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Groovu

14" Lenovo T420 + GTX950@4Gbps+c-EC2 (PE4C 3.0) + Win10 [Groovu]

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Hey guys, just wanted to make a thread to document my process in implementing an eGPU with my T420.

 

Lenovo T420 without NVS 4200M

Modded BIOS 1.46 (enables higher clocks on RAM + more)

i5 2540M @ 2.60 GHZ (Boost to 3.3? verifiy)

2x8 (16) GB DDR3 RAM @ 1866 Mhz

Intel HD3000

MSI GeForce GTX 950 2GD5 OC 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5

PE4C 3.0 EC

Dell Optiplex GX620/SX280 DA-2 220W AC Adapter 

 

About 5 years ago I dabbled with eGPU.  T420 with NVS 4200M using a PE4L and a GTX 560ti.  To use this I needed to run DIY eGPU Setup 1.x due to the TOLUD problem.  The setup worked, but was a bit complicated/bloated.  (having to chainload the setup, not being able to plug and play, having to restart if you wanted to use eGPU)

 

I rediscovered eGPU and read recent results.  People were able to plug and play their eGPU setup without all the hassle.  I wanted to try this.

 

I started off with the T420 with NVS 4200m, but couldn't get a setup that would work plug and play style.  I bought DIY eGPU Setup 1.3 and found out that it could only be setup on a system in MBR, not GPT.

 

Before I changed my harddrive, I dabbled with the modded BIOS and found a TOLUD setting.  While changing a bunch of BIOS settings at the same time (dumb, I know) and ended up bricking my system.  I tried to use WINCRISIS to create a bootable USB with an older BIOS to restore my system, but that did not work.  I ended up buying a new motherboard without the NVS 4200M.  After all of that hassle, I restored my system, reinstalled Windows on an MBR hard drive and began my setup.

 

I hooked up the eGPU, installed the latest _notebook_ NVIDIA drivers, and boom, everything works without hassle.  I can boot up with my eGPU plugged in, I can put my system to sleep, unplug/plug and everything works.  Optimus is working properly, running low end applications off of HD3000, and higher end applications of the 950.  Some apps I have to force to use the 950 via the NVIDIA Control Panel.  There is also an option in the control panel to add a context menu item, NVIDIA Control Panel>Desktop> Add Run with graphics processor.

 

My current benchmark in Fire Strike is 4210, which seems low, but comparing it to other scores, I am in the right area for similar setups.

 

My take aways from my experience:

dGPU is a pain.  If I hadn't messed up my system by messing with the BIOS, I am sure that DIY eGPU Setup would have been the way to go.  But I possibly could have changed my TOLUD in my BIOS to get the plug and play system to work.  (I don't want to test this because I don't want to accidentally brick my system again)

 

Up next is more benchmarks, overclocking, optimization, and building an enclosure for my setup.

 

Pics of the setup: http://imgur.com/1Hpjiq7,ADwQqEO,1LAAGOP

 

Thanks for reading.

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On 5/30/2016 at 5:03 AM, Groovu said:

dGPU is a pain.

 

It really is. Sometimes I look at the DSDT override thread and I'm immensely grateful to myself that my X220 only has an iGP.

 

On 5/30/2016 at 5:03 AM, Groovu said:

About 5 years ago I dabbled with eGPU.  T420 with NVS 4200M using a PE4L and a GTX 560ti.  To use this I needed to run DIY eGPU Setup 1.x due to the TOLUD problem.  The setup worked, but was a bit complicated/bloated.  (having to chainload the setup, not being able to plug and play, having to restart if you wanted to use eGPU)

 

 

What does it mean here by "plug and play"? To my knowledge (with the EXP GDC at least), you should never live-insert the thing. The last time I live-inserted it, the adapter blew up (not "spectacularly" however) and I had to replace it.

Edited by Arbystrider

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By plug and play, I mean that it is hassle free to setup (no diy egpu setup, minimal work); although at minimum I put my system to sleep before I connect/disconnect the eGPU.

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hi ! i got same notebook ( levono thinkpad t420 ) i succeded on loggin in windows, but now it tells "card can't be found" when i try to install the last nvidia drivers for desktop card.!!!

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