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Fastest Card Support for Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-D
 

Fastest Card Support for Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-D  

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I'm going to order a PCIe expansion chassis for my 2016 MacBook Pro. I am looking at the Sonnet SE-III (3 card PCIe) or Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-D, a 3 card PCIe chassis with 300W PS and 75W of auxiliary power:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpress3dtb3.html

At first, I'm only going to have a PCIe flash drive installed, but wanted to see if this enclosure would support an eGPU and if so, what would be the most powerful I could install without having to modify the case?

I considered the 1070 or 1080 Zotac Mini:

https://www.zotac.com/us/product/graphics_card/zotac-geforce%C2%AE-gtx-1070-mini-0#spec

https://www.zotac.com/us/product/graphics_card/zotac-geforce-gtx-1080-mini#spec

Giving the III-D is a full-length chassis, I probably don't need a Mini, but thought it might require less power.

Any feedback or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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


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

If it only has a single 6-pin PCIe power plug, then you cannot use a GTX1080 or a GTX1070, as they require a 150W 8-pin connector. You could try to use an adapter, but depending on the power supply the Sonnet unit has it might not work, or can be dangerous. The most powerful card that uses a single 6-pin connector is a GTX1060.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

One thing to keep in mind is that a PCIe NVMe drive such as the Samsung 960 EVO can saturate the max bandwidth of the TB3 enclosure.

Power distribution seems to be 75W for each PCIe slot and 75W for the aux PCIe 6-pin cable. If you're using a double-wide GPU, the middle x16 slot goes unused and hopefully would leave enough juice for the aux cable to draw more power.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Further to @itsage's comment, the use of multiple simultaneous high bandwidth PCIe devices in a multi-slot TB3 enclosure is not recommended. This will mean the 22Gbps available TB3 PCIe bandwidth will be shared amongst the enclosure devices.

Instead, consider separate enclosures to host such PCIe devices from separate sided TB3 ports on your 15" MBP to maximise TB3 bandwidth as explained at: https://egpu.io/setup-guide-external-graphics-card-mac/#cpu-vs-pch

Such a solution will give better performance and probably cost less too. The Sonnet III-D is on the expensive price scale side and as has been noted, it's 300W PSU is cable specced to deliver 150W (75W slot + 75W 6-pin PCIe).  Consider then there are eGPU enclosures in the buyer's guide that are designed to deliver anywhere up to 500W to the eGPU.

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Since I'm now using macOS Mojave, I think I need to go with a Radeon card. Do you know if the RX 560 is the fastest low-power card that is also Mojave compatible?

BTW, I realize the Sonnet Echo Express III-D is not an ideal enclosure due to it's limited power output, it's just what I have and I'm trying to get some use out of it.

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


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

Radeon Pro WX 5100 is the highest performing macOS Mojave supported GPU with 75W TDP or less. You can find them on eBay for less and load all three PCIe slots up.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: itsage

Radeon Pro WX 5100 is the highest performing macOS Mojave supported GPU with 75W TDP or less. You can find them on eBay for less and load all three PCIe slots up.

Yeah, that is great! It's a pity there not more enclosures with more slots. I would invent some with 4 slots.

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: itsage

One thing to keep in mind is that a PCIe NVMe drive such as the Samsung 960 EVO can saturate the max bandwidth of the TB3 enclosure.

Actually yes and no. Isn't this typically the opposite direction (read)? So if you ask me, it shouldn't make any difference, unless you want to accelerate onto the internal display.

I like the idea of one enclosure containing 3 PCI-E devices:
1) GPU
2) NVMe SSD
3) 10GBe Ethernet

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I purchased the RX 560 and it doesn't even require supplemental power. Works well in the Sonnet Echo Express III D enclosure in macOS Mojave (Windows 10 doesn't work, as reported in this post).

However, I am wondering if I could get away with putting my RX 580 in the Sonnet enclosure instead. According to this post, the RX 580 uses 191 watts of power in-game:

https://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/asrock-phantom-gaming-x-radeon-rx580-8g-oc-review,6.html

The Sonnet Echo Express III D enclosure has a 300 watt power supply. If the RX 580 is the only card in the enclosure, wouldn't there be enough power to power the card? Or is it possible that the enclosure will only send a max of 75 watts to each single PCIe lane, and 75 watts to the supplemental power cable, for a total of 150 watts going to the card, max?

This post was modified 4 months ago

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


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Well, the RX 580 was too big physically, so I ended up just buying the new Razer Core X Chroma, only to be disappointed due to:

  1. macOS has not support for Ethernet adapter.
  2. Their 3rd party driver for Ethernet is flakey and drops connects near instantly. 
  3. Support gives no ETA on when this known issue will be addressed, or if it ever will. Just vague platitudes.

As a side note, with the RX 560 installed the Sonnet, I was able to finally get my 2018 MacBook Pro 13" to stop reporting error 12 in Boot Camp. It appears that updating to Windows 1803 somehow fixed the issue. I still had a stuck Windows logo on the internal display, but full support on external display. When booting, I saw the XConnect Technology notification in Windows. 

Sadly, when I moved to the Razer box with the RX 580 on the same Mac, I started to see the error 12 again. I was able to disable enough devices to get the external screen to connect and show a black screen with a movable cursor, but I couldn't get pass that. It was like it still sees both screens, where the main screen is the laptop screen, because I can move the cursor from the external monitor to the internal screen seemingly. That is, if I moved the cursor to the left beyond the external display and kept going, when i moved to the right, there was an equal drag distance to get it back to the external display.

So, it appears this could work with the right software config. I hope Windows continues to release software updates to address eGPU users on Macs.

This post was modified 2 weeks ago

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


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itsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Too bad the RX 580 did work well with your plans. We found Windows 10 version 1903 improved eGPU resource allocation quite a bit. Give it a try and hot-plug the AMD eGPU once Windows fully loads to see if it works better. I was able to use it this way on my 2018 Mac mini and 2016 15" MacBook Pro.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

109 external GPU build guides


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage thank you for the tip! I upgraded to 1903 and I was able to get it to work. While before I was able to boot plugged in, now I have to hot plug, but I'll take that any day over not working at all.

Thank you!!

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


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

Great to hear! Hot-plug is better imo because the iGPU remains working without any boot loader of timed boot. You can also hot-unplug and this is very nice for a laptop.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

109 external GPU build guides


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