Cramming a GPU into a Laptop's optical drive bay

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QXDrakon

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Hi everyone, this is my first post. I own a Sony VAIO VPCEH1AFX. It's a lame walmart model that came with a Pentium B940, a low end Sandy Bridge processor. I recently upgraded it to an i7-2640m and I'm enjoying the speed bump and logical cores. Only cost me $50!

But it got me thinking. I saw that I have a mini PCIe slot available (currently occupied by a wifi card but I can easily supplement that with a USB card) and I was wondering if I could use a riser cable off of that to fit a gpu into my drive bay.

My main concerns are:

-Power draw; the gpu has to be low draw or else it will kill my machine

-Performance; it has to be marginally better than onboard Intel HD Graphics 3000 (not that difficult, ha)

-Form factor; the drive bay can support a single slot gpu at best, but besides that, I'm limited to a length and width of 5" x 5.25" (though ideally smaller because of ports)

-Output; my laptop's display obviously doesn't take DVI-D or VGA or HDMI. I'll need something like an LDVS connector. I believe converters exist, but it has to be one small enough.

Cooling will not be much of a concern, as I can simply cut a hole in the back of the laptop to allow airflow.

The reason I want to add a gpu is because I like revitalizing old computers and I like a challenge. All of the arguments against doing this are "it's just not possible" but the truth is, I've got a big empty hole in my computer and an open pcie slot that's calling my name. Cost doesn't bother me, it's just fun to tinker around and see what I can make. I can easily find cheap parts on ebay from surplus companies and people who don't want their stuff anymore. I just have to know what to look for.

So if you have any ideas, feel free to contribute. I'm lost on what model gpu to use. One of my thoughts on reducing power consumption would be to simply lower voltages and clocks to the point at which it can run safely. I understand I'll need a beefier power brick. But I'm open to any suggestions of modding. Tell me what you think!

Thanks!
 

Lutfij

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Simple answer, no. The very form factor of the laptop is going to get ruined if you try and manage to get a desktop grade GPU in the ODD slot. Even if you, not saying you could, get a desktop grade single slot GPU in there, you're going to need to figure out how to get power to the PCI-e slot for the GPU. The way the mPci-e slot is wired, it can't be used outside of a wireless adapter or probably a small capacity SSD(but the latter will need a whitelist from the laptop manufacturer).
 

Moleg1

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Just a gander, since i like your idea and you seem to know somewhat how to do things. Maybe a 1030, only draws 30 watts and can be passively cooled...?
 

QXDrakon

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I looked into the 1030 and it'd be a blessing to have that card run in this thing but all models of it are simply too long. It's slim but the PCB extends past even the end of the PCIe lanes and length-wise, my bay couldn't hold something much bigger than a PCIe x8 card. A 1030, though... it'd be a good choice, given how efficient Pascal is. I could drop the clocks way down and undervolt it quite a bit and I'd probably get some nice results. Thanks for the idea!
 
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Moleg1

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I remember reading somewhere that there is a passively cooled 7850... not sure what its tdp is or if that solves anything length wise...

other than that youre left with a gt730, All the passively cooled variants seem to be ddr3, although running it with a fan on a ddr5 variant wouldnt be the end of the world, as you said
 

QXDrakon

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Most PCIe riser cables have a power input to supply electricity to what is assumed to be a high-draw component. Power could potentially come from the mini SATA plug available for the original OD and that mixed with some other supplementary power source could be the solution to that issue. You just have to think outside the box. Figure out how to get a gpu to run with this laptop off of its own power and then figure out how to stick it in the odd. Stay positive! :)
 
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QXDrakon

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So guys, I've been doing more research into the issue and I think the solution to the power delivery issue will be a second power brick with a molex converter. Most if not all Mini PCIe to PCIe x1/x16 riser cables include a molex input for power delivery. So, I need to either get a second power brick and run it alongside my current one but route it directly to the GPU; otherwise, a better solution would be to get a higher-wattage brick (a 150w would suffice) and split the power delivery between my laptop and its new gpu. I'll start reading power supply schematics. This is a difficult endeavor!
 
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Moleg1

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Im still curious as to what happened!
 
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QXDrakon

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The project has been put on hold for a bit. I still haven't solved the issue of power delivery but I think I'll 3d print the parts to house whatever gpu I use. I think I'll try and use a slim 1050ti as my gpu of choice but fitting it in will be difficult. Regardless the project is off the table currently. Thanks for checking in!
 
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Will_24

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The project has been put on hold for a bit. I still haven't solved the issue of power delivery but I think I'll 3d print the parts to house whatever gpu I use. I think I'll try and use a slim 1050ti as my gpu of choice but fitting it in will be difficult. Regardless the project is off the table currently. Thanks for checking in!
I think your awesome for thinking out of the box. I also recon if I was in your shoes, I'd extend the connection and have the GPU out of the case like mounted to the back of my screen on top of the laptop :)
 
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