[Unboxing] Razer Core X Chroma Thunderbolt 3 External GPU Enclosure
 
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[Unboxing] Razer Core X Chroma Thunderbolt 3 External GPU Enclosure  

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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joevt
(@joevt)
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Posted by: itsage

Before shipping the media sample back to Razer this week, I tore the unit down to take photos. I found something that might be of interest. The expansion IO daughter board is very similar to an x4 PCIe card. As a matter of fact I test-fitted several PCIe cards and they fitted perfectly into this expansion PCIe slot on the main board. That means if you're willing to sacrifice the expansion ports, you can convert this slot into powering a Thunderbolt 3 AIC for TB3 monitor output or more adventurously an NVMe SSD. There's some modifications needed in order to get the mainboard to sit flush. The enclosure is not mine so I didn't make any irreversible changes. If you want to give it a shot, please let us know whether different x4 PCIe cards work in this slot.

You didn't show the location of the second Alpine Ridge. If the second Alpine Ridge is on the IO daughter board, then the x4 slot is actually a proprietary Thunderbolt slot because the second Alpine Ridge must be connected to the first Alpine Ridge using a Thunderbolt connection - since the PCIe connection of the first Alpine Ridge is completely used by the GPU PCIe slot.

A normal x4 PCIe card should not be inserted into a Thunderbolt slot unless all the pins of the Thunderbolt slot have the same voltages and functions as a PCIe slot and whatever pins are used for the two 20 Gbps Thunderbolt lanes can be ignored by the PCIe card (which expects 8 Gbps PCIe lanes). Check System Information.app - is the second Alpine Ridge connected with 40 Gbps (two 20 Gbps lanes) or 20 Gbps (two 10 Gbps lanes). It might be the latter, if the PCIe slot connector is not rated for much higher than PCIe 3.0 (8 Gbps).

The extra 5 mm required by a normal PCIe card in the Thunderbolt slot probably means you shouldn't use the Thunderbolt slot for a PCIe card.

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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itsage
(@itsage)
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@joevt The second Alpine Ridge is on the underside of the main board. They are both JHL6540. You'd also see the Winbond ICs close by. Each stores the firmware for the corresponding Alpine Ridge controller. Here are some photos:

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2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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joevt
(@joevt)
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Posted by: itsage

@joevt The second Alpine Ridge is on the underside of the main board. They are both JHL6540. You'd also see the Winbond ICs close by. Each stores the firmware for the corresponding Alpine Ridge controller. Here are some photos:

Oh, good. In that case the x4 slot is probably PCIe. But is it x4 or x1,x1,x1,x1? Your screenshots seem to show x1,x1 which means it's kind of like bifurcation (I don't see an x4 upstream switch with x1,x1 downstream links). Maybe ioreg or lspci or pcitree.sh would make it more clear. Your screenshots would be easier to understand if you showed the NHI and USB controllers and the other buses of each Thunderbolt controller.

I don't know what happens if you put an x2 or x4 card in that bifurcated slot. x1 might work, unless the x1,x1 lanes are not the first lane.

It looks like the primary controller is the one that is under the board. The primary controller is connected to the USB-C Thunderbolt port and the PCIe x16 slot. The secondary controller is connected to the PCIe x4 slot with a Thunderbolt connection to the primary controller. Probably need larger pictures with all parts included to follow the traces (x4 slot, x16 slot, primary controller, secondary controller, USB-C Thunderbolt port).

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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blawlog
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I recently replaced the GTX 1660 in my Razer Core X Chroma with an RTX 2080 (Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP; https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/zotac-geforce-rtx-2080-amp,5839.html ). In case it’s helpful to anyone, below are additional notes and benchmarks.

1. Overall performance is excellent. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is fairly playable at 4K Medium settings if you have good variable refresh tech to compensate for dips. Skyrim HD plays at a locked 60 FPS with 4K, max settings, and all of the popular texture/weather/miscellaneous visual mods turned on. I haven’t properly tested other games but early results are promising.

2. The card never exceeds 67 C under FurMark load, even with my mild overclock. However even without the overclock it’s obviously quite a bit louder under load than with the 1660. As far as I can tell, a decent amount of the noise comes from the enclosure’s output fan (opposite side from the card). Much of the sound is a low whoosh that isn’t especially distracting to me. Unfortunately there is sometimes a coil whine-type noise that must be coming from the GPU. For that reason I wouldn’t recommend this Zotac SKU unless you find a great deal (mine was $650 USD before tax).

Below are some results on Windows 10.0.18362 with Nvidia Drivers R430.86 and no overclocking enabled:

Deux Ex: Mankind Divided benchmark
- DX 11, 1080p, Medium Preset: Average 103.5 FPS, Minimum 68 FPS, Maximum 140.1 FPS.
- DX 11, 1080p, High Preset: Average 85.5 FPS, Minimum 54.5 FPS, Maximum 116.5 FPS.
- DX 11, 1080p, Ultra Preset: Average 70.2FPS, Minimum 49.8 FPS, Maximum 99 FPS.
- DX 11, 4K, Medium Preset: Average 54.5 FPS, Minimum 42.5 FPS, Maximum 70.4 FPS.
- DX 11, 4K, High Preset: Average 43.2 FPS, Minimum 33.7 FPS, Maximum 54.5 FPS.
- DX 11, 4K, Ultra Preset: Average 34.6 FPS, Minimum 26.8 FPS, Maximum 44.6 FPS.
- DX 12, 1080p, Medium Preset: Average 47 FPS, Minimum 31.4 FPS, Maximum 71.4 FPS.

FurMark v1.20.6.0
- 4K Preset: 3,862
- 1080p Preset: 9,753

GFX Bench (offscreen)
OpenGL:
- 1080p Aztec Ruins (Normal): 17,832
- 1440p Aztec Ruins (High): 10,720.1
- 1080p Manhattan 3.1: 23,015.4
- 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1: 18,384.3
DX11:
- 1080p Aztec Ruins (Normal): 34,839.5
- 1440p Aztec Ruins (High): 15,835.9
- 1080p Manhattan: 47,524.9
DX12:
- 1080p Aztec Ruins (Normal): 32,760.3
- 1440p Aztec Ruins (High): 16,486.9

If you have any questions or want me to run any other tests (including anything from 3DMark) just let me know.

This post was modified 1 year ago

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 // i7-8550U with undervolts of -.1V core and -.04V graphics // MX150 (disabled) // 16GB RAM.
Razer Core X Chroma // Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP with overclocks of 44MHz core and 499MHz memory.


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Swisher Sweet
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Posted by: Ningauble77

I know, I've been using them, but I continue to have issues with the LAN port stopping working in gigabit mode in macos.  It stops transmitting data after a short while, and I have continued to have to set it to 100Mbit for it to work reliably.  In Win10 it works flawlessly in gigabit with no issues whatsoever.

I too am having problems with the LAN port on the Core X Chroma. It just disconnects in macOS after initially connecting. I am using an another USB to LAN adapter instead and that is working fine in macOS. There's no issues in Windows for the built-in LAN port. This was a real bummer initially, but I currently do not need all 4 USB ports, so my workaround is fine for now.

My guess is the macOS driver needs some work. Razer support claims they know about and are working on the issue. I hope they solve the problem.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
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Drew Curran
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Posted by: Swisher Sweet
Posted by: Ningauble77

I know, I've been using them, but I continue to have issues with the LAN port stopping working in gigabit mode in macos.  It stops transmitting data after a short while, and I have continued to have to set it to 100Mbit for it to work reliably.  In Win10 it works flawlessly in gigabit with no issues whatsoever.

I too am having problems with the LAN port on the Core X Chroma. It just disconnects in macOS after initially connecting. I am using an another USB to LAN adapter instead and that is working fine in macOS. There's no issues in Windows for the built-in LAN port. This was a real bummer initially, but I currently do not need all 4 USB ports, so my workaround is fine for now.

My guess is the macOS driver needs some work. Razer support claims they know about and are working on the issue. I hope they solve the problem.

Agreed. The LAN port is very flakey at present in MacOS. I'm also having issues with self-disconnecting hard drives during copying / moving when using the Chroma's USB ports. 

I'm also using a separate USB-C to LAN and USB adaptor without any issues under MacOS.

2018 MacBook Pro 15" & Razer Core X Chroma Vega 64


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KSeanJB
(@kseanjb)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Anchoricex
IMG 3146

meh decided to hold onto the chroma despite the titan ridge PR fail. Tb3 connectivity instead of displayport would've been cool if I wanted to take it anywhere, but oh well. Using displayport directly to the monitor anyways, and would've probably been fine with the regular Core X but the 700w PSU is appealing for my uses. 

Mounted right up underneath the right side of my standing desk build (still a work in progress) using a CPU holder. Little bit wider then the Akitio Node it just replaced. First time using one of Razer's eGPU boxes, the handle -> slide out is wonderfully designed. The less screws I have to fuss with the merrier, some of the screws in the Node were obnoxious. 

Pretty much plug and play as expected. 

Host: 2018 13" 2.7ghz MacBook Pro

GPU: Sapphire RX Vega 64 8gb

Monitor: LG 5K2K 34WK95U-W

Other: Hengedock, Caldigit TS3+ 

Sorry to be off topic but I love your setup @anchoricex ! What desk / table top is that? Did you have to add the keyboard holder yourself?

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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Anchoricex
(@anchoricex)
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@kseanjb

Cheers! I actually put the desk together myself, they're motorized standing legs from amazon + an Ikea Hammarp solid oak countertop that I was originally going to use for my kitchen as a butcher block counter, cut and coated in polyurethane. Piano keyboard slideout tray is also custom built. 

Here's a more updated pic  of the desk

This post was modified 12 months ago

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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jangoloti
(@jangoloti_1)
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Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

Before shipping the media sample back to Razer this week, I tore the unit down to take photos. I found something that might be of interest. The expansion IO daughter board is very similar to an x4 PCIe card. As a matter of fact I test-fitted several PCIe cards and they fitted perfectly into this expansion PCIe slot on the main board. That means if you're willing to sacrifice the expansion ports, you can convert this slot into powering a Thunderbolt 3 AIC for TB3 monitor output or more adventurously an NVMe SSD. There's some modifications needed in order to get the mainboard to sit flush. The enclosure is not mine so I didn't make any irreversible changes. If you want to give it a shot, please let us know whether different x4 PCIe cards work in this slot.

Itsage

So if I can find a second hand unit of the Chroma for the price of the non-Chroma new would you recommend the former ? Adding an SSD card could be neat, the rest of the features Chroma has over the non-Chroma version I do not need.

I have seen the post from lefuturdelavenir but it is not clear if anybody managed to create a cleaner setup with a PCIe card into the available slot for NVMe SSDs. Is there any other experiences I may not have found?

This post was modified 7 months ago

Mac Mini 2018 i7 16 GB 512 GB SSD, Mac Book Pro 2016, HP Z31x, Sonnet Breakaway Box 550 W, Nitro+ RX5700 XT, KFA2 SNPR 1060 6GB eGPU,...


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