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

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

Thunderbolt 3 Enclosures AKiTiO
Thunder3
AKiTiO Node Mantiz Venus PowerColor
Devil Box
Razer Core Asus ROG
XG Station 2
Appearance
Price US$
$229 $269 $389 $450 $499 ~$699 &
Max PCIe bandwidth 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps 32Gbps
PSU location-max power
external-72W
internal-400W internal-450W
internal-500W
internal-500W
internal-600W
Graphics max power
25W 375W 375W 375W 375W 500W
Charging power
15W 15W 60W 60W 45W 100W
USB-C controller1
TI82 TI83 TI83 TI82/TI83 TI82 TI83
Ethernet port
SATA-III disk port
USB 3.0 ports
5 4 4 4
Other ports 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
16.85 x 8.94 x 5.71
42.8 x 22.7 x 14.5
13.38 x 8.50 x 6.45
33.4.x 21.6 x 16.4
15.75 x 9.53 x 6.77
40.0 x 24.2 x 17.2
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 length (in/cm)
8.46 / 21.4 12.60 / 32.0
13.00 / 33.0
12.20 / 31.0
12.20 / 31.0
12.20 / 31.0
Release date Q3-2016 Q1-2017 Q1-2017 Q4-2016 Q2-2016 Q2-2017
 Updated firmware2 B1-23+3.6.1 v102 v23
Vendor page link link link link link link
eGPU.io user examples
link & link link brief link link link

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  M2 (NGFF)  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 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
eGPU.io user examples link & link

Note: Better value Thunderbolt 3 enclosures can be used on Apple Thunderbolt 2 or 1 systems via a US$29 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  M2 (NGFF)  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)
eGPU.io user examples 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  M2 (NGFF)  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)
eGPU.io user examples
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 M2 (NGFF)  Implementations here ▲Top

M2 (NGFF)
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)
eGPU.io user examples
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

 


 

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