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devster31
(@devster31)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

Hello,

I'm evaluating the purchase of an eGPU enclosure to pair with an Intel NUC 10th Gen with an i3-10110U CPU and 32 Gb of RAM.

The main use case would be video encoding and streaming so I'd be looking at a 1660S or similar to get the latest NVENC encoder.

I don't plan to do much gaming per se as I'd stream from a PS4 PRO console with an Elgato HD60 S+ as capture card. Games for PC would be Dota 2, Civ 6, and some Warzone.

My worry is that the bottleneck will be the CPU and that I wouldn't benefit from the GPU as much as a tower PC.

Would this be a problem? Does anyone have similar experiences?

 

Cost would be around 300 for the enclosure (Core X on Amazon.it) and around the same for the 1660S (MSI Super Gaming X for example).

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

@devster31, I have been using a NUC7i5, paired with RX 580/GTX 1060 eGPU for the past year [build link]. It's mainly hooked up to the family room TV for streaming and occasional PES gaming. I enjoy it a lot because it stays out of sight during the day to day and shows up when it's called upon. Since you don't need Power Delivery for the NUC, you may want to consider more cost effective enclosures if they're available in your local market.

Another consideration is M.2 eGPU adapter such as ADT-Link R43SG + Dell DA-2 PSU [build link]. It's at least half the price of Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure and provides better performance. You can install a SATA drive to free up that M.2 NVMe socket.

 

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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devster31
(@devster31)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 

Thanks for the M.2 suggestion, I already have an SATA drive so that would work fairly well, but I'm more attracted by the thunderbolt option for ease of use and handling compared to the DYI required for M.2.

Why would M.2 be more performant though? Both Thunderbolt and M.2 would have 4x PCI lanes and with a 40Gbps max transfer speed it should be enough to avoid a bottleneck, right? Unless the CPU itself or the chipset are, which was my original doubt as it's an i3 CPU. 

Based on Amazon.it listings everything Thunderbolt seems to be at the same price point (290€-320€) except for some significantly more expensive outliers. That's why I opted for the first one in the recommended list as a starting point. The AKiTo Node is also around the same price for example.

 

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

@devster31, two reasons Thunderbolt 3 is slower than PCIe 3.0 x4:

1) Thunderbolt 3 supports 22 Gbps of PCIe bandwidth (2750 MB/s). The rest of the 40 Gbps can be used by transmitting DisplayPort over Thunderbolt. PCIe 3.0 x4 supports more than that (31.5 Gbps without consider overhead which might allow something like 3500 MB/s of actual data).

2) Thunderbolt 3 adds a lot of latency so it may have less performance than PCIe 3.0 x1 (the performance drop is less if you make the GPU do more work such as higher graphics settings or resolution)

https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2015-15-dell-precision-7510-q-m1000m-6th4ch-gtx-1080-ti-32gbps-m2-adt-link-r43sg-win10-1803-nando4-compared-to-tb3-performance/
https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/a-call-for-measurements-isolating-the-thunderbolt-effect/paged/17/#post-14987
https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/pcie-slot-dgpu-vs-thunderbolt-3-egpu-internal-display-test/

 

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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devster31
(@devster31)
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
 
Posted by: @joevt
2) Thunderbolt 3 adds a lot of latency so it may have less performance than PCIe 3.0 x1 (the performance drop is less if you make the GPU do more work such as higher graphics settings or resolution) 

Thank you for the overview. Your second point worries me a bit though, as one of the primary uses would be for video encoding for live streams which would significantly be affected by latency.

Any experience on that front? Between that and the CPU could it become a noticeable issue leading to dropped frames due to encoding lag?

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