Testing: Alienware 17 R4 + Node = GTX 1070 eGPU SLI?

I admit this is a wild attempt to see how far one could go with an external graphics card setup. There’s an ASUS G20AJ gaming desktop in my household with a GTX 1070 so I thought let’s find a Thunderbolt 3 and GTX 1070 equipped laptop to get this show on the road.

A quick search showed my local Best Buy store had an open-box Alienware 17 R4 in stock. It has the all right specs (Nvidia GTX 1070 and Thunderbolt 3) I was looking for. After a quick swap of GPUs, I was up and running with an AKiTiO Node GTX 1070 eGPU hooked up to the Alienware 17 R4 with another GTX 1070 inside.

Alienware 17 R4 with GTX 1070 eGPU SLI attempt using AKiTiO Node

The Thunderbolt 3 Controller in this Alienware 17 R4 has a Device Hardware ID of 15D9. Intel Thunderbolt Software shows it has support for external GPUs right off the bat. Therefore, my task was simply plugging a Thunderbolt 3 cable in for this setup to initiate.

Alienware 17 R4 Thunderbolt 3 eGPU supported yes

Based on my past experience connecting different Thunderbolt 3 computers to this AKiTiO Node, I was anxious to find out how the Alienware 17 R4 would handle it. Within seconds, the second GTX 1070 showed up in Device Manager. No errors or complaints from Intel Thunderbolt Software.

Thunderbolt 3 eGPU just works when every component in your setup is blessed by the mighty eGPU god, Intel.

eGPU SLI GTX 1070 AKiTiO Node

I ran HWiNFO64 to see additional information on Thunderbolt 3 port arrangement on this Alienware 17 R4. My struggle now is to figure out how I could set SLI in Nvidia Control Panel (missing this SLI option currently). In theory, if this GTX 1070 eGPU setup was successfully paired, it would be one of the most powerful laptops available.

Alienware 17 R4 hwinfo64 pcie controller dual GTX-1070

If you have insights or recommendations, drop us a note in either the comment section or in our eGPU – PC Setup forum.

6 thoughts on “Testing: Alienware 17 R4 + Node = GTX 1070 eGPU SLI?

  1. DrJC Reply

    In other news, B&H’s expected stock date for the Node is now February 21st 2017. So sadly, the Node is vaporware to all intents and purposes, just like all the other enclosures with exception of the Core. I for one am pretty frustrated with all of these companies.

  2. Daniel Reply

    Hi, you might give hypersli a try?

    This guide was written at the time thunderbolt 2 was new but who knows maybe it works with this config also?

    Best regards Daniel

      • Daniel Reply


        you can also try https://github.com/EmberVulpix/DifferentSLIAuto, this is still under development 🙂

        By the way, I want to thank you for your great work, have forgotten this last time as I was busy.

        At the moment I´m planing to buy a new Macbook Pro, but will wait until mid or end of this year, maybe new ones with kaby-lake showing up. As none of this TB3-Enclosures is available in Austria at the moment I´ve to wait anyhow :-D.

        Best regards Daniel

        • theitsage Post authorReply

          Thank you for letting me know about DifferentSLIAuto. I will try that out next time I need to get SLI going.

          I agree on waiting for a refresh of the TB3 MacBook Pro. By then you’ll have a better selection of eGPU enclosures with better pricing.

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