AKiTiO Node Pro Review – Jack of All Trades

eGPU Reviews, External GPU 55 Comments

Introduction

The on-demand economy has disrupted many aspects of life. In computing, mobile work drove ultrabooks to become hot sellers. They are not without disadvantages given their limited ports and expandability. Thunderbolt 3 has been a boon in bridging these portable computers to high-performing PCIe components. Released at the end of 2017 and retailing for $360, the AKiTiO Node Pro is a prime example. It’s certified by Intel to be both Windows and macOS compatible as a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion device. It can host all kinds of PCIe components from network cards to highly specialized accelerator cards such as the Red Rocket-X. Although neither tested nor certified for use as an external graphics enclosure, it’s possible to install a GPU in the Node Pro. The distinction from a Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosure is that it uses a different firmware and carries an extra Thunderbolt 3 port for daisy-chaining. For a detailed explanation of eGFX vs PCIe expansion, you can read more on Intel’s Thunderbolt blog.

Hardware Specifics

AKiTiO Node Pro

AKiTiO Node Pro Interface Overview

Specifications  compare 
Price US$
$360
PSU location-type
internal-SFX
PSU max power 500W
GPU max power
400W
Power delivery (PD)
60W x2
USB-C controller
TI83
TB3 USB-C ports 2
Ports max bandwidth 10Gbps
Size (in/mm, LxWxH)
14.06 x 5.31 x 10.47
357 x 135 x 266
Max GPU len (in/cm)
12.59/32.0
Weight (kg/lb) 3.40/7.40
Updated firmware 23.1 ✔
TB3 cable length (cm) 50
Vendor page link
Implementations
link

Unlike the AKiTiO Node, the Node Pro has a more athletic profile. It’s taller and slimmer. The construction materials are more premium as well. While the Node was made of sheet metal, AKiTiO used aluminum panels to put together the Node Pro. This results in a much lighter chassis. No tools are needed to open the enclosure and swap cards. There are four thumb screws, two in the top rear to secure the top cover and another two that sit atop the PCIe slot mounting bracket. These thumb screws take a bit of getting used to in order to align them perfectly when securing a PCIe card.

Rear I/O consists of two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one passthrough DisplayPort. It’s a nice touch by the designer to carve out a recess to easily remove the DisplayPort connector. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled with this usability issue in the back of monitors. Atop the enclosure is a retractable handle. It works very slick and makes carrying the AKiTiO Node Pro around a joy. The entire handle assembly is solid metal with spring-loaded pop-up hinges. This addition to the enclosure reminds me of an ammo box, very utilitarian and durable. Drop a Vega card inside this thing and you’ll be packing serious heat.

The power supply in the Node Pro is located under the PCIe slot daughter board. It’s an SFX 500W 12V single-rail unit. This PSU is capable of providing 60W power delivery through the Thunderbolt 3 ports and up to 400W to a power-hungry card. There are three PCIe power cables. One 6-pin cable goes to a female connector on the PCIe slot daughter board. The other two are 6 + 2-pin cables. A snap-in plastic holder by the front of the enclosure can hold these two PCIe power cables in place when not in use. Cooling the power supply is a built-in 80mm fan, positioned to face the bottom of the unit. Placed in front of the PSU is a 92mm cooling fan. This enclosure fan runs at a constant speed due to a 3-pin connector to the daughter board, so there’s more noise than warranted during low-intensity applications. The fans exhaust hot air outside through the raised platform thanks to a set of four substantial rubber feet.

The Thunderbolt 3 main board and daughter board have metal shields. This is a nice touch to protect these fragile components when card swapping. The usability improvements to this AKiTiO Node Pro come at the cost of serviceability. It is harder to replace parts in the Node Pro compared to the Node. For example, removing the power supply requires the entire box and its components come apart. The tools are three screwdrivers: a PH1 Phillips, a T8 Torx, and a T10 Torx. Here’s the component view:

AKiTiO Node Pro components

AKiTiO Node Pro components

One main difference with eGFX enclosures is in the Thunderbolt 3 controller selection. AKiTiO used a JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller for the Node Pro. The Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures I’ve reviewed so far use the DSL6540 controller instead. As far as eGPU performance goes, the Node Pro may have additional latency due to this JHL6540 controller and dual TB3 port arrangement. I also noticed two TI83 USB-C controllers on the Thunderbolt 3 main board. The Winbond EEPROM is located on the other side of the main board.

Thunderbolt 3 mainboard PCI Slot daughter board Thunderbolt 3 mainboard bottom

Testings & Benchmarks

AKiTiO claims this PCIe enclosure can provide 60W Power Delivery through both Thunderbolt 3 ports. The only way to find out was to hook them up to two TB3 laptops simultaneously. My late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro was able to receive 60W. The other laptop I used concurrently was the early 2018 Razer Blade Stealth which was also able to charge. When used as an external graphics enclosure, the first connected host computer takes priority in using the eGPU. In this mode, it’s also possible to engage the two connected host computers in Thunderbolt networking. Last but not least, I checked the Thunderbolt firmware. The AKiTiO Node Pro comes with version 23.1.

The next step was to test daisy-chain functionality. In order for Thunderbolt 3 eGPU to function properly, it has to be the first device in the chain. Also you may not chain a Thunderbolt external GPU to another external GPU. Doing so will cause the chained eGPU not to work. In Windows you would see this warning message and error 12/yellow-banged on the chained eGPU. There’s no warning message in macOS High Sierra. The chained eGPU would simply not work even though it may show up in System Information » Graphics/Displays tree. Further discussion of this daisy-chain topic takes place here.

Besides external graphics, macOS High Sierra has brought official support for many new high-performance technologies. Two notable features are NVMe flash storage and 10G Ethernet connectivity. It’s now possible to install a NVMe M.2 drive such as the Samsung EVO 960 inside a PCIe enclosure like the AKiTiO Node Pro or inside a Mac computer via an adapter. These flash storage drives have very high speeds and cost less than Apple proprietary drives. Once formatted correctly, they have TRIM support and can boot macOS. Here’s a speed test of a Samsung 256GB EVO 960 inside the Node Pro:

It’s a similar story with 10 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe cards. The iMac Pro has two 10GbE ports that use Aquantia AQC107 chipset. Therefore network interface cards with this same chipset work in macOS 10.13.2 and newer. In my testings these cards are plug-and-play when installed via a Thunderbolt enclosure. The most modern Mac with internal PCIe slots, the Mac Pro tower, has a harder time. There’s PXE boot on most 10GbE cards that cause the Mac Pro to hang at boot. The workaround is to remove PXE boot option by shorting the EEPROM.

AKiTiO Node Pro Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Enclosure

AKiTiO Node Pro + AORUS RX 580 + Elgato HD60 Pro + ASUS 10GbE + Samsung 960 EVO NVMe

Here’s an unorthodox idea for internal display eGPU acceleration. The theory is to use a capture card to feed the eGPU video signal back into the internal display of a laptop or all-in-one computer such as the iMac. The AKiTiO Node Pro seems like an appropriate enclosure to host an Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro. In order for this setup to work, I needed another TB3 enclosure that hosts the GPU. The AKiTiO Node Pro + HD60 Pro then receives HDMI signal from the eGPU. While this arrangement partially works, it’s neither cost-effective nor elegant.

For eGPU testing, I’m using a Gigabyte AORUS RX 580. The host computers are a late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro and an early 2018 Razer Blade Stealth. 10.13.4 Beta has better external GPU support for Thunderbolt 3 Macs than previous builds. Keep in mind High Sierra native eGPU functionality is for select AMD Radeon cards only. Nvidia eGPU users can try yifanlu’s workaround. The latest Razer Blade Stealth is one of the best performing ultrabooks for external graphics use. It has the holy trinity of quad-core CPU, four PCI lanes over Thunderbolt 3, and GT4 OPI mode. We’re working on an ultrabook buyer’s guide for eGPU enthusiasts that goes in depth to elaborate on these crucial specifications.

Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro Early 2018 Razer Blade Stealth

Conclusion

AKiTiO has a very good understanding of its customer base. For years our eGPU community has been modifying AKiTiO’s PCIe expansion enclosures such as the Thunder2 and Thunder3 to host external graphics cards. When the AKiTiO Node arrived last year as one of the first certified eGFX solutions, it made eGPU much more accessible. This also brought competing eGPU enclosures from other manufacturers. The Node Pro is in essence the evolution of the most versatile Thunderbolt 3 enclosure we could ask for. It is the jack of all trades when it comes to Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expandability.

 

Share this Post

Related Articles

 

Comments 55

  1. Post
    Author
  2. @itsage, When initially turned on, the PSU Fans on my Node Pro do not make any audible noise. But around 30 min. into use, (while editing using Final Cut Pro), the PSU fans start producing a slightly audible high pitched whine, that changes in pitch depending on the speed of the PSU fan. It’s not so loud that would make me not use the Node Pro, but its noticeable.

  3. Post
    Author

    @antoine there’s space for longer cards than the Fury X. My thinking is you can relocate the plastic snap-in clip to hold the hose so that they don’t get in the way. You may need to cut out more opening in the bottom panel to sufficiently route exhaust air from the radiator.

    @matthewmchang I will try a quieter card next and observe for this bahavior.

    @another_droog I don’t have the equipment to test. That statement was a paraphrase from Intel Thunderbolt blog explaining the advantages of eGFX over generic PCIe expansion.

  4. A note on the thunderbolt controllers. It looks like the difference between the JHL6540 and the DSL6540 is a non-issue. DSL6540 has been discontinued (see here https://www.anandtech.com/show/11692/intel-to-discontinue-first-gen-thunderbolt-3-controllers ). JHL6540 appears to be the successor. Both chips are dual thunderbolt 3 port chips, so I doubt it’ll cause latency issues. I can’t find a copy of the datasheets to do a more real comparison, but from what Intel publishes, there are no differences other than the JHL is lead-free and DSL is not.

  5. Post
    Author
  6. @kyle_jones , the buyer’s guide has several enclosures  (Powercolor Devil Box, Mantiz Venus, Omen Accelerator) with internal SATA-III connectors & bays to host an internal SATA drive. Just note that for best drive & eGPU performance you’d want to host them off their own separate cable.  Such enclosures are also internal USB 3.1 Gen1 hub limited to 5Gbps for those drives.

    Stepping up one notch, the AKiTiO Node Pro‘s daisy-chain TB3 port can function as a 10Gbps USB-C 3.1 port. Consider there:

    Example USB-C 2.5″ drive components

    US$35 Satechi Aluminium 10Gbps USB-C 3.1 enclosure

    Or US$20 Startech 10Gbps USB-C to SATA 2.5″ adapter

    + optional US$13 Cable Matters 3.3ft/100cm 10Gbps USB-C 3.1 cable

    Or as per @itsage , a NVME SSD can saturate TB3 bandwidth. There would need a separate TB3 enclosure with it’s own TB3 port for best performance. Eg:

    https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/netstor-na611tb3-thunderbolt-3-nvme-ssd-storage-review-storage-not-egpu-related/ .

  7. Post
    Author
  8. Hi, I’ve ordered the akitio node pro and should arrive at the beginning of March.
    I’m recapping what I need to do in order to let this work.
    Having the Nvidia Evga 1080Ti hydro copper I will need the download the latest driver (I saw a thread on this website) install the latest High Sierra and should work?
    Is there a step by step?

    Best,

    Thank you!

  9. Have had my Node Pro for about a week hooked up to a 13″ Spectre X360 (8550U) with an Asus-braded RX 480. So far I have been happy with the performance of the Node Pro, but I have to say the fans are pretty crazy. The case fan (which is an exhaust fan, which seems odd to me) was pretty low quality and runs all the time. I found the sound it made to be, honestly, pretty annoying so I replaced it with an $8 92MM fan. It’s bad enough that this fan seems to just run constantly, but it seems like Akitio skimped on the quality of the part as well.

    The PSU fan get’s what I would consider extremely loud. Significantly louder than my GPU. I’m not sure if the fan speed is controlled by power draw or temps, but my RX480 only seems to pull around 150W max under load, so it’s not exactly stressing the power supply. It may get replaced some day with a model that is quieter.

    The rest of the case is awesome and the quality / aesthetics of the Node Pro are fantastic, which is honestly the reason I shelled out more for the Node Pro vs the Node. I guess I just expected more for the price, but I suppose it isn’t the most expensive case out there.

    If anyone is curious, this is the fan I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KTZJOQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I have had good luck with them in the past. They don’t move as much air as some other fans on the market, but the thermals in the Node Pro seem fine. My GPU never gets above 60c and I am venting directly against a wall with about a two inch gap, which is totally not ideal. Switching the bottom exhaust fan didn’t seem to affect the situation whatsoever and makes the box much more pleasant at idle.

    Other than that, peripherals absolutely do not work on the second TB3 port, which is as expected, and the rest of the enclosure works fantastically. Looks great, great thermal performance, rock solid stability, great performance, etc.

    And for the record, I would totally recommend the Node Pro (without any experience with any other eGPU enclosure) – I still have a week or two to return it and I can’t see that happening.

  10. Does anyone know if it makes a difference if you plug a usb 3/thunderbolt hub into the second port of the enclosure or the second port of the device/controller? I’m asking because I have a 2 port “13 MacBook, this enclosure, and a usb 3 hub.

  11. Posted by: kingmetal
    Have had my Node Pro for about a week hooked up to a 13″ Spectre X360 (8550U) with an Asus-braded RX 480. So far I have been happy with the performance of the Node Pro, but I have to say the fans are pretty crazy. The case fan (which is an exhaust fan, which seems odd to me) was pretty low quality and runs all the time. I found the sound it made to be, honestly, pretty annoying so I replaced it with an $8 92MM fan. It’s bad enough that this fan seems to just run constantly, but it seems like Akitio skimped on the quality of the part as well.
    The PSU fan get’s what I would consider extremely loud. Significantly louder than my GPU. I’m not sure if the fan speed is controlled by power draw or temps, but my RX480 only seems to pull around 150W max under load, so it’s not exactly stressing the power supply. It may get replaced some day with a model that is quieter.
    The rest of the case is awesome and the quality / aesthetics of the Node Pro are fantastic, which is honestly the reason I shelled out more for the Node Pro vs the Node. I guess I just expected more for the price, but I suppose it isn’t the most expensive case out there.
    If anyone is curious, this is the fan I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KTZJOQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I have had good luck with them in the past. They don’t move as much air as some other fans on the market, but the thermals in the Node Pro seem fine. My GPU never gets above 60c and I am venting directly against a wall with about a two inch gap, which is totally not ideal. Switching the bottom exhaust fan didn’t seem to affect the situation whatsoever and makes the box much more pleasant at idle.
    Other than that, peripherals absolutely do not work on the second TB3 port, which is as expected, and the rest of the enclosure works fantastically. Looks great, great thermal performance, rock solid stability, great performance, etc.
    And for the record, I would totally recommend the Node Pro (without any experience with any other eGPU enclosure) – I still have a week or two to return it and I can’t see that happening.

    What do you mean peripherals don’t work on the second port?

  12. I have one and use a USB 3 hub (with a built-in gigabit network adapter) plugged into the Akitio node pro. I used a USB keyboard and mouse for a while on the hub as well (changed to Bluetooth for various reasons). It works fine with no issues, even while gaming

    Note the more data you push through the hub, the less data is available for the graphics card. A keyboard and mouse won’t really matter, but a gigabit network adapter used at max speed will use a non-insignificant chunk of the 40Gb thunderbolt 3 connection. Normal internet traffic probably won’t be noticeable, but transferring huge files at max speed would.

  13. Posted by: kingmetal
    Other than that, peripherals absolutely do not work on the second TB3 port, which is as expected, and the rest of the enclosure works fantastically.

    Why is it expected that peripherals don’t work on the second TB3 port? The TB3 port should be able to handle chaining a Thunderbolt 3 device, or connecting a USB device, a USB-C dock, or a USB-C display or display adapter.

    Is there something wrong with the Spectre X360‘s BIOS or Windows OS? Maybe not enough resources (I/O memory or whatever) when using a GPU? Is the second TB3 port usable when no GPU is installed?

        1. I use this hub:
          [2-in-1] HooToo 3-Port USB 3.0 HUB with 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Converter (3 USB 3.0 Ports, A RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Port w/ LED Indicator, Support
          Image here:

          Bought it off of amazon a few years ago, nothing special.

          I use a USB A to USB C dongle to plug it into the Akitio Node Pro.

  14. I would love to try Akitio Node Pro with a the beast (Sapphire Vega 64 Nitro+
    Dimensions are ok, I can replace the power supply with a SFS Enermax Revolution 650W.

    But I fear the box itself can become very hot with such a card, since I’m trying it with Venus with is smaller and the heat is worrying.
    What do you suggest guys? Do you think Akitio Node can run cooler maybe adding an additional fan?

  15. @itsage , do you have any idea how the PCI box firmware is different from eGPU firmware, would the Akitio Node Pro deliver my GPU with any less performance than an eGPU-certified box such as the Razer Core X?

    I forwarded the latency – firmware differences question to Intel, https://communities.intel.com/message/557889 .

    The Intel page at  https://thunderbolttechnology.net/blog/external-graphics-egfx-vs-generic-pcie-expansion-enclosures-explained doesn’t say PCI enclosures have more latency. It sounds more like they write “eGFX is a certification program where we force the manufacturer to afford a proper PSU and proper chassi space to fit a GPU, and we force them to strip away daisy chain because we say so”, nothing fancier than that.
    The Node Pro makes sense as an “eGPU box (Razer Core X) with a daisy chain connector if you’d ever need it”. What do you say?
    However, can you make Vega 64 work well in the Node Pro, @ikir did you try?

  16. One main difference with eGFX enclosures is in the Thunderbolt 3 controller selection. AKiTiO used a JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller for the Node Pro. The Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures I’ve reviewed so far use the DSL6540 controller instead. As far as eGPU performance goes, the Node Pro may have additional latency due to this JHL6540 controller and dual TB3 port arrangement. I also noticed two TI83 USB-C controllers on the Thunderbolt 3 main board. The Winbond EEPROM is located on the other side of the main board.

    Wait, the Node Pro‘s JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015.

    If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster?

    Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

    I posted this question on latency to Intel also, https://communities.intel.com/message/557889  .

    My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream – in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don’t trust users’ IQ.

  17. Posted by: mois
    Wait, the Node Pro‘s JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015. If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster? Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

    As far as I know, the DSL and newer JHL are both Alpine Ridge and don’t have any differences that affect performance. The JHL is more environmentally friendly (no lead).
    Intel to Discontinue First-Generation Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

    Posted by: mois
    My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream – in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don’t trust users’ IQ.

    This. I wonder if macOS has better support for devices connected after an eGPU? Like maybe Windows doesn’t adjust resources as well? I don’t think I’ve seen any test of that situation or I don’t recall anyone describing a problem with that. Some situations can be fixed with a DSDT edit (for error #12).

  18. Posted by: joevt

    Posted by: mois
    Wait, the Node Pro‘s JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015. If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster? Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

    As far as I know, the DSL and newer JHL are both Alpine Ridge and don’t have any differences that affect performance. The JHL is more environmentally friendly (no lead).
    Intel to Discontinue First-Generation Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

    Posted by: mois
    My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream – in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don’t trust users’ IQ.

    This. I wonder if macOS has better support for devices connected after an eGPU? Like maybe Windows doesn’t adjust resources as well? I don’t think I’ve seen any test of that situation or I don’t recall anyone describing a problem with that. Some situations can be fixed with a DSDT edit (for error #12).

    @joevt, thanks a lot for answering.

    The Node Pro has older firmware (v. 23.1, vs. Razer Core X which has version 33.1), would you be worried of any bugs or limits or any lower performance with the Node Pro than the Core X?

    @joevt I guess @itsage ‘s idea that JHL6540 (released 2016) would have higher latency than DSL6540 (released 2015) is not real.

    Should Node Pro, with an Corsair SF600 and maybe chassi fan upgrade, be a dream versatlie eGPU box for a Vega 64?

    (Please let me know, this will be my third attempt at getting an eGPU setup “right”. Asus XG Station Pro = fail because no power delivery, which is an issue on a Thinkpad with only two TB3 connectors. And Puck 580 was too slow for office/web on an 8K monitor. Thanks!!)

  19. Posted by: mois
    The Node Pro has older firmware (v. 23.1, vs. Razer Core X which has version 33.1), would you be worried of any bugs or limits or any lower performance with the Node Pro than the Core X?

    I don’t think JHL and DSL use the same version progression.
    Thunderbolt 3 firmware versions
    You see that when DSL had NVM 21, JHL had only NVM 9. The JHL6240 only had NVM 4. In another document, the versions are 24, 19, and 5 respectively. So it looks like you can’t compare NVM versions of different controllers. Newer chips have lower versions because they haven’t been around as long. Maybe Intel changed the versioning since then? The problem is, we don’t get a history of firmware versions like the manufacturers do. Maybe you can piece it together and construct a timeline by downloading every firmware updater for every Thunderbolt product from every manufacturer. Intel did something stupid when they gave control of firmware updates to manufacturers.

    Posted by: mois
    I guess @itsage ‘s idea that JHL6540 (released 2016) would have higher latency than DSL6540 (released 2015) is not real.

    He was referring to the latency of having two ports, not the latency of the controllers, none of which has been measured, or no difference has been found so far.

    Posted by: mois
    Should Node Pro, with an Corsair SF600 and maybe chassi fan upgrade, be a dream versatlie eGPU box for a Vega 64?

    I think that’s the configuration I would want to try (two Thunderbolt ports plus most powerful AMD card and a power supply to power it). I have no experience with it though. An even better eGPU would have DisplayPort inputs and a USB output to/from a TitanRidge but it doesn’t exist yet.

  20. Post
    Author

    @mois I don’t have technical details as to why or how the Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion enclosures may not perform at the same level as eGFX enclosures when used with an eGPU. It’s likely the firmware for eGFX is optimized for single purpose of external graphics while PCIe expansion is not. You can contact Intel Thunderbolt for clarification.

    1. Posted by: mattlukezahra
      anyone has any recommendations of what i can replace the bottom extraction fan with ? something more silent and RGB maybe ?
      Thanks

      RGB isn’t my thing. I replaced mine with a Noctua 92mm fan.

  21. If the Node Pro enclosure has a 500w power supply, with up to 400w of power for a PCIe card, how is it that people are reporting that it doesn’t work with, e.g., AMD Vega cards? At TechPowerUp.com, they list power consumption (under peak gaming and sustained Furmark tests) of various GPUs, and even the max power consumptions of even top end cards are all under 400w — the highest are 350w for Radeon VII, and 309w for Vega 64, and even the RX 580 shown in this review is listed as 219w, with the Vega 56 not much higher at 237w.
    [source: https://www.techpowerup.com/review/sapphire-radeon-rx-5700-xt-nitro/30.html%5D

    Why wouldn’t these cards work with 400w available? Am I missing something? Are people maybe also using the TB3 power delivery at the same time (up to 120w more draw), and thus going over the available power? If TB3 power delivery was avoided (maybe by using a connected charger or a better power source in another connected device) would it assure the up to 400w card power is available, and thus allow even Vega 64 or Radeon VII cards to work?

    1. I actually found this info at the Akito site:

      We recommend using a PCIe card with a power consumption of 400W or less but depending on the situation, the card can consume up to 485W.
      • Total power of the built-in PSU: 500W
      • Power consumption of the Node Pro: 10-15W
      • Maximum power on PCIe slot: 75W
      • Power delivery: Up to 60W per port (usually only the laptop on the first port requires that much power)
      • Bus powered Thunderbolt device on second port: 15W

      If the Node Pro is connected to a computer that does not draw power through the Thunderbolt connection and there is no Thunderbolt or USB device attached to the second Thunderbolt port, the remaining power for the PCIe card is around 485W. If the Node Pro is used to recharge the laptop and a bus-powered Thunderbolt device is connected to the second Thunderbolt port on the Node Pro, the remaining power for the PCIe card is only around 410W.
      https://www.akitio.com/faq/333-node-pro-what-is-the-maximum-power-the-pcie-card-can-consume

      I am fine with getting power delivery from a different source, so shouldn’t that mean a GPU which draws less than 485W, which should mean pretty much any GPU, even a Radeon VII (drawing 350w), should be workable?

      Or is the power requirement more complicated than that — like maybe the numbers at https://www.techpowerup.com/review/sapphire-radeon-rx-5700-xt-nitro/30.html aren’t accurate, or maybe when Akitio says around 485W it doesn’t really mean a full 485W?

      Or it is maybe when people complain about a GPU not working in the Node Pro, they are encountering a different (non-power) issue that might be only applicable to a specific use case?

  22. John,
    I plugged a Vega 64 into my Node Pro (default build, no custom PSU). It worked perfectly.
    However, I did deduce from the experience that the Vega 64 drivers, at least for 64bit Windows 10, are totally unoptimized or the ATI drivers are somehow totally ineffective, because the Vega64 in the Node Pro would NOT drive my 8K monitor satisfactorily, there would be little lags. Especially video playback would be a disaster.
    I purchased a Geforce 1080Ti – this is partially a sin because Nvidia does not offer open source drivers, so you end up locked up to basically closed-source Windows and Linux drivers, disaster – anyhow on Windows, with the 1080Ti on the Node Pro, UI:s project perfectly and video playback is quite excellent too. 8K video playback largely works, the video decoding engine in Windows Taskbar shows about 95% load when you play back [email protected] and there is some light stuttering, however [email protected] and [email protected] are perfectly fine.
    I previously also tried the Sonnetteck Puck 570 to drive the 8K monitor, that also did not work well at all.
    Therefore I unfortunately advise against any ATI/Radeon card for Thunderbolt use. Anyone else please step in and correct me if you had any other experiences. Also please note I did not evaluate Linux or other OS:es for the Radeon Node Pro, only Windows, with great luck Radeon on Node Pro on Linux or other OS would be a good experience.
     
     – 
     
    Node Pro is clearly the best Thunderbolt eGPU box and shame on Intel for not allowing eGPU certified boxes to have a daisy chain connector and therefore not allowing Node Pro to be called an eGPU box.
    Node Pro is heavily under-marketed as it’s the best device on the market. It’s a spotless experience.
    Also please note I have not at any point heard the PSU fan activate on the Node Pro, both with Nvidia and Radeon. I unplugged the Node Pro‘s chassi fan. The 1080 Ti will tend to enable its own fan at a low RPM during normal 8K desktop use.

    1. I need a Mac supported solution, so I’m stuck with the options of:
      1) RX 580, Vega 56/64, or Radeon VII (under Mojave)
      or
      2) Radeon RX 5700 XT (if I can upgrade to Catalina, which maybe be trouble for me now)

      I’m looking just for raw computer GPU applications (hashcat and Davinci video work), and thus realtime responsiveness/lack of stutter isn’t make or break for me. As such, I’m leaning toward the Radeon VII, but that’s the biggest challenge power-wise, a lots of people make a big deal about the Node Pro‘s power supply size, even though from the numbers (I can see), it looks like it should work.

  23. Guys, the Node Pro‘s PSU *IS* replacable. Remember it’s the normal SFX, not SFXL, however I recall there’s some.. 800W? 750W? PSU on the market in this dimension??
    I think I suggest you buy the Node Pro and check if its bundled PSU suffices for your usecase, and quite likely it does. Only if you see system instability would you need to go buy the ultrapremium PSU replacement.

    1. Posted by: @mois
      Guys, the Node Pro‘s PSU *IS* replacable….

      The discussion about replacing the power supply here:
      https://egpu.io/forums/psu-cables/akitio-node-pro-power-supply-replacement-guide/
      looks like a lot of hassles, and ultimately ends with “this mod is not recommended”.

      I’d think it be better to know what should work — and what non-power related things might not work, (e.g. AMD cards might not be as good at x264 decoding as Nvidia cards, AMD cards might have flawed drivers, OSX will have different eGPU/GPU support under different versions), so people don’t experience some non-power related problem, or read a report about a non-power related problem, and then take a stab at a perhaps unnecessary power supply mod to try to fix it.

      1. Posted by: @jeverett

        Posted by: @mois
        Guys, the Node Pro‘s PSU *IS* replacable….

        The discussion about replacing the power supply here:
        https://egpu.io/forums/psu-cables/akitio-node-pro-power-supply-replacement-guide/
        looks like a lot of hassles, and ultimately ends with “this mod is not recommended”.
        I’d think it be better to know what should work — and what non-power related things might not work, (e.g. AMD cards might not be as good at x264 decoding as Nvidia cards, AMD cards might have flawed drivers, OSX will have different eGPU/GPU support under different versions), so people don’t experience some non-power related problem, or read a report about a non-power related problem, and then take a stab at a perhaps unnecessary power supply mod to try to fix it.

        I am not sure how you came to the conclusion that the discussion ends with “this mod is not recommended”, unless you only read the last post about sunstarfire’s issues. The replacement works, is not hard to do, and keeps reliably working. I have the Node Pro running a Corsair SF600 for a year and a half now.

  24. Jeverett, from what I gather the only quirk with replacing the PSU is that you need that “always on ATX short circuit” connector which you buy for like 1 USD on Aliexpress. I have one and remember the PSU’s socket is *female* and the one they sold me on Aliexpress was female too, meaning you need a male-male cable.
    If I was you I’d just buy the Node Pro and try.
    If it doesn’t work, upgrade the PSU.
    I’m aware there was a lot of talk online that the Vega 64 is so power hungry and has all those preconditions for working, and my experience with getting it into 2D (as well as some GPU mining??) simply does not match that.
    (When put in a desktop computer I checked the watt consumption of the Vega and its drivers reported 220-230W.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *