US$280 OWC Mercury Helios 3 TB3 enclosure
 
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US$280 OWC Mercury Helios 3 TB3 enclosure  

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benr
 benr
(@benr)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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.

 

node lite back
h3 gall 2 lg

 

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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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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Username
(@username)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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?

Present: 2012 Mac mini + PowerColor RX 56 Vega Nano @10Gbps-TB1 + PowerColor Mini eGFX 180F via Apple TB3 to TB2 + macOS Catalina 10.15.4

Previous: 2012 Mac Mini + GTX1070 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (AKiTiO Thunder3 via Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter) + macOS

 
2012 Mac Mini [3rd,4C,Q] + GTX 970 @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + macOS 10.12.4 [build link]  


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nando4
(@nando4)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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.

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

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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nando4
(@nando4)
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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

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

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 Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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goalque
(@goalque)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

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

Mid 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro eGPU Master Thread

 
2018 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + Radeon VII @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + Win10 1809 [build link]  


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