WD_Black D50 Game Dock Thunderbolt 3 NVMe M.2 Docking Station
 
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WD_Black D50 Game Dock Thunderbolt 3 NVMe M.2 Docking Station  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

This was a random find when I was looking for Power Delivery option when pairing ADT-Link R43SG M.2 eGPU adapter to an NVMe to Thunderbolt 3. The WD_Black D50 Game Dock is an exception in terms of Thunderbolt 3 throughput. The firmware allows a max of 3,000 MB/s through Thunderbolt 3 connection. Most Thunderbolt 3 enclosures can only reach 2,800 MB/s.

The WD_Black D50 Game Dock I bought is the one without a drive ($299.99). It comes with a .8m Thunderbolt 3 cable. Funny thing is there's no screw to secure the NVMe drive/adapter. Build quality is very good. It's about the size of the Sonnet Breakaway Puck. The two side panels are held in place with 4x T10 torx screws and plenty of double-sided tapes.

I tested it last night first by installing a SanDisk Extreme Pro NVMe M.2 drive. Drive benchmark posted numbers very close to the maximum bandwidth of 3,000 MB/s. Power Delivery is as advertised at 87W through the upstream Thunderbolt 3 port. There's also a downstream TB3 port on this dock and a host of other ports (USB-A, USB-C, Ethernet, DisplayPort, and audio).

WD naming is misleading because this Thunderbolt 3 dock doesn't provide any boost to gaming performance to the host computer. Not until we add an eGPU through the M.2 slot that is. I was able to connect the RX 6900 XT through ADT-Link R43SG. It worked well in both macOS and Windows Boot Camp on my 2020 13-in MacBook Pro.

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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage, Awesome write up and modification. Do you have any images of the Game Dock with the ADT-Link R43SG attached? Would love to see it. 

Also, is there any way to see what Thunderbolt controller WD used in their enclosure? I recently ordered Lenovo's new Thunderbolt 4 Dock which uses the new Intel JHL8440 TB4 controller and I am keen to see how it performs with an eGPU in a daisy-chain. 

 

2021 14" Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (MX450) [11th,4C,H] + RTX 3060 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@boltoway, I will fully tear it down to check the TBT controller. Here are some photos I have of the mess. 😀 

 

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external graphics card builds
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2021 14" Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio [11th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (WD_Black D50) + Win11 [build link]  


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wildfear
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Nice find Smile

Any issues or perf drop if you use ethernet or usb port on the dock ?

2021 16" Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 6 (RTX3060) [11th,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@wildfear, Will be testing with 10Gbps external SSD (Steam game library) in the near future.

 

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external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
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2021 14" Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio [11th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (WD_Black D50) + Win11 [build link]  


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wildfear
(@wildfear)
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Raaahhh, you made me buy one to test it with my setup Twisted !

(Amazon warehouse deals are also evil !)

2021 16" Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 6 (RTX3060) [11th,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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joevt
(@joevt)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @boltoway

@itsage, Awesome write up and modification. Do you have any images of the Game Dock with the ADT-Link R43SG attached? Would love to see it. 

Also, is there any way to see what Thunderbolt controller WD used in their enclosure? I recently ordered Lenovo's new Thunderbolt 4 Dock which uses the new Intel JHL8440 TB4 controller and I am keen to see how it performs with an eGPU in a daisy-chain. 

Must be Titan Ridge. Probably JHL7440 because the D50 is a peripheral and the JHL7450 is usually for hosts.
  https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/97401/intel-jhl7440-thunderbolt-3-controller.html

8086:15EF is a Titan Ridge bridge
  https://pci-ids.ucw.cz/read/PC/8086/15ef

The D50 supports DisplayPort 1.4 so it can't be Alpine Ridge.
  https://shop.westerndigital.com/products/external-drives/wd-black-d50-game-dock-nvme-thunderbolt-3-ssd#WDBA3U0010BBK-NESN

Goshen Ridge JHL8440 only has one PCIe lane so it's not good for NVMe.
  https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/189982/intel-jhl8440-thunderbolt-4-controller.html

I don't know if Maple Ridge JHL8540 can be used in a peripheral Thunderbolt device (probably not).
  https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/193684/intel-jhl8540-thunderbolt-4-controller.html

Titan Ridge (at least in the JHL7440) includes a separate USB port which the D50 uses to connect a USB Hub. Alpine Ridge only has USB connected to the Thunderbolt ports. Goshen Ridge also has the separate USB port which usually has a 4 port hub connected to it for three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports and one other USB port.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Radeon Pro W5700, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
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@joevt, Excellent breakdown, thank you!

 

Just a question regarding the Goshen Ridge JHL8440 Controller. You state that it only has one PCIe lane, presumably based off the statement on the product page "Other native interfaces: x1 PCIe 8GT/s...". If this is the case, how is the JHL8440 Controller capable of 32G PCIe tunneling? (as stated on the same product page). 

 

2021 14" Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (MX450) [11th,4C,H] + RTX 3060 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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wildfear
(@wildfear)
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Posted by: @wildfear

Raaahhh, you made me buy one to test it with my setup Twisted !

(Amazon warehouse deals are also evil !)

Got it yesterday, 1st testing with messy setup :

20211009 143658 F2048x2048
cudaZ

Seems the best bandwith over TB4/TB3 port I ever seen.

2021 16" Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gen 6 (RTX3060) [11th,8C,H] + RTX 3080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Razer Core X Chroma) + Win10 21H1 [build link]  

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joevt
(@joevt)
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@boltoway, The tunnelled PCIe (usually around 22 Gbps but has been seen to slightly exceed 24 Gbps in some benchmarks or at least @itsage's result in the original post) is sent from the host and passed through the Goshen Ridge to a downstream Thunderbolt controller that uses the PCIe (up to four lanes of PCIe 3.0). Goshen Ridge itself can use approximately 7 Gbps of that (considering PCIe overhead) for a separate PCIe device connected to it (one lane). Don't forget Goshen Ridge can also use PCIe from upstream for its built-in USB controller (another 10 Gbps, so that's ≈17 Gbps total). If Goshen Ridge is connected to a USB4 host like Tiger Lake or Apple Silicon, then it may use USB tunnelling to its built-in USB hub instead of PCIe tunnelling to its built-in USB controller.

32 Gbps is beyond what Thunderbolt can do for PCIe tunnelling. Or maybe no host or peripheral has been setup to allow that (it's a tradeoff between latency and bandwidth).

First of all, a discrete Thunderbolt controller (Alpine Ridge, Titan Ridge, Maple Ridge) could only do 31.5 Gbps of PCIe (considering 128b/130b encoding). There's PCIe overhead for the host to discrete Thunderbolt controller connection. So maybe 28 Gbps is doable (consider the fastest gen 3 NVMe at ≈3500 MB/s). But in tests Thunderbolt can achieve ≈22 Gbps from a single port and doesn't get much better than that when using two ports.

Now, Thunderbolt can do 40 Gbps so maybe 32 Gbps for PCIe is possible (for integrated Thunderbolt controllers: Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, M1 Mac; 28 Gbps otherwise) but no-one has shown much more than 24 Gbps.

To use all of the 40 Gbps requires DisplayPort tunnelling to be included.

But I don't see any reason why an integrated Thunderbolt controller couldn't send 17 Gbps of PCIe to one Thunderbolt controller and another 17 Gbps of PCIe to another Thunderbolt controller further in the chain like it can for two DisplayPort 1.2 signals. It maybe that DisplayPort is more efficient. The total 34.6 Gbps is getting close to the 40 Gbps limit but the XDR can use 38.9 Gbps of DisplayPort.

Integrated Thunderbolt controllers have been shown to get close to 40 Gbps total to two devices connected to different Thunderbolt ports. I don't think I've seen a test for two devices connected to a single Thunderbolt port.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Radeon Pro W5700, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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