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AKiTiO Node Pro: Adding a downstream Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable periph...
 

AKiTiO Node Pro: Adding a downstream Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals.  

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

On reddit, /u/kingnever came up with the idea to connect a TB3 dock to the downstream TB3 port of the AKiTiO Node Pro in order to provide a second TB3 controller to which peripherals will be connected. The end result is essentially a setup similar to the one utilized by the Razer Core V2, providing the load balancing required to stop things like mice and keyboards from stuttering. Of course, the Core V2 is extremely expensive at 500$, so adding a dock to the Node Pro is an attempt to get the same benefit cheaper.

For the simplest setup, you would need to get a mobile TB3 dock, such as this: Cable Matters Thunderbolt3 Multiport Adapter. Then you need to add a  (preferably powered) USB hub to create additional USB ports. This would add about 125$ to the Node Pro cost (110$ for the dock and another ~15$ for a powered USB hub if you do not have one already), making the total setup 455$. This is still cheaper than a new Core V2, but not by that much.

Since I have a Node Pro as my primary eGPU box, I wanted to try to do it cheaper, by leveraging a used HP Elite Thunderbolt3 Dock. These are available for under 40$ on ebay. I got mine off this listing for 30$ via "Make Offer". They have 4 USB ports and a headphone/microphone combo-jack, as well as yet another downstream TB3/USB-C port, which should be sufficient for at least the basic peripherals, so another USB hub is not a must.

30$ is of course a lot less than 110$, but you still need a power supply and a TB3 cable. The power adapter is a regular "new type" HP laptop power supply, which is the thin blue barrel plug that the newer non-USB-C charging HP laptops come with. It originally comes with a 65W brick. You can pick up a compatible power supply off ebay for 10$. I happened to have a spare one, so that was easier for me. Next is the TB3 cable: You can pick up a passive 20G cable (and you don't need more than this here anyway) for 10$ off Amazon. If you, like me, replaced your eGPU's original cable for a longer one, then you already have a cable you can use.

The end result costs 330$ for the Node Pro, 30$ for the dock, and 20$ for the TB3 cable and the power supply, for a total 380$ (and less if you have some spares), which is 120$ cheaper than a new Razer Core v2. I have set mine up yesterday and I can confirm that my mouse and keyboard are working reliably.

The same should work with any other enclosure that has a downstream Thunderbolt port.

This topic was modified 5 months ago

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."


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

@yukikaze This is an excellent find! I was not aware there’s a downstream TB3 port. Do you know if it has Power Delivery? Potentially we could daisy-chain a single I/O to this TB3 dock to not only get stable expansion port but also charging.

This post was modified 5 months ago

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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

That port should have power delivery, but I am not sure how much exactly (I would guess 45W or 65W). I'll check if it charges my Pixel 3XL (the Pixels use USB-C power delivery, as opposed to a QC or regular USB charging standard) later today, but that is not exactly a very power hungry device.

As a silly thought, I wonder what will happen if this port on the dock would be connected back to the 2nd TB3 port of the host system...

This post was modified 5 months ago

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."


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

Can you attach a photo of the power and TB3 connection? The sunk [Power + TB3] combo is confusing me. I saw photos of different Thunderbolt 3 power cable for this dock and it’s not clear either.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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chinsteig
(@chinsteig)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

This sounds like you are trying to do something like this but cheaper?

Personally I use something similar but no daisy chaining. My TB2 akitio thunder2 on the top left port of my 2017 MBP 15" and the Caldigit TS3+ on the top right. Haven't had any stuttering in my peripherals and external drives on both macOS and Windows 10. I use about 13 of the 15 ports. When I upgrade to a TB3 eGPU I was going to see if I could daisy chain but PD to the MBP is a hurdle.

Mid 2012 15" MacBook Pro > Thunder2 > GTX 1070 > 34" 2560x1080 Ultrawide
Mid 2017 15" MacBook Pro > Thunder2 > GTX 1070 > 34" 2560x1080 Ultrawide


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