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Thunderbolt 3 external drive slot + M.2/NGFF adapter?
 

Thunderbolt 3 external drive slot + M.2/NGFF adapter?  

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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

This is probably going to sound ridiculous but is it possible for me to remove the m.2 drive from my Samsung X5 external thunderbolt 3 drive, and hook it up to the m.2/ngff adapter for egpu solution? Or will Samsung have locked the m.2 slot to only storage?

And if you're wondering why this. I have a powerful work laptop faster than my home setup that I'd rather not open up (even if I wanted to, it only has one m.2 slot). Also I already scored a Samsung X5 500gb drive for 66 USD so combining that with a m.2 adapter would be cheapest and also viable option for me.

 

 

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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

It's probably possible but I haven't tried it. The manual does not show how to replace the NVMe drive and there doesn't seem to be a zero GB option for people that want to install their own NVMe drive. From the product page, it looks like you have to take the cover off of the USB-C end (snaps off?), which exposes two screws.

I have one of these https://www.amazon.com/Thunderbolt-Enclosure-Thunderbolt3-NVME-Drive/dp/B07N67P39W/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
but I haven't tried connecting a PCIe card to it.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Here’s the component breakout. It’s worth a shot getting an M.2 adapter setup going with the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt board.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Not entirely sure how to proceed, I have the R43SL connected to the Samsung X5 board, do only powered GPUs work? I tried a spare 1050 ti card on it but it won't boot. When I booted my laptop, it doesn't seem to turn on the GPU fan.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@paul_chen

You need to connect power to the four pin floppy power connector (NVMe by itself does not have the 12V that the PCIe slot requires). It appears that 3.3V for the PCIe slot comes from the NVMe slot since there is no voltage regulator.

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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I connected the 4 pin power connector with a supplied connector that connects to a sata power from the PSU. It doesn't seem to do anything.

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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@paul_chen - Is the PSU wired to be on? An ATX power supply needs to have two specific pins bridged on the 24-pin motherboard connector to power up.

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Want to output [email protected] 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$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
Honorable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

To power ON a PSU, one need to jumpwire the GREEN wire into a BLACK ground wire on the 24pin connector.
The PSU will power ON and deliver voltage/current to all the connectors as it is when connected to a motherboard/eGPU enclosure.

Interesting stuff, thanks for testing.

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I use a switch connected to the power supply's 24 pin connector:
https://www.moddiy.com/products/Jump-Start-EPS%7B47%7DATX-24-Pin-Power-Supply-Jumper-On%7B47%7DOff-Switch-%28White%7B47%7DGrey%7B47%7DBlack%29.html
Some switches have LEDs but the ones I bought failed. I always have a fan connected to know when the power is on.

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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I'll be, it works. Albeit I'm testing it on my own laptop (rather than work laptop) first. I can get the card to appear and installed driver for it. When I attach an external monitor to the gfx card it can output to the monitor. I'm just not sure what it's using when I have the external monitor disconnected. In Geforce Experience, I see both my laptop's discrete 960M and 1050ti, but there's a gfx card icon beside the 960M

IMG 20190913 170756

I'm still a newb to eGPUs, how do I select the gfx?

Also, thanks for the pointers on jump starting PSU, I never knew that was possible, this actually opens up a lot of mobo troubleshooting options for me.

Gear: 

  • Asus Zenbook Pro UX501VW 
  • Samsung X5 500gb
  • XFX 650W PSU
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti AERO
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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Hmm actually in my notifications area, I have a displays notification and it shows that my 960M is inactive and that 1050 ti is on, when I run heaven bench, 1050ti is detected. I'm guessing this is a good sign?

What tool do I use to determine bandwidth?

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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@paul_chen Look at reviews in the Buyer's Guide or in the Builds page, look for screen shots showing bandwidth. Use those apps.
For Windows with NVidia : AIDA64 GPGPU Benchmark and CUDA-Z.

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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

CUDA-Z Report (from my work laptop)
=============
Version: 0.10.251 64 bit http://cuda-z.sf.net/
OS Version: Windows x86 6.2.9200
Driver Version: 436.30
Driver Dll Version: 10.10 (26.21.14.3630)
Runtime Dll Version: 6.50

Core Information
----------------
Name: GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Compute Capability: 6.1
Clock Rate: 1455 MHz
PCI Location: 0:9:0
Multiprocessors: 6
Threads Per Multiproc.: 2048
Warp Size: 32
Regs Per Block: 65536
Threads Per Block: 1024
Threads Dimensions: 1024 x 1024 x 64
Grid Dimensions: 2147483647 x 65535 x 65535
Watchdog Enabled: Yes
Integrated GPU: No
Concurrent Kernels: Yes
Compute Mode: Default
Stream Priorities: Yes

Memory Information
------------------
Total Global: 4096 MiB
Bus Width: 128 bits
Clock Rate: 3504 MHz
Error Correction: No
L2 Cache Size: 48 KiB
Shared Per Block: 48 KiB
Pitch: 2048 MiB
Total Constant: 64 KiB
Texture Alignment: 512 B
Texture 1D Size: 131072
Texture 2D Size: 131072 x 65536
Texture 3D Size: 16384 x 16384 x 16384
GPU Overlap: Yes
Map Host Memory: Yes
Unified Addressing: Yes
Async Engine: No

Performance Information
-----------------------
Memory Copy
Host Pinned to Device: 2256.97 MiB/s
Host Pageable to Device: 1691.96 MiB/s
Device to Host Pinned: 2677.29 MiB/s
Device to Host Pageable: 2207.04 MiB/s
Device to Device: 43.8156 GiB/s
GPU Core Performance
Single-precision Float: 2595.49 Gflop/s
Double-precision Float: 85.5236 Gflop/s
64-bit Integer: 192.96 Giop/s
32-bit Integer: 892.152 Giop/s
24-bit Integer: 671.447 Giop/s

Generated: Fri Sep 13 21:43:02 2019

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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
Honorable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Host Pinned to Device: 2256.97 MiB/s
Host Pageable to Device: 1691.96 MiB/s
Device to Host Pinned: 2677.29 MiB/s
Device to Host Pageable: 2207.04 MiB/s

Good stuff, the TB controller seems to be configured with the full bandwidth.
As it should since it is designated for M2 NVME SSD, that usually cap 2.5k Mb/s up/down.

It's a quite compact and powerful setup, one could mod a smaller 200/250Watt power brick to use instead of a PSU, it should be enough for almost all mid/high end modern gpu's.

This post was modified 5 days ago

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
E=Mc²


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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Yeah, this is pretty cool, really didn't expect this to work.

In terms of costs, I guess you don't really save much (compared to commercial egpus) unless you can get a good deal on these tb storage devices, not to mention also having to get power and enclosure. I guess you could theoretically get the Samsung x5 and flip the m.2 ssd.

Let's hope that more Chinese companies could bring cheap thunderbolt 3 to nvme devices at lower costs like https://www.ebay.com/itm/Thunderbolt-3-M-2-NVME-Enclosure-SSD-Box-NVME-to-TYPE-C-Aluminium-USB-3-1-4-Q4X5/113860018473?hash=item1a82960129:g:x48AAOSwA3ldW-io

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Maiiikell
(@maiiikell)
New Member
Joined: 4 days ago
 

Great post and findings on the enclosure.  

I think if for example all these ssd enclosures work the same way as the samsung x5 have just now. This would be a much cheaper option than an enclosure like the razor core x or power color game station. 

The Ssd Enclosure - around $100 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32952100894.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.4c633c00yaPo1u&mp=1)
The R43SL - Around $15 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/33047523917.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.624c3c00irVIBu&mp=1)
PSU - $20 - 30 (Second hand) (eBay.com)
Jumper for the PSU with on/off switch $2 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32857982602.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.4c633c00yaPo1u&mp=1)

I will order all this when the enclosure is on sale and let you guys know if this wil work with my brand new RX5700XT.

I also came across this piece with TB3  

http://www.adt.link/product/R43SG-TB3.html.
Will look into that as well

Thank you again for sharing your project here and inspire me to find other solutions!

Macbook Pro 15" 2018


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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@maiiikell

I guess when I said having to get extra enclosure, I meant more of a box frame for those who might care about aesthetics. I'll be looking for a compact power supply solution and see if I can build everything into the smallest box possible.

The Aliexpress enclosure is a good find. Cheapest one yet, and the board is slimmer than the Samsung X5's controller board (based on the image). Please let me know how that works out! Would be nice to start a list of tested TB3 NVME devices somewhere.

The R43SG-TB3 according to the Buyer's Guide, is 260 big ones. When all the above you've listed is added up, it's less than $150 so not really worthwhile. But can be cheaper: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=590006721493&ns=1&abbucket=7#detail

I also just discovered this Taobao seller selling only the TB3-nvme board for around 68USD (click on the color option that's not black or white)
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=601951081260&ns=1&abbucket=7#detail

And another for 70 as well.
https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=602063280825&ns=1&abbucket=7#detail

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Maiiikell
(@maiiikell)
New Member
Joined: 4 days ago
 

@paul_chen

 

I decided to go with the R43SG-TB3 from the link you provided.
https://m.intl.taobao.com/detail/detail.html?id=590006721493&ns=1&abbucket=7#detail

Since it a one piece pcb with all the connectors and so i only will need my rx 5700 xt and an atx psu to power it.
This wil result in a cleaner build since i don't care about an enclosure i'll jusy put it on my desk as is. 

The only problem i have is that i can read or write chinese and i don't know how to order from Taobao. Since there is no english version of it.
Should i use an agent or how do i do this?

If any body could help me with this that would be much appreciated. 

 

Macbook Pro 15" 2018


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Paul Chen
(@paul_chen)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Some taobao sellers will work with shipment warehouses which are extra few bucks (depending on weight) on top of the list price. Unfortunately, none of the sellers that sell the TB3 adt link does, you have to contact them to arrange for shipments. You may have to use agents for this.

That said, the one piece vs two piece deal is small a small price for minimal difference in my opinion, when you screw the nvme adapter portion into the TB3 controller, it's more or less one piece. The Samsung board is fairly large and it's still very compact.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@maiiikell instead of R43SL, use a NVMe to PCIex4 adapter:
https://www.microsatacables.com/pci-e-1x-4x-card-to-m-2-m-key-4-lane-pcie-slot-adapter
(there's one that includes the CLKREQ signal, but I don't think it's necessary? https://www.microsatacables.com/pci-e-1x-4x-card-to-m-2-m-key-4-lane-adapter-with-clkreq )
Horizontally, the NVMe enclosure should not extend more than 13 mm beyond the screw end of the 2280 M.2 device (because that's where the PCIe bracket of the graphics card will go).
Vertically, the NVMe enclosure should not be higher than 3 mm from the top of the M.2 PCB so that the enclosure does not interfere with a PCIe x16 edge connector. It looks like the Samsung x5 clears both of those (not sure about the pin or screw sticking up vertically at the bottom of the picture). If there's a problem, then you can add a short extender:
https://www.amazon.ca/DOLITY-Converter-Adapter-Board-Female/dp/B07D46WW1V/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=pcie+riser+x4+to+x16&qid=1568625187&sr=8-3
Other M.2 to PCIe x4 adapters may have the PCIe slot closer to the end, so they may have slightly more than 13 mm clearance for the PCIe bracket of a graphics card.

The floppy power connector may interfere with the graphics card. A right angle power connector facing toward the end of the M.2 PCB would have been better design.
https://www.te.com/usa-en/product-171826-4.html
I can't find any low profile or angle floppy power cables... Well, You can bend the floppy power connector pins slightly so the floppy power cable doesn't interfere with the graphics card.

There exist adapters using SATA power.
https://www.newegg.com/p/17Z-00PR-014U1?Description=%22m.2%20to%20pcie%22%20adapter&cm_re=%22m.2_to_pcie%22_adapter-_-9SIAKWW9VW5502-_-Product
And there exists right angle SATA power connectors. I don't know if they are low profile enough to not interfere with the graphics card.
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B003SSQVPE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1UCLUF7KW7AYG&psc=1

I found this adapter (P4SM2) with a reverse orientation. I think the power connector is in a better location - the power cable would be positioned behind the PCB of the graphics card instead of underneath the graphics card.
http://www.hwtools.net/ExtenderBoard/P4SM2.html
With this reverse orientation adapter, the PCIe bracket of the graphics card will be in the other direction - usually on the side of an NVMe enclosure's Thunderbolt controller and Thunderbolt port/cable so there might not be enough clearance. Maybe it doesn't matter because I can't seem to find the P4SM2 for sale.

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Maiiikell
(@maiiikell)
New Member
Joined: 4 days ago
 

Sooo my taobao adventure ended pretty quick since I couldn't figure it out and and agent is even more expensive.
So I reached out to adt-link personally on there website.
They could offer me the taboo pricing of around 100$ but they charge 35$ for shipping. 
I asked them if it could be any cheaper and they couldn't give me cheaper shipping option.  

So eventually I returned back to my original list with the following parts:

The Ssd Enclosure - around $100 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32952100894.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.4c633c00yaPo1u&mp=1)  
The R43SL - Around $15 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/33047523917.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.624c3c00irVIBu&mp=1)
PSU - $20 - 30 (Second hand) (eBay.com)
Jumper for the PSU with on/off switch $2 ( https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32857982602.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.4c633c00yaPo1u&mp=1)

I noticed that the SSD enclosure is on sale now only 88$. 
Thats a good price but I saw that on taobao the prices are a little lower so I've reached out to the seller to see if he could discount it even more. (no reply yet)
But during my search for the SSD Enclosure it self and to find the "actual" price I came across the SSD enclosure on taobao and I wanted to see why there were 2 prices. 
I got redirected to tmall and translated the website and found out that it was because one of the packages you can choose from includes a GPU adapter.

https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=580006084389&ali_trackid=2:mm_26632674_99800204_108709300222:1568651335_174_681646373&spm=a21wu.12321156-tw.0.0&skuId=3862779348747

So I'm trying to get a deal on the SSD enclosure on Aliexpress and then I will buy my GPU adapter separate. 

I'll let you all know how it goes but I thought it was a good find on the SSD enclosures mod to egpu story. 

Macbook Pro 15" 2018


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