[Unboxing]: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure
 
Notifications
Clear all

[Unboxing]: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure  

 of  4
  RSS

itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I was fortunate enough to receive one of the very first AKiTiO Node units in the US. Here is my first impression of this highly anticipated Thunderbolt 3 enclosure for external graphics card setup.

AKiTiO calls its Node a Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box. The enclosure is nicely padded and arrived safely.

It comes with everything one would need for an eGPU build except for the graphics card.

Both the PCIe board and Thunderbolt 3 board are different than the boards in the AKiTiO Thunder3. The Node has a TPS65983 USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery Controller which has a High Speed mux for ThunderBolt and DisplayPort sideband data. The Thunder3 has the previous gen controller, TPS65982 (same with the Razer Core).

Unfortunately there's only one Thunderbolt 3 port. I was hoping for some hidden ports on this board.

As confirmed from earlier reports, Apple only has official support for the newer Texas Instrument controller, TPS65983. Unlike the "Unsupported" message when connecting the Thunder3 to a Late 2016 MacBook Pro, this AKiTiO Node connects immediately with full 40 Gb/s x1 Thunderbolt 3 speed right out of the box.

There's tons of room inside the AKiTiO Node to fit every full-length double-wide GPU ever made. The downside is that it's larger than I imagined from pictures online. The silver enclosure is the Thunder3 next to the Node outer case.

With an MSRP of $299 the AKiTiO Node is the best value Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure on the market. It would be a perfect solution to expand the GPU options in the Mac lineup. The bad news is Apple has a software limitation in macOS to prevent such a setup. We are taking a closer look into macOS 10.12.2 to hopefully find a workaround soon.

 

Late 2016 13" MacBook Pro + GTX980Ti@32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10

I have some success with the Late 2016 MacBook Pro in Windows 10. The Node is currently equipped with an EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid. The eGPU is powering the internal display so there's some bandwidth used up there that isn't if using an external LCD, consequently some performance loss. Here's Time Spy results - http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/16739069

 

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RX 5700 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Prototype eGPU Enclosure) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


demon151, goalque, ikir and 2 people liked
ReplyQuote
nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Beautiful unboxing. Thank you for posting. Besides the Thunder2, the Node does indeed look massive.

The big take home point between the Node and the Thunder3, other than chassis/PSU arrangements is  the TI83/TI82 chips used respectively. Of which, the TI82 chip results in compatibility issues with OSX 10.12.2

I think it's a good idea to limit the Node to only one Thunderbolt3 port. As an eGFX (eGPU) enclosure, it dedicates the full 32Gbps-TB3 traffic to the hosted video card.

Besides, the 2016 Macbooks with 4-TB3 ports have two dedicated 32Gbps-TB3 PCIe buses, each with 2 ports. Hosting say 2 TB3 devices each off a separate buses ensuring each gets the full TB3 bandwidth.

The reason? User previously would daisy-chain high bandwidth devices like storage controllers off their Thunder2 together with their eGPU and wonder why they'd get choppy FPS when the storage medium and video card was active simultaneously.

Unfortunately there's only one Thunderbolt 3 port. I was hoping for some hidden ports on this board.  

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]  


itsage and ikir liked
ReplyQuote
ikir
 ikir
(@ikir)
Prominent Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

And now hard at work to get it running smooth on macOS 😉


MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD
my awesome Radeon VII eGPU
my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64

 
2018 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + Radeon VII @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15 [build link]  


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

Holy heck that is big. You can actually fit a card, a pump and a rad in there if you were so inclined. I think it is a little too big, to be honest...

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]  


itsage liked
ReplyQuote
nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage, to further clarify my previous post,  would you mind booting Windows and taking and posting hwinfo64 screenshots like here https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/xps-15-9550-not-able-to-reach-40gbps-over-tb3/#post-295 against the Node plugged into each of the TB3 ports in your 2016 MBP (assuming it's a 4-port version) ?

From that we'll be able to:

- identify if the Node is using a single (DSL6340) or dual (DSL6540) TB3 controller. The Thunder3 uses a dual (DSL6540) controller, so may be another point of difference. Given the Node's single TB3 port it stands to reason AKiTiO/InXtron opting for a cheaper single controller.

- identify the physical ports (left/right and front/back) on your MBP that correspond to different 32GBps-TB3 PCIe channels.

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]  


itsage liked
ReplyQuote
itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I will spend more time this weekend to test the Node with these Thunderbolt laptops and report my findings:

- Late 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro - Thunderbolt 3

- Dell 13" XPS 9350 - Thunderbolt 3

- 2015 11" MacBook Air - Thunderbolt 2 (via Apple TB3<<-->TB2 adapter)

- Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro - Thunderbolt (via Apple TB3<<-->TB2 adapter)

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RX 5700 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Prototype eGPU Enclosure) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


demon151 and nando4 liked
ReplyQuote
itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I have some success with the Late 2016 MacBook Pro in Windows 10. The Node is currently equipped with an EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid. The eGPU is powering the internal display so there's some performance loss. Here's Time Spy results - http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/16739069

@Nando4, here's the screen capture of HWiNFO64.

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

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RX 5700 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Prototype eGPU Enclosure) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


nando4 and kxplus liked
ReplyQuote
ultraman982
(@ultraman982)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

This is really good news! I saw the Node on B&H, but I'm unsure whether to order or wait for Amazon. (Was yours direct from Akitio?)

The fact it's working is great though. Can you give an idea of the performance loss you're seeing from driving the internal display. It could be interesting since by powering the internal, and mirroring to an external you might be able to drive the 1-input LG 5k ultrafine with an eGPU.

Thanks for the update!

2016 13" MacBook Pro [6th,2C,U] + GTX 1060 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core) + Win10 [build link]  

ReplyQuote
con247
(@con247)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

 

I will spend more time this weekend to test the Node with these Thunderbolt laptops and report my findings:

- Late 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro - Thunderbolt 3

- Dell 13" XPS 9350 - Thunderbolt 3

- 2015 11" MacBook Air - Thunderbolt 2 (via Apple TB3<<-->TB2 adapter)

- Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro - Thunderbolt (via Apple TB3<<-->TB2 adapter)

   

Will you be able to test the 2015 Air in bootcamp? Do you think if that works, would this work on a 2014 rMBP with the TB2 adapter?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

ReplyQuote
nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Nice pics there. Would you mind posting a hwinfo64 pic with the Node plugged into each of the different TB3 ports on your MBP?

Posted by: itsage

 @Nando4, here's the screen capture of HWiNFO64.

   

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]  


ReplyQuote
 of  4