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Nimvoker
Ctrl-Alt-Del
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎09-24-2012
Location: United States
Views: 13,561
Message 1 of 9

Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Hello,

 

Is it a good or bad idea to upgrade my video card to an NVIDIA GeForce?
And why?

 

 

Thanks!

Jettatore
SCSI Port
Posts: 91
Registered: ‎11-15-2012
Location: United States
Views: 13,555
Message 2 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Pardon my ignorance up front if I am wrong, I have an x220 and have not studied the x230 in any depth, but I suspect this isn't even possible, even on the x230.  On the x220, and I suspect it's much the same for the x230, the video card is a part of the intel chipset (it basically leeches cpu and ram power from the normal system cpu/ram and is not a dedicated removable/upgradable mobile graphics device with it's own cpu/ram like a mobile GeForce or mobile Radeon card).

 

Perhaps there are new inventions on the market that can do the trick, I haven't been keeping up, but when I checked for the x220 their wasn't a viable open slot in the system for putting in such a dedicated mobile card.  The only option was an 'external' hack that allows one to use a dedicated desktop GPU card for when they come home with their system and dock it up to an external monitor.  Looked like a bit of work to set-up but once it was set up and running, it would allow for using a powerful GPU for games and graphic apps etc., while at home/office at least.

 

Would be nice if the newest line of these tablet laptops had room for mobile GPU's, it's about the only thing missing for my interests, however that said, the integrated internal graphics work quite well from my experience, for mild gaming with the settings turned down and for graphic editing (most top 2D and 3D applications work surprisingly well, but far from as good as they would work with dedicated gpu, good enough for me though...).

 

By all means, if I am incorrect about this, I would love to know, especially if there were options to do much the same on the X220, but I suspect things haven't changed that much since last I checked unless I missed something.

Nprod
Token Ring
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎09-16-2012
Location: Bulgaria
Views: 13,550
Message 3 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Upgrading the videocard is not even remotely possible on more than 90% of all laptops. Although the MXM slot interface has existed for many years, most manufacturers prefer to force users into buying a new notebook every 3-4 years instead of allowing upgrades. The short list of laptops with an MXM slot can be found here:

 

For MXM 1.3/2.1 - http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Table.html

For MXM 3.0 and up - http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Table_3.html

 

Notice how Lenovo is nowhere to be found on that list, nor any other major manufacturer like Dell and Toshiba. HP and Fujitsu have a pathetic 1 or 2 models there, while Acer seems to offer plenty of MXM models. In the future i think combined CPU/GPU modules like AMD's APU's will become more popular on mobile devices, so upgrading the graphics card on one of those would mean replacing the CPU.

think_ang
Fanfold Paper
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎03-02-2012
Location: West Coast, CA
Views: 13,547
Message 4 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Vidock, or a similar expresscard -> PCI external card is the only way to upgrade the video graphics.

TheOldMan
Punch Card
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-11-2012
Location: Canada
Views: 13,576
Message 5 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

To expand on the expresscard solution refer to :

 

http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-gpu-external-graphics-discussion/418851-diy-egpu-experiences.html

 

the thead then continues here:

 

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/2109-diy-egpu-experiences-%5Bversion-2-0%5D.html

 

And specificallly you will want to buy :

 

http://www.harmonicinversion.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&product_id=193&flypage=flypage-...

 

and for pictures of setup you may want to refer to :

 

http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.0.130&id=15332214194

 

I use the PE4L 2.1b with a gigabyte gtx 660 ti and get a 3dmark 11 performance combined score of 6000

with a x230 tablet with i5 3320 cpu. This is with dual channel 2 x 4 gb 9 9 9 24 1600 ram.

 

I actually play skyrim with all settings maxed on my x230 tablet using this setup Smiley Happy

 

total cost of adding external graphics to x230 tablet would be:

 

$71 US  for the PE4L kit.

$50 for a good atx powersupply

$200 for decent video card.

 

 Oh yes edited to add VERY IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE! :

 

You must flash your x230 to bios 2.01 or later for expresscard graphics to work easily. It is supposed to be

possible to do with bios before 2.01 but only using special software (that is included when you get the PE4L

kit). I never bothered with the special software though since my x230 is flashed to bios 2.03, and with bios

2.01 or later everything is just plug and play without any special effort.

 

Also one other critical note, the PE4L kit is comprised of 2 small pc boards, one attaches to the motherboard cable of the powersupply, to force the powersupply on, the other pc board has the pci e slot for the graphics card and the cable going to the expresscard adapter. A small cable is included with the kit with a black and red wire, This cable connects the powersupply pc board to the pci e slot board and is essential so that power is removed from the

graphics card when the x230 is turned off or goes to sleep. Without this small cable, the graphics card would

remain powered when the x230 is off or sleeping but the graphics cards FANS WOULD BE OFF! This would cause

the graphics card to overheat and burn out within 30 minutes. Make sure to use the red and black wire to connect

the 2 pc boards then set the switch besde the connector on the powersupply motherboard cable pc board from

always on to computer control.

Nprod
Token Ring
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎09-16-2012
Location: Bulgaria
Views: 13,527
Message 6 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

eGPUs aren't really a good solution - it makes the machine look like it's on life support and you lose the whole point behind it being a laptop. In the end you end up spending a lot of money on a frankensteinian mess when you can just invest that in a proper desktop pc. There used to be a classier approach to this with IBM's Thinkpad Advanced Dock, but they dont make such docking stations anymore.

TheOldMan
Punch Card
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-11-2012
Location: Canada
Views: 13,511
Message 7 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?


@Nprod wrote:

eGPUs aren't really a good solution - it makes the machine look like it's on life support and you lose the whole point behind it being a laptop. In the end you end up spending a lot of money on a frankensteinian mess when you can just invest that in a proper desktop pc. There used to be a classier approach to this with IBM's Thinkpad Advanced Dock, but they dont make such docking stations anymore.


Except that, this solution is meant for people whose priority is having a laptop , don't game or at least game

much when on the go, but want to game when at home, and for an extra $320 over the cost of the x230, can

add serious desktop gaming power. You can use the x230s cpu memory hd and even screen! (nvidia optimus

can use the buit in screen of the laptop to display the graphics from the external card) so you don't even need

an external monitor. By the time our x230 owner has bought that desktop gaming pc with the same performance

he has spent a lot more than $320. Your point would only be valid if someone was running an x230 + egpu

on their desk and never unplugged it, the mobility of the x230 would then be wasted.

Nimvoker
Ctrl-Alt-Del
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎09-24-2012
Location: United States
Views: 13,462
Message 8 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Thanks a lot everyone,

This is all useful knowledge.

It is a shame we have to deal with planned obsolecene in our global economy system, otherwise we would probably enjoy Star Trek technology already.

 

 

campanella
Serial Port
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎06-09-2012
Location: Vietnam
Views: 12,507
Message 9 of 9

Re: Upgrading Video Card in X230 Tablet?

Hello,
I am also interested in building eGPU for my Thinkpad Tablet. I have a question that is the performance affected when we connect PE4L 2.1b, which is x1 PCIE, to x16 graphic card?

I ask that because x16 PCIE card requires more bandwidth than PE4L 2.1b can support.

What do you recomment between PE4H v 2.4a and PE4L v2.1b?

I recently buy this graphic card: Shapphire Randeon HD 7950 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202006

Will I experience the bottleneck with the system with PE4L v2.1b?

I really need your answer soon.

Thank you