Wikingoo eGPU Review - DIY Thunderbolt 3 External GPU
 
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Wikingoo eGPU Review - DIY Thunderbolt 3 External GPU  

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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Reputable Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Introduction

Before the introduction of the R43SG-TB3, the Thunderbolt 3 eGPU hardware market was dominated by large hardware companies such as Razer and Gigabyte or specialty hardware manufacturers like Sonnet or Mantiz. These enclosures offer a complete system, with inbuilt power supplies and refined aesthetics. While being well designed, these devices are often expensive and restricted by either size limitations or GPU power delivery capability. The R43SG-TB3, while not being pretty, resolved these issues by being affordable and versatile.

Recently I came across a Wikingoo eGPU. It is slightly more expensive than the R43SG-TB3, but still much cheaper than the prefabricated eGPU enclosures from mainstream manufacturers. Its open design and standard ATX PSU mount make it unrestricted by size or power limitations.

There are two models available on AliExpress that are very similar in design, one laballed Wikingoo and the other labelled Vikinyee. I have ordered multiple of both and have received the Wikingoo eGPU every occasion. I presume the Vikinyee is an older model that has likely been replaced by the more refined Wikingoo eGPU model.

At the time of this review, the Wikingoo eGPU cost approximately $250 AUD ($186 USD) with postage included.

 

Design & Assembly

Specifications  compare 
Price US$
$186
PSU location-type
ATX
PSU max power unlimited
GPU max power
unlimited
Power delivery (PD)
15W
USB-C controller
TI83
TB3 USB-C ports 1
Size (in/mm, LxWxH)
--
--
Max GPU len (in/cm)
--/--
Weight (kg/lb) --/--
Updated firmware -- ✔
TB3 cable length (cm) 50
Vendor page link
Implementations
link

The Wikingoo eGPU is shipped mostly unassembled. Three screws mount the two aluminium chassis panels together and two more mount the Thunderbolt Controller to PCIe Board. A standard ATX power supply can now be mounted to the vertical chassis panel, and mounting holes are designed to the PSU can be oriented so that the fan is facing towards or away from the GPU. I would personally recommend that you orient the PSU so that the fan is drawing hot air away from the Thunderbolt Controller’s heatsink. The spacing between the GPU and PSU is enough that it won’t have restricted airflow. Adding a graphics card is as simple as any eGPU and is held in place with two included thumb screws.

ATX PSU Mounted

Annoyingly, the included countersunk screws are the wrong size for a traditional ATX-PSU. The chassis is assembled using the included countersunk M3 screws, but four additional countersunk 6-32 screws are required for mounting a PSU.

The Wikingoo eGPU comes up under the Thunderbolt Control Centre as 'TB4 eGFX' and uses a JHL6340 Thunderbolt 3 Controller. It has no power delivery to the host device. Instead, the Thunderbolt Controller Board is powered exclusively by the host and does not interact with the eGPU PSU in any way. One of the downsides of this is that if your host-system outputs power when off, the green LED on the Thunderbolt Controller Board will remain on indefinitely.

Thunderbolt Control Centre - Attached Devices

HWiNFO64 PCI Bus Expansion

The Wikingoo eGPU PCB is reasonably well labelled, but not all the PCB traces end in soldered pins. The red button is a toggle on off switch that powers the GPU. If the first two pins in the PS-ON 4-pin bank are bridged, it will override the red power switch. This could easily be used for an on-off switch in a custom case. There are also two traces ending in fan-headers that are powered but do not have soldered pins.

Thunderbolt 3 Mainboard Front

Thunderbolt 3 Mainboard Back

In terms of operation, the eGPU must be powered on before being plugged into an active host system. If it is plugged into a host and then turned on, the Thunderbolt Controller Board will be recognised, but the eGPU will not.

An interesting feature that I am unable to test is the inclusion of a jumper cap and three-pin header on the main PCB, with labels for positions A and N. According to the product description, the N jumper-pinout is specifically for use with NVIDIA cards in Windows Bootcamp.

Size comparison with Aorus Gaming Box

Under-desk mount made with generic hardware brackets

 

Performance & Usability

All testing was done with a Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14.

The Wikingoo eGPU has exceeded my expectations in many ways. I was first concerned that it would be flimsy without the rigidity of a complete case, but once assembled the system is surprisingly sturdy.

It can be hot plugged, cold plugged, will display the Windows login screen, support Windows sleep-states and can even display my system BIOS from either a cold startup or system restart. The later of these was something that my Aorus Gaming Box 1080 could not do. Furthermore, it works exceptionally well while being daisy-chained through a Thunderbolt 4 dock.

Performance and stability have been nothing but exceptional. I have had no stuttering, system freezes, crashes or BSODs while using the eGPU daily for two weeks now. For reference, I had applied the TdrDelay and Nvidia Power Management tweaks before using the eGPU.

H2D speeds are excellent, and performance is on-par with my Aorus Gaming GTX 1080 when using the same GPU.

GTX 1080 Timespy

Things to consider:

  • Has no power delivery / does not charge the host device.
  • Thunderbolt Controller Board stays active if host device provides power during shutdown state.
  • If the eGPU is turned on while already plugged into an active host, the GPU will not be recognised until it is re-plugged or the system is restarted with the already on eGPU still plugged in.
  • If you turn the eGPU off halfway through the shutdown process of Windows 10, your system will freeze and not shutdown at all.

 

Verdict

The Wikingoo eGPU is a pleasant addition to the eGPU market. As a standalone unit, it is priced well below the popular eGPU enclosures from big brands. The inclusion of a standard ATX power supply mount is excellent. ATX power supplies are cheap and readily available, or even able to be recycled for free from old systems. Furthermore, there are no limitations to graphics card size or power delivery, and the open case can be used as is, mounted under a desk or be modified into a sealed enclosure.

The Wikingoo eGPU has now been modified to house a custom water-cooled GTX 1080, which can be seen here.

 

See also

TH3P4 Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
TH3P4G2 Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
Wikingoo Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
DIY Portable Custom Water Cooled Thunderbolt 3 eGPU
Thunderbolt 4 Docks, eGPU Daisy Chaining and the One-Cable Dream
Windows 10 Solutions for eGPU BSOD, Crashing, System Freezing and Stuttering
Adding Advanced Power Management Options to Windows Laptops for Performance, Thermal Throttling & Power Management

 
2021 14" Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (MX450) [11th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Wikingoo eGPU) + Win10 21H1 // Custom Loop Water Cooled eGPU [build link]  


James Knight, jeemaline, nando4 and 1 people liked
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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 6 years ago
 

@boltoway Thank you for sharing your experience of this Wikingoo eGPU. I have always like to minimal design of open frame enclosure, L-bracket with exposed GPU. Also nice work getting it working through daisy-chain with a Thunderbolt 4 dock for one-cable solution with your Yoga Slim 7i.

LinkedIn | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2021 Gigabyte Z590i Vision D [11th,6C] + RTX 3060 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + Win11 [build link]  


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(@tom_b)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@boltoway, Do they sell a case for this thing? I feel that it would be a bad idea to leave a Graphics card like that out on display under a desk that has feet or cats under it.

 

Secondly, I would like to see some test comparisons to the current raining champ of eGPU's: The RCX (Razer Core X)

E.G.: Run a bunch on that, then the other from the same machine.

 

TomB, AW51m R2 with an Akitio Node Titan (3080 OC inside). Why? Because I like having a Desktop At home and Gaming on the go but, I hate using P2P to share files.


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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 6 years ago
 

@tom_b, Best performance eGPU enclosure atm is the MasterCooler EG200. It has the JHL7440 Thunderbolt controller which allows for max throughput around 3,000 MB/s. The majority of eGPU enclosures use older Thunderbolt controllers that cap the throughput around 2,700 MB/s.

I've been using WD_Black D50 [link] and FireCuda Gaming Dock [link] which have the JHL7440 controller and pair them with ADT-Link R43SG M.2 adapter. They end up costing no less than eGPU enclosures, but we get full flexibility in selecting the components.

 

LinkedIn | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2021 Gigabyte Z590i Vision D [11th,6C] + RTX 3060 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + Win11 [build link]  


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(@tom_b)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@itsage, Oh, I was just being sarcastic about the rez-nor Core X being the best. But yes, I would like to see how this thing handles in a head to head race on paper and for gaming (I game and work on the same machine). To be 100% honest, I did not know that about the CM EG200, I wanted one for a long time but, could never find one nor would the only graphics card I own at this moment, fit into it.

(Pandemic in the US has not been kind to a lot of people I know. So, I had to make and give away a bunch of machines because, people sold their gaming rigs so they could eat that week.)

 

TomB, AW51m R2 with an Akitio Node Titan (3080 OC inside). Why? Because I like having a Desktop At home and Gaming on the go but, I hate using P2P to share files.


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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Reputable Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@tom_b

There are eGPU enclosures that appear to use the same internal components as the Wikingoo but also have a case. Sadly, they are two to three times more expensive than the Wikingoo and come with a generic power supply. An example can be found here.

I was also concerned about accidentally kicking it while it is mounted under my desk, so I made a very simple cage-wall from a 240mm bracket and fan grills:

In terms of performance, the Wikingoo was basically identical to my Aorus Gaming Box and would be indistinguishable from the Razer Core X. However, I prefer the Wikingoo to the Core X as I would rather implement a high-end power supply and have a completely silent eGPU when not under load. The price of the Core X is also absurd, especially when you can build an entire custom water-cooled eGPU for LESS than the cost of a Core X Chroma.

In terms of eGPU performance, the JHL7440 controller @itsage mentioned offers the best raw performance.

The only real difference I noticed between the Wikingoo and the Aorus Gaming Box when testing them was the Wikingoo was able to display at basically any time, in BIOS, Windows Log In Screen, etc. My Gaming Box didn't like doing either of these things.

Pxl 20211213 231921589

TH3P4 Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
TH3P4G2 Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
Wikingoo Thunderbolt GPU Dock Review
DIY Portable Custom Water Cooled Thunderbolt 3 eGPU
Thunderbolt 4 Docks, eGPU Daisy Chaining and the One-Cable Dream
Windows 10 Solutions for eGPU BSOD, Crashing, System Freezing and Stuttering
Adding Advanced Power Management Options to Windows Laptops for Performance, Thermal Throttling & Power Management

 
2021 14" Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (MX450) [11th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 @ 32Gbps-TB4 (Wikingoo eGPU) + Win10 21H1 // Custom Loop Water Cooled eGPU [build link]  


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(@tom_b)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@boltoway, Hmm, that is good food for thought. The ANT I have isn't as good as I thought (almost no ventilation, super noisy, and all proprietary parts, even the fan header). It still works but, will not display the bio's screen. Also, @itsaga... That Game doc is nice! I will have to look into that. Thank you for doing this, Boltoway.

 

TomB, AW51m R2 with an Akitio Node Titan (3080 OC inside). Why? Because I like having a Desktop At home and Gaming on the go but, I hate using P2P to share files.


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dream3
(@dream3)
Estimable Member
Joined: 6 years ago
 

So how does the JHL6340 compares to the JHL7440 and the Razer Core X's JHL6540 in terms of raw performance?

 

I can take a wild guess and image the JHL6340 is the weaker of them because the number is smaller? hahaha

Anyone's got data on those?

Razer Core X + RTX 3080 + Asrock x570 ITX/TB3


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Boltoway
(@boltoway)
Reputable Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago

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dream3
(@dream3)
Estimable Member
Joined: 6 years ago
 

@boltoway

 

Thanks man! Good to know, as I just received wikingoo today!

 

I di have a few questions, do you mind helping me?

I only received 3 screws for the psu, was it the same for you?

I have a sfx with an atx plate, so the included screws work perfectly.

 

Also, because its sfx+atx plate, i cant position it do the fan is facing the gpu. how bad is that?

 

Razer Core X + RTX 3080 + Asrock x570 ITX/TB3


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