A cool eGPU school project, need opinions fast

Feb 4, 2019
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Hey guys, I built an eGPU school project with a twist: it can clip on to a laptop
Need opinions fast: Rate 1-10 if you were given this to do video editing,3D modeling,maybe gaming
My goal was that you can carry it around easily in a backpack, it can attach to the laptop (not just connected by wire, the laptop of choice is clipped on to it)to an eGPU while altogether being cheaper than a premium high-performance laptop and work on video editing or 3D modeling.
Costs 500 bucks with the swappable GTX 1050ti attached
includes GTX 1050ti swappable
sturdy build
attaches to a variety of different
60 FPS in the MSI kombustor benchmark with the MSI logo and Almost 60 FPS in Overwatch 1080p maximum settings
Please view the pics:
http://tinypic.com/r/f00ph/9 (The eGPU connector inside the case)
http://tinypic.com/r/2je3gwl/9 (Finished Product with laptop on it
 

Lutfij

Splendid
Moderator
I don't know where you're getting your information from but if you think that the other GPU docks don't work, you're sadly mistaken. Then there's the fact that your eGPU dock operates off a USB 3/thunderbolt port. What if the laptop in question doesn't have a port of that sort?

If this is a homework assignment, you need to do more digging. I've written a tutorial on an eGPU dock as well. Might want to read through that and all the other external docks that allow you to drop in more powerful GPU's in the enclosures.

Moved thread from Graphics Cards to Laptops General Discussion.
 
Feb 4, 2019
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I know that other GPU docks work, many can contain larger GPUs, but my point was that mine was compact and attaches to laptops. My target laptop is a dell xps 13 9370 which has a thunderbolt 3 port. It was only designed for that one laptop.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
1. OK, so your setup is only designed for this particular XPS model.

2. You've basically created a casing that allows you to hide the rather bare-bones GPU board (and some of the wiring).

3. Not knowing exactly what eGPU you are using, I think it looks like the $50 - $100 type used to add graphics power to older laptop models. This type is extensively used in India and Asia because it's cheap to buy and people are generally tech-savvy enough to make it work.

4. Going by your graphics card, it seems to target much more expensive eGPU setups.

5. So, at first glance, this eGPU setup does seem attractive in many respects. There are, however, a few points to consider:

A) Who, exactly, is going to spend $500 on this product? The eGPU you're using suggests people who can't afford a laptop with a dedicated 1050TI card, but this eGPU only works on a Dell XPS using a Thunderbolt 3 port. This XPS isn't exactly cheap, so that pretty much rules out this rather large group. Even if your eGPU can be used with all laptops that have a Thunderbolt 3 port, these laptops tend to be quite new and quite expensive. While other eGPU setups don't attach like yours, a lot of them carry the advantage of established brand-names and design.

B) In terms of functionality, your product is somewhat limited because of the rather high-tech connection port used. Again, the type of eGPU you're using is popular among people on a (very tight) budget, and they typically use PCMCIA slots. As for design, I doubt the clip-on feature alone is going to be enough for 'priveleged' people to choose your eGPU over existing setups from ASUS, Alienware, GigaByte, etc.

C) You could add one or more fans to the casing, thereby expanding its functionality with a much needed cooling feature (every laptop on the planet needs cooling, and the more the better). It would add some complexity, sure, but also offer something akin to a USP.

D) On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd say 6: Needs a USP other than the clip-on feature (or some combination thereof). I don't think it's "dead in the water", but spend some time considering your target demographic in much greater detail (people in India/Asia, college students, graphics professionals, etc), almost down to the ZIP code.

Best of luck,
GreyCatz.
 
Feb 4, 2019
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MERGED QUESTION
Question from michael203ling : "Need Opinions for my clip on eGPU project"








@stevenjemint I have a PSU that is connected to the connector, but I just don't have it in the pictures. eGPU is connected by thunderbolt 3 with 40 gbps. The laptop I'm using has one of those ports


PS: I'm a student new to this platform. I was introduced to this platform as a way to get opinions and/or ratings
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


Most eGPUs are made to be attached to a laptop, https://www.amazon.com/Razer-Core-V2-Thunderbolt-Enclosure/dp/B0791ZCH4Q/ref=asc_df_B0791ZCH4Q/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=321499553671&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17631461359597629588&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001834&hvtargid=pla-605075650515&psc=1

"Sonnet GPU-350W-TB3Z Overview
Upgrade your Thunderbolt 3-equipped notebook's graphical capabilities with the eGFX Breakaway Box from Sonnet. The eGFX Breakaway connects to notebooks and ultra-compact desktops "


Having a specific model for a specific laptop for such a small market won't do much good to have something that attaches to a system as in clips on. A universal dock is way better and flexible. A lot simpler to just pay a few $100 extra for a laptop with a decent video card, even if you need to sell yours. For $500 instead of buying a $500 laptop and a $500 dock, just spend $1,000 on a laptop that meets the needs in the first place. For existing laptops, it is way easier and less clumsy to just sell the system and replace it.
 
Feb 4, 2019
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hang-the-9 said: Having a specific model for a specific laptop for such a small market won't do much good to have something that attaches to a system as in clips on. A universal dock is way better and flexible. A lot simpler to just pay a few $100 extra for a laptop with a decent video card, even if you need to sell yours. For $500 instead of buying a $500 laptop and a $500 dock, just spend $1,000 on a laptop that meets the needs in the first place. For existing laptops, it is way easier and less clumsy to just sell the system and replace it.
@Hang-the-9 you make an excellent point. But I think 1000 USD has difficulty meeting all those requirements. If it does, it can be heavy, and when GPU power is not needed, that weight still stays on the laptop and it will be harder carry even if you don't need the powerful GPU. The goal for my detachable case is to make it easier to carry than a normal dock because it is smaller. It is also one piece with the laptop once connected, and takes less space on the table. The laptop case on top can be switched with any other 13 inch laptop case (I assume people with 13 inch laptops are most likely going to use eGPUs) so it can target a range of laptops. I just had a dell xps 13 lying around and decided to test on that.
 
Feb 4, 2019
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4. Going by your graphics card, it seems to target much more expensive eGPU setups.

5. So, at first glance, this eGPU setup does seem attractive in many respects. There are, however, a few points to consider:

A) Who, exactly, is going to spend $500 on this product? The eGPU you're using suggests people who can't afford a laptop with a dedicated 1050TI card, but this eGPU only works on a Dell XPS using a Thunderbolt 3 port. This XPS isn't exactly cheap, so that pretty much rules out this rather large group. Even if your eGPU can be used with all laptops that have a Thunderbolt 3 port, these laptops tend to be quite new and quite expensive. While other eGPU setups don't attach like yours, a lot of them carry the advantage of established brand-names and design.

B) In terms of functionality, your product is somewhat limited because of the rather high-tech connection port used. Again, the type of eGPU you're using is popular among people on a (very tight) budget, and they typically use PCMCIA slots. As for design, I doubt the clip-on feature alone is going to be enough for 'priveleged' people to choose your eGPU over existing setups from ASUS, Alienware, GigaByte, etc.

C) You could add one or more fans to the casing, thereby expanding its functionality with a much needed cooling feature (every laptop on the planet needs cooling, and the more the better). It would add some complexity, sure, but also offer something akin to a USP.
@GreyCatz thanks for your analysis. I think its very helpful. The GPU is a thinned GTX 1050ti, though its possible to swap it with something else. Also, the case can support a dock with express card or minipcie and probably be cheaper and more compact too. The reason why I chose USBC thunderbolt 3 is because I only have a dell xps lying around. The important part is the white case for the dock though, the rest are swappable. it'll also attach to other 13 inch laptops if I just swap the blue laptop case on top of the case that houses the eGPU.


I'll change the post to make it clearer.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Thanks for the added info. However, I still have a few questions:

1. Again: Who is this product aimed at? People on a budget (ExpressCard or mini-PCIe users), or 'priveleged' people who can afford new 13" devices (Thunderbolt 3 users)?

2. How are you going to incorporate the PSU into this portable, clip-on design? And considering the weight of your average PSU, just how portable is this setup going to be, ultimately?

3. Have you tested the eGPU board with higher-level cards (GTX/RTX 1060, 1070, etc)?

The computer format (13") is determined by the casing. That seems not only arbitrary, but also quite restrictive in terms of market segmentation. I struggle to visualize the intended buyer for your product in its current state.

People who buy 13" laptops typically go for sleek design and very low weight. They would need some "game-changing" reasons to transport the bulk of your casing, including the weight of the PSU, thereby effectively nullifying these benefits - in return for what? A powerful GPU that might not even make any sense in a dual-core machine that already struggles with heat dissipation?

Gaming, at the level suggested by the 1050TI card, typically requires a 65W quad-core CPU and at least 8 GBs of RAM. Video editing will benefit more from a high-end screen (Adobe RGB and NITS and all that) than from 4 GBs' worth of VRAM that only serves to drain the battery within a couple of hours. 3D modelling might benefit from more VRAM, but most 13" laptops aren't designed for this kind of work - they're designed to look great, be very light, and provide 12 hours of battery life. And they achieve this precisely because they don't include a dedicated GPU.

I remain somewhat sceptical about your product, but I still wish you the best of luck.

GreyCatz.
 

Corwin65

Estimable
Nov 2, 2015
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I bought in the last month or so a Dell i7 with a 1060 an SSD and a HDD, under $800 new. It's not particularly heavy, and it works like a charm. Hang the 9's suggestion that someone sell their underpowered laptop and buy a better one is the best solution i'd say 99.9% of the time.
 
Feb 4, 2019
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I think the biggest issue is the price. I forgot to clarify but the price is actually 445 USD instead of 500 (I'm new to Toms). Also, should I use USBC thunderbolt or express card+mpcie? I found connectors online that were super cheap and could connect to laptop via express card/mpcie which is for older or cheaper laptops. Do you think I should use this instead? It'll cut the price down to 320USD.
Thanks for your analysis

 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Expanding on my earlier post, let's consider this scenario:

Retaining the current properties of your product - chiefly the clip-on feature and the included GPU - you decide to use:

EITHER a PCMCIA connection. This will be cheaper to produce, and the demographic will be millions of owners of older 13" laptops worldwide. You would need a smooth international shipping program to compensate for the size and weight of the product. People in India, Asia and Africa would buy your product because they get a practical place to keep all the components in one place which improves mobility. Downsides include the fact that most of these buyers are on a limited budget ($320 is a lot of money in most of the world), and the fact that many of them will have the tech skills to create/develop their own eGPU solutions. Also, in most cases the PCMCIA option is typically subject to various White Lists as well as a limited range of useable GPUs (last time I checked, a 2GB GTX700-series card was the max supported GPU);

OR a Thunderbolt 3 connection. This will be more expensive to produce, and your demographic will be significantly smaller. Potential buyers would be found in North America and Europe, and they would need persuasion beyond the price itself. The upside is they will typically have the money to splash out on a new 'gadget' - the downside is this gadget would be competing with similar products from established brands with head-turning design that are not limited to 13" laptops. Echoing hang-the-9's earlier comment, these buyers will need to know why they should pay $445 to carry more stuff around when they can simply pay the money needed to get a laptop with a dedicated GPU.

Finally, have you pitched this product to people you know, e.g. friends, family, fellow students? If so, what were their reactions - would they buy your product? If you haven't, it is worth doing simply to get some idea as to who might conceivably be interested.

The corporate world, especially in America, is packed with "blind-luck mavericks" who made it big against the odds. I see no reason why you can't be the next one, but I think you'll need a product that hits home much more effectively than your current attempt.

Cheers,
GreyCatz.
 
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