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sona1111

x220 Power on issue possibly related to EGPU

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Hello All, 

I have been experimenting with EGPUs over the last six months or so, but it seems possible that EGPUs and the x220 do not agree on something, despite that I have seen many success stories online. 

First I bought a PE4C-EC100C base to use with a hd6900 and a regular ATX power supply. This worked great: I was quickly able to install drivers and use the video card as I wanted. However, in the following weeks, after connecting and disconnecting this device a few times. I started getting an issue where the laptop would not power on. I would press the power button, all of the leds would come on for about two seconds, then turn off for three seconds, and this would cycle forever. Sometimes I managed to fix it by removing the battery or using a different power adapter, but the problem normally came back a day after using the EGPU setup, so I stopped using it. A little after that the problem happened and I could not end up fixing it, so I had to purchase another mainboard from ebay, which is what I am using now.

Because I had read and seen so many other success stories using the x220 and no mention of this issue, I thought that the EGPU adapter could be at fault, so I bought an updated model which was recommended to me over IRC: The PE4L-EC060A. Again, when I started using it, it functioned great and gave no obvious crashes or issues, but now today again I have symptoms of the power issue. The power would not fully come on as described before, and I had to remove the battery to get it to turn on again. I am, of course, afraid to use the egpu again, when through it is serviceable to me. (It allows me to use more than two monitors, which is not possible using the intel GPU) 

When using the EGPU, I always shut down the computer, then plugged or unplugged the expresscard connector, then turned it back on. When I did this, it would often power on for a second, shut down again, and then power on correctly. This is unlike the error I have where it just keeps cycling. 

So now I want to have this thread documented incase anyone else has the same issue, to know they are not alone. I am also awaiting any suggestions that the community may have to allow safe operation of the EGPU, which provides great benefits to me. 
 
bluefruit from thinkpad forums has some additional information to add, but suggests that I ask my question here where there may be more EGPU users:
 
Quote
The key to avoid that issue is to always make sure your eGPU is plugged in whenever you restart or turn on your laptop, so that when the laptop POST it detects the eGPU.

In my case, I encounter the issue you described if I do not boot with the eGPU:

1. eGPU plugged in, system on
2. Restart without eGPU plugged in
3. Put system to sleep and upon attempting to wake the system, I encounter that issue. 

The problem will go away on the following system restart. Normal shutdown and startup are not affected, only sleep mode. Do you happen to be using hibernation?


Also FYI you could hold the power button for 5 seconds to shut off the system instead of removing the battery
 
...
 
For me, what I do is, say I'm at home gaming with the eGPU plugged in and I need to take my laptop out somewhere, I will unplug the eGPU while in Windows (using the Safety remove hardware feature and then physically removing the expresscard), and just put the laptop to sleep and I can wake my laptop without any problem. So I fully use sleep mode while on the go and when I'm home and ready to game, I'll wake my laptop and just plug in the eGPU (while in Windows)

For clarification, the problem starts to come in if I'm on the go in the same situation and I need to restart my laptop and have no access to my eGPU, after restarting, one should not put the laptop to sleep as now, on attempting to wake the laptop up, it will encounter the issue you described. 

On the next reboot, proper sleep and wake function will be restored. 


Setup information:

Lemovo X220
Bios version 1.4
Bios setting > 'pci express speed' : 'generation 1'
i7 16gb ram (I have not had any '100% cpu' issues described elsewhere using 16gb)
PE4L-EC060A with 300W ATX power supply and AMD hd6900 ; using the expresscard connector

Please let me know any other required information.

Thank you for reading.

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Does your issue seem to mirror this?

 


if so, changing the PSU I was using for the eGPU fixed the issue.

 

 

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Thank you for the reply. 

 

The issue was not like that. It would turn on with the lights like yours and then turn off, and turn on and turn off, and never get past that ever. I never got any output from the screen, and even the cpu fan never started spinning. 

 

Thank you for reading

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Got your same issue from time to time but can't track down the origin.

In my case when the X220 start cycling I did force shutdown by pressing the power button for a few seconds, next startup the problem is gone.

I did always power up the eGPU and connect it to the laptop before powering up the laptop. If I need to put laptop on sleep I did do it with eGPU active, next I did power down the eGPU, and repower the eGPU first when I did want to wake up the laptop. To shut town laptop I did first safe remove eGPU and next shut down the laptop.

Different adapter and videocard in any case.

Edited by davide445

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Yep, I have this problem to, but it does not bother me much, because it is rare. Every time my notebook fall into constant restarts at POST, I just detach battery and put it back again.

Edited by Sirios

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I know your problem well and I  think I have noticed a pattern. See I am always tweaking my BIOS for some reason or another and I can actually make my TP POST loop as you describe. The last time this happened to me I went back into my Advanced Memory Settings in BIOS to check everything closely. What I found that my TOLUD Memory Allocation had changed itself from Dynamic to 3.25GB, as my eGPU is only stable in Dynamic Mode. I am not using DiYeGPUsetup since I have unlocked BIOS to Force TOLUD allocation. I then proceeded to test my hypothesis and sure enough, changing the setting will cause my TP to POST loop up to three times(no cpu fans or anything but the power lights to cycle.) I also learned that if the PCI Slot is not set to Hot-Swappable, I can never just simply eject ExpressCard or even put TP to sleep to remove it safely. I always have to shut completely down and then disconnect eGPU. 

    I also leave my eGPU running constantly and I notice that if I leave my eGPU running for more than a week, when I go to reboot my TP it will then POST Loop at that time as well(they need to be rebooted just like any other device.)

 

 Hopes this helps someone, any questions just ask.

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Hello all, thank you for the responses. 

 

Sirios, I thought that way as well, that just unplugging the replugging the battery would fix it, but the last time I did this a few times, and then after that it would no longer work at all, which left me in a bad situation. Possibly your experience will be different, but I would advise looking into a solution if you had the time. 

 

davidmhuitt, can you clarify if you have found a solution that seems to work consistently? Do you have to constantly change the bios setting back to dynamic after using the egpu, or have you found a better solution?

 

Thanks for reading

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1 hour ago, sona1111 said:

Hello all, thank you for the responses. 

 

Sirios, I thought that way as well, that just unplugging the replugging the battery would fix it, but the last time I did this a few times, and then after that it would no longer work at all, which left me in a bad situation. Possibly your experience will be different, but I would advise looking into a solution if you had the time. 

 

davidmhuitt, can you clarify if you have found a solution that seems to work consistently? Do you have to constantly change the bios setting back to dynamic after using the egpu, or have you found a better solution?

 

Thanks for reading

 

I dont have to do it very often, but the only reason I do I have to do it is when I restore my factory defaults in bios and resets TOLUD allocation and possibly PCI Bus speed. I would suggest flashing the unlocked version of your bios so you can have access to the TOLUD features and see if thats the issue. I also see your using the ExpressCard Adapter and you stated that you have set PCI Express Speed to GEN1. You must also set your ExpressCard Speed from Automatic to GEN1 otherwise you could still be running on GEN1.

 

 

Its here if you wanna give it a try.

Lenovo X220 Unlocked and Whitelisted BIOS ver. 1.40

https://app.box.com/s/coe1d05ne3cqcw57g87lgiloz6ut8r4h

Edited by davidmhuitt86

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Ok, I already had that bios installed, but thank you for the links. I will look for a setting called something like 'TOLUD Memory Allocation' and verify it is set to 'dynamic'

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1 hour ago, sona1111 said:

Ok, I already had that bios installed, but thank you for the links. I will look for a setting called something like 'TOLUD Memory Allocation' and verify it is set to 'dynamic'

Here is what you will be looking for. Be sure to check which PCI slot port your ExpressCard links to and make sure its set to hot swappable and Gen1 in those settings as well. (your pc may be in a POST loop because it thinks something isnt plugged in that is.)

1Power.jpg

2Power Setting.jpg

3Advanced.jpg

4Memory Config.jpg

5Tolud Settings.jpg

6South Bridge Config.jpg

7South Bridge PCI Config.jpg

8ExpressCard PCI Settings.jpg

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On 1/22/2016 at 1:16 AM, davidmhuitt86 said:

 Gen1 in those settings as well. (your pc may be in a POST loop because it thinks something isnt plugged in that is.)

 

No, no and no. If you use nVidia I strongly advise to set "Automatic" for Express card port in "Power section", and "Gen2" for PCI Express Root in "Advanced" section, otherwise your eGPU will work on Opt 1.1 speed and not on Opt 1.2, which cuts speed in half.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.7.8 2016-01-24 11.02.56.png

Edited by Sirios

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Hey Guys, 

 

I really appreciate the replies. I have changed the memory setting to dynamic and I will try the gen2 speed for pcie port 4. I have only used it a few times but no issue so far. 

 

Thanks!

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On 1/24/2016 at 9:04 PM, Sirios said:

 

No, no and no. If you use nVidia I strongly advise to set "Automatic" for Express card port in "Power section", and "Gen2" for PCI Express Root in "Advanced" section, otherwise your eGPU will work on Opt 1.1 speed and not on Opt 1.2, which cuts speed in half.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.7.8 2016-01-24 11.02.56.png

 

Edited by davidmhuitt86

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