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Message boards : General discussion : External Video Card

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SiKTheGreatOne
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Message 20569 - Posted: 27 Jan 2010 | 3:07:37 UTC
Last modified: 27 Jan 2010 | 3:22:03 UTC

An external hard drive is simply an internal hard drive plus a casing put around it. Would the same thing be able to be done with a video card?(Not asking if I can do it, but rather is the concept any good.) The power could be provided by an AC adapter and a USB port to transfer information to the computer. The only problem I would see is the possibility of transferring all the processed graphics through a USB connection. I would think this idea would be useful for people with laptops that have weak video cards. Any thoughts?

Edit: A google search of "External Video Card" does not provide much information. I have tried "external gpu" instead and I have found plenty of pages on this subject. USB 2.0 does not have enough bandwidth for this to be feasible.
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Message 20572 - Posted: 27 Jan 2010 | 3:57:08 UTC - in response to Message 20569.

An external hard drive is simply an internal hard drive plus a casing put around it. Would the same thing be able to be done with a video card?(Not asking if I can do it, but rather is the concept any good.) The power could be provided by an AC adapter and a USB port to transfer information to the computer. The only problem I would see is the possibility of transferring all the processed graphics through a USB connection. I would think this idea would be useful for people with laptops that have weak video cards. Any thoughts?

Edit: A google search of "External Video Card" does not provide much information. I have tried "external gpu" instead and I have found plenty of pages on this subject. USB 2.0 does not have enough bandwidth for this to be feasible.



I have a quite possibly stupid idea but maybe some insanely genius electrical engineer could mod an HDMI to PCI-E for your external card. Just a thought, Just a thought :) I obviously know its not meant to do such things, but HDMI does bring both video and audio through it, just dunno if its much more then USB 2.0 speeds. That would take some checking, and its getting late. Someone smarter will give a better idea, hopefully not just shoot mine down and hit post reply lol.
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Discovered the World's First base 116 Generalized Cullen prime!!!Discovered 26 mega primesEliminated 7 conjecture "k"sDiscovered 1 Sophie Germain pairDiscovered 2 Fermat divisors2012 Tour de Primes highest prime count2012 Tour de Primes most Mountain Stage primes2015 Tour de Primes highest prime count2016 Tour de Primes highest prime countFound 23 primes in the 2018 Tour de PrimesFound 1 mega prime in the 2018 Tour de PrimesFound 2 primes in the 2018 Tour de Primes Mountain Stage2019 Tour de Primes highest prime countFound 22 primes in the 2019 Tour de Primes2020 Tour de Primes highest prime scoreFound 21 primes in the 2020 Tour de PrimesFound 4 mega primes in the 2020 Tour de Primes321 LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,403,028)Cullen LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (188,339,206)ESP LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (203,249,784)Generalized Cullen/Woodall LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (109,580,172)PPS LLR Double Gold: Earned 500,000,000 credits (647,115,820)PSP LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (126,982,721)SoB LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (135,747,083)SR5 LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (214,194,272)SGS LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (200,731,695)TPS LLR (retired) Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (235,439)TRP LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,215,056)Woodall LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (101,447,725)321 Sieve Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (235,451,253)Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Emerald: Earned 50,000,000 credits (83,794,448)Generalized Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (285,139,652)PPS Sieve Double Ruby: Earned 2,000,000,000 credits (2,728,039,937)Sierpinski (ESP/PSP/SoB) Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (203,523,358)TRP Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,489,157)AP 26/27 Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (385,720,907)GFN Double Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000,000 credits (1,984,821,252)PSA Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (259,058,048)
Message 20574 - Posted: 27 Jan 2010 | 4:31:58 UTC


See the Tesla Deskside External GPU.



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321 LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (60,082)Cullen LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (15,423)ESP LLR Gold: Earned 500,000 credits (519,856)PPS LLR Gold: Earned 500,000 credits (526,520)PSP LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (24,206)SoB LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (14,422)SR5 LLR Gold: Earned 500,000 credits (518,356)SGS LLR Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (102,655)TPS LLR (retired) Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (31,486)TRP LLR Bronze: Earned 10,000 credits (29,696)Woodall LLR Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000 credits (1,039,198)321 Sieve Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000 credits (1,020,771)Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (8,228,565)PPS Sieve Emerald: Earned 50,000,000 credits (84,579,993)Sierpinski (ESP/PSP/SoB) Sieve (suspended) Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,070,654)TRP Sieve (suspended) Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000 credits (1,211,586)AP 26/27 Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (115,596)GFN Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (200,628)PSA Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000 credits (1,184,000)
Message 20577 - Posted: 27 Jan 2010 | 6:18:50 UTC - in response to Message 20574.


See the Tesla Deskside External GPU.




That would definitely be nice to have.
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Message 20624 - Posted: 29 Jan 2010 | 2:06:50 UTC

This company makes something similar to what you describe, albeit through a PCIExpress/ExpressCard adapter, not USB: http://www.magma.com/pciexpress.html However, they are quite expensive, and I didn't have much luck (with the ExpressBox1 Pro connected to a Dell laptop) but they do have a 30-day Money-back guarantee that they honored when I couldn't get it to work.

Profile Michael GoetzProject donor
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Found 5 primes in the 2021 Tour de PrimesFound 5 mega primes in the 2021 Tour de PrimesThe "Shut up already!" badge:  This loud mouth has mansplained on the forums over 10 thousand times!  Sheesh!!!Discovered the World's First GFN-19 prime!!!Discovered 6 mega primesFound 1 prime in the 2018 Tour de PrimesFound 1 prime in the 2019 Tour de PrimesFound 1 prime in the 2020 Tour de Primes321 LLR Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,822,730)Cullen LLR Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (3,624,591)ESP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,021,269)Generalized Cullen/Woodall LLR Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,145,754)PPS LLR Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (16,008,485)PSP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,197,957)SoB LLR Sapphire: Earned 20,000,000 credits (34,291,181)SR5 LLR Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,007,110)SGS LLR Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (3,252,256)TRP LLR Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,084,329)Woodall LLR Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,911,985)321 Sieve Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,061,196)Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (4,170,256)Generalized Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Turquoise: Earned 5,000,000 credits (5,059,304)PPS Sieve Sapphire: Earned 20,000,000 credits (22,885,121)Sierpinski (ESP/PSP/SoB) Sieve (suspended) Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000 credits (1,035,522)TRP Sieve (suspended) Ruby: Earned 2,000,000 credits (2,051,121)AP 26/27 Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (10,118,303)GFN Emerald: Earned 50,000,000 credits (76,733,355)PSA Jade: Earned 10,000,000 credits (12,445,029)
Message 20743 - Posted: 1 Feb 2010 | 22:54:44 UTC - in response to Message 20569.

Unfortunately the short answer is no.

The bandwidth between the motherboard and a graphics card requires a VERY high capacity interface, which is exactly what a PCI Express 16x slot was designed for. A PCI-E 2.0 x16 card slot has a bandwidth of 8 GB/s. USB 2.0, by comparison, is only 480 Mb/s (note the lower case 'b' -- that's bits as opposed to bytes in the PCI-E specification), or about 136 times slower than the interface used for a video card.

The external Tesla device mentioned above, and similar devices, merely extend, via an adapter card, the PCI Express connector from the motherboard to the external device.

Laptops don't have full PCI express connectors, so you can't hook up that Tesla card. Some laptops don't have any connector at all for the video card (it's built onto the motherboard), while some do have a separate card. It's not connected via a standard interface, however.

Now for the longer answer: Maybe, if all the planets line up just right.

For a video card, you need a PCI-E interface. There actually is one in newer laptops in the form of the ExpressCard interface (which replaces the older PCMCIA interface.) There are some prototype interfaces that allow you to connect that to a video card like you describe. There's three big problems, however:

1) I'm not sure if you can actually buy one yet.
2) The Express card interface is only x1 -- so it's 16 times slower than the x16 slot you normally plug a video card into. That might negate the entire reason for using the external card in the first place.
3) You will, of course, have to use an external monitor. There's no way to plumb the video back to the laptop's display.

You might want to take a look at the portion of this Wikipedia page having to do with "External PCIe Video cards".

Hope that helps!

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Discovered the World's First base 116 Generalized Cullen prime!!!Discovered 26 mega primesEliminated 7 conjecture "k"sDiscovered 1 Sophie Germain pairDiscovered 2 Fermat divisors2012 Tour de Primes highest prime count2012 Tour de Primes most Mountain Stage primes2015 Tour de Primes highest prime count2016 Tour de Primes highest prime countFound 23 primes in the 2018 Tour de PrimesFound 1 mega prime in the 2018 Tour de PrimesFound 2 primes in the 2018 Tour de Primes Mountain Stage2019 Tour de Primes highest prime countFound 22 primes in the 2019 Tour de Primes2020 Tour de Primes highest prime scoreFound 21 primes in the 2020 Tour de PrimesFound 4 mega primes in the 2020 Tour de Primes321 LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,403,028)Cullen LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (188,339,206)ESP LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (203,249,784)Generalized Cullen/Woodall LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (109,580,172)PPS LLR Double Gold: Earned 500,000,000 credits (647,115,820)PSP LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (126,982,721)SoB LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (135,747,083)SR5 LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (214,194,272)SGS LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (200,731,695)TPS LLR (retired) Silver: Earned 100,000 credits (235,439)TRP LLR Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,215,056)Woodall LLR Double Bronze: Earned 100,000,000 credits (101,447,725)321 Sieve Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (235,451,253)Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Emerald: Earned 50,000,000 credits (83,794,448)Generalized Cullen/Woodall Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (285,139,652)PPS Sieve Double Ruby: Earned 2,000,000,000 credits (2,728,039,937)Sierpinski (ESP/PSP/SoB) Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (203,523,358)TRP Sieve (suspended) Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (201,489,157)AP 26/27 Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (385,720,907)GFN Double Amethyst: Earned 1,000,000,000 credits (1,984,821,252)PSA Double Silver: Earned 200,000,000 credits (259,058,048)
Message 20746 - Posted: 1 Feb 2010 | 23:14:36 UTC

What Michael says is absolutely true for use as a video card traditionally, but when it comes to GPGPU crunching as done on BOINC, much of the bandwidth issues may not matter.

Since the computations are done on the card (or perhaps with some CPU-GPU combination/assist), the throughput need is much lower that the PCI-E 16x interface. Indeed, one does not necessarily need a full 16x speed for the video itself. For example, many of the lower- to mid-range ATI cards are available on the slower AGP interface and some CUDA and ATI computational capable cards can be found on the antiquated (and much slower) PCI bus (though I wouldn't try any intense video output with these). Thus, one could envision using a more limited (and affordable) GPGPU device designed to add computational capabilities to laptops that do not have that capability built-in easily via the new ExpressCard slot (some CUDA devices such as 8400GS GPUs have already been ported to PCI-E 1x PCBs) and may even be possible via the slower USB 2.0 interface (though the next generation of USB would be more likely) when designed for computational purposes only.






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Message 22665 - Posted: 21 Apr 2010 | 1:07:25 UTC

I spent some time looking into the external boxes and reached the same "very expensive" conclusion. However, it is true that the PCIe x16 bus speed is not fully utilised. If you have an open-ended x1 slot, a graphics card should still work. x4 or x8 should also work according to what I've read about the interface specs.

I have a slightly more extreme version of this and currently have HD4850 PCIe cards running in PCIx slots via a converter. The bus speed is way slower, but the crunching time on a P3-1GHz computer is almost the same as a P4-3GHz with a full x16 slot.

Message boards : General discussion : External Video Card

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