Akitio Node Lite/Thunderbolt 3 -> Is the Xcellon Little Brother equivalent?
I have a RX560 without the 6 pin that I'm looking to put into a PCI-E enclosure, with the smallest footprint as possible. I was interested in a Thunderbolt 3 build with the 120v power adapter addition (which should power the RX560 with no issue from what I've read) - however, the commonly used Akitio Node Lite/Thunderbolt 3 is difficult to obtain.
I found this enclosure the Xcellon Little Brother, a similarly sized and reduce-priced pci-e enclosure that SEEMS nearly identical, and offers macOS compatibility (something I require). My question:
What else do I need to know about this enclosure to confirm if this can work for the similar use-case as the Akitio option?
I had the same questions. I too am looking for an eGPU set up for my Mac. Unfortunately, the Little Brother does not support graphics cards. On the manufacturer website there is an italic bottom page statement where the product overview is that reads "Does not support graphics cards." In addition, I do not see a statement with specs regarding the internal power supply. The little brother is not an option for an eGPU.
I have been doing a great deal of research lately on this subject. I think they best quality, performance, and value comes from the Razer Core X. Here are the specs from the manufacturer
- Desktop Grade Performance: Boosts Thunderbolt 3 laptop performance with support for up to 3 slot wide PCIe full sized desktop graphics cards (sold separately)
- Built In Power Supply: Includes a 650W ATX PSU with 100W laptop charging via Thunderbolt 3; GPU max power support up to 500W
- Compatibility (Windows): Requires Thunderbolt 3 external graphics (eGFX) support with RS45 or later and compatible NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards.Razer Synapse 3 software not available on macOS
- Compatibility (macOS): Requires Thunderbolt 3 and High Sierra 10.13.4 or later and compatible AMD graphics cards only (NVIDIA cards not supported)
- GPU Max Power Support: 375 Watts
The Razer Core X enclosure also comes in a "Chroma" version for an additional $100 that gives you their unique Chroma RGB diffused color schemes an an additional 50W of power. There are plenty of reviews from Mac users claiming this set up is just as good if not one mark off the Black Magic eGPU that retails for $700 in the Apple Store. You would however be required to provide your own choice of Graphics Card for the Razer Core X. Nonetheless I dee this as a positive for the Razer in that you are essentially future proofing your GPU with fully a fully customizable format. I am not sure that the Black Magic eGPU provides this luxury. You can get a Razer Core X + an RX 580 Graphics Card for under $500. Another plus is that the Razer Core X compliments the aesthetics of the Mac look.
There are several different configurations outside of the Razer Core X that are plenty good for your money. Sonnet has a 450W, 550W, and a 650W enclosure that will do the same thing for you - and the list goes on.
As for now, the Razer seems to be the best bang for buck and the best future proof system available for Mac users IMHO. If money were no issue here I would suggest the Black Magic eGPU Pro for $1300. Going to route of "DIY" has its perks, although going the Black Magic route is plug and play right out of the box.
Remember*** MAC ONLY SUPPORTS SELECT GRAPHICS CARDS:
Unfortunately, Apple and nVidia don't seem to get along these days, so the macOS currently only works with a limited selection of graphics cards from AMD. Apple's website currently lists these GPUs as being compatible with macOS:
- AMD Radeon RX 470 and RX 570
- AMD Radeon RX 480 and RX580
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
- AMD Vega Frontier Edition Air
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100
You should also remember that the high-end Radeon Pro and Vega graphics cards require a lot of power, so you should always check with the manufacturer of your eGPU enclosure to make sure that its internal power supply is suitable for the graphics card that you plan to use (most manufacturers do have this info on their web site, along with a list of compatible graphics cards).
Sadly, this means that the enormously popular nVidia range of graphics cards is still off limits for Mac users, although hopefully this will change in the future (the brave souls at egpu.io have actually found ways of using nVidia cards with Macs, but this generally involves some scary hacking).
But if your choice of graphics card is still limited, there's an increasing range of Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures now available that will work with both Macs and Windows PCs. Several big-name PC manufacturers make their own eGPUs, such as the Asus and Razer enclosures that we review here. There are also specialist companies, such as Sonnet and Blackmagic, that just focus on making eGPU enclosures and other upgrade products for Macs and PCs.
- CREDIT: ***WWW.MACWORLD.CO.UK ***
Hope this helps!
Just because something is not meant for GPUs doesn't mean you can't get a GPU to work. All you need is a PCIe connection. If the enclosure doesn't have enough power then you can add a separate power supply.
This is how we get GPUs to work with M.2 slots (and Thunderbolt to M.2 adapters), express card slots, and mPCIe slots.
Guess you investigated already what is suggested to do for using a Akitio Node Lite with a graphics card?
If the Little Brother is a good clone of the Node Lite it could work. However, it seems nobody of us tried it yet.
I agree with what @joevt wrote, however if you are new in the eGPU world, a new build without a guide line can be a challenge.
Understood the main driving factor for your decision what eGPU to use, is the size.
If you do not want to be the first with a build - did you consider the PowerColor Mini Pro?
Small footprint, light, very reliable (plug and play) with MacOs. However, already with a graphics card inside.
Thank you all! @boozy, thanks for posting that! As the other said below, many people on this sub often ignore that lil' alert left in very small form factor pci-e boxes, as many do with the akitio Node Lite or the thunderbolt three.
@hans-st not sure if you've gotten this far down the rabbit hole, but do you have any recommendations for validating if it's a clone or not? Other than first-hand accounts online?
Sorry, I never heard about this device before and it seems it is not well known in the forum.
I see three ways to go:
1. Try it. However, with the posibility to give it back if it does not work.
2. Take an other eGPU.
3. Wait until another forum member can help.
@boozy and @aaron_stusser, unfortunately I purchased the Xcellon little brother without reading the GPU disclaimer, and found out the hard way. However, using a Dell external power supply, I got the GPU running and it works on Catalina, but not on Windows; that stupid error 12 code. I have MacBook Pro 13" 2019 base model with a Radeon 5500XT as my external GPU. I've been a bit too lazy to register my build, but I'll do it soon. Some advice on the side... get an Nvidia GPU if you want to game on Windows.
it seems to me that you must not bother with the purchase of the Xcellon little brother.
I am curious to read the first build with the little brother.
Not sure if it will fit the bill or not. I went with and was lucky enough to get my hands on a Asus ProStation XG. It is smaller form factor eGPU case as the power supply is external to the housing. All though it has the capability of supplying up to a 300W GPU it may also be a good fit for your requirement. It is also as I understand it Mac Certified when combined with an AMD RX580, RX570 or the WX7100 Pro. Additional benifits all be it a simple one is that it comes with a metre long Thunderbolt 3 Cable, and I can vouch for the build quality and internall cooling to be well thought out.