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"CY Thunderbolt3 to PCIe" - A test of a TB3 to PCIe board off ebay.
 

"CY Thunderbolt3 to PCIe" - A test of a TB3 to PCIe board off ebay.  

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

So, I managed to get my hands on a TB3 to PCIe board. The specific board is the one sold all over the place under the "CY" brand, and typically sells for about 150-200$, which means it make zero sense to buy one even for testing, but I got lucky: One was listed for under 100$ on ebay, I watched it and waited. A few days later a price drop reduced the cost to 60$, which is affordable enough to get one to try it, for science.

The exact board can be found on Amazon here for the low, low price of 188$ (ugh). It comes with a 0.5m TB3 cable (and so did mine off ebay).

This board has no power inputs, and is entirely TB3 powered, which means that it cannot power a video card by itself (unless we manage to find a video card that consumes less than 15W of power). To see if it works at all: I stuck a dual-port 1GbE Ethernet adapter into it, and connected it to my ZBook G4. The Thunderbolt Software immediately picked it up.

Connection

It identifies as a LT-LINK Node Lite, which is interesting. I wonder if these were originally supposed to be some variant of a Node Lite with only a single TB3 port. I did not try to update the FW on the device (I don't want to brick it, at least not before I got to play with it a bit more).

After allowing the device to connect, the dual-port NIC appeared in my Device Manager, and the driver loaded properly. Connecting a cable brings the link up and as far as I can tell the device is functioning properly.

I am yet to try a GPU, as I'd need a powered riser, but I see no reason why this would not work. If you manage to score one of these on the cheap, I believe you would have a decent foundation for a custom-built eGPU enclosure. Just keep in mind that a powered riser is needed to make this actually work with a GPU (a NVMe device would work just fine on bus power, however, as SSDs won't typically consume over 15W of power). I might try to see if I can find an ADT powered riser to go with it.

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


tsakal, itsage and nando4 liked
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esatamacmodular
(@esatamacmodular)
Estimable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I think your node lite variant theory is true.  I have the node lite and the TB3 cable shown for this CY package on amazon looks exactly the same. It is nice to hear about your exploration projects like this.

iMac 2013 10.14.1, Macbook Air 2013 10.11, MBP 2016 13" 10.13.6 , HP 4530s 10.11, node lite, DA-2 PSU w/mod, PE4L 2.1b expresscard34, GTX460,1050Ti,1060,1070/Ti RX470,560,580


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