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james211
(@james211)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

I've been looking at the Sonnet Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 3 and the Sonnet xMac Mini Server for a portable setup I'm trying to build.  The disappointing part of both of these units is neither supports PCIe3 x16, however the form factors and setup would be perfect!  

I did a bit of searching on the site, but couldn't find any relevant posts regarding rack mount eGPU's.  

What I'm ultimately trying to achieve running a Mac Mini (maxed out) a long with the ability to connect a laptop so I can use EITHER the Mac Mini or a MacBook Pro with the unit.  Basically, I want one of the above Sonnet's with PCIe3 x 16.

  1. PCIe3 x16
  2. Minimum 2 PCIe 3 slots
  3. Built in PSU
  4. Rack Mountable

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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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

You do realize that Thunderbolt3 does not carry PCIe3 x16, and this no eGPU using Thunderbolt3 can ever support a 16-lane PCIe connection, right?

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


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james211
(@james211)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

I didn't know that...that would explain a lot.  I'm still learning, hence me being here.

So given the limitations, would it be a total waste to spend money on the Radeon Pro Vega II?

My plan was to have an M.2 RAID card and a Radeon Pro Vega II card in the unit.

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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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Both have a PCIe x16 physical slot but:

The xMac mini has PCIe 2.0 slots so they'll do 1000 MB/s less than the 2700 MB/s slots in the Sonnet Echo Express III-R. The xMac mini doesn't have room for double wide cards so you can't fit most GPUs.

The Radeon Pro Vega II is for Mac Pro 2019 only because it has the MPX slot connector. Consider a Radeon VII instead, or Vega 64.

They both don't have enough power for power hungry GPUs like those though. They only have one 6 pin (75W) PCIe power connector so you'll have to replace or supplement the PSU.

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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james211
(@james211)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

@joevt

Thank you for the detailed explanation.  So would your suggestion for optimal performance be to go with the Echo Express?

In addition I’d be adding thunderbolt 3 and M.2 RAID cards.   

How well do you think this system will perform against a brand new, loaded MBP?  I know it’s incomparable to a MacPro.  Basically I’m looking for something that is at least as powerful as a new MBP, but will be a good supplement for on-set post operations such as RAW processing and Transcoding.

If you any additional suggestions I’m open to listening...performance is what I’m looking for. 

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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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@james211

I suppose it will perform as well as any other eGPU solution, so I would check other builds that have benchmarks.

The Sonnet only has room for one GPU and one M.2 card. It has a second Thunderbolt 3 port so you can chain other Thunderbolt devices.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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james211
(@james211)
Active Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

@joevt

thank you...two more questions,

1. is there a different rack mount enclosure you could recommend that you think is a better choice?

2. Is it possible to build your own enclosure, meaning buy a backplane, PSU, etc?  

I’ve also seen some people buy premade enclosures, dissect them and mount into rack mount enclosures.  

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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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@james211

Nothing stopping you from taking the bits from one box and putting them in a custom box except time and money.

 

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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