07-25-2018 06:02 AM
Today I received the Thunderbolt3 Graphics Dock and tried to install it, but I di not work. It looks like Windows is not recognizig it. It shows only a a Billborag unit under the USB units with the following Haerdware-ID:
Of course I installed the drives and even tried to update the BIOS of the graphics DOck, bbut the all the efforts were suseless. It only supplies power and no USB or Graphics is working.
01-29-2019 07:53 AM - edited 01-29-2019 07:58 AM
OK I've actually gotten the graphics dock to work a bit with my 920 (and a thinkpad P50 as well) finally but it is still tempermental sometimes. I was hung up on trying to get the nvidia driver installed and of course there is this whole hoopla where the lenovo version will install but is super out of date, and the latest version from nvidia's website wont even try to install because it doesn't detect the 1050.
Well all this time what I really should have been focusing on was the thunderbolt software and firmware on my laptop. You can't worry about having the driver for the 1050 installed and working until after a healthy thunderbolt 3 connection has been established between the thunderbolt chip in the dock and the thunderbolt 3 chip in your computer.
So I uninstalled all the drivers and junk I had attempted thus far. Then I got the lastest of EVERYTHING from the lenovo drivers and software page for the 920, but most importantly the thunderbolt related downloads. Even if you already have the latest versions, reinstalling the software and re-doing the firmware seemed to help finally. On top of that, you want the intel thunderbolt software program if you don't already have that, the one that gives you a little blue thunderbolt icon in the taskbar tray, because that little buy handles setting up the thunderbolt connection.
Thunderbolt 3 is extremely testy. Either that or the chip in my laptop is dodgy, but I have the dock working on two computers now (the 920 and a ThinkPad P50) and for both the thunderbolt connection is just straight-up testy. This isn't a reliable plug-n-play technology, at least not yet. It doesn't help that the firmware update for the DOCK itself does not seem to run unless the dock is connected to a 720, so we know my dock firmware is out of date with no option yet to fix that (thanks for nothing, lenovo). I'm hoping to somehow find someone with a 720 I can borrow just to do the firmware update but no idea where I will turn up someone with one of those things...
Anyways, it still works, but like I said its extremely tempermental. Not plug-n-play. You can't just be working away on the computer with 5 things open and assume all will be well if you plug in the dock. You have to assume your machine might freeze or BSOD upon plugin and plan accordingly (save work, close programs). I think this is because software is not yet used to this idea that a graphics card may be added or removed during normal operation. Programs do not neccesarily smoothly jump from the onboard intel graphics to a new GPU on the fly (or at least this is my theory). Windows itself barely handles it...
Anyways, lets try to get down to a recipe for 80% success:
1) Uninstall/Undo any weird things you have tried so far, try to get back to a clean-ish state, hopefully without having to reinstall windows.
2) Download and install all the latest lenovo updates possible.
2.1) RE-INSTALL all thunderbolt and intel management related bits. Software, firmware, anything that remotely looks like it has to do with the thunderbolt chip in the laptop.
3) Make sure you have the intel thunderbolt software/tray icon, as mentioned above.
Note: Don't panic when you open that mini program and it shows nothing/no thunderbold controller at all/no ports at all when nothing is connected to your physical thunderbolt ports. It seems unless a genuine thunderbolt device is physically connected the controller is offline and it will also be done from device manager, but it magically appears once the physical connection is made (hopefully).
4) Install the dock driver from Lenovo. Yes, even though its an old out of date version. Lenovo's copy is rigged to allow install even though the graphics card is not detected, plus you need the driver support for more than just the GPU probably (ie, the audio and the USB and ethernet support).
5) Make a clean restart of the computer.
6) Once windows is started up, make sure the thunderbolt tray program is running. Mine doesn't start itself with windows. It *should* start itself when a thunderbolt device is plugged in, but I like to start it beforehand.
Now it gets a little dicey...
7) Physically plug the dock into the computer. Stick with just the dock at first, no monitors, no ethernet, no USB devices. JUST the power cable for the dock and the thunderbolt 3 cable.
8) See what happens...
Windows will either:
- Freeze completely (no mouse, no ctrl-alt-delete, nothing, you will have to unplug the dock and force restart and try again)
- Blue Screen (of Death) -> Again, unplug dock, let it restart and tries again...
- Thunderbolt software tray icon MAY pop up saying something thunderbolt wants to connect, but the name of the connecting device MAY be blank. If it says a Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphic Dock wants to connect, you are making progress. If it says nothing/blank wants to connect, you are going to have to unplug, restart, and try again.
- Nothing -> If nothing happens at all, you will likely end up having to restart but you can sometimes jump-start it by right-clicking the thunderbolt software tray icon and going to "Manage Approved Devices". This for me requires an elevated prompt confirmation which may be part of the overall problem, not sure, my next step is to add that program to windows start up with "Run as administrator" set on it.
What you want is for the computer to pop up a prompt that roughly says "Hey, this Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphic Dock wants to connect, should we allow it?" Obviosly, allow the connection and then cross your fingers that the link becomes properly established and the dock light turns green (and the computer doesn't freeze or BSOD).
From here is basically a back-and-forth dance of repeating the above until suddenly the dock light turns green and starts working. Could take many restarts. Different weird things may pop up in device manager. Sometimes I plug it in, no dock detected (or I get the blank/un-named thunderbolt device wants to connect message) and in device manager the thunderbolt controller shows an error of not being able to start.
Sometimes the dock connects on my 920 but the GPU does not, and I go into device manager and find the GTX 1050 is detected but disabled. I have to right-click, enable device and then the GPU starts working.
When its working, nvidia's tray icon usually shows up and it shows you which programs are running on the 1050. Like I said, programs are not used to this concept that a graphics card, usually a very static piece of equipment, may suddenly disapear out from under it. So you want to close any programs using the GPU before unplugging. That tray program also has a button to disconnect the GPU cleanly, help avoid another BSOD on unplug.
If you get this far, you've got something. It doesn't always connect or disconnect cleanly, but it does somewhat work. Whats next?
From here, you should go to nvidia's website and download the latest nvidia driver for the GTX 1050 (the notebook version, not the desktop version). You may choose not to run the installer that downloads, the issue is that it will sideload nvidia expirience program that for me seemed buggy, so instead I used 7-zip to crack open the download and extract just the Display.Driver folder. Then go to device manager and try to update the driver for the 1050, instead of having it search automatically point it directly at that folder and it will install just the latest 1050 driver without the extra nvidia program. This step is neccesary, as Adobe Premier warned me when I fired it up on Lenovo's driver that the graphics driver was out of date and could not provide accelerated rendering.
Other useful bits I have gleaned thus far:
The fecking USB hub on this dock, aka 50% of the reason I went with this dock over a different eGPU, seems to be junk. All I really know so far is that you absolutely CANNOT use a 2.4 GHz wireless mouse and keyboard on ANY of the three dock USB ports. The mouse chops its way across the screen, freezing every few seconds, and the keyboard input goes bananas. Eventually the computer seems to freeze up entirely beyond recovery. Flippin junk. The same mouse and keyboard works perfectly plugged directly into the laptop USB port. So much for a one-wire dock.
The ethernet and audio DO seem to work OK thus far, but I've only recently been able to make it work this much so I am still figuring things out.
I have been using the dock for two days connected to my P50 now, running two monitors (one on either side of the laptop, plus the built-in laptop display, for a total of three screens). This has been working good. Ethernet and audio are plugged into the dock. The mouse and keyboard plugged directly into the laptop for the issues mentioned above. If you check the amazon reviews of this dock there are other people noting that 2.4Ghz wireless stuff does not work in the dock USB ports.
This much, I think I can live with. Its not great, but I can't return it now and lenovo phone support is NO HELP WHATSOEVER. I would really like to be able to run the dock's firmware upgrade but not sure how I will ever do that without access to a 720. Its annoying that its not plug-n-play and that there is a dice rolled every time I connect it as to whether it will work or crash the computer, but once its working it seems stable enough (at least, it has been on the P50 and I was able to do some video editing on the 920 a couple days ago).
A frustrating journey for sure. For those doing research, I would say if you did not follow along with what I was saying in the technical steps then this is likely going to be too much for you to handle, maybe look into another brand eGPU. I am a so-called computer scientist (by degree) with 7 years of software engineering expirience and prior certifications in windows administration, and this still took me hours of painful head banging just to get this far.
Extremely disapointing show by Lenovo on this graphics dock product. I am guessing like many things at Lenovo there was someone with a great idea but the rest of the team/company was not able to execute. More than likely, it was flowing along fine and then some exec scrutinized the abacus and found this whole graphics dock project was costing them tons of money with really no hope of ever making money off it (think how small the market for this product is, it does not even remotely occur to the average user that maybe they could plug a graphics card into their notebook to juice it up). I imagine with the project bleeding money and no hope of making it back, all development and support for this dock was slashed. I back this up with my expirience calling phone support for help, initially I had support in the United States but as soon as they found out what I was working on they transferred me to flippin India and the end result was just an hour wasted of my life, the India support just told me to get a different dock and at that point I hung up.
Lenovo, you STARTED this, bleeding money or not I feel you should feel an obligation to see it through, not just leave it out there collecting money for something that cannot be made to work reliably on anything other than one outdated laptop model.
Anyways, thats the story folks, thanks for reading and good luck if you have signed up for the same nightmare, hope something in here helps. If you haven't bought into this yet, I'd say unless you REALLY need the graphics power, just go for the regular thunderbolt non-graphics dock. So much simpler and less headache. These i7 machines with the intel 620 graphics or better can run three monitors decently with a little finangling. Or, look into a third parth eGPU setup. At least then you can upgrade, the GTX 1050 is getting older by the minute, some of the 730 yogas have that GPU built in nowadays. Those of you whose battle is in-progress, focus on getting that thunderbolt 3 link established first and go from there.
Best of luck.
04-07-2019 03:28 PM
Although its very good news that someone has it working after an admittedly arduous process, I think it would be helpful for the rest to document the working baseline in more detail. By documenting I mean installation steps, with links to downloads of the version of drivers entailed in the process that actually worked.
For example I have attempted a few times to update to "latest" drivers of everything and then it still doesnt work, no matter how you treat this thing. I have installed the latest of thunderbolt drivers , latest of intel 620 graphics drivers, and latest of nvidia gtx 1050 drivers. The results that I am experiencing see are the following.
06-25-2019 03:33 PM
To followup that has been my expirience with the freezing as well. I have not been able to find a cure for that. I will be happily using it and then for no apparent reason at total random, HARD freeze, complete hang, dead as a dornail with the image frozen across all three monitors. Absolutely no way to recover other than holding the power button until it dies.
The way it locks up makes me suspect some kind of power issue, sometimes I have used it for pretty long periods of time before it locks up (the 5 minute range you mention is not consistent for me). I seemed to be having better luck at a LAN party I went to where I had only one monitor instead of 3, played some games for quite a while without issue. Load doesn't seem to affect it, sometimes I am just using it as a thin-client to remote desktop into my work computer which puts essentially no load at all on my machine and yet it locks up and freezes.