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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RP WX 9100 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14...
 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RP WX 9100 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.1 [itsage]  

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itsage
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It's possible to produce Thunderbolt 3 monitor output with an add-in-card such as GC-ALPINE-RIDGE. I tested it with the AKiTiO Node Duo through its dual PCIe slots. What about single slot enclosure? The prerequisite is a second PCIe slot to power the AIC. Buying a second PCIe expansion enclosure is too expensive. I got a couple of $10 PCIe powered riser cards to test and it was a success.

 

System specs:

Late 2018 Mac mini – i5-8500B/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/8GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

Mantiz Venus + Radeon WX 9100 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable
HP Z27q 5K + Choetech Thunderbolt 3 to 2x DisplayPort adapter + PCIe powered riser card

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

The power supply of Mantiz Venus has a SATA power cable and a 4-pin Molex cable. I used these two cables to connect the PCIe powered riser card (through Molex plug and 6-pin power plug via SATA to PCIe adapter). It seems the riser card needs both 12V and 3.3V connectors plugged in. When I tried connecting only one of the two plugs the riser card didn't work.

I don't have a Thunderbolt 3 monitor so I used a Thundebolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter to verify. This mess of adapters and cables are fairly straight-forward. Two DisplayPort signals went from the WX 9100 eGPU to the AIC to produce Thunderbolt 3 monitor output. Then the Thunderbolt 3 adapter splits into two DisplayPorts for the HP Z27q monitor. It took a while for the monitor to initiate and come on using this method. I believe a native Thunderbolt 3 monitor such as LG UltraFine 5K wouldn't take as long.

The two PCIe powered riser cards I bought were PCE164P-N06 VER 008S and PCE164P-N08 VER 009S. Only the PCE164P-N08 VER 009S worked in this test. They both came from the same seller on Amazon and have good build quality. There's foam padding on the bottom of the card. It's small enough to be mounted inside the Mantiz Venus and most other eGPU enclosures.

 

Benchmarks:

I ran Unigine Valley and Heaven through the internal display and external monitor to check the performance difference.

Internal Display External Monitor

 

Comments:

If you need an eGPU with Thunderbolt 3 monitor output, the Blackmagic eGPU is not the only choice. The component cost is about $60 for the GC-ALPINE-RIDGE and PCIe powered riser adapter.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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Eightarmedpet
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Eightarmedpet
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Just ordered a Mac mini as I felt I wanted more CPU performance and I'm getting worried I'm cooking my MacBook Pro gaming in Windows. I'll do some hunting myself but is there a way to power those riser cards other than in the Mantiz (A modular PSU would work too I assume but that feels overkill).

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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mac_editor
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Posted by: Eightarmedpet

Just ordered a Mac mini as I felt I wanted more CPU performance and I'm getting worried I'm cooking my MacBook Pro gaming in Windows. I'll do some hunting myself but is there a way to power those riser cards other than in the Mantiz (A modular PSU would work too I assume but that feels overkill).

What config. did you go for?

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.shautomate-eGPU EFI Installer
2018 MacBook Pro 15" RP560X + Vega 64 [Sonnet Breakaway 350 -> 600W]


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@eightarmedpet Sorry if my Mac mini builds seem to target your wallet.  😀

I got an i3 base configuration Mac mini yesterday for more testing and comparison. In the US, Best Buy is really aggressive with their Apple product pricing.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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Eightarmedpet
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@itsage the problem is I have very little will power and with an education discount it's almost like getting it for free (not at all, but, errrr... a couple of quid off). I don't even want to think about the hammering your wallet must take with all your set ups (any pics of EVERYTHING anywhere?).

@mac_editor I went for i7, 16GB ram and 500GB SSD in the end, not sure I really wanted to try and upgrade the ram myself as it looks easy to damage parts and I'm not always the most delicate.

Fingers crossed set up will be as simple as your guides...

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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itsage
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I have gotten the i5 Mac mini to a point where I can swap eGPU without encountering error 12. The two PCIe roots left disabled permanently are Controller x16 - 1901 [10G Ethernet] and Port #2 - A339 [1G Ethernet]. Combined with @goalque's EFI Boot Manager, the iGPU stays activated for internal display mode. Once in a while the eGPU would not be detected. I would unplug then hot-plug to get detection. A quick restart and all should work.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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Eightarmedpet
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@itsage amazing, thanks for the info and those screen shots... I dont use Ethernet so will do exactly the same - I assume there were some issues if you didn't disable them? Are you booting with it plugged in? That would be my ideal situation, never having to unplug and being able to switch OS super easily. And I'm right in thinking the Bootcamp drivers have actually been updated so you can "reboot into macOS" because on my Macbook it can't (due to not being able to read my AFPS volume). 

Hoping for 25% higher frames in games with the stronger CPU and extra cores... (going on videos I have been watching thats within the realms of possibility).

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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joevt
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Posted by: itsage

The power supply of Mantiz Venus has a SATA power cable and a 4-pin Molex cable. I used these two cables to connect the PCIe powered riser card (through Molex plug and 6-pin power plug via SATA to PCIe adapter). It seems the riser card needs both 12V and 3.3V. When I tried connecting only one of the two plugs the riser card didn't work.

None of those plugs have 3.3 volt. Yellow is 12V. Red is 5V (probably not used either). SATA has an orange wire for 3.3 volt but your riser's SATA to 6-pin adapter doesn't include an orange wire because PCIe power only uses 12V.

Posted by: itsage

Then the Thunderbolt 3 adapter splits into two DisplayPorts for the HP Z27q monitor. It took a while for the monitor to initiate and come on using this method. I believe a native Thunderbolt 3 monitor such as LG UltraFine 5K wouldn't take as long.

The Dell UP2715K is also slow to power on, or wake from sleep. It takes about 5 seconds. These are the first 5K displays and therefore have the same slowness.

Posted by: itsage

The two PCIe powered riser cards I bought were PCE164P-N06 VER 008S and PCE164P-N08 VER 009S. Only the PCE164P-N08 VER 009S worked in this test.

It is strange how some risers work and some do not. One riser I tried didn't work but now it does? Maybe a power quality issue or there's some unknown property that changed. In your test, it only worked when you connected two power cables when only one is supposed to be used and in fact there should be no detectable difference...

Posted by: itsage

They both came from the same seller on Amazon and have good build quality. There's foam padding on the bottom of the card. It's small enough to be mounted inside the Mantiz Venus and most other eGPU enclosures.

A smaller option is an M.2 to PCIe adapter. I tested one successfully with a GC-ALPINE RIDGE. It didn't work with a GC-TITAN RIDGE.
Discussion here: #135

If you can't fit a GC-ALPINE RIDGE inside the eGPU then there are external enclosures. The IT-GO ADP-099-31 works well with either GC-ALPINE RIDGE or GC-TITAN RIDGE or both, is compact, and allows using two cards. It's more expensive than a riser by itself, but not as expensive as another Thunderbolt PCIe enclosure.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Eightarmedpet
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Cheers for that info and link @joevt ! I may grab one of those enclosures if I want a performance bump when my mini arrives, although it may not need it...

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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itsage
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@joevt3 Thank you for the correction on the power connection. I thought one of the two plugs was needed as well but the Thunderbolt output never worked so I tried plugging in both. I'm aware of the slow initiation of the dual-DisplayPort 5K monitor. The delay when going through this method to produce Thunderbolt 3 monitor output is closer to 30 seconds. Once it works, reconnecting and wake-from-sleep is normal ~5s.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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joevt
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I tried powering the Thunderbolt 3 add-in cards with an unconnected R42SL but of course that didn't work since they get 3.3V from the M.2 slot (not connected).

R42SLx4

The M.2 to PCIe x4 adapter has a 1084-33 regulator that converts 5V to 3.3V.

M2toPCIex4bottom
M2toPCIex4top

x16 risers may have something similar to convert 12V to 3.3V. My x16 riser has a LM1084IS-3.3 which appears to convert 5V to 3.3V like the M.2 to PCIe x4 adapter. Your riser with AME1084 DCDT-3 probably converts 12V since it has a 6 pin connector which don't have 5V (but you said it doesn't work unless both the molex and 6-pin are connected, so maybe it needs 5V from the molex but then the 6-pin wouldn't be needed and it wouldn't work by itself which doesn't make sense).

Here's a size comparison of the 3 risers. From bottom to top: the M.2 adapter, my x16 riser, the IT-GO two slot riser, and an example half length PCIe card that shows how a card would connect to the riser.

RiserSizeCompare

To the left of the x16 riser is the backside of the front plate of the IT-GO enclosure showing that the IT-GO is narrower than the x16 riser even though it has two slots. The slot spacing is less than the standard 20.32 mm (0.8 inches) but most single slot cards will fit anyway. The IT-GO is longer than the x16 riser but all that extra length is under the PCIe card. All this means is that the IT-GO enclosure is as small as you can get for an x16 riser.

There's a post showing the size difference between the GC-TITAN RIDGE and the GC-ALPINE RIDGE which you can compare to the example half length PCIe card. The post also shows how two cards fit in the two slots of the IT-GO.

So an enclosure to accommodate an x4 card that is quarter length (not a standard PCIe length) could be made if there was such a thing as an x4 riser or if you use the M.2 to PCIe x4 riser. The depth of the enclosure would be 70 mm less than the 175 mm of the IT-GO.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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itsage
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@joevt3 Thank you for sharing these different solutions. I hope eGPU vendors take note and provide a more integrated solution in their next generation enclosure.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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DaWoon Jeong
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I will be going to use PCI-E riser card and gc-alpineridge aic because I need to use UltraFine 5K.

I have Razer Core X and it has two 8 pin power connects.(one is connected with RX580)

Does Your pci-e riser card need to connect both 4 pin and 6pin ?

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itsage
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@sunshinedw I believe either one of the two power sources should be sufficient for the powered riser card. I might not have been patient enough and plugged both 4-pin molex and 6-pin PCIe. In another build with the Sonnet Breakaway Box + R9 Fury X, the GC-ALPINE-RIDGE AIC was able to work with only the 4-pin molex connected. I would say to try connecting the 6-pin PCIe connector to your riser card and see if that would work. Keep in mind the initiation process can take several minutes.

This post was modified 7 months ago

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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Sungyeop Jung
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Dear itsage, Thanks for this interesting setup. Are you planning as well to test NVIDIA graphic cards?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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itsage
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@sungyeop_jung Most definitely. I will try it soon in AKiTiO Node Pro + RTX 2060 eGPU in Windows. There are some bandwidth issues for the UltraFine 5K in Boot Camp mode so I'm not sure how relevant my testing would be when I use the HP Z27q via a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter.

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Sungyeop Jung
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I'll look forward to seeing your following feed. How about on MacOS, Mojave?

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joevt
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Posted by: Sungyeop Jung

I'll look forward to seeing your following feed. How about on MacOS, Mojave?

There are no RTX drivers for macOS. There are no GTX drivers for Mojave (except for Kepler based cards like the 680). macOS Nvidia drivers only support 5K on the Dell UP2715K unless you do some patching. So, with Nvidia and macOS, you should stick with Pascal based card or older, 4K or less, and High Sierra or older. Of course, The 2018 Mac Mini doesn't support anything less than Mojave so Nvidia is a no-go for now.

This post was modified 7 months ago

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Eightarmedpet
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itsage
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@eightarmedpet It may not work. I believe USB ports provide 5V output but the powered riser card requires a 12V source.

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eGPU enclosure buying guide


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Eightarmedpet
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Posted by: itsage

@eightarmedpet It may not work. I believe USB ports provide 5V output but the powered riser card requires a 12V source.

Argh... cheers for the info, I'm well into uncharted territory for me here and all these connections / power requirements are over my head. Thought I had cracked it there, but oh well. Tested my eGPU on my 4K TV and got a good 10-15% more FPS so keen to power my monitor directly.

And yeah, easiest option would just be to sell my LG 5K.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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joevt
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Posted by: Eightarmedpet

Ok, so the enclosure I bought was the wrong one... is this crazy talk...

Buying: 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/VER009S-Express-Graphics-Extension-Ethereum/dp/B077ZTG18H/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548776078&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=pce164p-n08%2Bver009s&th=1

And using a spare USB powered HDD caddy to connect to the SATA to 6 pin cable provided?

The USB powered HDD caddy would need to be able to take 25W from the USB port. I don't think any of them do that. Check the specs. It would need to use USB Power Delivery spec 1.0 or 2.0.

If you have an enclosure that has enough power then:
The SATA connector needs to provide 12V for that model of riser. Use a volt meter to check the 12V pins. If you get a riser that has a molex or SATA power connector instead of a 6 pin connector, then it might use 5V. Check that the SATA connector has 5V and that the riser uses 5V (follow the traces on the PCB).

If you want to use an enclosure that doesn't have enough power then:
Rip out all the guts, drill a hole and wire a 12V female barrel connector. Get a 12V 2A power supply. Some risers use a 12V female barrel connector.

Posted by: Eightarmedpet

Argh... cheers for the info, I'm well into uncharted territory for me here and all these connections / power requirements are over my head. Thought I had cracked it there, but oh well. Tested my eGPU on my 4K TV and got a good 10-15% more FPS so keen to power my monitor directly.

And yeah, easiest option would just be to sell my LG 5K.

Or you could buy the right enclosure? I bought mine from AliExress. Just make sure the slots are PCIe and not PCI even if the description says Dual x16. Check the pictures.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Kelvin Jarillo Uy
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I have an Akitio Node and Two (2) LG Ultrafine 5Ks and planning to try out this setup.

Will the Akitio Node be able to accommodate 2  PCIe Powered Riser Cards? I'm worried there might not be enough power cables. 

This post was modified 1 month ago

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) with 4GB Radeon Pro 560
2 LG Ultrafine 5k Monitors


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joevt
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Posted by: @kelvin_jarillo_uy

I have an Akitio Node and Two (2) LG Ultrafine 5Ks and planning to try out this setup.

Will the Akitio Node be able to accommodate 2  PCIe Powered Riser Cards? I'm worried there might not be enough power cables. 

If there's not enough power cables then you could add a splitter or two. Each riser might take 25W (probably much less since you won't be connecting anything other than the displays to them). Maybe you can replace the power supply if there's not enough power for the graphics card or you want extra power cables (PCIe, SATA, molex).

Since you have a Node, you can measure how much space there is for the risers. How much space is above the graphics card in the Node? Maybe you can put the add-in cards above the graphics card so that the ports are accessible to the rear (cut a hole/maybe remove the handle)? The outside width of the Node is 5.71 inches which is greater than the height of the Thunderbolt add-in cards (check the inside dimension to be sure). The problem with risers is their width since you want to use two of them side by side. The most narrow is probably the 22 mm wide M.2 riser (wider than standard PCIe slot spacing of 0.8 inches or 20.32 mm) unless you choose the two slot IT-GO which has slot spacing even narrower than the standard PCIe slot spacing. If they are too wide, then maybe you can overlap them but this will offset an add-in card requiring an extra centimeter.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Kelvin Jarillo Uy
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Hi @joevt! Thank you for the input. 

I'm probably the least knowledgeable person on this forum with regards to making 2 Ultrafine 5k monitors work with one EGPU so forgive the excessive questions, I just want to make sure that I'm understanding things properly.

For the PCE164P-N08 VER 009S, I only need to connect EITHER the 4 Pin or 6 Pin power connection, correct?  No need to connect both as seen in the photo in @itsage's first post on this thread?

Lastly, this is all that I need to connect my 2 Ultrafine 5K monitors to my EGPU, yeah?

1 MacBook Pro 2018
2 LG Ultrafine 5K Monitors
3 Thunderbolt 3 Cables (1 to connect the MacBook Pro to the EGPU, 2 to connect to the 2 Ultrafine 5k monitors)
1 Akitio Node
1 AMD Radeon Pro WX9100
4 Mini Display Port to Mini Display Port 
2 Gigabyte (Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Card)
2 PCE164P-N08 VER 009S

I really appreciate the assistance 🙂

This post was modified 1 month ago

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) with 4GB Radeon Pro 560
2 LG Ultrafine 5k Monitors


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itsage
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@kelvin_jarillo_uy In theory your listed parts should allow the WX 9100 eGPU to power both LG 5K UltraFine monitors. In day-to-day usage it may not work very well. When I tested this setup it worked fairly reliable. However it wasn't working very well in my recent build with RX Vega 56 + Netstor HL23T-Plus.

This post was modified 1 month ago

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eGPU enclosure buying guide


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joevt
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@kelvin_jarillo_uy

Yes, that's everything (the Thunderbolt cables probably come with the displays and eGPUs). Like itsage says, the riser might not always work. Some risers may work better than others.

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Kelvin Jarillo Uy
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I'm a tad worried about the fact that the riser might not always work.

What if I replace my Akitio Node with an Akitio Node Pro – this comes with an extra slot for PCIe expansion, correct? That's one less worrisome component to worry about. What do you guys think?

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) with 4GB Radeon Pro 560
2 LG Ultrafine 5k Monitors


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joevt
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@kelvin_jarillo_uy

I think if you get a riser that works, then it should usually always work.

Do you mean the Node Duo? I think generally, a Thunderbolt add-in card always works when connected to a PCIe slot that is connected to the computer. So the Node Duo should work but it only has x2 for the graphics card instead of x4. See the Node Duo review. Only one Thunderbolt add-in card can be connected, unless you use something that lets you connect multiple risers to the same slot. I haven't tried one of those though.

Another possibility is separate Thunderbolt PCIe expansion box for each add-in card ($220 x2 = $440). Or a Thunderbolt PCIe expansion box with 3 slots ($500).

The IT-GO PCIe to dual PCIe enclosure is $110+. It's always worked for me even without a riser connection to a computer. Dual means it has two slots so you only need one of them. Enclosure means you don't need to put it inside something else.

Anyway, try to save money by trying those inexpensive risers first.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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