To eGPU or not to eGPU?

egpu
dock

#41

Hi @KGR, I suggest that you show your use case in this thread: [Donald Dock][Step 2.1][DISCUSSION] What you need and how you will use it

At least this thread shows that the eGPU solution looks to be not the normal use case for the dock. Maybe those only wanting an eGPU do not consider their use case as important for the Donald Dock use case thread…


#42

Hi there!

Thank you for raising the question, indeed it’s amatter of serious discussion and not just a poll.

I firmly believe the all-in-one eGPU with monitor, keyboard and other interfaces as defined by the community is the best way to go.

This is based on two related use cases: gaming and AI which is, in my view, going to be ubiquitous in a few year’s time. Both gaming and “light” neural network models used by students and researchers, incl. for some kaggle competitions, can well be handled by current NVidia gamer class GPUs; the arms race with AMD in the GPU field and the increased popularity of cryptocurrency mining both mean that we may expect rapid hardware progress in GPUs; however, there are productivity limits for cramming the latest GPUs in a laptop case, as demonstrated by Max-Q benchmarking; solutions are very expensive and involve compromises.

Therefore, a definite increase in Eve’s value for money and future proofness would be provided by:

  • Avoiding the cooling problem in the laptop form factor and using the full GPU productivity
  • The option for changing the GPU without a total hardware upgrade
  • Avoiding the potential bottleneck of Thunderbolt 3 bus limits for future graphic cards with higher productivity and throughput (I assume the dock will have quicker connectivity to the laptop, such as PCIe)
  • All of this in a dock that would be inherently compatible with the Eve notebook and future devices from an Eve ecosystem, while for external eGPU cases, driver and other compatibility issues may arise

As for the external screen(s), mouse, keyboard, possible printer, scanner, etc. support in the dock, I can imagine their usefulness both for traveling professionals and (occasional) gamers. Depending on the purpose and duration of the trip, they may opt for the Eve’s high portability, or carry along the dock with or without GPU for working on the go. In the two latter cases, docking to external I/O devices would be a definite plus, and the dock would double as eGPU and connectivity hub.

This opinion is use-case driven, my hardware knowledge is insufficient to propose a more specific I/O configuration for such a dock. However, I wouldn’t buy a mere dock without eGPU functionality. I’m not a gamer but affordable mobile GPU calculation is important to me and seems currently to be lacking on the laptop markets.


#43

That is not an eGPU. That is an all-in-one computer.

Dock is meant to be versatile and “small” and easy 5o even take with you.


#44

I believe he was referring to an egpu with connections for a monitor etc. An eGPU that is your dock where you connect your stuff.


#45

My two cents. Just being pragmatic, I think a dock and eGPU should be two separate products because if we cramp them together it would be like expensive all-season tires, that are not bad overall yet don’t excel in anything. Keeping things separate also makes sense in terms of cost as cramping big things into tiny spaces usually comes with a hefty pricetag


#46

agree. As said it would be really expensive (even for the chassis) and for many it would be propably too much of features they would never use


#47

I wouldn’t tie the entire community to such a definition. IMO a dock is something that DOES NOT MOVE (you know, like a pier in real life? A nautical dock actually floats off from the pier for small craft) from your desk. Your portable “comes home” to your dock. What you are referring to I usually call a “port expander,” which is usually taken with you.


#48

i love to see than i go home and put my tablet in the dock and i can play some games white this:smiley :smiley:


#49

Well maybe my notion of dock is dated. The only one I’ve seen is the size of the laptop and my brother bought it to augment some missing ports on his laptop.

Anyway, my point is that no matter whether compact or not, I wouldn’t buy such a dock for Eve since it already has a TB3 port and eGPU can go there. The eGPU function, on the other hand, is something that really matters.


#50

I vote eGPU at least to make my Eve V work better for modelling.


#51

I don’t think Eve team would ask you to buy one for them :smile:
I agree on eGPU, because V’s processor is powerful enough for gaming but the graphics chip is horrible. However, if we go with eGPU, Eve will have to look for ways to make it cheaper, and it shouldn’t be anything else but eGPU. First of all, we don’t want to take away any bandwidth from graphics cards (still haven’t confirmed if the extra 8Gbps can be used without sacrificing PCIe bandwidth), secondly we want it cheap. Akitio Node is a halfway good option already, and if Eve tried to add extra ports and stuff into their eGPU box, I’m almost certain the price would be higher. And for those who want both, I don’t think it’s so hard to plug in 2 cables, especially when they’re both on the same side of the tablet and you can even bind the cables together with some Sugru. I can also 3d print a plastic holder for the plugs so that they stay together with perfect spacing for V ports, if anyone asks. Price would be around $5 + shipping (just in case… I’m not dead serious here, but if someone asks, I can actually 3d print parts for a small fee lol)


#52

I think having some USB 2.0 (or maybe even 3.0, but that’s probably too much bandwidth), ethernet, and speaker ports added wouldn’t jump up the price much at all, without any kind of sacrifice of performance. Personally I’d just want to plug in keyboard, mouse, controller, ethernet, and headphones/speakers.

But If you want anything more than that it’d be smarter to use two cables.


#53

Well, if Razer decided to dedicate a separate input port for that, I assume it does have a noticeable impact on graphics performance. On the other hand, 4 PCIe lanes are 32Gbps and Thunderbolt is claimed to have 40Gbps available. So I’m not sure. Might be it has different bandwidth for different modes.


#54

That is since thunderbolt is more than only the PCIe connections. It also has video throughput and that is also added to the data rate


#55

I know. But it can also drive 2 4K monitors. Does that mean it can do that while also running an eGPU setup? Definitely no. There’s not enough bandwidth for all of its functionality at once. That means it manages the bandwidth in a bit more complex way. So, we don’t know if USB functionality is still available in parallel with PCIe, or if you have to use up one PCIe lane for a USB card. And the new Razer Core raises suspicion.


#56

I would believe (though not sure at all) that’s for maximum performance playing on the built-in display. As has already been discussed, if using an external display the performance is much higher. My thoughts were the same as yours, Thunderbolt 3 should have a larger capacity than the PCIe lanes. But still, maxing out bandwidth isn’t the best option if it can be avoided, using both ports on the Eve would be the best option.

Also, isn’t the Core using USB3? That’s much higher bandwidth than 2.0, and not necessary for keyboard, mouse, or controllers. I’d think Ethernet, audio, and USB2.0 would average around ~2Gb at most.


#57

On the V*.
You’re right about USB 2.0, but if it turns out we do have to sacrifice a whole PCIe lane for them (as in, there is no bandwidth apart from PCIe), then it doesn’t really matter if it’s 2.0 or 3.0. With 32Gbps we’re only counting the actual data, and depending on how TB3 is implemented (I don’t have enough technical knowledge on this matter), it might require extra bandwidth through the cable for those little “extras” like clock signal (not the best example).
Anyway, this is just random theories, I guess we would have heard it from egpu.io if it was really better to buy a box without USB ports. Razer is probably just pulling another of their weird gimmicks.


#58

I think a reality-check about what’s in the market right now in terms of eGpu would contribute to the discussion about the development of an Eve eGpu (if Eve goes down that way…).
On the one hand Eve shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel, on the other, I think Community should know what is achievable (because someone is already/near to start selling it) and market prices of these things.

Here is an example of a very simple soon-to-enter-the-market eGpu I found today. Unfortunately the article is in Italian I’m sorry :slight_smile: . It’s quite powerful (comes with a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB) however, pretty barebones in terms of ports/features (especially compared to some of the proposals I have seen in the past weeks here in the Community) and in the design compartment.
I can’t hide that I am alarmed by its price: the (admittedly unofficial) retail price it’s 499 Euros, tax included (probably around $499 anywhere elsewhere in the world). I would appreciate comments and opinions and what would you expect/like the price of a Donald Dock designed to be a lot better than this to be? :fearful:

https://hardware.hdblog.it/2017/11/22/Galax-SPRB-box-esterno-geforce-gtx-1060-6gb/


#59

If we’re going to the trouble of making a EVE V branded dock then lets focus on the main aspects that V suffers in when compared to its competitors (less battery life and weaker CPU).

If I just want a dock that allows me to throw a USB port bananza then I’ll go to the shops and get the ones already available, but if I’m going to the effort to get the Daisy/Donald dock then that’s because it targets my computers needs specifically.

So yes I think eGPU should be included, or at least the ability to attach it to the V via the dock included. I think this might be where needing two different docks comes in tho.

The ‘daisy dock’ idea that’s been floated as the on-the-go dock could address the weak point of battery life, and the donald dock can be the one for boosting a workspace and give the extra GPU. I personally would not use any eGPU capabilities because there are other devices in my home and in my work space that I use for heavy tasks, I mean, hellloooo why are you buying a 2-in-1 if you want to do processing heavy tasks??


#60

Despite the Vs cpu being a major bottle neck… we shall thou EVEgpu.