2018 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + R9 Fury X @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 350) + macOS 10.14.2 [itsage]
This is another build to replicate Thunderbolt 3 monitor output using an GC-ALPINE-RIDGE Thunderbolt 3 add-in-card and a $10 PCIe powered riser card. There’s more details on the riser cards I tested in my Mantiz Venus + WX 9100 eGPU build. If you can’t find the more affordable GC-ALPINE-RIDGE, the newer version GC-TITAN-RIDGE should work the same way.
I was cleaning and re-pasting my older graphics cards over Christmas break and noticed the R9 Fury X has remarkable build quality. It has a fat chip with four smaller HBM chips. Here are a couple photos I took of the die during cleaning.
Mid 2018 13″ MacBook Pro – i5-8259U/Iris Plus Graphics 655 iGPU/8GB RAM/512GB SSD
The Sonnet Breakaway Box‘s SFX power supply has a SATA power cable and a 4-pin Molex cable. I connected the PCIe powered riser card through Molex plug. I used a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter to verify TB3 monitor output because I don’t have a Thunderbolt 3 monitor. Basically the R9 Fury X eGPU provided two DisplayPort signals to the AIC to produce Thunderbolt 3 monitor output. Then the Thunderbolt 3 adapter split this TB3 signal back to two DisplayPorts for the HP Z27q monitor. Keep in mid the R9 Fury X does not have native eGPU support in macOS. In order to use it with 10.14.2, I ran Purge-Wrangler script by @mac_editor and it worked right away.
I also connected a USB-C monitor via the same arrangement. The ASUS MB16AC drew power from the USB-C host which the AIC was able to provide alongside monitor output. There’s enough room inside the Sonnet Breakaway Box for me to tuck these components inside. I routed the Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort cables through the gap atop the PCIe mounting bracket.
Instead of spending a premium on the Blackmagic eGPU/Pro to get Thunderbolt 3 monitor output for LG UltraFine Displays, you can use these two components with almost all eGPU enclosures. The cost is about $60 to $110 for the Thunderbolt 3 AIC and PCIe powered riser adapter.
As a man with many enclosures are you able to list which ones this TB3 monitor powering method would work with? Assume the Razer Core isn't one of them. What about the ASUS?
Am I going crackers or did I read on here somewhere that the GC-ALPINE-RIDGE doesn't actually even need to be plugged into a PCIe slot to work? That sounds impossible? If I can't fit it in my Core what are the other powering options? I've seen that cheap enclosure which although it is cheaper than a TB3 its still a bit pricey...
@eightarmedpet Great question. It comes down to powering the PCIe riser card. The one I found to work is PCE164P-N08 VER 009S that has two different power inputs. One is through the Molex plug and the other is through the 6-pin PCIe plug. I believe both the Razer Core and ASUS XG Station Pro can power this riser card through a PCIe splitter. Finding the room inside to fit components would be a bigger challenge. I will find time to test on ASUS XG Station Pro.
Cheers for that! I think I may have some splitters left over from my Hackintosh days, can't imagine there will be room for anything else in the core but will grab the bits to try... I guess I could run the splitter to the outside of the enclosure and build a custom enclosure for the add in card...
@dennis_wander I have not tried adding the TB3 AIC inside the ASUS XG Station Pro. I tried it with the Netstor HL23T-Plus with the same components seen in this OP. It eventually worked but the output was not consistent. It’s not worth the hassle imo.
Odd that it works fine in the XG Station and the Sonnet Breakaway. Perhaps the Netstor simply works differently. I'll be trying it in both the XG and the Mantiz Venus, as soon as I can find the exact PCIe riser card you used.