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

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
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September 6, 2017 5:22 pm  

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)
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September 6, 2017 8:18 pm  

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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theitsage
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September 6, 2017 8:28 pm  

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.

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nando4
(@nando4)
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September 7, 2017 6:47 am  

Further to @theitsage'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
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March 11, 2019 6:23 pm  

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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theitsage
(@itsage)
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March 11, 2019 7:05 pm  

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.

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OliverB
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March 11, 2019 8:54 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

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.

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OliverB
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March 11, 2019 8:57 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

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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