[Unboxing]: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure
 
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[Unboxing]: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure  

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demon151
(@demon151)
Active Member
Joined: 4 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)

   

Waiting for your result in 11" macbook air via thunderbolt 2 <~~> thunderbolt 3 . Plannning to buy the 15" mgxa2 for work and for game ^^ . Biggg thanks

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

@Nando4, here's another screen capture of HWiNFO64

My XPS 13 9350 has Thunderbolt Controller 1575 and the Node refuses to work with it. Does anyone has experience with changing Device Hardware ID? I looked into Devcon.exe and was hoping to change VEN_8086&DEV_1575 to DEV_1576 or DEV_1577.

The 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt Controller 1576 and works well so far. Intel Thunderbolt Software can't run because it detects Boot Camp environment.

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

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 11.0 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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

@itsage, thank you for posting this important hwinfo64 screenshot. Is that off the other TB3 port? Looks the same as the previous one on pg1 of this thread (port5 -> bus4 -> bus5 -> bus65 -> bus66 -> bus67 ).  I'd need the exact PCIDs of each bus/device to make sure. Likely the bus5 and GTX980TI PCI IDs are different across the ports.

If so, then the hwinfo64 result tells us that your MBPs TB3 ports are simply shared off the port5 root port (x4 3.0), via a 4-port bridge.  This means the 32Gbps PCIe bandwidth is shared across ports. 

Why does your 2-port MBP have a 4-port? The systemboard must be mostly the same as the 4-port 13" MBP so Apple reduced parts inventory. Across your 2-ports, the shared bandwidth is not too bad. Across 4-ports in the other 13" MBP it's not such a good idea if wanting performance. There it would have been preferred that Apple used 2 dual channel controllers though that would mean more systemboard real estate AND increased cost for more silicon.

I wonder if the 2016 15" MBP with 4 TB3 ports uses 2 dual channel controllers?  It's a bigger systemboard and is targetted for performance users, so fingers crossed, it does.

To answer your question, we cannot change PCI IDs of Intel chips. It's sometimes possible for AMD/NVidia cards via cross flashing with their eeprom burning tools.

Posted by: itsage

 

@Nando4, here's another screen capture of HWiNFO64

My XPS 13 9350 has Thunderbolt Controller 1575 and the Node refuses to work with it. Does anyone has experience with changing Device Hardware ID? I looked into Devcon.exe and was hoping to change VEN_8086&DEV_1575 to DEV_1576 or DEV_1577.

The 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt Controller 1576 and works well so far. Intel Thunderbolt Software can't run because it detects Boot Camp environment.

   

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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hjkar
(@hjkar)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage

Have you found a fix for the incompatibility between your XPS 13 and the Node? What exactly happens when you plug it in? 

I have a G501VW with the same Thunderbolt 3 controller and under the Thunderbolt 3 menu, it specifies that external GPUs are not supported. Although people have claimed that computers with the 1575 controller work with older enclosures (Core, Thunder3, Thunder2), no one has been able to confirm that the Node will play nice with 1575 controllers. 

 

@nando4, could you share your insights as to why  the 1575 controller is not fully compatible with eGPUs such as the Node and presumably more future enclosures?   

2016 15" ASUS G501VW (GTX960M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10 [build link]  

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

Unfortunately no progress with the XPS 13 + AKiTiO Node. When I plugged it in, the eGPU spins up like it would but the computer refuses to detect there's a graphics card attached. My guess is the TI83 controller in this Node enclosure is able to communicate that info to the operating systems better than the TI82.

I tried this same XPS 13 with AKiTiO Thunder3 back-to-back and the GPU in Thunder3 works as expected (eventhough Intel Thunderbolt Software says External GPU not supported).

The very good news is that this incompatibility could be resolved with a Thunderbolt firmware update. I got an Intel Skull Canyon NUC to test and its Thunderbolt 3 controller has the device hardware ID of 1575. The Thunderbolt firmware is much newer and it shows external GPU supported.

I'm hoping as more people are interested in eGPUs, manufacturers will update Thunderbolt firmwares in their lineups at shorter interval.

Posted by: hjkar

 

@itsage

Have you found a fix for the incompatibility between your XPS 13 and the Node? What exactly happens when you plug it in? 

I have a G501VW with the same Thunderbolt 3 controller and under the Thunderbolt 3 menu, it specifies that external GPUs are not supported. Although people have claimed that computers with the 1575 controller work with older enclosures (Core, Thunder3, Thunder2), no one has been able to confirm that the Node will play nice with 1575 controllers. 

 

@nando4, could you share your insights as to why  the 1575 controller is not fully compatible with eGPUs such as the Node and presumably more future enclosures?   

   

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

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 11.0 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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

@itsage, there is a Dec-21 BIOS update for the XPS 9350 . Have you installed that? It adds Apple USB-C LCD support, so must alter TB parameters.

Also, have you tried to see if booting/hotplugging with PERST# PCIe track isolated on the video card helps at all as mentioned here?

Finally, I know the TB boards are different between the Node and the Thunder3. Is the PCIe board different too? If so, have you tried swapping them to isolate further if the TB board is definitely the problem here.

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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hjkar
(@hjkar)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage

It's interesting to note that the NUC has a 1575 controller. If you feel comfortable doing this, perhaps you could install the NUC drivers onto the XPS 13 and see if that works? I've seen posters install drivers from other manufacturers with no issues. Given that the XPS and the NUC share the same controller, I don't think there should be a problem. 

2016 15" ASUS G501VW (GTX960M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10 [build link]  

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

To further complicate things, there are Thunderbolt Software and Thunderbolt Firmware. Intel Thunderbolt Software is fairly universal and most computers would be able to install (except for Macs running Boot Camp - the installer specifically says no go for Boot Camp).

The Thunderbolt Firmware has to be from the manufacturer for the right model of computer. The older Thunderbolt firmware in the XPS 13 is the culprit.

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

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 11.0 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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dopefish
(@dopefish)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

 

To further complicate things, there are Thunderbolt Software and Thunderbolt Firmware. Intel Thunderbolt Software is fairly universal and most computers would be able to install (except for Macs running Boot Camp - the installer specifically says no go for Boot Camp).

The Thunderbolt Firmware has to be from the manufacturer for the right model of computer. The older Thunderbolt firmware in the XPS 13 is the culprit.

   

Any luck with the Akitio Node and the Dell XPS 9350 after the latest Thunderbolt drivers from Dell? 

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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VlooMan
(@vlooman)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Thank you very much, pal! Great work! I have tested this successfully with:

2016 13" Macbook Pro, AKiTiO Node, 32Gbps-TB3, EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti SC, macOS (haven't test in Windows, but I am sure it will work)

2016 13" Macbook ProAKiTiO Node, 32Gbps-TB3, MSI GEFORCE® GTX 980 TI GAMING 6G, macOS

IMG 3979
IMG 3984
IMG 3986 small
IMG 4022 small

 

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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