My DIY eGPU Project – Delivery and Test

Today (26th) the adapter parts for my eGPU project arrived from Taiwan. I paid for it on the 20th via PayPal and on the 24th the PayPal status was updated to let me know that my purchase had shipped with a DHL tracking number. I am pretty happy with the delivery time.

Something that I knew was a possibility, though was still slightly vexing, was an accompanying VAT charge from Customs amounting to £12.81. This puts the total cost for the adapter £87.08 including all delivery and taxes.

Some introductory details about the project can be found here in a previous blog entry.

First thing to do is assemble all the bits. I connected 3 things to the PCIe adapter: a floppy disk power connector (the white one on the left of the picture), the mini-HDMI connector (the black one on the right), and you should all hopefully recognise the PCIe slot (the long horizontal white thing at the bottom of the picture). This is where the graphics card will go shortly.

The other end of the mini-HDMI cable plugs in to the ExpressCard adapter as seen in the picture below.

The last part of the kit is a neat switch component that plugs in to the PSU and allows you to switch it on with out the bother of needing the rest of a PC.

For the extra ingredients I rustled up an Antec AR-350 ATX PSU from an old PC of mine and borrowed an MSI N9600GT Nvidia graphics card. Here they all are put together in the picture below.

When I turned it all on there were even some pretty green lights. Lights (check), camera (check), action…


I have installed the Nvidia drivers and everything is powered up but the eGPU is not working. Time for a little look in the Device Manager. The graphics card is showing up in the display adapters section but is disabled with Error 12. Happily, the comprehensive DIY eGPU thread, which first told me that all this was possible, had some answers here complete with video.

I made the necessary changes to the dsl file but it would not compile. Until, that is I followed these debugging instructions here after which everything seemed to go fine; reboot time!

Also known as won’t reboot time. With the ExpressCard plugged in the boot sequence seems to freeze the computer fairly early on. So I unplug the ExpressCard start the boot sequence and press F8 to bring up the Windows load options. I don’t actually need the options, this is just to pause the boot so that I can push the ExpressCard back in. Once this is done I select the ‘Start Windows normally’ option and allow the boot to resume.

Success! I am logged in to windows and here is my graphics card in Device Manager.

And here another 2 monitors have appeared in the screen resolution dialog. I only actually have 2 monitors but they accept multiple inputs.

A little bit of monitor rearranging later and I have two monitors both powered by the eGPU. So time for a test! First one to the plate is the Windows Experience test built in to Windows 7. The score goes from 4.3 to 5.8 a definite good result.

I will leave you with that positive note for now. I am in the process of downloading 3DMark for some further benchmarking fun and will be trying out some more demanding games than I have been able to run before. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

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