Akitio Node connection issue
I just wanted to see if anyone else had run into similar issues before I narrow the problem down to my motherboard. So here is my problem. I have an Akitio Node with a GTX 980 Ti installed in it. When I plug it into the Thunderbolt 3 port on my custom Windows PC and turn it on, the fans on the GTX 980 turn on so I can be sure that the card is receiving power. However, it isn't recognized by my computer as an attached device. I've updated the firmware of the Node and installed the proper Thunderbolt 3 software for my motherboard. I had this issue happen in the past and what typically solved the problem was to simply unplug the cable between my motherboard and the Thunderbolt 3 card from the card's end, and then replugging it in. Now it seems that even doing that isn't solving the problem. I'm using an ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE motherboard.
My speculation is that this is an issue with the motherboard or possible my Thunderbolt 3 card. I'm having other issues with the motherboard, for example 3-4 of the 8 RAM slots have caused the computer to crash in the past, so I'm leaning towards this being a motherboard issue. But if you guys have any other thoughts as to what might be the problem, I'd appreciate the input. Thanks!
Which PCIe slot do you have the ThunderboltEX3 card installed? Have you played around with the Thunderbolt settings in BIOS?
These are all things that terrify me haha! I generally avoid the BIOS, but if you have any tips regarding this please let me know. Is there a particular slot that I should have the ThunderboltEX3 card slot installed in? As far as I know it is plugged into one of the slots on the bottom of the board, somewhere on the bottom of the attached image.
If you wouldn't mind highlighting which slot I should have the card plugged into, if you can figure that out, it would be really helpful!
@supaiku I'd recommend installing the ThunderboltEX3 card in the PCIE16_2 slot (one that doesn't have metal re-enforcement). Once you do that, go to Thunderbolt settings in the BIOS and select PCIE16_2 as the TBT Root Port. I'm not sure if ASUS has revised the selection but I recall there's an eGFX Disabled/Enabled too. Here's screen capture from a Rampage V Extreme.
IT Sage, thank you for all of this very helpful information. Currently I have two internal GTX 1080s, they are installed on PCIE16_1 and 16_3, and due to their large size, they take up most of the area around them. I'd need to remove the bottom card that is plugged into the 16_3 slot to see exactly where my ThunderboltEX3 card is installed, however I don't believe it is installed underneath the 16_4 slot. Which seems strange based on the information you have provided. Let me look into this matter further. Thanks again!
OK, after much back and forth, the issue turned out to be in the computer's BIOS, as you had alluded to. Thunderbolt support was turned off in the BIOS. I was able to figure out which PCIE slot the card was plugged into and chose that slot in the BIOS. I am still going to have the motherboard replaced, as it is EXTREMELY finicky. Everytime I remove one of my graphics cards to get to something else on the board and then reseat the card, the computer gets stuck in an endless boot loop until I unseat and reseat the card, basically having to shove it into the slot so tightly I'm afraid I'll break it before it is recognized properly by the motherboard. Very frustrating process every single time I have to do anything with the cards or the RAM.
Glad to hear you narrowed it down to the BIOS settings. I've tried multiple Thunderbolt 3 motherboards and I have to say Gigabyte boards are better options atm. They have the TB3 controller on-board and the Designare series attach the TB3 connection directly to the CPU slot. If you're within return period, look into the X299 Designare EX. This mobo has dual DisplayPort-IN and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. This means you can make use of 5K+ Thunderbolt 3 monitors.
Hi IT Sage,
I'm unfortunately coming back after 2 months with a whole host of new problems with my Thunderbolt 3 card. So I was having various issues with my computer, I think I mentioned some of them above (RAM slots not working, Thunderbolt and GPUs having issues, etc). So even though I was able to properly activate the Thunderbolt 3 card via the BIOS configuration settings, due to all the other issues, I sent my computer in for repair to the manufacturer. They discovered that it was actually my CPU that was the issue, and they replaced it and ran various other tests before sending back the computer. Now that I have it back, everything internally works fine, except Thunderbolt 3 has a whole host of new issues.
I made absolutely sure that the Thunderbolt 3 card slot was properly chosen in the BIOS, and even tried it in a different slot. The only way I was able to get the Akitio Node to work properly was to do a hard power down of my computer (i.e. turning off the power supply before restarting). This would then activate the Thunderbolt 3 connection and my eGPU would turn on, but the computer would then have trouble booting. After two automatic restarts, on the 3rd, the Thunderbolt port would just stop working.
Then it gets weirder. Once booting into Windows, if I turned on the Node and the connection worked, the eGPU would turn on, but then all of a sudden CUDA would stop working. I tested this by going into my 3D rendering application and literally none of my graphics cards, internal or external would show up. And that's not all. After running an update to my Nvidia driver through the Geforce Experience app, if I turned on the Node, then the update would literally rollback as if it had never been installed, and Geforce Experience would ask me to install again. Doing an install with the Node active would freeze my screen and I would have to do a hard reset. I even used the GPU cleaner app to completely uninstall my Nvidia drivers and I installed an older version, but that didn't make any difference. Now the eGPU won't work at all.
I reached out to the manufacturer of my computer, because something happened during the time they were working on it. That's the only thing I can think of, because prior to sending it in for repair, Thunderbolt 3 and the eGPU WAS working, just not super reliably.
At this point, I'm just about ready to invest in a new motherboard. How many double width GPUs can you attach to that Designare EX board that you referenced in your previous post? I'd much rather just get everything on the motherboard or work with Thunderbolt 3 that is hardwired to the board itself. I'm at my wits end otherwise.
@supaiku Sorry to hear about the lingering issues with your X299 setup. I would recommend the Gigabyte X299 Designare EX if you need a replacement.
Yeah I think there must be an issue with how the board or the Thunderbolt 3 card are communicating. I ran a Thunderbolt firmware update, and now sometimes I am able to power the eGPU up, but it still isn't recognized by my computer. The Node itself is recognized as a Thunderbolt connected device, but the card inside, even though it has power, just isn't being recognized. So strange. I think I'm going to take your advice and save up for a motherboard with more double-width card slots and the onboard Thunderbolt 3. Does the X299 Designare hold more than 2 double-width cards? It sort of looks like it can based on the blueprint, but hard to say for sure.