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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.

 

node lite back
h3 gall 2 lg

 

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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
2018 14" HP Elitebook 840 G5 i5-8350U 16GB 512GB + GTX 1080Ti @ 32Gbps-M2 (ADT R43SG) + 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
2018 14" HP Elitebook 840 G5 i5-8350U 16GB 512GB + GTX 1080Ti @ 32Gbps-M2 (ADT R43SG) + 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

94 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

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + Vega 56 @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 & macOS 10.14+

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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
2018 14" HP Elitebook 840 G5 i5-8350U 16GB 512GB + GTX 1080Ti @ 32Gbps-M2 (ADT R43SG) + 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

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + Vega 56 @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 & macOS 10.14+

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LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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Eightarmedpet
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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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2018 13" MacBook Pro + Radeon [email protected] + Win10 1809


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Eightarmedpet
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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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May 8, 2019 5:15 pm  

Hello, I am new here and I know this is a 2 year old post. But I happened to have bought the Helios 3 and I am very close to returning. I didn't know about this website so I am misinformed when I bought the enclosure. I have a RX 560 and a 600w PSU from an old pc and installed on this enclosure and so far nothing is working when I am trying to connect it to a MBP late 2013 running Mojave. I thought it would be easy to setup but so far nothing is working and I'm about to give up.

It was mentioned in the post that it can run a gpu with case open if it needs an external power but it seems like the gpu won't turn on at all. Any advise would be great. Thank you.

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Eightarmedpet
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May 8, 2019 5:54 pm  

@romer_tanaleon I don't think you'll need the PC PSU... the 560 should only need power from the PCIe slot depending on model (which one is it?).
I have an RX 560 in an Akitio Node lite with no other PSU and its a very similar enclosure.
What solutions have you tired with your laptop because I think you need to use Purge Wrangler.

Just checked, and yep... you need this.... https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/script-enable-egpu-on-tb1-2-macs-on-macos-10-13-4/

This post was modified 2 weeks ago

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

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + Vega 56 @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 & macOS 10.14+

---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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(@romer_tanaleon)
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May 8, 2019 6:39 pm  

Yes, I have the RX 560 on the Mercury Helios 3 just like the one on this post only its no longer $280 its now $199. I also did the Purge-Wrangler. I went to the terminal and run the short command "purge-wrangler" and choose 1 and said its already installed. Do you have to run some of the script options?

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Eightarmedpet
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May 8, 2019 7:03 pm  

I'm using the psu to power the gpu connecting one of the pcie power connector. I also used a 4 pin power to fan on the enclosure as i feel like its not turning on either. I will have to get you that picture later...holding a baby right now. Which option am i supposed to unlock tb1/2?

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Eightarmedpet
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May 8, 2019 7:32 pm  

will do. thank you. i'll let you know once it is up and running. thanks again.

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(@romer_tanaleon)
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May 11, 2019 1:10 am  

Hello and unfortunately I'm back with no better update. I have search and I believed I've done the software side of this properly. I have done the Purge-Wrangler scripts but nothing is going well. I believed it is because my RX 560 is not getting the enough power to even turn it on. I even put the card back to the old pc and I sure runs fine. At the back of the gpu, there is a light that indicates it is getting power. Red when it is getting power from the pcie slot and blue when it gets the rest from pcie cable from the psu. I even have a pcie riser which does the same thing and the card requires both power from the slot and through the 6 pin from the psu. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen when the card is on the Helios 3 enclosure. I already bought a 120w power adapter to give juice to the slot but no red light and even with the 6 pin from the psu doesn't show any change at all. 

The last thing I'm going to try is to use the barrel style like the dell da but instead I will be using the psu to provide that. I'm not sure if that would do it or probably break the board on the Helios. Looking at the Akitio, the board looks way different from the Helios. I think the Helios is just not design for this, hence no one is actually posting any builds of the Helios with any gpu on it. Although it was stated that it should work like the Akitio, that might not be the case at all. Let me know what anyone think of the Helios 3 or any solution. Thank you.

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(@romer_tanaleon)
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May 11, 2019 3:20 am  

@eightarmedpet I know I'm probably buggin you asking these questions, but how are you powering up your RX 560. Can you show me please?  I have an XFX RX 560 on the Helios 3 enclosure that won't turn on. I will post some picture when I get home from work on what my supposed setup looks like. Thank you.

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Eightarmedpet
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May 11, 2019 7:26 am  

@romer_tanaleon Hey man, it’s no trouble at all... let’s see if we can get you up and running.
I will grab some pics of my set up but the long and the short of it is my card doesn’t need any more than pcie power so it’s very simple. 
Using 2 psus may be part of the issue. Have you just purchased the parts? Because if so retuning the Gpu and getting the same one as me may be the easiest solution.

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

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + Vega 56 @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 & macOS 10.14+

---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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(@romer_tanaleon)
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May 11, 2019 7:37 am  

@eightarmedpet I spoke with one of the maintenance here at work and he actually did mentioned that the two different psus may also caused the issue for the card not to turn on. Once I get home, I will be doing a little bit of modifying on the main psu so it will be just one source and go from there. The gpu weren't bought recently, I had it for awhile and just figuring out what I can do with it and stumbled upon eGPUs. One particular is the Blackmagic version and decided if I can make my own not s0 expensive version since I already have most of the parts.

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