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External GPU through mini PCI-e or ExpressCard slot

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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March 6, 2010 4:18:19 AM

External GPU for laptop... This thing makes sense if CPU-GPU memory transfer is minimal, which is true for those who use GPU for computation while leaving the CPU completely idle... and it makes a lot more sense if you have only a laptop which has no cuda-capable graphic card and are as broke as I am so another desktop would be unaffordable...

My laptop has one ExpressCard 54 slot and two mini PCI-e slots. Any idea how to connect a pci-e x16 NVidia GTX 275 to those x1 slots?

Actually I found a lane converter that converts pci-e x16 input to a pci-e x1 output. It's here: http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pexp16-sx-16-1-p-1648....
But I'm not sure if that converter fits my mini pci-e slot or not... Of course I'd need some extension cable since that thing couldn't possibly be crammed into my laptop, but the thing I'm worried about is: Would the GTX 275 be able to work with a single lane? Would that pci-e x1 output be compatible with the mini pci-e standard?

I'm also looking for some adapter that could take in the pci-e 16x GTX 275 card and connect to the ExpressCard 54 slot. That way I wouldn't have to open the back lid to access the mini pci-e slots. Do you guys know of any of such adapters?

any help would be greatly appreciated! And I guess if there's a good(cheap) solution to this, a lot more people would jump up from their seats and scream in excitement... :D 
a b D Laptop
March 6, 2010 2:39:17 PM

There really is no solution to this at the moment. Doing what you want to do is going to end up either not working, or being so inefficient and low-performing that you wish you hadn't spent so much money on it. Right now, there really aren't any feasible external graphics solutions on the market, but there are a few notebooks with some promise (that doesn't help you if you've already a notebook, however). The rule for now is to buy a notebook with the most powerful GPU you can afford, and run it for as long as you can.
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March 6, 2010 3:48:20 PM

Actually... as long as the card could be up and working, there wouldn't be much performance issue since the need for GPU-CPU memory transfer is minimal in my case. This is also true for many people who use NVidia CUDA.
The only problem is: whether it would work at all or not. Another person told me that GTX 275 requires 75W from the slot and 2x75w from external power connectors. So assuming the card, adapter and slots can be connected successfully, the only problem would be if it's possible to push more power into the adapter or increase the power of the external connectors to eliminate the need for power from the slot.

the more important thing is, does the x1 pci-e card work on a mini pci-e slot?
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a b D Laptop
March 7, 2010 2:09:23 AM

I think the bandwidth/speed required for the GPU-CPU transfer would be highly defendant on the coding of the particular software you're using, so you may be taking a luck-draw there.

Considering power:
Some notebooks aren't even capable of supplying 75W for the entire unit. A 60W PSU is typical for thin notebooks, while a 90W PSU is supplied for more general machines. 120W and larger supplies come with gaming machines, but even then, 75W is a big chunk that notebooks don't have to spare, completely disregarding the power capabilities of the mini-PCIe port. Of course, the GPU won't need that the entire time - but if you hope to do anything useful with the GPU, at some point it's going to need some juice, and notebooks just don't have any to spare. If the mini-PCIe port could actually sport that much power (and I really doubt it can), you'd have to procure a much higher current PSU for your notebook, which may prove very difficult in itself.
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March 7, 2010 7:36:12 PM

Cheaper solution;
http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/PE4L.html

But really, you are going to have difficulty with the GPGPU apps recognizing the hardware as supporting the tools.

I still suspect you'll have trouble, but you can always try it.

GTX275 likely wouldn't work though due to the power demand at the slot.

You can try ViDock2 above, however nV is not officially supported, and it's also going to struggle with the power requirements of the GTX275 as well as the dimensions.

Check this thread for some experienced tidbits;
http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=397296

Although the ViDock re-seller in the thread (Pala...) seems like a douche considering it's essentially a giant Ad for ViDock he gives the OP grief whenever he's not gushing over the product. :sarcastic: 
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February 23, 2012 5:45:48 PM

houyunqing said:
External GPU for laptop... This thing makes sense if CPU-GPU memory transfer is minimal, which is true for those who use GPU for computation while leaving the CPU completely idle... and it makes a lot more sense if you have only a laptop which has no cuda-capable graphic card and are as broke as I am so another desktop would be unaffordable...

My laptop has one ExpressCard 54 slot and two mini PCI-e slots. Any idea how to connect a pci-e x16 NVidia GTX 275 to those x1 slots?

Actually I found a lane converter that converts pci-e x16 input to a pci-e x1 output. It's here: http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pexp16-sx-16-1-p-1648....
But I'm not sure if that converter fits my mini pci-e slot or not... Of course I'd need some extension cable since that thing couldn't possibly be crammed into my laptop, but the thing I'm worried about is: Would the GTX 275 be able to work with a single lane? Would that pci-e x1 output be compatible with the mini pci-e standard?

I'm also looking for some adapter that could take in the pci-e 16x GTX 275 card and connect to the ExpressCard 54 slot. That way I wouldn't have to open the back lid to access the mini pci-e slots. Do you guys know of any of such adapters?

any help would be greatly appreciated! And I guess if there's a good(cheap) solution to this, a lot more people would jump up from their seats and scream in excitement... :D 


Hey bud, I realize it's been nearly 2 years since you posted this, and maybe thats why you never got a good answer (tech wasn't ready), but this is out there. There is a manufacturer producing this system for thunderbolt connection types, prebuilt, and their is also a site dedicated to DIY express card powered eGPUs. Links:

The ViDock
DIY-Dedicated pages
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May 19, 2012 10:18:42 PM

houyunqing said:
External GPU for laptop... This thing makes sense if CPU-GPU memory transfer is minimal, which is true for those who use GPU for computation while leaving the CPU completely idle... and it makes a lot more sense if you have only a laptop which has no cuda-capable graphic card and are as broke as I am so another desktop would be unaffordable...

My laptop has one ExpressCard 54 slot and two mini PCI-e slots. Any idea how to connect a pci-e x16 NVidia GTX 275 to those x1 slots?

Actually I found a lane converter that converts pci-e x16 input to a pci-e x1 output. It's here: http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pexp16-sx-16-1-p-1648....
But I'm not sure if that converter fits my mini pci-e slot or not... Of course I'd need some extension cable since that thing couldn't possibly be crammed into my laptop, but the thing I'm worried about is: Would the GTX 275 be able to work with a single lane? Would that pci-e x1 output be compatible with the mini pci-e standard?

I'm also looking for some adapter that could take in the pci-e 16x GTX 275 card and connect to the ExpressCard 54 slot. That way I wouldn't have to open the back lid to access the mini pci-e slots. Do you guys know of any of such adapters?

any help would be greatly appreciated! And I guess if there's a good(cheap) solution to this, a lot more people would jump up from their seats and scream in excitement... :D 


they do have a 54mm adapter setup out there at Harmonic Inversion Technologys along with several other adapters that may help...they (H I T ) seem to be about the most reasonable out there price wise and they will work with you.....in my situation I have no PCI slot and am thinking about going to a mini pci adapter but have as yet to find a suitable setup...if you happen to know of any please do let me know....
Sam~
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June 26, 2012 9:26:55 PM

tazmo8448 said:
they do have a 54mm adapter setup out there at Harmonic Inversion Technologys along with several other adapters that may help...they (H I T ) seem to be about the most reasonable out there price wise and they will work with you.....in my situation I have no PCI slot and am thinking about going to a mini pci adapter but have as yet to find a suitable setup...if you happen to know of any please do let me know....
Sam~


Hey,

Though you might find this useful, alot cheaper than most option and i know for a fact it works as I use it myself.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PE4H-v2-4a-30cm-mini-HDMI-EC2...

Originally I use the first option (PE4H v2.4a + 30cm mini-HDMI + EC2C + SPB087 ExpressCard to PCI-E Adapter) with my dell inspiron to give it a new lease of life, and something to use when friends dropped by and we wanted to have some LAN games however it didnt take me long to realise the express card is seriously bottle-necking the GPU and switched to the PM3N to take advantage of a MPCIe slot, and it seems to work much better, however Id suggest not going all out on a GPU get something mid-range as there will likely be some bottle-necking somewhere down the line.

Cannot for the life of me find the Transfer rates on a MPCIe anywhere so if anyone know, I would appreciate it.


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