Wikingoo Thunderbolt 3 Egpu Featured

Wikingoo eGPU Review – DIY Thunderbolt 3 External GPU

eGPU Reviews 1 Comment

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 I presume the Vikinyee is an older model that has likely been replaced by the more refined Wikingoo eGPU model.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.

PCIe Board Power Button

Thunderbolt 3 Mainboard Front

Thunderbolt 3 Mainboard Back

PCIe X4 Male-to-Male Bridge

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.

Wikingoo Thunderbolt 3 Egpu 1080 Unigine Heaven

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 is now equipped with an RTX 3060 Ti and Seasonic 80+ Platinum PSU. It has become the eGPU for my personal system, which can be seen here.

 

See also
Related Articles

 

 

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itsage

@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.