPS consistently, dropping to 55 at the lowest briefly)

Fallout 3: High settings (60 FPS consistently)

Fallout: New Vegas: High settings (60 FPS consistently)

Civ V: High Settings DX11 (60 FPS consistently)
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@Bungermin , I've moved your post in a new thread. Done since the MSI GT70 has no existing eGPU implementation writeup.

Would you mind completing your post with some more details? eg: 3dmark13, 3dmark11 benchmark runs using the external LCD, along with any specific details to get the eGPU running.

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Hi you think if it´s possible for me use this guide for my notebook msi gt683??my igpu can´t enable...but i have gpu 560m working, can use this for physx??

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On 19 October 2015 at 6:59 PM, Shivargosh said:

Hi you think if it´s possible for me use this guide for my notebook msi gt683??my igpu can´t enable...but i have gpu 560m working, can use this for physx??

 

Hi Shivarhgosh, 

 

Given the similarity of the GT70 and the GT683 it could be possible to implement a similar eGPU set up to the one shown above.

 

However, from my quick search online, I have found that the two differ in a number of ways and therefore the wi-fi card may be elsewhere in your laptop.

 

However this guide functions on the assumption that the Intel inter grated gpu is working. As you have mentioned your iGPU is broken and the dGPU is working. Therefore you would not benefit from the nvidia Optimus performance boost. 

 

I'm sure PhysX would work, however,  given the bottle neck of the mPCIe I wouldn't recommend turning it on in games. 

 

Best regards,

 

Bunger.

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I have a GT70_0NC(2012) Windows 7 with gtx 670M[ Intel HD 4000 CPU: Intel Core i7-3610QM Memory: 12GB], So you are saying with that working probably Nvidia Optimus with a egpu will performance much better?
Everybody says with an external monitor it's a way better. I don't have one, what about and 39" tv?
Can you show us some of your gameplays ? :rofl::hyper::frantics:
How about windows 10 are you going to upgrade?

https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=273871.msg1560157#msg1560157

Edited by Dancoyote

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I have msi gt70 2oc win7 with failed gtx770m(already uplug from mxm) , intel 4300mq, intel hd 4000, i tried to use maxsun 1060 6gb via exp gdb egpu mpcie, but its still show error 43, so i tried hd redeon 6850 and its working and show no error.. advice please

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