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Old 09-01-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
DigitalCancer
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Default DIY eGPU, anyone tried this?

So I've been looking at 'gaming' laptops lately and notice they're REALLY expensive to get a good grafx card in them...I stumbled across something yesterday that really peaked my interest and hadn't really thought about it before.

It's an eGPU (external grafx) that runs from a pci-e board powered by it's own power and then fed into the laptop via the ExpressCard slot...wow.

So...How hard would it be to build a special case for this? Anyone around here pretty good with working with aluminum to build a casing?

The parts aren't too expensive to build, think it'll run around $60 for pcie/expresscard/hdmi cable needed for it. Then I just need to purchase materials to build the case...hmmm

Anyone had any luck with this?
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:09 AM   #2
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I remember hearing about this technology at least 2 years ago and at that time thought it was a fairly useful idea, but then the hardcore laptop users chimed in and shot it down based on the fact that it was not as portable as the laptop, which is why they switched from a desktop setup in the first place.
Carrying a laptop in a laptop bag that can play the latest games is OK, but carrying another bag/box for an eGPU really adds to the clutter factor.
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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It's more for sitting at home hooked up to your external monitor, kind of like a dock.

Note that ExpressCard uses a PCIe x1 + USB 2.0, while ExpressCard 2.0 uses PCIe 2.0 x1 + USB 2.0 and/or 3.0. Either way you are very bandwidth limited.

Note that AMD/ATI and Nvidia have proposed their own external notebook graphics solutions. ATI came out first with XGP. I recall very few actual products.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap View Post
It's more for sitting at home hooked up to your external monitor, kind of like a dock.

Note that ExpressCard uses a PCIe x1 + USB 2.0, while ExpressCard 2.0 uses PCIe 2.0 x1 + USB 2.0 and/or 3.0. Either way you are very bandwidth limited.

Note that AMD/ATI and Nvidia have proposed their own external notebook graphics solutions. ATI came out first with XGP. I recall very few actual products.
this is why eGPU's with thunderbolt connections are being developed
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:26 PM   #5
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Try googling DIY ViDock or just ViDock.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/gami...periences.html
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:47 AM   #6
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I think the idea could be useful as a dock thing like Zap mentioned. I don't believe anyone really thought lugging it around would be a great idea. Obviously it would end up being close to the same hassle factor as dragging your desktop around. You can do all your work on the go and then when you come home play games at your desk. A large amount of laptops actually spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk never moving but that's another story.

They never took off as far as I could tell. The main problem seems to be no standardization of connections and existing standards are really to bandwidth starved. IIRC expresscard isn't enough to do a great job. Plus I can't remember but I don't think its that common. Maybe USB3 is getting closer to the bandwidth needed?

Another issue is that all of them would only display through an external monitor attached to the add on video card since laptop LCD displays are hardwired to the install graphics adapter. As a docking station this isn't a deal killer and I think you could still use the laptop screen as a secondary monitor but it does limit the tech even further.

Ultimately I think we need some sort of standard and bandwidth sufficient interface to become common before these things can even take off as a successful niche product.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PingSpike View Post
I think the idea could be useful as a dock thing like Zap mentioned. I don't believe anyone really thought lugging it around would be a great idea. Obviously it would end up being close to the same hassle factor as dragging your desktop around. You can do all your work on the go and then when you come home play games at your desk. A large amount of laptops actually spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk never moving but that's another story.

They never took off as far as I could tell. The main problem seems to be no standardization of connections and existing standards are really to bandwidth starved. IIRC expresscard isn't enough to do a great job. Plus I can't remember but I don't think its that common. Maybe USB3 is getting closer to the bandwidth needed?

Another issue is that all of them would only display through an external monitor attached to the add on video card since laptop LCD displays are hardwired to the install graphics adapter. As a docking station this isn't a deal killer and I think you could still use the laptop screen as a secondary monitor but it does limit the tech even further.

Ultimately I think we need some sort of standard and bandwidth sufficient interface to become common before these things can even take off as a successful niche product.
Thunderbolt solves both of those issues. Intel has declared that the mini-DisplayPort connector that Apple started using is the standard going forward, and Acer and Asus will both have system with it sometime next year. It supports full-duplex 10Gb with daisychaining, so if that eGPU didn't use all the bandwidth, you could still daisy chain another monitor or maybe an HDD.
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