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Review: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure
 

Review: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure  

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Menneisyys
(@menneisyys)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

Yup, it's not possible at least on my config (early 2013 15", 10.2.3, RX 480, SwitchResX active).

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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ed_co
(@ed_co)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

It is curious that is better to keep the other monitor, and not doing screen mirroring, and then disable the screen (closing the lid)... Maybe something with SwitchResX??

Or maybe there is something wrong doing the procedure...

Sadly, still I don't  have a egpu rig to test with, due to there is no place at reasonable price to get the node in europe... (I do have the early 2013 15" mbpr).

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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Menneisyys
(@menneisyys)
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"It is curious that is better to keep the other monitor, and not doing screen mirroring, and then disable the screen (closing the lid)... Maybe something with SwitchResX??"

 

I don't think it's SwitchResX that is the culprit - after all, it only overrides the resolution / screen refresh rate but not stuff like mirroring / desktop arrangement. 

 

"Or maybe there is something wrong doing the procedure..."

 

The same procedure works in three other cases (and surely a lot more), with my Dell  P2715Q and ViewSonic  VX2475SMHL-4K 4k monitors:

 

- both over HDMI

- the ViewSonic over mDP

 

Interestingly, when driving the Dell directly via mDP, I can't close the lid either, as it'd immediately put the MBP in sleep.

 

"I do have the early 2013 15" mbpr"

 

Then, almost certainly you do NOT want to get the Node, at least not with the Sapphire RX 480 if and only if you want to use the eGPU under Windows. No matter how much I tried, I still haven't been able to make my Node + RX480 work under Win10 Bootcamp. I've even reinstalled Bootcamp entirely today to find out whether a virgin installation of the recommended Thunderbolt driver (Intel Thunderbolt Driver 16.2.52.250, http://drivers.softpedia.com/get/MOTHERBOARD/Intel/ASRock-Z270-SuperCarrier-Intel-Thunderbolt-Driver-16-2-52-250.shtml ) helps. 

 

No, it doesn't: I still have exactly the same problems.

 

1, hot plug-in doesn't at all work with neither the RC480 in the Node or not (as one could easily predict)

 

2, when booting in with the Node only (with the card removed), the system does see a TB device:

 

+ it becomes possible to eject it in the removable storage ejection menu (in the lower right corner)

+ in Device Manager, under System Devices, it gets listed as "Thunderbolt"

 

However, the Node firmware updater doesn't detect the Node.

 

3, when trying to boot in with the gfx card inserted, it immediately freezes upon selecting Windows from the boot menu (the one accessible via Alt - or the rEFInd tool).

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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ed_co
(@ed_co)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

You can disable when closing the lid it goes to sleep. Take a look in the configuration/energy or something... I always use it with the lid closed... I don't understand...

I have a Dell via mini display port... and no problems with the lid and sleep...

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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sony2k
(@sony2k)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Menneisyys

 

"It is curious that is better to keep the other monitor, and not doing screen mirroring, and then disable the screen (closing the lid)... Maybe something with SwitchResX??"

 

I don't think it's SwitchResX that is the culprit - after all, it only overrides the resolution / screen refresh rate but not stuff like mirroring / desktop arrangement. 

 

"Or maybe there is something wrong doing the procedure..."

 

The same procedure works in three other cases (and surely a lot more), with my Dell  P2715Q and ViewSonic  VX2475SMHL-4K 4k monitors:

 

- both over HDMI

- the ViewSonic over mDP

 

Interestingly, when driving the Dell directly via mDP, I can't close the lid either, as it'd immediately put the MBP in sleep.

 

 

"I do have the early 2013 15" mbpr"

 

Then, almost certainly you do NOT want to get the Node, at least not with the Sapphire RX 480 if and only if you want to use the eGPU under Windows. No matter how much I tried, I still haven't been able to make my Node + RX480 work under Win10 Bootcamp. I've even reinstalled Bootcamp entirely today to find out whether a virgin installation of the recommended Thunderbolt driver (Intel Thunderbolt Driver 16.2.52.250, http://drivers.softpedia.com/get/MOTHERBOARD/Intel/ASRock-Z270-SuperCarrier-Intel-Thunderbolt-Driver-16-2-52-250.shtml ) helps. 

 

No, it doesn't: I still have exactly the same problems.

 

1, hot plug-in doesn't at all work with neither the RC480 in the Node or not (as one could easily predict)

 

2, when booting in with the Node only (with the card removed), the system does see a TB device:

 

+ it becomes possible to eject it in the removable storage ejection menu (in the lower right corner)

+ in Device Manager, under System Devices, it gets listed as "Thunderbolt"

 

However, the Node firmware updater doesn't detect the Node.

 

3, when trying to boot in with the gfx card inserted, it immediately freezes upon selecting Windows from the boot menu (the one accessible via Alt - or the rEFInd tool).

   

Pretty much my experience with gtx980. Have you tried older card? My (flashed)680 worked for like a week, until I swapped them. Then Windows bsod-ed saying resource unavailable (i assume that dGPU i disabled). Will try to re-create. Too bad I don't have another Kepler to test.

 

 

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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sony2k
(@sony2k)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Menneisyys

 

"@Menneisyys: Try apple_set_os.efi on Windows 10  Boot Camp."

 Thanks; managed to install it (in rEFInd). Just struggling with making gpu-switch work.   

Teach me sempaii~~

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Menneisyys
(@menneisyys)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

„I have a Dell via mini display port... and no problems with the lid and sleep...”

 

Sorry, turns out I have been wrong: my Dell, via mDP, also remains active when the lid is closed. Then, the inner screen is surely powered down (it’s not listed / shownin SwitchResX / Settings > Diplays any more).

 

„You can disable when closing the lid it goes to sleep. Take a look in the configuration/energy or something... I always use it with the lid closed... I don't understand…”

 

You can fully get rid of the second desktop if you enable mirroring and close the lid. However, it 

1, will make your iGPU/dGPU still (needlessly) used - only resulting in unnecessary heatup 

2, what is worse, it’ll incur some performance degradation. Let me elaborate on this a bit more.

 

Performance degradation caused by mirroring:

 

1, Safari (NOT having to use the dGPU):

 

a, For example, the RX 480 in my config scrolls Safari consistently at 60 fps (I’ve measured this multiple times with iStat) when no mirroring is enabled, with both closed and open lid, the second desktop (on the internal screen) just sitting there unused. 

b, When I enable mirroring with the default enabled „Energy Saver > Automatic graphics switching”, the Safari scrolling speed / fluency gets a hit. According to iStat, it decreases to around 50 fps. 

c, with „Energy Saver > Automatic graphics switching” disabled (and with mirroring), that is, the dGPU always in use, the Safari scrolling speed is considerably higher (almost approaching 60 fps). Of course, one shouldn’t forget that both the dGPU and the eGPU is used in this case.

 

2, Valley (having to use the dGPU even with enabled „Energy Saver > Automatic graphics switching”):

 

The degradation is about three-fold. With a 1920*1080 windowed test, the non-mirrored mode performs at around 61 fps, while the mirrored one around 22. And the dGPU is utilized at 100%, resulting in some major dGPU heating. The eGPU is not used at all. The performance and power usage figures clearly show it’s only the dGPU that is used in this case.

 

 

That is, you REALLY want to avoid mirroring. Just make your external screen’s desktop primary (and, if you keep the dock on the right, on the right) and that’s all. Then, the only problem you’ll encounter is that the mouse cursor can be „lost” if you move it far to the left. But you can always drag it back to the right to make it visible again. (This assumes your external desktop is on the right - as in my case, who keep the dock on the right.)

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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ed_co
(@ed_co)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@Menneisyys

Just let me guess/think aloud (because I really don't have the hardware to try with, so is not more than a wish...):

And what about if could be able to switch off any graphics card, except the external one... it should fix the problem, right? It will not utilize anything.

I have the guess, that even if you say it is better to use it as non mirroring, the extra amount of buffering/bandwidth that requires to have another screen, it will reduce the real performance of the eGPU.

Remember, maybe doesn't make any sense what I am saying. It is just a think.

I would really like what @nando4, and @itsage think about this thread. Because we are talking about really interesting and important stuff.

Thanks. Everything is really inspiring now.

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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ed_co
(@ed_co)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

In fact, another consideration here. How it is done in a mac mini? It doesn't have an internal display. So you don't need to use any mirroring/extending configuration. It does have just one. Can we do a configuration with a mbpr not having into account the internal display, just like a mac mini??

mid-2017 Macbook Pro RP560 + MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + macOS10.13 & Win10


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deplomb
(@deplomb)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage
did you possibly take the dimensions of the PCBs when you had them disassembled?
I was actually planning to do so, but completely forgot about it in all the modding and assembling excitement.

I would like to finish my 3d cad drawings of the akitio thunder 2 and symbols for PCBs and GPU are still missing.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: deplomb

@itsage
did you possibly take the dimensions of the PCBs when you had them disassembled?
I was actually planning to do so, but completely forgot about it in all the modding and assembling excitement.

I would like to finish my 3d cad drawings of the akitio thunder 2 and symbols for PCBs and GPU are still missing.

I will find time soon to get the dimensions of the Node PCB. Are there tools/method you’d recommend for more precise measurement?

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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deplomb
(@deplomb)
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I mostly use a vernier calliper but a simple transparent ruler and triangle will do as well.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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schroef
(@schroef)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

How do you connect the Node to a 2013 model using Thunderbolt 3, did you use some kind of convertor?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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ed_co
(@ed_co)
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itsage
(@itsage)
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Posted by: deplomb

@itsage
did you possibly take the dimensions of the PCBs when you had them disassembled?
I was actually planning to do so, but completely forgot about it in all the modding and assembling excitement.

I would like to finish my 3d cad drawings of the akitio thunder 2 and symbols for PCBs and GPU are still missing.

I took the AKiTiO Node apart tonight to check the PSU. These are some quick measurements of the PCBs.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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deplomb
(@deplomb)
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@itsage

excellent, thank you very much for the dimensions!

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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lifecom
(@lifecom)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
@itsage

Please help to identificate this stabilizer (marking):

Screenshot 1

 

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@lifecom here’s the best I could get from it.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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lifecom
(@lifecom)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage Thank you!!!

I want try to connect an external power stabilizer board, like this, to Thunder2 (or Thunder3) via J6

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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lifecom
(@lifecom)
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Posted by: lifecom

@itsage Thank you!!!

I want try to connect an external power stabilizer board, like this, to Thunder2 (or Thunder3) via J6

It turned out that this is not necessary, because this is the power overload mosfet key and in Node that was moved from the TB-board.  May be for easier to repair... ))

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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