AKiTiO Node Pro Review - Jack of All Trades
 
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AKiTiO Node Pro Review - Jack of All Trades  

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: TpX360

Hi, do you have somel specs on your USB 3 hub? I'm using a USB-C 3.0 with a spectre x360 and none of the peripherals are being picked up.

Do you have some specs for your USB-C 3.0? (A product link)

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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cmm
 cmm
(@mois)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage , do you have any idea how the PCI box firmware is different from eGPU firmware, would the Akitio Node Pro deliver my GPU with any less performance than an eGPU-certified box such as the Razer Core X?

I forwarded the latency - firmware differences question to Intel, https://communities.intel.com/message/557889 .

The Intel page at  https://thunderbolttechnology.net/blog/external-graphics-egfx-vs-generic-pcie-expansion-enclosures-explained doesn't say PCI enclosures have more latency. It sounds more like they write "eGFX is a certification program where we force the manufacturer to afford a proper PSU and proper chassi space to fit a GPU, and we force them to strip away daisy chain because we say so", nothing fancier than that.

The Node Pro makes sense as an "eGPU box (Razer Core X) with a daisy chain connector if you'd ever need it". What do you say?

However, can you make Vega 64 work well in the Node Pro, @ikir did you try?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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cmm
 cmm
(@mois)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I forwarded the latency - firmware differences question to Intel, https://communities.intel.com/message/557889 .

The Akitio Node Pro makes sense as a "eGFX box (e.g. Razer Core X) with a daisy chain port, just if you'd ever need it".

Did you make any testing?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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cmm
 cmm
(@mois)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

One main difference with eGFX enclosures is in the Thunderbolt 3 controller selection. AKiTiO used a JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller for the Node Pro. The Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures I've reviewed so far use the DSL6540 controller instead. As far as eGPU performance goes, the Node Pro may have additional latency due to this JHL6540 controller and dual TB3 port arrangement. I also noticed two TI83 USB-C controllers on the Thunderbolt 3 main board. The Winbond EEPROM is located on the other side of the main board.

Wait, the Node Pro's JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015.

If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster?

Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

I posted this question on latency to Intel also, https://communities.intel.com/message/557889  .

My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream - in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don't trust users' IQ.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: mois

Wait, the Node Pro's JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015. If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster? Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

As far as I know, the DSL and newer JHL are both Alpine Ridge and don't have any differences that affect performance. The JHL is more environmentally friendly (no lead).
Intel to Discontinue First-Generation Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

Posted by: mois

My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream - in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don't trust users' IQ.

This. I wonder if macOS has better support for devices connected after an eGPU? Like maybe Windows doesn't adjust resources as well? I don't think I've seen any test of that situation or I don't recall anyone describing a problem with that. Some situations can be fixed with a DSDT edit (for error #12).

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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cmm
 cmm
(@mois)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: joevt
Posted by: mois

Wait, the Node Pro's JHL6540 was released 2016, and DSL6540 that you found in all eGPU boxes was released 2015. If this is the only quality we can compare then the Node Pro should supposedly be faster? Note that Razer Core X uses the JHL6540 also, so there are eGFX boxes that use that chip too, so the chip is not a reason to suspect low latency.

As far as I know, the DSL and newer JHL are both Alpine Ridge and don't have any differences that affect performance. The JHL is more environmentally friendly (no lead).
Intel to Discontinue First-Generation Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

Posted by: mois

My best impression of the eGFX certification is just that Intel forces a strong CPU, lots of air for cooling, and forces the manufacturer to provide no daisy chain connector simply in order to not encourage use bandwidth-heavy devices downstream - in other words they offer a foolproof device setup because they don't trust users' IQ.

This. I wonder if macOS has better support for devices connected after an eGPU? Like maybe Windows doesn't adjust resources as well? I don't think I've seen any test of that situation or I don't recall anyone describing a problem with that. Some situations can be fixed with a DSDT edit (for error #12).

@joevt, thanks a lot for answering.

The Node Pro has older firmware (v. 23.1, vs. Razer Core X which has version 33.1), would you be worried of any bugs or limits or any lower performance with the Node Pro than the Core X?

@joevt I guess @itsage 's idea that JHL6540 (released 2016) would have higher latency than DSL6540 (released 2015) is not real.

Should Node Pro, with an Corsair SF600 and maybe chassi fan upgrade, be a dream versatlie eGPU box for a Vega 64?

(Please let me know, this will be my third attempt at getting an eGPU setup "right". Asus XG Station Pro = fail because no power delivery, which is an issue on a Thinkpad with only two TB3 connectors. And Puck 580 was too slow for office/web on an 8K monitor. Thanks!!)

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: mois

The Node Pro has older firmware (v. 23.1, vs. Razer Core X which has version 33.1), would you be worried of any bugs or limits or any lower performance with the Node Pro than the Core X?

I don't think JHL and DSL use the same version progression.
Thunderbolt 3 firmware versions
You see that when DSL had NVM 21, JHL had only NVM 9. The JHL6240 only had NVM 4. In another document, the versions are 24, 19, and 5 respectively. So it looks like you can't compare NVM versions of different controllers. Newer chips have lower versions because they haven't been around as long. Maybe Intel changed the versioning since then? The problem is, we don't get a history of firmware versions like the manufacturers do. Maybe you can piece it together and construct a timeline by downloading every firmware updater for every Thunderbolt product from every manufacturer. Intel did something stupid when they gave control of firmware updates to manufacturers.

Posted by: mois

I guess @itsage 's idea that JHL6540 (released 2016) would have higher latency than DSL6540 (released 2015) is not real.

He was referring to the latency of having two ports, not the latency of the controllers, none of which has been measured, or no difference has been found so far.

Posted by: mois

Should Node Pro, with an Corsair SF600 and maybe chassi fan upgrade, be a dream versatlie eGPU box for a Vega 64?

I think that's the configuration I would want to try (two Thunderbolt ports plus most powerful AMD card and a power supply to power it). I have no experience with it though. An even better eGPU would have DisplayPort inputs and a USB output to/from a TitanRidge but it doesn't exist yet.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@mois I don't have technical details as to why or how the Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion enclosures may not perform at the same level as eGFX enclosures when used with an eGPU. It's likely the firmware for eGFX is optimized for single purpose of external graphics while PCIe expansion is not. You can contact Intel Thunderbolt for clarification.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2021 15" ASUS TUF Dash F15 [11th,4C,H] + RX 6900 XT @ 32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 2004 // my 1st RX 6900 XT build [build link]  


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Jesse Harlin
(@the_simian)
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

"Drop a Vega card inside this thing and you’ll be packing serious heat."

This doesn't have enough power for a Vega 64 from what I am seeing. Only a vega 56 would work I think

Macbook Pro mid 2015
AkiTio Node Pro with Tb2 -> Tb3 adapter
Amd Vega 56


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Glenn Aitken
(@glenn_aitken)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Real world results for my Node Pro...
Macbook Pro 2017 high Sierra 10.13.4 With GeForce 1080 Ti 11gb 
Render time in premiere pro for a one minute video..
Macbook Pro Gpu : 15:37.99
+egpu OpenCL : 3:46.67
+egpu CUDA : 1:57.95

 
2017 15" MacBook Pro (RP560) [7th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Pro) + Win10 // modded, water cooled [build link]  

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