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BlackBeast Pro Thunderbolt Egpu
 

BlackBeast Pro Thunderbolt Egpu  

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
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Joined: 3 months ago
 

Dear friends.

I am Tobias Lagarhus of the Norwegian company Lagarhus Products. We are presently developing an all new Thunderbolt docking station, named “BlackBeast Pro”. To support the design and development phase, we have received financial support by Innovation Norway, the official Norwegian Government institution for start-up support.

Our vision is a setup where your notebook computer - supplemented by “BlackBeast Pro” - achieves desktop class performance without comprises while giving full flexibility to install your own favorite graphic cards and hard drives. All the necessary ports required to implement your desired workflow are available, and “BlackBeast Pro” even provides simultaneous charging of your notebook computer. All this with a very acceptable price tag.

Our ambition is to create a stunning product -from top to bottom - but we cannot do this without you. Your input and your suggestions are vital in ensuring that "BlackBeast Pro" will be the product we all desire. We strongly believe that you - the potential user - is the crucial element in our strive to make "BlackBeast Pro" the essential supplement we want it to be.

We have created a website to showcase “BlackBeast Pro”, and hereby solicit your suggestions, ideas and opinions. We also stand ready to answer questions to the best of our ability. Day or night - we want to hear from you..!

Website: https://www.blackbeastpro.com/

Innovation Norway has requested that we further investigate the level of interest in a product with the capabilities such as “BlackBeast Pro". Positive results will open the doors for even more support, enabling us to bring "BlackBeast Pro” to market at an even more aggressive price. Therefore, if you find “BlackBeast Pro” of interest to you, please click the "notify me" button. 

Thank you in advance; we need your support.

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 3 years ago

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
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Joined: 3 months ago
 

Thanks for your reply! May I know why you think we should change the name? We are always looking for feedback and suggestions. 

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

I’m seeing a lot of elements from the Mac Pro trashcan in your prototype. As a matter of fact the rear I/O view is almost identical. Also confusing is Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 3 ports in one device. This is not a configuration Intel would certify for production. Last but not least you cannot double Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth by combining ports/controllers on the device. Your product website makes many exaggerated statements. My recommendation is to do more research on Thunderbolt 3 and eGFX or red flags will raise.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@lagarhus BlackBeast Pro claims “8.0x” faster performance versus “traditional” Thunderbolt docks. What do you mean by this? Thunderbolt 3 PCIe performance tops at 32Gbps (down to 22Gbps per PCIe device). Are you saying your enclosure can do 256Gbps (or 176Gbps)? See reply below.

Just for reference, 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 is about 128Gbps (the standard for most desktop systems). Notwithstanding the primary concern with thunderbolt latency and the maximum capability of a single thunderbolt cable to be 80Gbps for both directions simultaneously, your performance claim is impossible to accomplish over Thunderbolt.

Besides the obvious flags @itsage raised, to me this seems yet another concept destined to remain just that - a concept. Unless the marketing team/whoever designed the website is misinformed of course.

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
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Joined: 3 months ago
 

Thank you for the reply. Currently we are working on a minimum viable product to better understand the capabilities of BlackBeast Pro. I understand you have concerns about certifications and performance and we take your advice by researching more on Thunderbolt 3 and eGFX.

It's twice as fast as traditional TB3 docks and 8x times as USB 3.1 gen 2. As mention earlier we are currently working on a minimum viable product to showcase proof of concept and better understand the capabilities of our Thunderbolt dock.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@lagarhus Thank you for the clarification. Seems I misinterpreted the graph, apologies. This would mean claimed 80Gbps performance. Don't think this is doable (strictly within Intel specification) still, but my understanding of low-level hardware is well, low.

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odin
 odin
(@odin)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 

How exactly is it twice as fast as traditional TB3 docks? Every TB3 port maxes out at 40Gbps, you can't invent twice as fast when the interface does not exceed that speed. As well, the page claims 8x traditional thunderbolt dock speed? Can you elaborate on what that means specifically? You can't just come in here to an enthusiast community claiming these things and not expect to have to explain it in detailed technical terms.

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
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Joined: 3 months ago
 

Thanks for your reply. We are combining two Thunderbolt controllers to exceed 40gbps. If you want the maximum performance you must use 2x TB3 cables. This feature is only for the high end computers which supports Two Thunderbolt controllers like the MacBook Pro 15 inch and iMac Pro. For the laptop only feature one Thunderbolt controller they are limited to 40gbps. We are working on a prioritize system to optimize the operation. We will update our website with tech specs when we have completed our first prototype.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Ok, have digested the site and concept a bit more, love the idea... but that's all it is atm. I don't mean to poke holes in anything but it looks fairly apparent that whoever is uncharge of the concept has a very limited knowledge of technology. Putting a GPU into a sealed enclosure with no apparent holes for airflow is the first massive error. 

The ports look to be cheery picked at random, TB and TB3, loads of them, and what better than 1 ethernet port? 2! Why? I am sure there are use cases but in my 20 plus years working in Design I have never seen one. You've posted somewhere about TB3 passthrough for TB3 monitors, thats not easy, cheap or needed by most people (although I need it) so thats an additional unnecessary cost conflicting with your idea of making it cheap.

You talk of MVP, but this isn't anywhere near even that, this is pitch level concept work, which it sounds like what you've done to achieve funding.

It sounds like a great idea once you get a better grasp of the technology, I feel there is a desire for a high end egpu/docking station, this could be it, but you need to work out what's possible first.

 

Apologies if that sounds negative, I don't mean it to be, I hope you manage to make it to production, the concept is one that appeals to me. And please, if you do, make it beautiful (the current render looks like an asset swap from a Trashcan Mac Pro into a squarer shape). 

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craftsman
(@craftsman)
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Joined: 5 months ago
 

The naming is inappropriate and may unconsciously feed negative stereotypes about ethnic groups. 

Product design starts with understanding what is possible on a technological level first, then the user experience, and then finally the chassis. You've worked in reverse. First designing the chassis with errors - where is the air flow, how do you install the graphics card, which direction do the graphics card ports face (up or down?) and how to connect multiple HDMI or DisplayPort cables to the graphics card?

I echo the views of others in this thread. You won't get Intel certification if you throw around unicorn specs. People will think you are badly advised about Thunderbolt and hardware design.

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 

Thanks again for your reply @Eightarmedpet. Your feedback is incredible important to us and we really appreciate it. First of all the website renders is not final and in our technical specification document thermal is a critical point. We are still working on an innovative solution to maximum airflow and still maintain a low noise level. 

We understand the project is more a "concept" than a real product for now. To please Innovation Norway and reach stage 2 we need to find out if there is customers willing to pay for this. Our first step was to create a website to showcase our product. Next step is to continuous update the website with our progress with our project. In this case we are building a MVP to prove what the product is capable of. The first MVP we are focusing on performance and functionality and the case will be solid to reduce cost of compatibility - This research is for Stage 2. When we have completed our first MVP we will share our research and tech specs to make this a product and not a "concept".

Again we appreciate your feedback and its important to be critical! If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

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Ray
 Ray
(@ray)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: Lagarhus

Thanks for your reply. We are combining two Thunderbolt controllers to exceed 40gbps. If you want the maximum performance you must use 2x TB3 cables. This feature is only for the high end computers which supports Two Thunderbolt controllers like the MacBook Pro 15 inch and iMac Pro. For the laptop only feature one Thunderbolt controller they are limited to 40gbps. We are working on a prioritize system to optimize the operation. We will update our website with tech specs when we have completed our first prototype.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Thank God someone finally had the brains to figure it out: one Thunderbolt input is simply not enough. All other enclosures avoid this issue in the pursuit of a magical one-cable setup that is simply not possible with Thunderbolt 3’s bandwidth. For a true beast of a dock and eGPU, two cables are a necessity.

I know it would probably be hard to allocate more than 40gbps to the GPU itself (just from a software perspective), but that’s okay. The other 40gbps should help power the remaining ports.

I’m all on board with this if you manage to pull it off. My main concern right now is that you’re doing to much. The ports seem a bit excessive and random. Do people really need TB 2 ports on this? And two networking connectors? Why not replace some of that with more USB-A and USB-C?

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 

Thank you @craftsman for your comment. As mentioned above we need to know if there is a marked for our product. If we succeed we can enter stage 2 which gives us funds to pay off certification and licensing. To minimize the risk and use the most out of the funds to the project we decided to create a website first and then develop a prototype to showcase proof of concept. This is also to build a follower base and show Innovation Norway to get to the next step. We will update our website continuous with tech specs to make this more a product than a concept. 

If you have any further questions, please let me know!

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Thanks for your feedback @ray. We appreciate your suggestions and we will take them to us. The product is not final yet so there is room for improvement.

If you have any questions or further suggestions, please let me know!

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Daisy chain 48 devices? A Thunderbolt port supports 6. You need 8 ports - ok, the picture shows 4 Thunderbolt 2 ports and 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports but I don't understand how they can all work. How many of those ports are expected to be connected to the computer? Current MacOS and Windows drivers won't enable downstream host Thunderbolt controllers.

I'm waiting for an eGPU that improves on the BlackMagic eGPU features. For that, it needs to use a Titan Ridge controller and have two DisplayPort inputs and a second Thunderbolt port for Thunderbolt display output.

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Ray
 Ray
(@ray)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

basically, I’m all for the idea of having 2 Thunderbolt inputs to have double the bandwidth to work with for the dock ports. It’s something obvious that no eGPU does. Besides that, keep complexity low. For example, do we need so many TB 2? And multiple ethernets?

I’ll try to summarize in a few words. Dual TB 3 input (to host docking ports) is good IF it has dual TB controllers to go with it. Port selection and complexity is bad, the options need to be streamlined.

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Lagarhus
(@lagarhus)
Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
 

There is a lot of technical questions to be answered and I know that we can't give you the answer yet. In this stage we want to find out if there is customer willing to pay for our product. To achieve maximum funding we need to present our product and goal first. Next step is to develop a minimum viable product to showcase proof of concept. The upcoming months we are dedicated to create a MVP and keep the follower base updated and asking for opinions, suggestions and feedback. We will continuous update our website with tech specs and better answer the technical questions when we have MVP. 

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask. 

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

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Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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odin
 odin
(@odin)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: Lagarhus

There is a lot of technical questions to be answered and I know that we can't give you the answer yet. In this stage we want to find out if there is customer willing to pay for our product. To achieve maximum funding we need to present our product and goal first. Next step is to develop a minimum viable product to showcase proof of concept. The upcoming months we are dedicated to create a MVP and keep the follower base updated and asking for opinions, suggestions and feedback. We will continuous update our website with tech specs and better answer the technical questions when we have MVP. 

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask. 

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Thank you so much for your reply!

 I don't quite think the market is fully saturated for eGPU solutions, but what I would suggest would be to fully research the existing and future technology landscape to determine what is actually possible before designing the product. I don't think the product as you have marketed it can live up to the statements made. I think what we are all asking here is how are those technological feats going to be realized in the face of existing technology? What are the requirements from the host system itself? I don't see that exceeding the current 40GB/s limit with either TB3 or USB 4.0. Someone like Intel would have to push yet another proprietary licensable standard like Thunderbolt 4, or create a new standard and release it with an open license. With USB 4.0 that achieves the same performance as Thunderbolt 3 for all intents and purposes not slated to be available as an open standard for implementation in production products by end of 2020 I doubt anything like an 8-lane Thunderbolt implementation will be seen in any consumer gear by then.

It will probably take you a couple years to get this off the ground. USB 4.0 will be a ratified standard and hopefully filtering out to consumer devices by that time, which is for all intents and purposes going to be Thunderbolt 3 level performance. You might consider investigating that as a way forward since it's also backwards compatible with TB3. I would imagine a lot of other eGPU manufacturers like Razer, Sonnet, Blackmagic, etc.. are also doing the same.

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joevt
(@joevt)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

If the eGPU doesn't have DisplayPort inputs with Titan Ridge Thunderbolt output to allow connecting a 5K or 6K Thunderbolt display to the GPU, then the eGPU doesn't have anything that elevates it sufficiently from all the other existing eGPUs. This might require special firmware and certification that Intel only allowed for the BlackMagic eGPU.

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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: mac_editor

To all in thread, I have also noticed that posts are missing (including my own). This is likely an unintentional byproduct of tweaking the design for this forum section. As some may have noticed, we have been working behind-the-scenes to improve the design of the forum for new users – this is a slow process and we have gone about switching between implementations back and forth. I shall reach out to @nando4 who may be able to restore posts in case he is not aware of this issue already. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

In addition to @mac_editor‘ comments, the  temporary merging of two forum design types for evaluation saw posts with replies disappear.  Those posts should now be visible.  The thread has also been cleaned up of ‘why was my post missing?’ content. Thank you for noting this unintentional bug.

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odin
 odin
(@odin)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: Lagarhus

Thanks for your reply. We are combining two Thunderbolt controllers to exceed 40gbps. If you want the maximum performance you must use 2x TB3 cables. This feature is only for the high end computers which supports Two Thunderbolt controllers like the MacBook Pro 15 inch and iMac Pro. For the laptop only feature one Thunderbolt controller they are limited to 40gbps. We are working on a prioritize system to optimize the operation. We will update our website with tech specs when we have completed our first prototype.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

Interesting. So what you are saying is that you will connect the GPU to one TB3 controller and allow other devices to use a separate TB3 controller so that bandwidth is not being robbed from the GPU for other devices? I'm not the target market for it as I don't really care about my eGPU being able to connect other devices, I just need a single TB3 port and a graphics card.

It would be super interesting if you could get 8-lane working as a single interface for a GPU by aggregating two interfaces but I don't see that working properly on the host system unless there's a proprietary driver layer for it as those ports on the host system are using two discrete PCIe 3 x4 interfaces to the CPU. Interesting concept but I have no idea how that would be able to be implemented.

The only way I could see this working is if the eGPU had room for two cards and each one was hooked up to an independent TB3 port and they supported SLI and the bridge was installed between them in the eGPU. I still have no idea if this would work correctly across two TB3 ports, but in essence they are two discrete PCIe interfaces with some abstraction layer from the TB3. Which in essense is the same thing that's happening on a motherboard. I don't know if nVidia's drivers would be able to handle this scenario. Would be interesting to find out.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Lagarhus

There is a lot of technical questions to be answered and I know that we can’t give you the answer yet. In this stage we want to find out if there is customer willing to pay for our product. To achieve maximum funding we need to present our product and goal first. Next step is to develop a minimum viable product to showcase proof of concept. The upcoming months we are dedicated to create a MVP and keep the follower base updated and asking for opinions, suggestions and feedback. We will continuous update our website with tech specs and better answer the technical questions when we have MVP. 

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask. 

Best regards

Tobias Lagarhus

I read your responses here and through Reddit. You stated a fall launch which is less than 6 months. If you have not started the conversion with Intel Thunderbolt team, there is no chance for production and availability this year. As many others have questioned whether your final product will be viable given the goals set, I think you’re working backwards. The best thing to do is not to worry about maximum funding but reach out to Intel and learn what’s possible with Thunderbolt 3 and eGFX.

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