[Unboxing] ASUS XG Station Pro Thunderbolt™ 3 eGPU Dock
It's been a long wait since I first played with the XG Station Pro at CES 2018. ASUS finally got a sample unit my way. Here are some unboxing pictures and my first impressions.
The retail box is about the size of a gaming console. Similar the ROG XG Station 2's box, the accessories box has a clever handle that serves as the retail box handle too.
Aluminum construction and 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 are some big selling points. Here you can see Thunderbolt logo next to 1.5m TB3 cable wording at bottom right corner of the box.
Opening the retail box reveals accessories box and the XG Station Pro enclosure wrapped in a cloth with foam paddings. Accessories are 330W external power adapter, power cord, 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable, manual book, and driver CD. The power brick is at least the size of the Dell DA-2.
Rear I/O consists of the proprietary power plug, one Thunderbolt 3 port, and one USB-C port. Here's a closeup of this power connector.
The Thunderbolt 3 cable is rated for 40Gbps and 100W PD (20V/5A). Unfortunately ASUS tuned this enclosure to accommodate power-hungry cards and reserved only 15W through power delivery.
There are plenty of space inside. I test-fitted an AORUS XTR RX 580 GPU which is a 2.5 slot card and it had no issue with fitment. There's even more room for much longer and taller cards. The dual 120mm enclosure fans are spinning but quiet at idle. They're hard to hear during heavy load over the GPU's fans.
The two PCIe power cables are 6+2-pin. They're nicely sleeved and feel great to the touch. Here's a photo of the power brick next to an SFX power supply for scale.
It was plug-and-play with my 2016 15" MacBook Pro in macOS 10.13.5 beta. PD is confirmed at 15W and the Thunderbolt firmware shows 29.1.
Next was Windows Bootcamp testing. I used the eGPU Bootcamp setup guide to attach the iGPU to the internal display and disable the PCIe Controller to the dGPU in order for AMD eGPU to work without error 12. AIDA64 showed full TB3 eGPU bandwidth. The USB controller for the expansion USB-C port is 3.1 gen 2 (10Gbps).
External monitor and USB-C expansion port work well in both macOS and Windows.
I will be doing tests for a full review of this eGPU. Please let me know if I left out any information you’d like to know.
Would like to know:
-Any driver issues under Windows 10, especially with NVIDIA cards?
-Any future upgrades that can send more power to the the laptop?
-Out of stock in the US, when will it be back?
How is the size compared to other cases?
Do the case fans draw cool air into the case or ventilate warm air out?
Some close ups of the PCBs would be nice.
I wonder if it will ever Mae it to the UK... judging by most the over enclosures I would say not...
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10
I reached out to my ASUS contact for availability and will update when I hear back. In the coming days I will test this enclosure with Nvidia 1070 and RX Vega 56. The 15W PD is here to stay though. ASUS decided to reserve more power for power-hungry GPUs. ASUS stated you can install GTX 1080 Ti. RX Vega 56 will probably work fine too.
@itsage, unusually Asus specs this enclosure as having a USB 3.0 port whereas your hwinfo64 screenshot of the SSD is showing up as a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen2 port. Did you want to run a SSD benchmark highlighting > 600MB/s transfer rates?
I am also not seeing any eGFX certification for it on Intel's website. If it was eGFX certified then it would be the only one so far with a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen2 port on it. Perhaps a missed marketting opportunity for Asus?
EDIT: Even the USB-C connector has a "SS10"marker. Looks like Asus has an error against their specs.
Thanks for the sharing. I have a particular concern on the height of the inner space, say if I want to put a MSI GTX 1080ti gaming x inside, can we close the top cover? I saw many builds using Razer Core (which is similar to XG Station Pro in terms of the size/compatibility) while in most cases users cannot close the enclosure.
Thanks again for the review!
@nando4 It's definitely an error on ASUS' website. This USB-C expansion port is 3.1 gen 2. I don't currently have a capable external SSD to test this. As far as I'm aware the Sandisk Extreme 900 is the only external drive that exceed 600MB/s transfer speed.
I also heard from ASUS contact about availability and eGFX certification. In the US, the XG Station Pro should be well stocked by the end of May. It will be available in certain APAC/EU countries early June. Here's ASUS' statement on eGFX:
ASUS XG Station Pro is now officially compatible with macOS. After working closely with Apple to meet rigorous standards, we are pleased to offer designers (and gamers) certified compatibility on Thunderbolt™ 3 capable Macs with select AMD Radeon™ graphics cards. The certification extends to systems running macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later that are paired with an AMD Radeon RX 570, RX 580, or Radeon Pro WX 7100."
Can you test whether the eGPU accelerates Lightroom CC/Classic and FCPX with and AMD card?
Is it possible to accelerate the internal monitor in MacOS/Win 10?
Can you test the bandwidth of the USB port with an external SSD?
Has anyone tried this with a 2017 15" MBP? I would like a setup that works quite reliably and easy with a 4K monitor (LG 24-UD58) in both MacOS (with FCPX and Lightroom) and Bootcamp (for gaming)