Ideas on Another Small Computer Build for My ASUS XG Station Pro?
 
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Ideas on Another Small Computer Build for My ASUS XG Station Pro?  

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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hello everybody!  It's been a long time since I've been on the site due to less eGPU usage and more SFF (small form factor) build usage.

Over the last few hours I've come to a dilemma again where I'm thinking about building another SFF computer, but this time without the hard requirement that the case needs to fit a full or mini-side GPU.  That is because before I built my SFF computer for home, I had my eGPU which is just gathering dust... unused... unloved.

Just to give a bit of background, here's what I have for my setups:

Gaming PC:  Dan A4 SFF Build (check my signature)

Travel PC for Gaming:  2016 15" MBP on Bootcamp

Backup Home PC:  2014 Mac mini (Bootcamp installed, but not normally needed now that the SFF build is primary)

What I want?  I want to eliminate the 2016 MBP as a my Travel Gaming PC.  My SSD size is only 256GB, and with all the updates that occur for the games on Bootcamp, I usually end up running out of space.  A few solutions could fix this: 1) make a bigger partition for Bootcamp (pro: don't need any new HW or $$$, con: reduces my MacOS partition size; I usually store my DSLR photos on my computer for a bit before transferring to external)  2) move games to an external SSD (pro: more space, con: not sure yet as I'm trying it tonight).  With both of these solutions, my eGPU will still remain out of use.

So aside from doing that, I could build another host computer with TB3 and run my eGPU.  Or I could take the Mac mini on the road with me.

 

Mac mini?  NUC?  SFF build?  Gaming laptop?

 

Any ideas from the community?

This topic was modified 9 months ago

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I think a convertible/hybrid ultrabook such as Thinkpad X1 Yoga would be a nice choice. For example, you can put the X1 Yoga in tent mode to sit on top of the XG Station Pro and game away. The only downside is insufficient Power Delivery from this ASUS eGPU enclosure.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

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


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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@itsage I don't think I want another laptop.  I can't remember if it was you that had the In-Win Chopin, but something like that has been floating around in my head... 

How about an Chopin with a ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming ITX/TB3? I saw the block diagram of this the board, and it looks like the Titan Ridge is running through the PCH instead of direct to the CPU? Any thoughts? Could I be better off running a non TB3 mobo (a little cheaper) and adding Titan Ridge AIC?

See the block diagram for the ASRock X570 from Anandtech here.

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@omardesu I wasn't sure how portable you want the traveling PC to be. Hotel rooms always have TV should the screen requirement is not a big deal. It's hard to be the 2018 Mac mini in terms of Thunderbolt 3 connection. However it's expensive compared to a NUC or an integrated GPU ITX build. Personally I'd go with the NUC8 Hades Canyon 100W version (NUC8i7HVK). Its footprint would fit well sitting on top of the ASUS XG Station Pro.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

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


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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@itsage the Hades Canyon would be pretty nice, but it does have a rather steep price point.  At 1k USD, I could probably find a decent gaming laptop or entry-level ultrabook.

One thing that I came across this weekend was a SFF case slightly smaller than an In-Win Chopin but could actually fit a mini GPU.  The case I'm talking about is the Velkcase Velka 3.  It looks like a pretty sweet case IMO, and I think I might actually pre-order one now.  Even if I use it w/out a mini GPU at first, I could still put a Titan Ridge card in it and make use of my eGPU.  The build that I'm spec'ing out is around $500 USD w/out GPU,  and reusing about $120 in CPU cooler and nVMe SSD (probably can get a Flex ATX PSU from an old server from work).  Add $90 for a Titan Ridge to run my eGPU or add $300 for a mini GPU.

In all honesty, I think I'm drifting away from my eGPU...  I feel like I'd rather have a purpose built PC than something I have to fiddle with to get working correctly (especially in Bootcamp).  Oh well, let's see what happens.  I'm taking my eGPU and Mac mini with me to work this week, so I can fiddle around with what can work for me, but I still think I'd pick up the Velka 3.  I've got the bug for SFF builds now and at $140 for case, riser, and 2x case fans, that's not a bad deal in my book...

*edit - I'll snap a pic of my "traveling setup" when I get to Taiwan tomorrow.  Now I'll have my "as is" and with my eGPU and Mac mini since I'm bringing it this week.

This post was modified 9 months ago

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

The 2013 Mac Pro trashcan is a failure but in a sense it's an incredible SFF. It's about 3.35 liters but can be specced with a 12-core CPU and two discrete graphics card 6 years ago. I've been hoping for some kinds similar SFF case but it's not possible due to heavy custom components to make it work. Have you thought about building a travel setup out of your carrying case?

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
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)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: @omardesu

One thing that I came across this weekend was a SFF case slightly smaller than an In-Win Chopin but could actually fit a mini GPU.  The case I'm talking about is the Velkcase Velka 3.  It looks like a pretty sweet case IMO, and I think I might actually pre-order one now.  Even if I use it w/out a mini GPU at first, I could still put a Titan Ridge card in it and make use of my eGPU.  The build that I'm spec'ing out is around $500 USD w/out GPU,  and reusing about $120 in CPU cooler and nVMe SSD (probably can get a Flex ATX PSU from an old server from work).  Add $90 for a Titan Ridge to run my eGPU or add $300 for a mini GPU.

The Velka 3 is nice.

Instead of a Titan Ridge card, find a Mini-ITX motherboard (Z370 or X570) with a Thunderbolt 3 port? Then you can use the slot with an ITX graphics 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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omardesu
(@omardesu)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@joevt Those were the videos I came across...  lol.

What you mentioned is the problem I ran into when I had built my first SFF PC which had TB3 on the board.  Given the choice between eGPU and discreet GPU onboard directly to the CPU, I’d take the dGPU.  Here’s a comparison of what I could be dealing with:

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-itx/AC:  1x TB3 port but with Alpine Ridge (TB2 speed via PCH) + eGPU.  This is my current MB in my small PC.

or

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-itx/TB3: 1x TB3 port with Titan Ridge (Full TB3 speed but still via PCH) + eGPU.  I was contemplating this setup.

or

Any other itx mobo + Titan Ridge card + eGPU.  This would have the eGPU going direct to the CPU unlike the 1st two setups and at full TB3 speeds.

or

Any other itx mobo + mini GPU.  This would have the least amount of overhead as it would be running PCI x16 directly to the CPU.

The previous 3 options’ speeds would be x2 to PCH, x4 to the PCH, and x4 to the CPU, respectively.  What that means to me performance-wise, I’m not sure...  But why not go for the most self sufficient setup which would also be the least amount of overhead and the fastest option?

For me, I wouldn’t mind having multiple SFF PC’s since those can be future-proofed by their upgradability.  This is why I lean towards them and less on the eGPU setup.

A

This post was modified 9 months ago

1070 Ti: 2014 Mac mini / 2016 MBP 15"
Mini ITX Build in Dan A4 Case

 
2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP450) [6th,4C,H] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (ASUS XG Station Pro) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@omardesu the Thor case is going into production soon too, well, on Kickstarter, and that IMO is by far the best looking SFF case that will be available.

We are in a tricky time for eGPU's, feels like one step forward and 1.5 back, when things were getting so close to trouble free in both OS....

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

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@omardesu looks like in the Velka 3, if they move the GPU closer to the PSU then you could add a second PCIe slot using the rear M.2 slot - but you would have to remove the PCIe bracket from the GPU and second PCIe card and/or increase the height of the case by a not insignificant amount (unless you use a low profile PCIe card). I don't think anyone makes an appropriate M.2 to PCIe x4 adapter. The R43UR might be most appropriate but the PCIe slot would be facing the wrong direction, but maybe the front of the case has the most room, but for a Thunderbolt 3 add in card, you would have to connect the front to the rear with longer DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cables, but maybe you're not using a USB-C or Thunderbolt display.

 

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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