External GPU Buyer’s Guide: Top 2017 eGPU enclosures compared

Select Interface Thunderbolt 3 Thunderbolt 2 Expresscard 2.0 mini PCIe NGFF.M2  Implementations here ▲Top

Thunderbolt 3 Enclosures AKiTiO
Thunder3
AKiTiO Node Lite new AKiTiO Node Sonnet  eGFX Breakaway Boxnew
PowerColor
Devil Box
Mantiz Venus Razer Core Asus ROG
XG Station 2
Appearance
Price US$
$229 $269 (Q3-2017)
$269 | $300 $299 $450 ~$469-shipped $499 ~$699 &
Max PCIe bandwidth 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps
PSU location-type
external-AC
external-AC internal-SFX
internal-SFX internal-1U
internal-SFX
internal-custom
internal-custom
PSU max power 72W 72W 400W 350W 500W 550W 500W 600W
Graphics max power
25W 25W 375W  300W 375W 375W 375W 500W
Charging power
15W 15W 15W 15W 60W 87W 45W 100W
USB-C controller1
TI82 TI83 TI83 TI83 TI82 | TI83 TI83 TI82 TI83
Ethernet port  
SATA-III drive port
USB 3.0 ports
4 5 4 4
Other ports DP DP USB-C 3.1
USB-B 3.0
Daisy chaining  
Size (in/cm)
9.17 x 5.87 x 2.99
23.3 x 14.9 x 7.6
9.17 x 5.87 x 2.99
23.3 x 14.9 x 7.6
16.85 x 8.94 x 5.71
42.8 x 22.7 x 14.5
13.38 x 8.00 x 7.25
34.0 x 20.2 x 18.5
15.75 x 9.53 x 6.77
40.0 x 24.2 x 17.2
13.38 x 8.50 x 6.45
33.4.x 21.6 x 16.4
13.38 x 8.6 x 4.13
33.4 x 21.8 x 10.5
17.95 × 10.94 x 6.22
45.6 x 27.8 x 15.8
Max GPU len (in/cm)
8.46 / 21.4 8.46 / 21.4 12.60 / 32.0
 12.20/31.0 12.20 / 31.0
13.00 / 33.0
12.20 / 31.0
12.20 / 31.0
 Updated firmware2 B1-25+4.3.3     v102  ✔ v23p 
Vendor page link link link coming soon link link link link
Review link link user link link user
User implementations
link & link   link  link link link link

1 As of 23-April-2017,  TI83 (red) marked enclosures deliver only half their TB3-specced host-to-device bandwidth  and are awaiting a firmware fix.
1 On macOS: TI82 specced enclosures require TB3-enabler, a kext system file modification tool, to allow eGPU detection.
2 Allows eGPU detection in Windows for systems reporting “external GPUs supported: no” in the Intel Thunderbolt software.

Reference material

hereTB3, TB2 or TB1 eGPU candidate notebook list

 


Select Interface Thunderbolt 3  Thunderbolt 2  Expresscard 2.0  mini PCIe  NGFF.M2  Implementations here ▲Top

Thunderbolt 2 Enclosures AKiTiO Thunder2 HighPoint 6361A Sonnet Echo
Express SE 1
OWC Mercury Helios
Sonnet Echo
Express III-D
Netstor NA211TB
Appearance
Price US$
$220 $234 $269 $298 $799 $849
Max PCIe bandwidth 16Gbps 16Gbps 16Gbps 16Gbps 16Gbps 16Gbps
PSU location-max power
external-60W
external -50W
external -60W
external-120W
internal-300W internal-300W
Graphics max power 25W 25W 25W 75W 150W ~290W
Daisy chaining
Size (in/cm)
9.17 x 5.87 x 2.99
23.3 x 14.9 x 7.6
10.29 x 6.49 x 2.28
26.1 x 16.5 x 5.8
8.63 x 5.63 x 3.50
22.0 x 14.3 x 8.85
9.21 x 4.53 x 2.91
23.4 x 11.5 x 7.4
15.94 x 10.20 x 3.82
40.5 x 25.9 x 9.7
14.60 x 7.87 x 4.33
37.1 x 20.0 x 11.0
Release date Q3-2014 Q3-2014 Q3-2014 Q1-2015 Q4-2013 Q1-2014
Vendor page link link link link link link
User implementations link & link

Note: Better value Thunderbolt 3 enclosures can be used on Mac Thunderbolt 2 or 1 systems via a US$49 Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter, but not on PCs.

Reference material

hereTB3, TB2 or TB1 eGPU candidate notebook list

 

Select Interface Thunderbolt 3  Thunderbolt 2  Expresscard 2.0  mini PCIe  NGFF.M2  Implementations here ▲Top

Expresscard 2.0
adapter
BPlus PE4C-EC060A 3.0 EXP GDC Beast 8.4d
Appearance
Price US$
$98 $40
Max PCIe bandwidth 8Gbps (6th gen i-core CPU or newer)
4Gbps (2nd-5th gen i-core CPU)
2Gbps (1st gen i-core CPU or older)
Input PSU source ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack
Cable type soldered socketted
USB port
Vendor page BPlus (TW) Cloud Hero (CN)
User implementations
link

Compatibility references

hereExpresscard 2.0 eGPUs – pros, cons and candidate notebooks
here[GUIDE] error 43 + other detection, bootup and stability problems mPCIe/EC/NGFF.M2

 


Select Interface Thunderbolt 3  Thunderbolt 2  Expresscard 2.0  mini PCIe  NGFF.M2  Implementations here ▲Top

mini PCIe
adapter
BPlus PE4C-PM060A 3.0 EXP GDC Beast 8.4d
Appearance
Price US$
$98 $47
Max PCIe bandwidth 8Gbps (6th gen i-core CPU or newer)
4Gbps (2nd-5th gen i-core CPU)
2Gbps (1st gen i-core CPU or older)
Input PSU source ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack
Cable type soldered socketted
Internal wiring
extension avail?
YES
USB port1
Vendor page BPlus (TW) Cloud Hero (CN)
User implementations
link

1 Notebook mPCIe WLAN ports often do not have the USB port wired, making this a non-feature.

Pros

mPCIe is a common interface used to host a WLAN card which here is used to host an eGPU instead

Cons

  • error 43 with mPCIe eGPUs when using GTX10xx cards on this non-hotpluggable interface
  • requires cumbersome underside system mPCIe port access
  • mPCIe port can be whitelisted or deactivated by BIOS when no certified WLAN card is detected
  • requires an additional USB WLAN product to then have concurrent WLAN functionality

Known Issues

hereNVidia is killing off mPCIe/NGFF.M2 eGPUs : error 43 with 372.90 or newer driver
here[GUIDE] error 43 + other detection, bootup and stability problems mPCIe/EC/NGFF.M2

 


Select Interface Thunderbolt 3 Thunderbolt 2 Expresscard 2.0 mini PCIe NGFF.M2  Implementations here ▲Top

NGFF.M2
adapter
BPlus PE4C-M2060A 4.1
EXP GDC Beast 9.0b
Appearance
Price US$
$175 (x4) $56 (x1)
$145 (x4) | $95 (x4)
Max PCIe bandwidth 32Gbps (6th gen or newer i-core CPU)
16Gbps (2nd-5th gen i-core CPU)
Input PSU source ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack ATX, Dell DA-2, or DC jack
Cable type soldered socketted
Vendor page BPlus (TW) Cloud Hero (CN)
User implementations
link

Pros

  • a M2 port (x1) is a common interface used to host a WLAN card in the latest notebooks
  • a M2 port (x4) is a interface used to host a fast PCIe SSD, eg; NVMe in the latest high performance notebooks
  • a 32Gbps-M2 eGPU outperforms a 32Gbps-TB3 eGPU by about 15-20% as seen here

Cons

  • use of a M2 drive port (x4) for eGPU use is often impractical unless have a secondary drive slot/port. Spare M2 slots are limited to only a few workstation and NUC systems.
  • error 43 with M2 eGPUs using when GTX10xx cards on this non-hotpluggable interface
  • requires cumbersome underside system M2 port access
  • M2 port can be whitelisted or deactivated by BIOS when no vendor certified device is detected

Known Issues

hereNVidia is killing off mPCIe/NGFF.M2 eGPUs : error 43 with 372.90 or newer driver
here[GUIDE] error 43 + other detection, bootup and stability problems mPCIe/EC/NGFF.M2

 


 

Please share your thoughts about this comparison of the best eGPU enclosures and adapters available by joining the eGPU.io forum.