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Mnky313

Precision M6700 (Re)Build and eGPU Setup [Complete]

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Update Final:
This will (probably unless I make a new discovery or something goes wrong) be the last update to this thread.  I have been finally got this build to a point where I am comfortable to say that it works fine and is ok for daily use. The rest of this will be divided up into things that could be done better and information about how to resolve of the issues I was (and am) having.

Notes:

If you are planning on going with an eGPU setup (these are not just M6700 specific and could help with related issues on other machines):

  • From what I've experienced AMD works better and i easier to set up, their drivers usually install with no modification and no problems (except for 19.1.0 caused BSOD but rolling back to 19.0.0 and then later updating to 19.1.1 fixed that), I've had issues with old quadros and error 43 and have heard about error 43 being an issue for new cards. If you are going Nvidia and are gettings error 43, @Ross Siggers pointed out apparently it can be fixed sometimes by simply modifying the device IDs in the driver (a process that you can find out how to do with a quick google search)
     
  • If you are using Expresscard (which I recommend over mPCIe because of convenience and no different performance (on EC 2.0 vs mPCIe 2.0) I have tried several combinations of things, here are most of them:
  • connecting the eGPU before boot allows it to work without error 12 BUT if it is disconnected the laptops internal display wont turn on.
  • connecting the eGPU anytime after the laptop is turned on results in error 12 or it just refuses to work.
  • however, turning on the laptop with the eGPU connected, entering BIOS password and DISCONNECTING the eGPU before Windows starts loading, then reconnecting it after the login screen appears allows both GPUs and the internal display to work fine including hot-swapping the GPU!
     
  • If you have awful GPU performance check task manager, if dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) is using a lot of GPU (more than the 3D application) the only solution I found for this was to either disable the laptop's built in GPU or set the internal display as 'Disconnect This Display' in display settings, this is true EVEN IF you aren't running the application on the internal display!
     
  • If you are experiencing random eGPU disconnects the only solution for me (as weird as it sounds) is to ground myself to a nearby PSU case using one of those anti-static bands, any combination of desktop PSU, DA-2, shielding, switches on the dock, whatever had no effect for me.

Laptops may seem similar, but REALLY CHECK components:

  • the M6600, M6700, and mostly the M6800 look VERY similar, however that does not mean parts are interchangeable! This is especially true for trim pieces that might change very slightly, the bottom panel on mine that I ordered was for the M6800 but it didn't fit without some modification, the keyboard surround from an M6600 or M6800 are NOT the same as the M6700 and do not stay on correctly. The GPU Heatsink from an M6600 is VERY slightly different from the M6700 and probably wont work. It's things like this that were annoying to deal with

Check items when they arrive:

  • This might seem obvious to most people but I'll point it out anyway, when a part arrives inspect it and MAKE sure it's what you ordered, I had the wrong screen show up and make me think there was an issue with my board, but it turns out my board was fine and just the LCD was wrong.  I didn't have many issues with this, just the screen being wrong, the keyboard shroud being refunded because they didn't have it and the battery being DOA, all of which were resolved (except that damn keyboard shroud)

Things That Could Be Done Better:

  • I recommend if you have some extra cash or don't have a desktop GPU already and have an MXM slot, try and find a compatible GPU for your laptop, BUT if you want to save some money an eGPU is a more permanent solution that seems to work fine in most cases, the performance loss that people talk about isn't too bad (for me it was about 10-15% and I hardly noticed a difference day to day (though this could be because I have a way better CPU in this machine)
  • Old laptop HDDs are SLOW AS ****, my laptop has a RAID 0 of 2 750GB toshiba drives and they only get ~3MB/s random read and writes, make sure you get an SSD for your OS or else even a powerful machine will feel super slow!
  • 120Hz displays on laptops are AWSOME, but keep in mind this isn't really a useful option if your laptop doesn't have a good GPU (NOT eGPU because the performance loss for me was awful, I went from 140-150fps on an external display to like 25fps on the internal display...)
  • Old 'Mobile Worksations' are big, heavy and have a TON of screws and fragile ribbon connectors, my Precision M6700 has ~70 screws holding it together total and ~40 that you need to remove to get to the internals which fortunately are only a few different sizes.  There are also 8 connectors that are attached to JUST the top keyboard portion, be careful to not rip these when disassembling, fortunately the only cable that was damaged was the speaker one (a small 4 pin picoblade style connector) but it still works just the plastic is broken.

Some General Laptop Things:

  • Replace Thermal compound! It helps keep the laptop quieter, cooler and even faster in some cases, I recommend NT-H1 but any high end thermal compound is leaps and bounds better than the included paste.
  • Make sure you have compatible charger! If you are going Dell almost all dell chargers will be able to power their laptops but old workstations draw a LOT of power for laptops, mine will not run at full speed without a 210W charger.  If you aren't going with dell make SURE to not just check the connector BUT CHECK FOR POLARITY AND VOLTAGE OUT! Plugging in a charger that fits into a laptop that is expecting a different voltage or polarity has a HIGH possibility of killing the laptop! 
  • (This one is more just windows, less laptops specifically but they are moved more so I'm including it) Set a BIOS/Boot password, pretty much every computer has an option for this is the BIOS and it could help if your machine gets stolen, its common knowledge that Windows passwords are NOT secure, if you want to you can also use secure boot to protect data on the drives, my laptop even has an option to password protect specific drives in the BIOS.  Power on passwords wont stop someone from just ripping parts out (including the drive with your data on it) but it might stop simple thieves from easily accessing your laptop and gives you some piece of mind.

This was a long one! If you have any questions (or notice something I did wrong), feel free to point it out/ask.  I'll probably check back on this thread every so often, thanks! :)

 


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Nice!!! I have an M6600 and the one thing i want to upgrade is the gpu. cpu is fine for now but the gpus are so freaking expensive. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, 8uhbbhu8 said:

Nice!!! I have an M6600 and the one thing i want to upgrade is the gpu. cpu is fine for now but the gpus are so freaking expensive. 

yeah, the best option is to go with a 980m but they are still ~$325 :/

 


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Just touching on your Error 43 issue, I picked up a new card to try and revive my eGPU project, and I got an error 43. GTX 1060 3Gb, apparently it's a known card that causes issues, little did I know when I bought it... Anyway, I managed to get around it by modifying the ID's in the driver, it was easier than i expected 🤔

Now it won't boot with monitors plugged into the gpu...ARGH. It hangs if there are monitors connected, but with the internal display only, it boots perfectly. Did you ever experience this?



 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 hours ago, Ross Siggers said:

Just touching on your Error 43 issue, I picked up a new card to try and revive my eGPU project, and I got an error 43. GTX 1060 3Gb, apparently it's a known card that causes issues, little did I know when I bought it... Anyway, I managed to get around it by modifying the ID's in the driver, it was easier than i expected 🤔

Now it won't boot with monitors plugged into the gpu...ARGH. It hangs if there are monitors connected, but with the internal display only, it boots perfectly. Did you ever experience this?

Glad to hear error 43 *seems* to be an easy fix (was this with the latest driver?). I personally didn't have any issues with the system not booting while monitors are connected but maybe try plugging it right after hitting the power button. (Unless that causes it to just shut down, did you hotswapping the GPU cause a BSOD or did it just immediately reboot?)

 


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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@Mnky313 It apparently only affects a small number of cards, 1050ti mini's, my 1060 3gb and a few others. But it can be updated to the latest driver.

 

What you do is you find an older driver, before nVidia made changes to the code regarding hotswappable connectors(that's where the issue arises from). You modify that to have your cards ID number in the whitelist... Then you install that driver with signature enforcement turned off.

 

After this you can turn signature enforcement back on, boot into windows and install the latest driver. As long as you don't tick the 'clean install' box whilst doing so, as that removes the verification flag for your card. 

 

This is the thread btw;

https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpcie-m-2-adapters/FIXED-Nvidia-GTX1050Ti-error-43-on-mPCIe-or-M2-non-hotplug-eGPU-interfaces-applicable-to-GTX10xx/

 

 

As for my issue, I'm not removing the expresscard and reinserting it during booting or any thing like that. Device manager always sees the card no problem when no extra screens are connected to it. And I've never had to mess with the delay switches on the Beast either, with either nVidia or AMD cards. 

 

Obviously plugging the monitors in after booting is a workaround. But being a tidy desk with a Dock and egpu enclosure tucked away, it would be far from ideal, that's all. 

 

 

 

 



 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 2/4/2019 at 8:25 PM, Mnky313 said:
  • connecting the eGPU before boot allows it to work without error 12 BUT if it is disconnected the laptops internal display wont turn on.
  • connecting the eGPU anytime after the laptop is turned on results in error 12 or it just refuses to work.
  • however, turning on the laptop with the eGPU connected, entering BIOS password and DISCONNECTING the eGPU before Windows starts loading, then

I made some changes based on what I have found, my original method of plugging the eGPU in after the driver loads does not work anymore, I fixed it by changing the order of things, its in the post and the quote above, I also did a DSDT override but I'm not sure if that actually matters as plugging it in after boot even with the DSDT override still yields error 12...


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

minor thing: I wrote a simple script that uses devcon (you will need to have devcon and grep for windows) to detect when my laptop is undocked and disables the eGPU for hotswapping (windows doesn't like it when you just rip out a graphics card while using it), this can be adapted to detect different devices, mine is set to run at startup, figured if anyone else is having issues with hot-unplugged gpus not coming back once re-connected it might help. (it needs to be ran as admin in order to disable devices)

image.png.9025d968d8438af5c1b9e88c2eac378e.png

Undock.bat


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

don't mind me just updating this thread months later again :/. I have an RX 480 MXM card on order from Russia, shipped it was >$200 with better than 980m performance so i'll take it. I will update with performance numbers for the 480 internal vs eGPU and I'm posting a support request about an issue with shutdowns in a few, overall the experience has been good though, still highly recommend the Precision M6X00s.


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 4/7/2019 at 8:58 PM, Mnky313 said:

don't mind me just updating this thread months later again :/. I have an RX 480 MXM card on order from Russia, shipped it was >$200 with better than 980m performance so i'll take it. I will update with performance numbers for the 480 internal vs eGPU and I'm posting a support request about an issue with shutdowns in a few, overall the experience has been good though, still highly recommend the Precision M6X00s.

Well... pretty big problem, the guy that is selling the mxm rx 480 just notified me they will ONLY work on 12V, not 7-20V like the MXM spec calls for.... this is a problem because the precision sends 19.5V directly to the MXM slot.  So now I have ~$150 in eBay credit and no GPU :( I'm trying to find another listing for a WX7100 or something but so far no luck, the only WX7100 MXM card on eBay is $500 for some reason... will update if anything changes...


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Im confused, aren't all MXM cards required to meet the same standardised slot? 



 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 4/14/2019 at 2:20 PM, Ross Siggers said:

Im confused, aren't all MXM cards required to meet the same standardised slot? 

Yeah, my thought exactly!
But I guess when the cards aren't official and are probably just made by some guy in his shop in China anything is fair game.  I'm almost 100% sure these cards were either made for mining using risers (because they are more power efficient than desktop cards) or for use in something like the Asrock desk mini which uses MXM cards like these to make a smaller PC still powerful.  I just noticed that Vega 56 cards are only ~$275-300 on eBay but I can't find any benchmarks with them being used as eGPUs.  The options I have rn are to buy a 980m and still use the eGPU (though it would only offer 5-10% better performance) but have much better performance on the go OR buy a Vega 56/64 and have hopefully noticeably better performance while at home and see how performance scales on the internal display and if it would be comparable to the 980m... my 480 gets about half  the FPS on the internal display as it does on the external (Furmark is a quick and dirty test, gets about 60-65fps on external, 30-40fps on internal and the quadro gets like 10-15fps, so still worth it to take the eGPU to LANs and such but If I can get the Vega 56/64 to do 50-55fps on the internal display it would be comparable to the 980m anyway... (based off userbenchmark it isn't completely out of the question.... the Vega 56 is ~70% faster than a 480, (35 fps *1.7 times the performance = 59.5 fps) if I can see even close to that it would be worth it, plus better performance at home wouldn't be bad either.


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Well good news! On the other side of things I got my 3720qm to turbo 400Mhz higher than stock (3.8Ghz all cores)  with a couple UEFI firmware/BIOS mods (Instructions here: https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/forums/topic/6438-guide-dell-e6530-cpu-tdpmulti-unlocking/) but it gets A little toasty (totally not 104c) This was the worst case scenario (8 thread stress test) It only got to 91 while running CB and while gaming plus I'll porbably figure out a way to cool it better (there is a 55W heatsink that dell shipped with the 39X0XM CPUs that I might look into)

Toasty.png


Current:

Dell Precision M6700:

- CPU: i7-3720qm @ 3.8Ghz all cores
- GPU: K3000M (internal), RX 480 (external)
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Impact @ 1600Mhz
- Storage: 256GB mSATA w/ 2x750GB HDDs in RAID 0
- Display: Samsung LTN173HT02 120Hz 1080p internal display
Old:
- Custom Desktop w/ i5 4430 and RX480 (moved to eGPU)
- Inspiron 7559 w/ i5 6300hq and 4GB 960M (SOLD)

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