All I want for Christmas is a Thunderbolt 3 to PCI-e riser
 
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All I want for Christmas is a Thunderbolt 3 to PCI-e riser  

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IHaveAnOuchie
(@ihaveanouchie)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

I have a laptop with only integrated Intel gpu but with Thunderbolt 3 support over a USB-C port.
Enclosures are very expensive and offer things i don't care much about, all i need is a Thunderbolt 3 to a full size PCI-e slot riser/adapter/younameit so i can put my discrete gpu in, perhaps power it with something (got an old desktop power supply) and be set for a nice weekend. But, i simply cannot find such a thing on the internet at all.
The only risers close to what i need support all sorts of inputs, like miniPCI-e, m.2, ExpressCard but never Thunderbolt 3.
Is there such a thing or i should just be patient?

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4chip4
(@4chip4)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

Enclosures are expensive because (low series) TB3 to full-size PCI-e boards are expensive (and hard to do right). The enclosures are (unfortunately) for now more like added value than the real source of the high prices.

It's a bit like saying 'I don't want a full, expensive ring, I just want that diamond from it!".

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 i7-8550U GTX150 + GTX970@16Gbps-TB3 (HP Omen Accelerator) + Oculus Rift + Win10 [no guide] HP Omen Accelerator Thunderbolt 3 enclosure legs stand removal walkthrough
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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

There's Thunder3 PCBs available on eBay. Check out this topic in the Deals section.

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

Unfortunately Bison jacked the price to 120$ + Shipping :/

Want to output 4K@60Hz out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

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IHaveAnOuchie
(@ihaveanouchie)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: 4chip4

Enclosures are expensive because (low series) TB3 to full-size PCI-e boards are expensive (and hard to do right). The enclosures are (unfortunately) for now more like added value than the real source of the high prices.

It's a bit like saying 'I don't want a full, expensive ring, I just want that diamond from it!".

Do you have a source on why is that the case and what technical difficulties exist? There's T3 dongles and adapters that go for 50$ or less with any combination of i/o like Ethernet, USB, audio, Display Port, HDMI, Sata, SD cards. In other words, what's with PCI-e that is so much more difficult to implement than all these other protocols? At least that's the impression i'm having, sorry if i'm missing something obvious.
Also found this spec page for a thunderbolt 3 controller from intel which is supposed to cost 10$, not sure if related to the topic at hand:
https://ark.intel.com/products/97401/Intel-JHL7440-Thunderbolt-3-Controller

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4chip4
(@4chip4)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

On the first part, you're creating a single purpose device - whereas with a general PCIe bridge you need to be compatible with ALL possible devices (AND combinations thereof). On paper, this is super easy, everything "just works" and everything is compatible. In reality, there are silicon errors, firmware errors, incompatibilities and tons of workarounds to accommodate them. To make it even worse, GPU is very latency/bandwidth sensitive, and requires a different certification path to a simple TB3 device (the cost is not in the certification itself, but making sure you're compliant in all required areas).

Part costs are very misleading because they don't include the NRE (non-recurring engineering, or R&D) cost. In other words, if you spent 100.000$ on development (prototypes, testing, certification, salaries, licenses) and you make 1.000 boxes, just that cost *alone* will be 100$ per unit (so if all your cost was just that controller, you'd be charging 110$ for a product with that 10$ component). And while 100.000$ seems like a lot of money, it's actually a very optimistic estimate given the complexity of what needs to be done. (I take "pfft, I can build a space ship for that amount" comments only from people who have actually launched consumer electronics devices in the EU/US Smile ).

There are two ways around this - economy of scale (if you sold 100.000 boards instead of 1.000, that's just 1$ per board), and bundling components so the cost is spread. For the previous 110$ example - if I added a box, a PSU, cables etc, the cost would be 200$ - while still expensive, now the R&D cost is just ~50% of the unit price, as opposed to the original 90%+ of the original example.

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 i7-8550U GTX150 + GTX970@16Gbps-TB3 (HP Omen Accelerator) + Oculus Rift + Win10 [no guide] HP Omen Accelerator Thunderbolt 3 enclosure legs stand removal walkthrough
Employed by HP, but my posts and opinions expressed on this forum are my own.


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chx
 chx
(@chx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: IHaveAnOuchie
Posted by: 4chip4

Enclosures are expensive because (low series) TB3 to full-size PCI-e boards are expensive (and hard to do right). The enclosures are (unfortunately) for now more like added value than the real source of the high prices.

It's a bit like saying 'I don't want a full, expensive ring, I just want that diamond from it!".

Do you have a source on why is that the case and what technical difficulties exist? There's T3 dongles and adapters that go for 50$ or less with any combination of i/o like Ethernet, USB, audio, Display Port, HDMI, Sata, SD cards. In other words, what's with PCI-e that is so much more difficult to implement than all these other protocols? At least that's the impression i'm having, sorry if i'm missing something obvious.
Also found this spec page for a thunderbolt 3 controller from intel which is supposed to cost 10$, not sure if related to the topic at hand:
https://ark.intel.com/products/97401/Intel-JHL7440-Thunderbolt-3-Controller

I challenge you to show me anything that is not USB C but Thunderbolt 3 and is 50$. The cheapest Thunderbolt 3 devices I am aware of are the TB3 to dual DP for $80. Notably these do not do anything with the PCI Express signals. The moment PCIe enters the picture, prices go up. The reason here is the required certification with Intel. The chip itself might not be expensive but you can't just buy the chip, you need to certify your device with Intel and that takes time and time is quite literally money.

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IHaveAnOuchie
(@ihaveanouchie)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: chx
I challenge you to show me anything that is not USB C but Thunderbolt 3 and is 50$. The cheapest Thunderbolt 3 devices I am aware of are the TB3 to dual DP for $80. Notably these do not do anything with the PCI Express signals. The moment PCIe enters the picture, prices go up. The reason here is the required certification with Intel. The chip itself might not be expensive but you can't just buy the chip, you need to certify your device with Intel and that takes time and time is quite literally money.

I meant these as they all mention T3 support somewhere in the product page:
https://www.amazon.com/Apple-MMEL2AM-Thunderbolt-Usb-C-Adapter/dp/B01MQ26QIY/
https://www.amazon.com/Knaive-Thunderbolt-Aluminum-Adapter-Delivery/dp/B07572JSNT/
https://www.amazon.com/LINKWIN-Adapter-Thunderbolt-Multiport-MacBook/dp/B07BDG9LLS/
https://www.amazon.com/Purgo-Aluminum-Thunderbolt-Delivery-2016-2018/dp/B078JWXY1T/
Now if you are telling me that's all marketing or irrilevant to the subject that's fine enough for me.

I suppose the certification process as you mention will be less of an issue when intel will release the T3 specifications royalty-free this year (allegedly), correct?
http://www.eenewsembedded.com/news/intel-will-open-release-thunderbolt-3-interface-spec-2018

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

@ihaveanouchie The hubs you linked are USB-C. The sellers keyword-filled the title with Thunderbolt/3 to get more eyeballs.

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4chip4
(@4chip4)
Estimable Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Note that a hub/dongle is also far simpler/higher up the stack than a PCIe implementation (and with very different certification requirements).

While a lot of folks seem to think the issue to TB proliferation was royalties, I'm skeptical about that. The issue was certification and being a manufacturer monoculture. In other words, only Intel makes TB controllers, Intel alone sets compliance requirements, and only Intel can certify you're compliant with those requirements. The $$$ cost of the certification itself was the least of problems in that ecosystem. The open-spec non-exclusive announcement part of the next-gen TB is far, far more important.

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 i7-8550U GTX150 + GTX970@16Gbps-TB3 (HP Omen Accelerator) + Oculus Rift + Win10 [no guide] HP Omen Accelerator Thunderbolt 3 enclosure legs stand removal walkthrough
Employed by HP, but my posts and opinions expressed on this forum are my own.


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