ASUS XG Station Pro short review and some problems
I’m using the XG Station Pro with Windows 10 Version 1709 on a Samsung Notebook 9 15" (2017) with built in dedicated Nvidia 940m GPU and as GPU a MSI NVIDIA GTX 1060 Gaming 6G. An external monitor is connected.
It took me some time to find everything. So here is a list for the ones who don't want to search around. You have to press "See All Downloads" on the Asus web page.
Update the microcontroller code with this firmware before you update the Thunderbolt code with Firmware TBT-FW-V1.6. Login as administrator and run it. "Run as Administrator" within a normal user account doesn't work.
Updates the Firmware and activates the 0db fan mode. Login as administrator and run it. "Run as Administrator" within a normal user account doesn't work.
XG-STATION Hot Plug Tool ver0.0.3.0
The tool offers an icon in the system tray with shortcuts to Aura Sync and GPUTweak II. I think it is not needed. The plugging process in and out of the eGPU works very well without this software. Do you know what is the pourpose of it?
Asus Aura AURA RGB Lighting Control
Control the lights of the the Asus Station. The Station remembers the colors. So you can set a color and a fancy effect and uninstall the software. Brigthness control is possible. The LEDs can be switched off but this status is not saved without the software.
Asus Aura Sync
It is the software to control the lights. It doesn't work on my PC. I can start it but nothing happens.
ASUS GPUTweak II
You can control a lot of parameters of the GPU itself but nothing of the ASUS XG Station Pro. Works very slow with the MSI GPU too. I'm using the MSI Afterburner which fulfills the same purpose.
Asus provides an excellent manual and you may have to read it as the XG Station Pro is a bit over engineered. I had only one issue with the MSI GPU. The screw for the flap on the backside couldn't be mounted as it collides with the cooling frame of the GPU in the inside. But it isn't needed anyway. Everything else worked as described in the manual.
Graphics Driver Installtion:
Notice: You may have to install thunderbolt drivers before. How the installation of the Graphics Driver worked for me: 1. Downloaded the current version of NVIDIA mobile driver. 2. Cut my internet connection as Windows tries to download outdated drivers through the windows update over and over again. 3. Uninstalled the original NVIDIA driver through the Nvidia setup and uninstall the Microsoft NVIDIA driver through the device-manager. 4. Installation of the mobile GPU driver for the dGPU. 5. I thought I have to install the second driver for the desktop eGPU but that was not necessary. After plugin in the Thunderbolt cable the XG Station Pro was detected correctly. Both NVIDIA GPUs work fine together.
The notebook with iGPU and dGPU and the eGPU play together very well. Connection and Disconnection works flawlessly. Programs and Games detect the correct GPU for their needs. Performance is as expected. I can play the current generation games with very high or ultra details in FullHD or 2560x1600.
The XG Station Pro has an on/off switch. The station doesn't remember it's last status. You have to use the power switch after unplugging the power connector.
Thanks to designers it remembers its status after unplugging the power plug. So it can be used with a switch panel without the need of separate switching of the Station. But for some reason this switch is not on the front but on the back side of case. So I had to turn the backside to the front to access this switch of the eGPU below the desk easily.
When you unplug the thunderbolt connector during operation some software may crash (i.e. Origin) but Windows stays stable and operational. A reconnect works well, too. What happens with XG Station Pro without thunderbolt? Well the bright light switches off but GPU is still powered. The MSI NVIDIA GTX 1060 Gaming 6G has some fancy lighting which can only be software control. So after unplugging this lights are on and visible again. My former eGPU setup switch off completely after unplugging the thunderbolt cable which was very convenient. With this case you are forced to use the on/off switch.
I had to update the firmware of the XG Station Pro to activate the 0dB fan mode. Before the update they never stoped rotating completely even if the eGPU had only 30°C. The fans of XG Station Pro are huge and silent. They start cooling right after the GPU fans start cooling and stop one or two minutes after the GPU fans stop. They do an excellent and very quiet job when the GPU is on high work load. The fans of the GPU are louder even that the MSI GPU is know to be one of the most silent GPUs. The airflow concept is very good. Cold air from the right side in the case and warm air out of the left side. The fan speed of MSI NVIDIA GTX 1060 Gaming 6G can stay low and quiet.
22°C room temperature
50°C idle, gpu fan off and case fans off
68°C 1h gaming, 100% workload, gpu fan on and both case fans on
68°C 1h gaming, 100% workload, gpu fan on and only one case fan on
76°C 1h gaming, 100% workload. gpu fan on and both case fans off/unplugged
70°C 1h gaming, 100% workload. gpu fan on and both case fans off/unplugged and top cover removed
As you see a "passive" operation without the fans of the XG Station Pro is possible for a GTX 1060.
Power Consumtion (Station + GPU):
0,5 W off
3,2 W on, Notebook off
17,0 W still image
19,5 W movie 1080p
22,0 W movie 2160p
80-110 W gameing
Yes, the lights are withe by default and very bright. It looks nice for a moment and is disturbing for the rest of the time. The control software allows adjustments and a temporary deactivation. Does somebody know a software that stores the off value in the Station forever?
Coil Whining of the GPU:
I think it is more an issue of the MSI NVIDIA GTX 1060 Gaming 6G. If there are no programs running on the eGPU because they use the iGPU or if the screen is off and the load of the eGPU is zero then the gpu starts a very lound and annoying coil winning. It is reduced or disappears if a program is using the eGPU (i.e. Lockscreen - lockapp.exe). Do you know a silent graphics card that doesn't show this behavior and can deal with the powered on but not in use situation?
My ASUS XG Station Pro modifications:
- removed the mesh for the dust on the right side to improve the air flow.
- removed the fan grills on the inside to improve the air flow.
- I didn't mount the screw for the lock mechanism of the top cover as the lock itself is very reliable and in that manner you don't need further tools to access all the components in the inside for cleaning.
- taped the light stripe with black tape until I find an option to switch them off.
My ASUS XG Station Pro modifications planed:
- replacing the status LED on the front of the ASUS XG Station Pro with an on/off switch
- deactivate the lights through software somehow forever
- replace the broken fan and add a fan control or a potentiometer to stop them when not needed
- adding an additional USB-C dock to the USB-C connector which the ASUS XG Station Pro provides to attach HD, LAN, Mouse and printer connection
- measuring the energy consumption
ASUS XG Station Pro looks nice. The quality is very good. The price of 400€ is very high because it is only a case with a controller board, fans, passive power supply and a long thunderbolt cable. The functional design is very good. The 0dB requiered a firmware udpate but works as intended. The station is very quiet in high work load scenarios and the 1,5m thunderbolt cable gives you the freedom for a clean desk setup. My graphics card fitted quite well in the case. The lights of the Dock are annoying but can be adjusted. The position of the on/off switch is ridiculous. The software that Asus provides is useless or buggy.
EDIT 18.March.2018 Firmwareupdate added, light control added, temp added, chapter fans rewritten after firmwareupdate, Conclusion adapted
EDIT 14th April 2018 Powerconsumption added, Power behaviour corrected
wow, finally another XG STATION PRO USER!!!!
im running the same card, but on a 2017 15" mac book pro
my gpu doesnt show up on device manager, but my suspicions were correct, the thunderbolt drivers and hot plug is crap
ive been contacting asus through out the week, but i feel like there not really helping,
@drkmrk As itsage wrote. There is no Mac software and the windows software has to run in the background to switch off the LEDs. I placed black duct tape in two layers over each of the annoying LEDs. Now the disco is off.
@robertritter, thanks for the links!
I have just got a new Asus XG Station Pro and the fans were running all the time. The microcontroller update has already stopped them. "Run as administrator" did work.