Hands-on with Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock  

 

theitsage
(@itsage)
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January 11, 2018 4:05 pm  

Lenovo didn’t want to be left out of the eGPU fun and made a surprise announcement at CES 2018 of its first Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock. This dock follows the growing trend of smaller footprint enclosures with external power adapters. The new Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock reminds me of the Acer graphics dock from a year or two ago.

It didn’t take long to locate the dock once I got inside the Lenovo suite. I immediately went after the external power adapter. It’s surprisingly reasonable in size. I placed my iPhone SE on top of the power brick for scale. A helpful Lenovo representative answered most of my questions about the unit. The output is 170W. Power Delivery is 65W. The graphics card is a MXM GTX 1050 with 4GB of VRAM.

Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock 170W power brick Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock

Here’s what I gathered on the Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock:

  • Dimensions: 130 x 248 x 22.6mm (5.12 x 9.76 x 0.89 in)
  • Weight: 1.51 lbs (686 g) for the enclosure only
  • Full-feature Thunderbolt 3.0 port: data, video & power delivery (65W)
  • MXM GTX 1050 4 GB GDDR5 graphics card
  • Up to three 4K displays: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x DisplayPort 2.0
  • 1 x always on USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0
  • 1 x 3.5 mm audio port
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock front ports Lenovo Graphics Dock rear ports

Lenovo connected this eGPU dock to one of its new VR headsets. It was running full speed in order for the headset to work. The enclosure felt warm to the touch and the cooling fan was audible through the rear exhaust vents. Lenovo didn’t specify the length of the included Thunderbolt 3 cable. What I saw on display was a .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable.

Lenovo Graphics Dock Thunderbolt 3 port Lenovo Graphics Dock vents

MSRP is $399, and it should be available at the end of January. According to the User Guide for this Lenovo Graphics Dock, it’s been in testing since July 2017. The decision by one of the world’s largest PC OEMs to release this product at the beginning of 2018 is a clear sign it’s prime time for external graphics.

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Edited: 7 days  ago

Numerous implementation guides


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Rycco
(@rycco)
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January 11, 2018 4:43 pm  

Looks like a cheaper option with integrated GPU. Do you think its possible to run games like Overwatch in 2k 60fps with a gtx 1050?

mid-2017 15" Macbook Pro RP555 + GTX1080i@32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS & Win10


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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January 11, 2018 8:51 pm  

Love the look of this! If it does as a 1060 or above I’d have my cash in hand… CES is looking exciting.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + GTX1060@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070@32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10


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chinsteig
(@chinsteig)
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January 11, 2018 8:54 pm  

http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-1050-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1070/3650vs3609

looks like it should be able to.

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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jonah765
(@jonah765)
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January 11, 2018 9:21 pm  

agreed. the 1050 is a little underpowered imo. atleast a 1050ti would be nice


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Rycco
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(@casey_toney)
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January 12, 2018 7:04 pm  

No version without a built-in GPU, bummer.

I’ve had my eye on the ASUS XG Station Pro since they announced it but was excited to see another new contender enter the fray (especially one with a slim form factor and minimal design).


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BryanL
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January 13, 2018 4:16 pm  

WIll it work with Macbook pro natively with High Sierra + Davinci Resolve ? If yes, please take my money now.


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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January 14, 2018 2:05 pm  

@bryanl Nvidia eGPU in macOS requires a workaround so unfortunately it is not a natively supported solution.

Numerous implementation guides


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BryanL
(@bryanl)
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January 15, 2018 5:28 am  

Thanks for the info. The work around seems easy ……right ? Any how mostly i just want a small footprint to be used main for davinci resolve to render videos faster. Does this work for this reason ?


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generalheed
(@generalheed)
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January 16, 2018 5:33 pm  

I found the official Lenovo documentation for this eGPU, but it claims that it doesn’t support other non Lenovo 720S devices. Is that just Lenovo saying they don’t officially support this device on other PC’s or will it physically not work on anything but a Lenovo 720S? I’m very interesting in getting one for my Intel Skull Canyon NUC and I remember awhile ago Acer made similar claims about their own now-discontinued graphics dock but it turned out that it still worked on quite a range of non Acer devices. I don’t think this Lenovo graphics dock is on sale yet, but has anyone gotten the chance to try it on non Lenovo hardware yet or does anyone know if it’ll even work on non Lenovo hardware?


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 chx
(@chx)
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January 16, 2018 8:29 pm  

Thunderbolt 3 is a complicated standard for sure but I have yet to hear a TB3 compliant device not working with a compliant host. I mean, I heard of it but all of them turned out to be PEBKAC.

In other words, I have a ThinkPad 25 and I will buy this dock and I know it will work.


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generalheed
(@generalheed)
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January 16, 2018 9:38 pm  
Posted by: chx

Thunderbolt 3 is a complicated standard for sure but I have yet to hear a TB3 compliant device not working with a compliant host. I mean, I heard of it but all of them turned out to be PEBKAC.

In other words, I have a ThinkPad 25 and I will buy this dock and I know it will work.

Alright, hopefully it does work then cause I could really use a graphics upgrade for my Intel Skull Canyon NUC since the Intel Iris Pro 580 on it can only do so much. I might also get it just to find out for sure and worst case scenario, I’ll just return it and take a hit with Lenovo’s 15% restocking fee, unless somebody tells me definitively before then that it definitely won’t work on my computer. Hopefully Lenovo starts selling this soon, I’m really anxious to try it out.


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generalheed
(@generalheed)
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January 23, 2018 1:38 pm  

Any word on when this will be released? They said end of January and it’s pretty much around that time now.


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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January 23, 2018 6:02 pm  

I have not heard any updates on availability.

Numerous implementation guides


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generalheed
(@generalheed)
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January 24, 2018 1:40 pm  

Alright, hopefully there’s more information soon. I’m worried that this will end up being vaporware like a lot of things shown at CES in the past… The Acer graphics dock had a similar fate and was almost non existent.


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(@martynas_prokopas)
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January 25, 2018 11:48 am  

More powerful GPU = bigger dock size OR more noise / heat. There is always a compromise. If you want better power and don’t mind bigger size, you can get Aorus Gaming Box GTX 1070. This one is for maximum portability. GTX 1050 is OK for running graphics applications and even modern games in 1080p on medium settings.

Edited: 4 weeks  ago

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generalheed
(@generalheed)
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January 25, 2018 1:46 pm  

Yeah what I need the most is in fact the compact size and portability. I don’t have the space to use a huge graphics dock with my Intel Skull Canyon NUC. It’d defeat the whole purpose of getting that NUC. With this Lenovo dock, my NUC PC can sit right on top of the dock. As far as performance goes, the GTX 1050 is more than sufficient for my NUC as far as graphics intensive and gaming applications go. The Intel Iris Pro 580 GPU in my NUC is already pretty decent for an Intel GPU, so a GTX 1050 would be more than enough power for what I need.


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 chx
(@chx)
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February 22, 2018 1:37 pm  

It’s available on the USA and the Canada sites now. Promises 5-7 business day shipping time. I put my order in 🙂 we will see.


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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February 22, 2018 2:07 pm  

@chx That’s great news! Let us know when you get it. We’ll love to read unboxing and review if you have time.

Numerous implementation guides


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