LinuxQuestions.org
Latest LQ Deal: Latest LQ Deals
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Slackware
User Name
Password
Slackware This Forum is for the discussion of Slackware Linux.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 02-14-2020, 08:31 AM   #1
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
External GPU advice


Hi Slackers,

I have been considering getting an external GPU for my laptop due to recently getting re-interested in flight simulators. The laptop is a Thinkpad T430 with Intel HD4000 graphics. My plan is to get probably an Nvidia card connected to a dock compatible with my laptop's ExpressCard slot and a separate power supply. I have a few questions that I'm hoping can be cleared up before I jump in, though.
  1. A general question - does anyone have experience with external GPUs in Slackware? Any advice?
  2. I will need to install the proprietary Nvidia driver. Can it exist with no issues alongside the Intel driver?
  3. Let's say I want to use the Nvidia card. I think I will need to use an external monitor, which is fine. But how do I tell the system to use the external GPU / monitor / driver rather than the integrated graphics and laptop screen? Will it automatically detect it on boot when it is connected, or do I have to manually enable it each time?
Thanks in advance for any advice people can provide.
 
Old 02-14-2020, 01:52 PM   #2
business_kid
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Ireland
Distribution: Slackware & Android
Posts: 11,002

Rep: Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250
I wonder…

The Express card is pcie-1.0 speed, and by the time you're paying for Express Card Graphics Adapter & Graphics card, you've most of the price of a new box there. These things not in mass production don't come cheap. With a HD4000, your box is probably within a year of 2013 - not new. CPU upgrades are hardly on because there's a wattage limit on the cpu. Have you thought of a fresh box?
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-14-2020, 02:43 PM   #3
phalange
Member
 
Registered: May 2018
Distribution: Slackware, Nixos, Arch, Centos
Posts: 219

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Have to check -- it may actually bottleneck at PCIe 2 speeds, but it's still a restriction on the GPU's performance. And the CPU and RAM in the 430 are pretty weak by gaming standards.

I think the 430 had a variant with Thunderbolt, but I'm guessing not yours?
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-14-2020, 03:33 PM   #4
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
Quote:
Originally Posted by phalange View Post
Have to check -- it may actually bottleneck at PCIe 2 speeds, but it's still a restriction on the GPU's performance. And the CPU and RAM in the 430 are pretty weak by gaming standards.

I think the 430 had a variant with Thunderbolt, but I'm guessing not yours?
Mine does have Thunderbolt, actually. Would that be better than the ExpressCard? It also has a mini PCIe slot, but it's on the bottom and I think I'd have to remove the wireless adapter to use it, so that would be a pain.

Edit: actually, I was mistaken. It doesn't have Thunderbolt.

Regarding using an external GPU with my laptop rather than building a new box, my thinking is that the game already runs decently with the laptop as is, except in areas that have detailed scenery with a lot of buildings, or if I try to turn up the autogen vegetation or turn on antialiasing. I think a GPU upgrade would help a lot with that. But I suppose I should do a cost analysis of that versus building a relatively cheap desktop with the intended graphics card and a current low-to-mid-end CPU. I'm sure the new box would be more expensive in total, but maybe it would be close enough to make it worth it. It would certainly be more convenient than shutting down the laptop and plugging in the eGPU every time I wanted to play, plus managing 2 sets of video drivers, etc.

Last edited by montagdude; 02-14-2020 at 10:00 PM.
 
Old 02-14-2020, 05:24 PM   #5
phalange
Member
 
Registered: May 2018
Distribution: Slackware, Nixos, Arch, Centos
Posts: 219

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by montagdude View Post
Mine does have Thunderbolt, actually. Would that be better than the ExpressCard?
Well, the thunderbolt external GPU setups are popular so you'll find more options. But generally they're for Thunderbolt 3 so they won't give optimum performance either with an older port like the T430 has.

I suppose you could get a GPU you like with the external enclosure and if it doesn't work out, return the enclosure and keep the GPU for a new build.

Also, although I personally use and like Nvidia, some AMD cards may work without proprietary drivers. But running two drivers in tandem is not something I've done so I don't know what the performance is like or if there are pitfalls.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-14-2020, 05:37 PM   #6
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
Okay, thanks. I will definitely do some research and do some price comparisons before deciding. I was thinking of getting AMD for just the reason you mentioned, but I have read that they don't work well for FlightGear, the flight sim I've been playing that motivated this.
 
Old 02-14-2020, 06:07 PM   #7
phalange
Member
 
Registered: May 2018
Distribution: Slackware, Nixos, Arch, Centos
Posts: 219

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by montagdude View Post
I was thinking of getting AMD for just the reason you mentioned, but I have read that they don't work well for FlightGear
Yeah, and for what it's worth, I tried to get an AMD 5700-XT working and found it was not simply a drop-in. It crashed every distro I threw at it, starting with Slackware -current. I think in general AMD cards are well-supported, but it's not a guarantee with more recent chips. In my case, I went with an Nvidia 2070 and the SBo drivers worked perfectly and continue to.
 
Old 02-14-2020, 06:14 PM   #8
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
I just found this post which makes an eGPU seem pretty easy to use. Apparently it will even work on the laptop screen:

https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-l...ks-flawlessly/

It's Ubuntu, but it sounds like the configuration is done through the Nvidia software.
 
Old 02-14-2020, 06:35 PM   #9
phalange
Member
 
Registered: May 2018
Distribution: Slackware, Nixos, Arch, Centos
Posts: 219

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by montagdude View Post
I just found this post which makes an eGPU seem pretty easy to use.
That's cool, good find. Nvidia settings is pretty fine grained. I'm interested to see how this goes since I've considered doing something like this too.
 
Old 02-15-2020, 06:21 AM   #10
business_kid
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Ireland
Distribution: Slackware & Android
Posts: 11,002

Rep: Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250
I know I represent the voice of caution, but I really hope it works out for you guys.
I went to upgrade my (Samsung)box, found I could use no modern upgrade because the few cpu models that worked were so rare they were silly prices. And in some cases, the graphics were actually WORSE than what I have.

Would your box fetch much secondhand? It might offset the cost
 
Old 02-15-2020, 09:55 AM   #11
Regnad Kcin
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2014
Location: Beijing
Distribution: Slackware 64 -current .
Posts: 235

Rep: Reputation: 152Reputation: 152
luggable machine overcomes laptop issues

I use home-built luggable machines to circumvent the anemic performance of laptops. Laptop computers are limited by their ability to dissipate heat and are purposely throttled to keep them from overheating. There is also the video graphics adaptor problems that you are encountering. Most laptops have only one external graphics port and if you want to use an external graphics pad to assist in a presentation, there are few laptops that have multiple graphics output. Further laptop problems include backup storage options and storage, period.

I looked at the option of Alienware or Razor or other custom built laptops to overcome some of those problems. I used to always own both a desktop and a laptop which also created a problem of just which machine has the file that I want and lots of transferring of files which in one sense adds security of multiple copies but creates versioning issues of projects in development. All overcome-able but finally in 2013 I decided to try building my own personal luggable machine halfway between desktop and laptop, finally with the watercooling power of a desktop, multiple HDD, SSD, and NVMe drives, and heavy duty graphics, the power to run 4 monitors for online lectures with video camera, Wacom tablet, .ppt, .pdf, a decent keyboard and mouse, and all my files with me all the time. I have now built several mini/micro-sized boxes to run various projects around the lab and for my personal use. My latest iteration of this concept is an AsRock PG-ITX Z390 motherboard, i7-9770K, 16GB ram, 1TB NVMe SDD, 4TB HDD backup, GigaByte RTX2060 mini-ITX OC 6gb, 120mm AlphaCool dual inline fan radiator, 700W SFX powersupply and a LianLi TU15O portable case with two Noctua 120 mm filtered push fans and a 120 mm exhaust fan. The old wood base and open top shell box was easy to cool but Changping (北京昌平区) is dusty so this one is dust-proof. I run a wacom cintix 13 pad and 3 large monitors on my desk. I have no screen tears or glitches and can do video conferencing and livestream teaching or record-and-render with no hesitation or mishaps. I am much too busy for gaming. This portable machine fits into a carry-on box along with the keyboard, mouse, and the Wacom Cintix as a portable monitor.

I am running Slackware64-current as my daily driver and I have Win10 for when I must have it and usually some other flavour of linux on a separate partition, presently kalilinux but i have had ubuntu and other debian derivatives at times for fun and rarely now for systemd stuff. We've got several dell laptops in the family and although I can't use my machine in the cafe or at the kitchen table, I never worry about battery power or any other sort of power to work. Further there's none of the crap-ware that comes with every commercial computer that takes time to clean out.

Last edited by Regnad Kcin; 02-15-2020 at 10:07 AM.
 
Old 02-15-2020, 12:14 PM   #12
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I know I represent the voice of caution, but I really hope it works out for you guys.
I went to upgrade my (Samsung)box, found I could use no modern upgrade because the few cpu models that worked were so rare they were silly prices. And in some cases, the graphics were actually WORSE than what I have.
Well, I'm not looking to upgrade the CPU, just the graphics card. Or are you saying that a machine with an old CPU will not work with a modern graphics card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Would your box fetch much secondhand? It might offset the cost
I'm not sure, but I kind of want to keep the laptop since it's much more convenient than a desktop.
 
Old 02-15-2020, 01:22 PM   #13
business_kid
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Ireland
Distribution: Slackware & Android
Posts: 11,002

Rep: Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250
Gamers need the best of everything in an ideal world, that's all.
Of course your old cpu will work, and I don't even know what your cpu is.
PCIE-1.0 (which I think is the Express card speed) is a limitation.

If you go with what you're intending, you'll certainly get an improved experience. I hope it's enough to satisfy you. The sort of investigation you're doing convinced me not to upgrade my laptop at all, but to live with it.
 
Old 02-15-2020, 01:39 PM   #14
montagdude
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2016
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,664

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297Reputation: 1297
Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Gamers need the best of everything in an ideal world, that's all.
Of course your old cpu will work, and I don't even know what your cpu is.
PCIE-1.0 (which I think is the Express card speed) is a limitation.

If you go with what you're intending, you'll certainly get an improved experience. I hope it's enough to satisfy you. The sort of investigation you're doing convinced me not to upgrade my laptop at all, but to live with it.
I think mine is PCIE-2.0, but I have to check that. Thanks for your advice. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I figure, even if the performance is not much better, I can just return the eGPU adapter and use the GPU and power supply in a new box.
 
Old 02-16-2020, 04:39 AM   #15
business_kid
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Ireland
Distribution: Slackware & Android
Posts: 11,002

Rep: Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250Reputation: 1250
Well, go for it. I'll be interested in how this works out.

The last Flight Sim I played was on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, boasting 48k of ram which did pretty well for what it was, a 4Mhz Z80. It was a cassette tape for program loading and you had an interrupt every 20 milliseconds which updated the screen on your tv. So your (pathetic) cpu was also your gpu. Different times!
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Handbrake GPU Acceleration - Inexpensive AMD GPU for Old PC Mr. Macintosh Linux - Software 8 01-03-2018 04:11 PM
Does blacklisting discrete GPU driver completely disables discrete GPU, or using acpi_call is better decision? SuperPrower Linux - Hardware 2 08-21-2017 09:32 PM
how can I setup the amd GPU as a default gpu instead of intel graphics? divinefishersmith Linux - Newbie 33 08-22-2015 07:03 PM
Tried to swap GPU in HP workstation. GPU not working good. LexMK Linux - Hardware 1 06-21-2013 07:59 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Slackware

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:41 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration