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US$189 AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box (16Gbps-TB2)

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True ... you will need a 16x POWERED riser after a PSU

- - - Updated - - -

What's NUC?

That is assuming the 16x PCIe slot is fused and cannot provide more than 25W. The provided 60W power supply suggests otherwise. I will get the 16x PCIe Powered Riser to try but the setup will not be neat and tidy.

It says maximum 25W, yet provides a 12V/5A DC PSU (60W). Is it fused?

Mini PC - Intel® NUC Kit DC3217BY

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That is assuming the 16x PCIe slot is fused and cannot provide more than 25W. The provided 60W power supply suggests otherwise. I will get the 16x PCIe Powered Riser to try but the setup will not be neat and tidy.

Mini PC - Intel® NUC Kit DC3217BY

Even if you are able to provide 60W via the included power supply, when the card is in actual use and processing graphics (games, etc) - it will definately be requiring more power. Hence the only solution is to get a PSU and a 16x powered riser.

I understand that it will not be neat, but you might be able to cover the riser within the thunder2 pci-e box and just a single PSU (molex?) wire getting into the box.

If you continue without PSU, it might damage your NUC.

Waiting for the pics for current setup with the card inside the box :)

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Even if you are able to provide 60W via the included power supply, when the card is in actual use and processing graphics (games, etc) - it will definately be requiring more power. Hence the only solution is to get a PSU and a 16x powered riser.

I understand that it will not be neat, but you might be able to cover the riser within the thunder2 pci-e box and just a single PSU (molex?) wire getting into the box.

If you continue without PSU, it might damage your NUC.

Waiting for the pics for current setup with the card inside the box :)

This is the only picture that I have taken of the setup.

post-27765-14494997975926_thumb.jpg

You are probably right about the power issue. I am not planning to do any additional testing until I can provide more power to the Thunder2 PCIe Box and the 750 Ti.

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This looks very promising.

Think it'll be worth the upgrade $$ over a EC solution?

My current setup is taking a bit of a beating at 1440p

Provided I can get a Zbook 15 at a decent price.

Maybe wait for TB3 which will hopefully come out with broadwell

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Thanks, it confirms that I need a 16x PCI-e Riser :)

Also, did you get this from Amazon OR B&H? Amazon have increased their price to 270$ :o

Amazon pricing is back down to US$200: Amazon.com: Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box: Computers & Accessories

This looks very promising.

Think it'll be worth the upgrade $$ over a EC solution?

My current setup is taking a bit of a beating at 1440p

Provided I can get a Zbook 15 at a decent price.

Maybe wait for TB3 which will hopefully come out with broadwell

Unfortunately TB3 is slated for release with Skylake, after Broadwell. There's talk of 2015 but Intel have been late with the last 4 CPU/chipset released. I'd say this will be a 2016 release. From Intel’s 40 Gbps “Alpine Ridge” Thunderbolt Coming in 2015:

Tech Powerup revealed that Intel's next-gen Thunderbolt technology named "Alpine Ridge" will pack a punch when it comes to versatility, if the specs remain unchanged. It will launch sometime in 2015 along with Intel's Core "Skylake" CPUs.

Those next-gen more power efficient CPUs should allow manufacturers like HP/Dell/Lenovo to create 13-14" quad-core notebooks with TB2/TB3 ports. We'll at last portability with docked eGPU capability.

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Ok guys so I have a problem that I have tried everything I can think of or find on the internet to fix.

I have had the Akitio Thunderbolt box for about a week and im trying to get either my hd 7950, my 9600gt or, a gt640 working alongside the internal graphics. I have tried shelltoe's guide here as well as many similar ones to get it running. Every time I am left with loaded kexts yet no eGPU in either displays/graphics or in the thunderbolt (in the thunderbolt category of system profile it shows the akitio but says its pcie slot is empty. Also on the same macbook pro on Win8 UEFI most of the cards show up but with an unknown error.

Id love some help with this, others have seen some success and id like to have this working soon considering ive spent a while working on this.

Thanks

- Trollinteemo

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Ok guys so I have a problem that I have tried everything I can think of or find on the internet to fix.

I have had the Akitio Thunderbolt box for about a week and im trying to get either my hd 7950, my 9600gt or, a gt640 working alongside the internal graphics. I have tried shelltoe's guide here as well as many similar ones to get it running. Every time I am left with loaded kexts yet no eGPU in either displays/graphics or in the thunderbolt (in the thunderbolt category of system profile it shows the akitio but says its pcie slot is empty. Also on the same macbook pro on Win8 UEFI most of the cards show up but with an unknown error.

Id love some help with this, others have seen some success and id like to have this working soon considering ive spent a while working on this.

Thanks

- Trollinteemo

I'd like to this working as I am looking to do this with a MacBook Pro as well. I haven't done a build like this yet, but have been doing a significant amount of research and I have a couple of questions regarding your setup (although I'm sure some of these other guys will be more helpful). Which MBP do you have? How is your GPU powered (PSU/Riser cable)?

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btw getting the new WS60 when it comes out cant wait for wrecking graphics and the ability to connect an egpu easily

I would think twice before getting the WS60. I checked the specs on the link you provided and for some reason the WS60 only has 2 ram slots, whereas quad i7's support 4 ram slots. Thus the maximum RAM supported is actually only 16gb. And if you actually intend to use it as a workstation, 16 gb can be a limiting factor.

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I would think twice before getting the WS60. I checked the specs on the link you provided and for some reason the WS60 only has 2 ram slots, whereas quad i7's support 4 ram slots. Thus the maximum RAM supported is actually only 16gb. And if you actually intend to use it as a workstation, 16 gb can be a limiting factor.

My big issue with their gaming line is that either A) they overheat like hell or B) they have no thunderbolt in their thin form factor laptops

I was also looking at the GS70 but it has an overheating problem and no thunderbolt (although i have pretty good soldering skills so im confident that I could use the hdmi as an output for a pe4m, or the Aorus x3 plus which is pretty awsome and has amazing cooling but yet again no thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt usually wouldnt have a requirement but i need a test bed for my thunderbolt stuff since my bro and his laptop are going back to college and since gaming is big for me gpus are pretty much the standard on power and future proofness (honestly as gpu ram grows bigger and unified ram gets completely adopted I could probably deal with just upgrading gpu until my processor gets too old.

Awnsering the question about the MBP i got it working minutes after posting, I just needed to use a powered pcie as I had assumed before the standard slot had enough but apparently not. Im currently writing some scripts in an installer package that will enable full compatability for all osx supported nvidia and amd gpus (just look around on hackintosh forums to find out which ones work). I would be done already but im trying to make it so when apple updates the kexts im not downgrading them by just putting mine in, that means a lot more script work with multiple Vi and nano search functions.

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My big issue with their gaming line is that either A) they overheat like hell or B) they have no thunderbolt in their thin form factor laptops

I was also looking at the GS70 but it has an overheating problem and no thunderbolt (although i have pretty good soldering skills so im confident that I could use the hdmi as an output for a pe4m, or the Aorus x3 plus which is pretty awsome and has amazing cooling but yet again no thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt usually wouldnt have a requirement but i need a test bed for my thunderbolt stuff since my bro and his laptop are going back to college and since gaming is big for me gpus are pretty much the standard on power and future proofness (honestly as gpu ram grows bigger and unified ram gets completely adopted I could probably deal with just upgrading gpu until my processor gets too old.

Awnsering the question about the MBP i got it working minutes after posting, I just needed to use a powered pcie as I had assumed before the standard slot had enough but apparently not. Im currently writing some scripts in an installer package that will enable full compatability for all osx supported nvidia and amd gpus (just look around on hackintosh forums to find out which ones work). I would be done already but im trying to make it so when apple updates the kexts im not downgrading them by just putting mine in, that means a lot more script work with multiple Vi and nano search functions.

Are you using the default 60W power supply to power the Thunder2 PCIe Box and the powered PCIe slot for the graphics card? Thanks!

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Just thinking out aloud about the AKiTiO's 12V/5A 60W DC adapter and am wondering why AKiTiO's spec says "PCIe (x16) slot provides a maximum of 25W".

In the annotated image below we can see below that the DC jack itself is on the mainboard which powers the slot. Power to the daughterboard is supplied by the yellow and black cables. The power draw there will be much less, hence the relatively small gauge wiring used. A pci-e 1.x card draw up to 75W, though it's questionable whether cards with additional pci-e power connectors do draw that much power from the slot.

In any case, if we wanted to work to spec we'd need at least an 80W AC adapter (12V/6.6A) to provider power. That's the 75W for the slot and an allowance of 5W for the daughterboard. Add an addition 10W is required per extra daisy-chained Thunderbolt devices.

Only limitations I can see from the board itself that might prevent that from happening would be (1) the DC jack itself being incapable of carrying that amount of power (2) some power-limiting fuses being put in place to prevent it and/or (3) the DC input jack tracks being too small guage to reliably transmit that power.

3BxDQhFl.jpg

Above: AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box internal board supplied courtesy of arclord

The good news is if any of the above limits do apply, then using a pcie riser/extender with a 12V molex input can have an ATX PSU route the necessary power to drive the slot. That 12V molex input links to the 12V track that leads back to the daughterboard and can supply power for that board as well. So using the pcie riser/extender makes the DC input redundant.

I'm looking forward to hearing whether using a 80W or greater AC adapter does the job. Would be great it if did work. Then, given the dimensions of this enclosure, a mini ITX GTX670/GTX760 could fit right in. A Dell DA-2 220W AC adapter could be modified to power it all. The total solution being quite powerful, extremely compact and surprisingly affordable. The upcoming Maxwell GPUs then extending that GPU power capability further which likely too will see some mini-ITX cards.

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Good commentary. I'd like to recycle my old GTX670, but am not too keen on using an external PSU. Perhaps using a 750Ti or Mini 760 is a better idea... but using a large Dell external AC adapter would need modifying the DC input so that it can fit, right? Not sure my skills extend that far...

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Good commentary. I'd like to recycle my old GTX670, but am not too keen on using an external PSU. Perhaps using a 750Ti or Mini 760 is a better idea... but using a large Dell external AC adapter would need modifying the DC input so that it can fit, right? Not sure my skills extend that far...

True, it would require some cable modifications. Cable soldering is pretty easy and good way to learn how to handle the iron.

I have an idea of how to use the DA2 but that requires some soldering.

1. Cut DA2 male and change (solder) it to PCIe 6-pin male (of course combine the blue wire to one of the GND so it powers up when inserting the power cable).

m082l1p.png?1

2. Use a "y-splitter" 1x PCIe 6-pin female -> 2x PCIe 6-pin males (or 8-pin if you like)

cable-power-internal-cb-pwi-6p-6-8p2-yxxx-converter-6-pin-to-6-pin-or-8-pin-y-splitter-detail.jpg

3 a). Use a second y-splitter and modify (solder) one end to be 5.5/2.5mm barrel (center pin positive).

3 B). Or attach this 6-pin to 5.5/2.5mm adapter instead: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Graph...891322614.html

Gridseed-easy-font-b-power-b-font-font-b-cable-b-font-PCIE-female-font-b.jpg

4. Now we have 2 x PCIe 6pin males and one (or three) 5.5/2.5mm barrel connector.

But anyway, it is very possible to provide both the PCB and the GPU via Dell DA2, only question is if the AKITIO PCB is power limited to 25W or not?

In my profile "3d print enclosure" you can see that I did just that, modified the DA2 to more common power interface (red cabling).

Hope this was to any help =)

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That's great! Did you get the full TB2 bandwidth with you egpu?

Did some game testing and it worked marvelously. It managed my 3x 1080p 25" monitors plus the internal 3k display with no problem running watchdogs on bootcamp and LoL on mac.

Not sure how to test full tb bandwith tho.

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Just thinking out aloud about the AKiTiO's 12V/5A 60W DC adapter and am wondering why AKiTiO's spec says "PCIe (x16) slot provides a maximum of 25W".

In the annotated image below we can see below that the DC jack itself is on the mainboard which powers the slot. Power to the daughterboard is supplied by the yellow and black cables. The power draw there will be much less, hence the relatively small gauge wiring used. A pci-e 1.x card draw up to 75W, though it's questionable whether cards with additional pci-e power connectors do draw that much power from the slot.

In any case, if we wanted to work to spec we'd need at least an 80W AC adapter (12V/6.6A) to provider power. That's the 75W for the slot and an allowance of 5W for the daughterboard. Add an addition 10W is required per extra daisy-chained Thunderbolt devices.

Only limitations I can see from the board itself that might prevent that from happening would be (1) the DC jack itself being incapable of carrying that amount of power (2) some power-limiting fuses being put in place to prevent it and/or (3) the DC input jack tracks being too small guage to reliably transmit that power.

3BxDQhFl.jpg

Above: AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box internal board supplied courtesy of arclord

The good news is if any of the above limits do apply, then using a pcie riser/extender with a 12V molex input can have an ATX PSU route the necessary power to drive the slot. That 12V molex input links to the 12V track that leads back to the daughterboard and can supply power for that board as well. So using the pcie riser/extender makes the DC input redundant.

I'm looking forward to hearing whether using a 80W or greater AC adapter does the job. Would be great it if did work. Then, given the dimensions of this enclosure, a mini ITX GTX670/GTX760 could fit right in. A Dell DA-2 220W AC adapter could be modified to power it all. The total solution being quite powerful, extremely compact and surprisingly affordable. The upcoming Maxwell GPUs then extending that GPU power capability further which likely too will see some mini-ITX cards.

Had I gotten my 12V/10A power supply, I would be able to test the 25W limit on theThunder2 PCIe Box using the 750 Ti. Unfortunately, the power supply is still stuck somewhere in the mailing system.

The 5.5/2.1mm adapter to molex plug that I got also doesn't fit the Thunder2 PCIe Box. A 5.5/2.5mm adapter is required I think.

I am getting quite impatient and had ordered a PCIe extender with 12V molex plug a few days ago...

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I'm going to go through with this and buy a Thunder2. I would use Jacobsson's method to mod the DA-2 to power the pcie 6 and 8 pin power connectors on my GTX 770, and figure out some other way to power the slot, to allow some overhead for the 770's power consumption (I will probably bump up to an 880 when they are released).

Just to clarify for me, and others who find it difficult to extrapolate the best solution from this ever-changing meta:

1: Would the DA-2 paired with the 75ish W from the slot should provide enough power for the 770, and be future-proof enough to upgrade down the line? (highest I've seen for a 770 was 246W peak)

2: Would this setup have the same functionality as the Sonnet Echo Express Pro that Floppah used for his native OSX/W8.1 eGPU? (I'm using a late-2013 13" rMBP w/ 8/512/2.6GHz)

3: Is there anything else I should know about this? i.e. Teemo, did you have to pull any weird shenanigans to get this to work?

Sorry for bothering, as I'm sure there are posts here that explain this all in detail, but there is just so much to read.

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I'm going to go through with this and buy a Thunder2. I would use Jacobsson's method to mod the DA-2 to power the pcie 6 and 8 pin power connectors on my GTX 770, and figure out some other way to power the slot, to allow some overhead for the 770's power consumption (I will probably bump up to an 880 when they are released).

Just to clarify for me, and others who find it difficult to extrapolate the best solution from this ever-changing meta:

1: Would the DA-2 paired with the 75ish W from the slot should provide enough power for the 770, and be future-proof enough to upgrade down the line? (highest I've seen for a 770 was 246W peak)

2: Would this setup have the same functionality as the Sonnet Echo Express Pro that Floppah used for his native OSX/W8.1 eGPU? (I'm using a late-2013 13" rMBP w/ 8/512/2.6GHz)

3: Is there anything else I should know about this? i.e. Teemo, did you have to pull any weird shenanigans to get this to work?

Sorry for bothering, as I'm sure there are posts here that explain this all in detail, but there is just so much to read.

1. About power: Back up a bit to my last posts in this thread and you'll see that AKiTiO rate the slot for 25W max power, but supply a 60W (12V/5A) AC adapter. Though even if the 60W was fully usable it still falls short of the 75W specified for a pci-e 1.x slot power. Does your GTX770 draw up to 75W from the slot? Or does it draw a lot more from the 75W+150W pci-e connectors?

A number of interested users are working through figuring this out and (hopefully) will post their results. Until the only solution that would work 100% with your GTX770 would be a pci-e riser/extender with 12V molex input + ATX PSU rated above the 246W peak you mention. I say ATX PSU because a Dell DA-2 is rated at 220W. Saying that, a taobao listing claimed they can supply up to 240W. 240W would just about be enough to drive a stock-clocked GTX770.

2. This setup would have the same functionality as any of the the Sonnet single-slot products. It betters a Thunderbolt2 capable Sonnet Echo Express SEL by costing substantially less at US$200 which includes a Thunderbolt cable for free, as well as having a full x16 slot that can accomodate a dual-width card into it's 9.17" long chassis (eg: GTX750Ti, mini-ITX GTX670/GTX760).

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Following this thread with great interest!

Even if the power problem is solved, there will still be an issue with fitting the full size cards. Any thoughts on how to come around that? is it possible to cut up the enclosure to make room? Any reason to think that the 800 series will be smaller sized (why would they?).

Otherwise I'm thinking that you could possibly create your own outer enclosure that will allow the full length.

Figure that you'd draw up something with CAD and have someone mill it for you..

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@intelligence

There should be a chance fitting the pretty powerful GTX670 mini (17cm), even w/o modifications, in the closed enclosure. Drilling air holes on sides and top is unavoidable though to avoid overheating the card.

Also from my sign you can see that I made an 3D-printed enclosure for the exp gdc, work very good since it has a lot of air holes.

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@jacobsson Hehe, I saw your thread right after posting.

I really like your enclosure. but isn't a 3d printed case a bit brittle?

I'd like to try to and use aluminium, but maybe that's very expensive, compared.

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@arclord - do you know if the 2.5mm DC jack needs to be plugged in or can we simply power those boards directly into those yellow/black molex plugs???

I have my Akitio in front of me while I am trying to plan my soldering...

I'm using an 203w xbox 360 psu, as opposed to my old 150w jasper unit because I need to power the PCI-e riser. I get four yellow 12v wires, 4 grounds, one red and one blue for power safety switch. I'm planning on using two 12v to power the GPU 6 pins, one for the PCI-e riser and one for the boards. What do you think???

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@arclord - do you know if the 2.5mm DC jack needs to be plugged in or can we simply power those boards directly into those yellow/black molex plugs???

I have my Akitio in front of me while I am trying to plan my soldering...

I'm using an 203w xbox 360 psu, as opposed to my old 150w jasper unit because I need to power the PCI-e riser. I get four yellow 12v wires, 4 grounds, one red and one blue for power safety switch. I'm planning on using two 12v to power the GPU 6 pins, one for the PCI-e riser and one for the boards. What do you think???

I think you need to plug in the 2.5mm DC jack to provide power to the mainboard. The yellow/black molex plugs is for the mainboard to supply power to the thunderbolt daughterboard.

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