US$280 OWC Mercury Helios 3 TB3 enclosure  

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benr
 benr
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May 21, 2017 10:40 pm  

The OWC Mercury Helios 3 PCIe expansion chassis (the "sideways Node Lite") is listed as "Ships: Same Day" at MacSales.com for $279.99.

 

Looks like it will have the same power issues (officially 25W delivered via PCI-E) as Akitio Thunder 2/3/Node Lite, but presumably the same solutions will work.

 

Like the Node Lite, it has two Thunderbolt 3 ports (allowing for daisy-chaining), but OWC have gone with Mini DisplayPort instead of Akitio's full-size DisplayPort, and the DC-in is in a different place, so presumably the boards are not identical designs.

 

 


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nando4
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May 24, 2017 6:33 am  

This chassis is slightly taller and wider, but thinner than an AKiTiO Thunder3/Node Lite. It's internal height is less than an AKiTiO Thunder3 unit making video card PCIe power connector access with the chassis cover on virtually impossible as shown below. Suggest then to use only with 75W TDP cards (or less) that do not have 6P/8P PCIe power connectors unless run it without the cover.

It's TI83 controller giving macOS out-of-the-box compatibility.  Contrary to it's advertising, it's supplied with a 90W rather than 120W AC adapter [awaiting photo of it ].

Photos and results below are provided by @benr

 

macOS reporting - firmware 25.1, 40Gbps transfer rate set

 

Benchmarks  - underperforming CUDA-Z results indicate does not have a H2D fixed firmware

Windows macOS

 

Chassis clearance - worse than when compared alongside a AKiTiO Thunder2 !!

OWC Helios 3 AKiTiO Thunder2

OWC Helios 3

AKiTiO Thunder2

 

PCB photos - TI83 controller shown in 2nd & 3rd photos

 

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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Username
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May 24, 2017 8:08 am  

So unfortunate that OWC or Akitio neutered it with the case sizing.

Could it be due to demand from Intel or to disable the use of the boxes as eGPUs?

2012 Mac Mini + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3 via TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS


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nando4
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May 24, 2017 9:04 am  

OWC were looking at releasing an eGPU box. Nothing came of that so far and their Helios 3 seems to be deliberately sized to so cannot host eGPUs requiring > 75W of power. Maybe they don't want to deal with support issues around eGPU application of their hardware?

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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theitsage
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May 24, 2017 3:16 pm  

From OWC's perspective it's a smart business decision imo. With its upcoming eGPU box, OWC intends this Helios 3 enclosure for non-GPU Thunderbolt 3 implementations.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

82 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
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June 26, 2017 1:18 pm  

I have done a lot of reading, and a hell of a lot of posting/commenting and I am thinking this is the best set up for me... only going for a 1050ti so will fit and won't need a new PSU, plus mini display which will work with my ACD. Paired with my 13inch MBP this should be a winner! Thanks for all the info and replies guys...

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10
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LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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nando4
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June 26, 2017 4:37 pm  
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

I have done a lot of reading, and a hell of a lot of posting/commenting and I am thinking this is the best set up for me... only going for a 1050ti so will fit and won't need a new PSU, plus mini display which will work with my ACD. Paired with my 13inch MBP this should be a winner! Thanks for all the info and replies guys...

May I suggest waiting for the AKITiO Node Lite?  It too will have a TI83-controller but will better this OWC unit by having H2D fixed firmware, cost less and even give you chassis clearance to update to a video card with slimline PCIe power input.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table    •    Several builds
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 M1000M + macOS 10.14 & Win10


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Eightarmedpet
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June 26, 2017 6:44 pm  

hi, thanks for the reply, looks like I haven't been thorough enough with my reading - have no idea about the fixed firmware (will google it). Doesn't the Node lite come with a lesser power supply though so when factored in will cost more? I guess it does come in Space grey though which will match my new MacBook Pro (13).

 

(edit: just read about firmware update, will def hold on if it has such a massive effect on performance).

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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Eightarmedpet
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July 11, 2017 10:09 pm  

Just been chatting to OWC reg the firmware fix... they believe its being worked on but no timeline to share, which sounds a bit of a brush off if you ask me.

Getting impatient waiting for the Node lite.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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goalque
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July 11, 2017 10:35 pm  

This H2D fix is guaranteed for eGFX firmwares only. There is no word about PCIe firmware fix. It may depend on the host computer as well. I am sure Intel is working on it.

automate-eGPU EFIapple_set_os.efi
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late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + [email protected] (Netstor HL23T) + macOS & Win10
late-2016 13" Macbook Pro nTB + GTX980/[email protected] (Netstor HL23T) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Eightarmedpet
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July 12, 2017 6:37 am  

Cheers for the info, sounds like you know more about it than they do! Such a shame though as the enclosure would be perfect for my use case, plus it's actually available...

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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Chris0208
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July 14, 2017 5:29 am  

I have asked Akitio when the Akitio Node will be released and they told me that it would take some more time (even months). Since that reason I bought an Helios 3. So far my MacBook Pro 2016 13" is recognized the box without any trouble. I am waiting for my GTX 1050 Ti to check the graphic performance. I'll post the results here...


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Chris0208
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July 15, 2017 1:33 pm  

The OWC Helios 3 TB 3 box works fine with my NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti. Unfortunately it's only working with the external display but not with the internal. It is the same when I am using windows via Boot Camp. Is there a way to force the internal display to use the egpu?


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tuesdvy
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August 4, 2017 12:45 am  
Posted by: Chris0208

The OWC Helios 3 TB 3 box works fine with my NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti. Unfortunately it's only working with the external display but not with the internal. It is the same when I am using windows via Boot Camp. Is there a way to force the internal display to use the egpu?

Had so many problems trying to figure it out but it's hella simple no rEFInd or anything lol, to get it to show on your internal display you just have to plug in the egpu when windows starts and you see the spinning cirle/dots. Your macbook speakers aren't going to work at first so you're gonna have to go into device manager and disable the nvidia sound source, disable your speakers then enable the speakers then they should work. 


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