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

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Click >>> Summary of Thunderbolt eGPU implementations including AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box ones <<< 
 

AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box

Price? (inc Thunderbolt cable): US$189+shipping AKiTiO Thunder2 for DIY eGPU users from sales@akitio.com. Details in spoiler . . .

Spoiler

[Feb-2015] Price adjusted by AKiTiO to be US$189+shipping purchased via sales@akitio.com per detail

[Oct-2014] @Everyone, I've negotiated a special deal for our group. US$200/unit plus shipping AKiTiO Thunder2 purchased via sales@akitio.com

- Mention in your email that you are a DIY eGPU user

- This will be a very good deal for US buyers 

- Estimated shipping quotes for you for the following country but prices vary upon region within the country as well. 

Asia - $68.46 – $116.16
Europe - $61.75 - $109.68 

- Asian customers will have their shipped from AKiTiO's Taiwan office and that should lower the shipping costs quite a bit. 

- European customers will probably be better off getting theirs from a local AKiTiO resellers due to high duty and shipping costs. eg: €169 mag.de, €249 macway.com (fr)


US$216 Amazon-US, US$219 bhphotovideo-US , €169 mag.de, €249 macway.com (fr) 

akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-expansion-card.      akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-size_2101063609

 

Overview

AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Expansion Box

 

The portable Thunderbolt™ 2 PCIe expansion box provides an additional PCIe slot for systems that do not support or have enough available space for expansion cards. The external Thunderbolt 2 connection allows you to daisy-chain up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices, making this the ideal plug and play companion especially when you have to take your system with you. Replacing the card is a simple matter of removing three hand tightening screws, so no tools are required.


Specifications
 
Quote

Model No:    AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box

 

Part No:  T2PC-TIA-AKTU (without PCIe card)

 

Certifications:  CE, FCC, Thunderbolt™ technology

 

Case material: High quality aluminum with metal chassis


Application:

 

- 1 x PCIe card (see compatibility chart)

- Supports half-length, full-height and double-width cards

- PCIe (x16) slot provides a maximum of 25W

Interface/Ports

 

-2x Thunderbolt™ 2 ports

-1x internal PCIe (x16) slot with 4 lane PCI Express interface

 

Power supply

 

- External power adapter (UL, cUL, CE, FCC, BSMI, TUV approved)

- Input: AC 100-240V, 50Hz-60Hz

- Output: DC +12V/5A  (60W)

Fan noise level:  23 dB(A)


Dimensions (LxWxH):  9.17 inches x 5.87 inches x 2.99 inches (23.3cm x 14.9cm x 7.6cm)

 

Package contents

 

- AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box

- Thunderbolt_cable

- Power adapter

- Setup guide

 

INFO: Opening the AKiTiO Thunder2 right side chassis to allow unlimited length cards to fit  see  here and here

INFO: Creating barrel to molex plug to allow ATX PSU to power the Thunder2  explained here  and  here

INFO: using a 120W AC adapter with PCIe power see  http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/8848-%24299-owc-mercury-helios-16gbps-tb2-discussion.html#post121898 for board modifications needed

 

INFO: using low profile PCIe power connectors to allow AKiTiO outer cover to slider over ITX-sized video card  explained here

INFO: 75W can be safely passed to the slot with an upgraded power supply explained here and here

INFO: Shortest video cards 

 

- looking for a card to fit into the 217mm wide Thunder2 chassis? Consider these:


GTX970  some of these are compared at  NVidia Maxwell 2 cards - [H]ard|Forum 


170mm (6.70") 1228Mhz Asus Mini-ITX GTX 970 (GTX970-DCMOC-4GD5), fits but too tall for cover to slide over: details
172mm 1178Mhz Inno3D GTX970 4GB - would fit perfectly!

183mm (7.20") 1216Mhz Gigabyte Mini-ITX GTX 970 (GV-N970IXOC-4GD), fits but too tall for cover to slide over:details
193mm (7.60") 1266Mhz Galax GTX 970 OC 4GB (97NPH6DT8RVZ)
204mm (8.03") 1216Mhz Zotac GTX970 (ZT-90101-10P)   With fan shround removed, it fits the AKiTiO box | US$330@Amazon
205mm (8.07") 1228Mhz ELSA GTX970 (GD970-4GERX) 
206mm (8.10") 1216Mhz Leadtek WinFast GTX 970 HURRICANE
215mm (8.46") 1228Mhz Inno3D GTX970 HerculeZ X2 OC (N97V-1SDN-M5DSX) | could be shortened? | fan arrangement

GTX670/760

170mm (6.70") 1006Mhz ASUS GTX 670 DC Mini (GTX670-DCMOC-2GD5)
206mm (8.11") 1176Mhz Leadtek WinFast GTX 760 Dual Fan OC
178mm (7.01") 1137Mhz HV GTX 760 OverClock Edition MINI
173mm (6.81") 1124Mhz ZOTAC GTX 760 OC Dual King
183mm (7.20") 1084Mhz KFA2 GTX 760 EX OC V2
170mm (6.70") 1072Mhz ASUS GTX 760 DC Mini (GTX760-DCMOC-2GD5)
193mm (7.60") 1084Mhz Galaxy GTX 760 Mini
202mm (7.95") 1058Mhz Inno3D GTX 760 HerculeZ 2000s
170mm (6.70") 1033Mhz MSI GTX 760 DC Mini (N760 2GD5/OC ITX)

R9 285

207mm (8.16") 945Mhz PowerColor TurboDuo R9 285 OC
207mm (8.16") 945Mhz VTX3D R9 285 X-Edition
171mm (6.73") 928Mhz SAPPHIRE R9 285 2GB GDDR5 ITX COMPACT OC Edition (11235-06)

R9 270X

170mm (6.70") 1030Mhz R9 270X GAMING 2G ITX 

Internals Photos 

contributed by Thunder2 owners in this thread

 





Acknowledgement 

 

to @trollinteemo for bringing this eGPU enclosure to the attention of the eGPU community with the quoted text below:

 

Quote

In case you guys wanted to know

 this 

 

is coming out soon. It stands to get TB2 at practically the same price as the

 Firmtek Thundertek

.

 

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Although the device is advertised as Thunderbolt 2, the specs indicate that the device is limited to only 5Gbps, which is only have the performance of Thunderbolt 1. So I think you're better off bying a Sonnet Echo Express with e BPlus adapter or something similar.
The advertising is correct - "PCI Express 2.0 compliant interface at 5.0Gbps" refers to a Gen2 single lane. The Akitio device is truly a Thunderbolt 2 product. B&H listing it at US$201, REF: Akitio THUNDER2PCIe BOX AK-T2PC-TIA B&H Photo Video . Meaning it price matches the US$199 Firmtek Thundertek Thunderbolt enclosure for value but gives Thunderbolt2 performance when attached to Thunderbolt2 notebooks. That makes it the best value Thunderbolt enclosure that can be adapted for eGPU use.

Ah, ok. I misinterpreted that. Sorry for the confusion! :)

That makes it a very interesting product then, indeed. I'm going to keep that on my watchlist.

EDIT: And what about the powersupply? :/

The PCIe (x16) slot accepts half-length, full-height, double-width cards and provides a maximum of 25W.

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arclord    28
Ah, ok. I misinterpreted that. Sorry for the confusion! :)

That makes it a very interesting product then, indeed. I'm going to keep that on my watchlist.

EDIT: And what about the powersupply? :/

Let's hope that the 25W power limit can be overcome by changing the supply adapter to another with higher A.

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arclord    28
The advertising is correct - "PCI Express 2.0 compliant interface at 5.0Gbps" refers to a Gen2 single lane. The Akitio device is truly a Thunderbolt 2 product. B&H listing it at US$201, REF: Akitio THUNDER2PCIe BOX AK-T2PC-TIA B&H Photo Video . Meaning it price matches the US$199 Firmtek Thundertek Thunderbolt enclosure for value but gives Thunderbolt2 performance when attached to Thunderbolt2 notebooks. That makes it the best value Thunderbolt enclosure that can be adapted for eGPU use.

Do you think the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box can supply the 75W needed by the graphics card? The specs stated a maximum of 25W.

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Do you think the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box can supply the 75W needed by the graphics card? The specs stated a maximum of 25W.

It says maximum 25W, yet provides a 12V/5A DC PSU (60W). Is it fused? Go figure. "Supports half-length, full-height and double-width cards" makes me wonder, can it support a full length card without the chassis lid on? It does have a x16 slot.

If not, then other than for GTX750Ti or mini ITX GTX670/760 you'd be using a PCIe riser to extend outside the chassis to get a full length card to work. A splitter with a 12V molex lead on it would solve the slot power issue. Sintech.cn makes some pretty good PCIe extenders: Sintech PCI-e express 16X Riser Extender cable | eBay

<A HREF="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=Sintech+PCI-e+express+16X+Riser+Extender+-1x+-15cm+-15cms&_sacat=0">$_12.JPG</A> $_12.JPG

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arclord    28
It says maximum 25W, yet provides a 12V/5A DC PSU (60W). Is it fused? Go figure. "Supports half-length, full-height and double-width cards" makes me wonder, can it support a full length card without the chassis lid on? It does have a x16 slot.

If not, then other than for GTX750Ti or mini ITX GTX670/760 you'd be using a PCIe riser to extend outside the chassis to get a full length card to work. A splitter with a 12V molex lead on it would solve the slot power issue. Sintech.cn makes some pretty good PCIe extenders: Sintech PCI-e express 16X Riser Extender cable | eBay

I have placed an order for the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box. It will take a while before I get it since it is going through a forwarder.

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arclord    28

I received a notice saying that the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box has been shipped from the supplier so stocks are already available.

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dj_khalsa    15
The Firmtek Thundertek will double bandwidth. This will certainly improve performance as can be seen at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/3062-%5Bguide%5D-2012-13-mbp-gtx660ti-hd7870%40x2-2-th05.html#post42483 . However, I recommend you consider the Akitio adapter for the same price instead: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6858-%5Bguide%5D-14-asus-g46vw-gtx670%4010gbps-tb1-thundertek-3d-enclosure-5.html#post98210 . It has a TB2 chip on it. Meaning, you'd have the option of upgrading from your 2012 MBA to a 2013 13/15" rMBP to increase bandwidth again from 10Gbps to 16Gbps.

Thanks a lot for the valuable suggestion. Definately a no-brainer since the bandwidth is (somewhat) futureproof. However in the description of the item, it clearly mentions 2 things:

1. Does NOT support graphic cards

2. This Thunderbolt product is NOT compatible with Apple's Boot Camp.

Does this mean that it does not "officially" support OR some hack is required to make it into eGPU host?

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dj_khalsa    15
I received a notice saying that the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box has been shipped from the supplier so stocks are already available.

Do let us know your experiences when you get it :)

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Thanks a lot for the valuable suggestion. Definately a no-brainer since the bandwidth is (somewhat) futureproof. However in the description of the item, it clearly mentions 2 things:

1. Does NOT support graphic cards

2. This Thunderbolt product is NOT compatible with Apple's Boot Camp.

Does this mean that it does not "officially" support OR some hack is required to make it into eGPU host?

This means they are not going to help you to get it going. It doesn't mean it's technically not capable of being used for an eGPU. We've got plenty of examples of TB enclosures being more than capable of hosting an eGPU: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-thunderbolt-expresscard-mpcie-egpus.html#Thunderbolt . Most of those are not plug'n'play. It means they are towing the Intel line of "not supported for video cards".

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dj_khalsa    15
This means they are not going to help you to get it going. It doesn't mean it's technically not capable of being used for an eGPU. We've got plenty of examples of TB enclosures being more than capable of hosting an eGPU: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-thunderbolt-expresscard-mpcie-egpus.html#Thunderbolt . Most of those are not plug'n'play. It means they are towing the Intel line of "not supported for video cards".

Ok Then, I dont think its ever tested by the community, so I am going to purchase and test out myself :)

One more Q - Being a TB2 technology, will this work for TB1? Meaning my MBA will max out the thunderbolt bandwidth it has?

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Sachin10    17
It says maximum 25W, yet provides a 12V/5A DC PSU (60W). Is it fused? Go figure. "Supports half-length, full-height and double-width cards" makes me wonder, can it support a full length card without the chassis lid on? It does have a x16 slot.

If not, then other than for GTX750Ti or mini ITX GTX670/760 you'd be using a PCIe riser to extend outside the chassis to get a full length card to work. A splitter with a 12V molex lead on it would solve the slot power issue. Sintech.cn makes some pretty good PCIe extenders: Sintech PCI-e express 16X Riser Extender cable | eBay

Looks like a fantastic products but I'm afraid that even a GTX 750 Ti will not fit (length should be good but height is probably a problem because of the PCIe power cable that you need to add).

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arclord    28
Looks like a fantastic products but I'm afraid that even a GTX 750 Ti will not fit (length should be good but height is probably a problem because of the PCIe power cable that you need to add).

Most of the GTX 750 Ti cards do not require additional power from the PCIe power cable.

- - - Updated - - -

The advertising is correct - "PCI Express 2.0 compliant interface at 5.0Gbps" refers to a Gen2 single lane. The Akitio device is truly a Thunderbolt 2 product. B&H listing it at US$201, REF: Akitio THUNDER2PCIe BOX AK-T2PC-TIA B&H Photo Video . Meaning it price matches the US$199 Firmtek Thundertek Thunderbolt enclosure for value but gives Thunderbolt2 performance when attached to Thunderbolt2 notebooks. That makes it the best value Thunderbolt enclosure that can be adapted for eGPU use.

The MSRP for the Thunder2 PCIe Box is $269.99. It comes with a thunderbolt cable though.

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Sachin10    17
Most of the GTX 750 Ti cards do not require additional power from the PCIe power cable.

Yes but the GTX 750 Ti normaly needs 75 Watt from the PCIe slot. But this device has apperently only a 60 Watt PSU to power the Thunderbolt hardware and the PCIe slot. Time will telll I guess. But even if you add a PCIe extender cable with molex connector for power you propably would still be able to fit a low profile GTX 750 Ti inside the chasis.

Galaxy’s GTX 750 Ti GC Slim (low profile)

post-25391-14494997957504_thumb.jpeg

PCIe Express x16 Riser Card Flexible Extender Cable w/Molex Connector (example)

post-25391-14494997957655_thumb.jpg

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I am wondering why does PCIe slot in the card requires power? The graphics card itself is powered by 6/8 pins from the PSU, but I have seen 16x risers with Molex power too!

According to the specs of the Akitio Thunder2PCIe Box, the slot only provides 25Watt of power. A normal PCIe slot, on say a traditional motherboard with CPU, delivers 75watt of base power. So to fully power a GFX card in the Akitio, an additional power source should be connected to the PCIe slot: the molex connector. I doubt that delivering that extra 50 watt through the 6pin and 8pin connectors instead of the molex will work.

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dj_khalsa    15
According to the specs of the Akitio Thunder2PCIe Box, the slot only provides 25Watt of power. A normal PCIe slot, on say a traditional motherboard with CPU, delivers 75watt of base power. So to fully power a GFX card in the Akitio, an additional power source should be connected to the PCIe slot: the molex connector. I doubt that delivering that extra 50 watt through the 6pin and 8pin connectors instead of the molex will work.

My GPU (GTX 680) requires ~ 250 W. I am not talking about the power it gets via 6/8 pins from the PSU. I am talking about the power required at the base (PCIe Slot of the card). Implementing eGPU with PE4L did not have such requirements. For it, I just powered the PE4L board (does that provided the power to PCIe slots of the GPU?)

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JWalk325    10

Been following this thread and am very interested to see this used for an eGPU. In case people are interested it's listed on Amazon for $199.

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Sachin10    17
Been following this thread and am very interested to see this used for an eGPU. In case people are interested it's listed on Amazon for $199.

Yes I also found it om Amazon America (link) but I couldn’t find this product on the website of the different European approved stores. So I've send them an email to know when the Akitio Thunder2 be available in Europe. Hopefully the price will be acceptable because Sonnet for instance asks 40% more for their products in Europe (maybe it is because of higher VAT and import taxes).

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JWalk325    10
Yes I also found it om Amazon America but I couldn’t find this product on the website of the different European approved stores. So I've send them an email to know when the Akitio Thunder2 be available in Europe. Hopefully the price will be acceptable because Sonnet for instance asks 40% more for their products in Europe (maybe it is because of higher VAT and import taxes).

I've ordered something off of the UK amazon store without issue before and I'm in the US. If I remember correctly, they charged me more for shipping. The negative was if I needed a return or exchange, that money would come out of my pocket and be rather expensive. I don't know if it works both ways, but could be an option for you.

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arclord    28
Yes but the GTX 750 Ti normaly needs 75 Watt from the PCIe slot. But this device has apperently only a 60 Watt PSU to power the Thunderbolt hardware and the PCIe slot. Time will telll I guess. But even if you add a PCIe extender cable with molex connector for power you propably would still be able to fit a low profile GTX 750 Ti inside the chasis.

I am hoping that a change to a DC 12V/7A (84W) power adapter would work. Will it damage the Thunder2 PCIe Box? I don't know...

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JWalk325    10
Yes but the GTX 750 Ti normaly needs 75 Watt from the PCIe slot. But this device has apperently only a 60 Watt PSU to power the Thunderbolt hardware and the PCIe slot. Time will telll I guess. But even if you add a PCIe extender cable with molex connector for power you propably would still be able to fit a low profile GTX 750 Ti inside the chasis.

I'd actually be interested in seeing how easily you could remove the board from the chassis and put it into a small ITX case that would support a full size ATX PSU and most modern GPUs. And it would also look a lot cleaner than leaving it lying around. I was considering this ITX case. It fits full-size graphics cards up to 343mm/13.5 inches in length and has a nice cooling system. Wondering if maybe the power button can be wired to the PSU, but if not could just use the paperclip method and use a PSU with a switch. It's also nice to see there is a dedicated grommet for wiring. For $45 bucks seems like a nice way to clean up a setup.

post-27990-14494997958814_thumb.jpg

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Sachin10    17
I'd actually be interested in seeing how easily you could remove the board from the chassis and put it into a small ITX case that would support a full size ATX PSU and most modern GPUs.

Yes but most Mini-ITX cases that fit a full size PSU & GPU are very big compared to the only compontents that you need (PSU, GPU & Thunderbolt board). So a custom enclosure that fits on our desk would be much nicer. Example:

post-25391-14494997959582_thumb.jpg

Source: MSI/SilverStone eGPU prototype (estimated at $250) at Computex 2013

post-25391-14494997959793_thumb.jpg

Source: The MSI GUS II eGPU prototype (max. 150 Watt) 2012

Personly I like the SilverStone FT03 mini case but it is limited to a 10"/ 25,4 cm GPU (max. GeForce 760 or older GeForce 680). Let's hope the GeForce 800 series (Maxwell) will be shorter.

post-25391-1449499796011_thumb.jpg

Source: SilverStone FT03 mini

post-25391-1449499795995_thumb.jpg

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JWalk325    10
Yes but most Mini-ITX cases that fit a full size PSU & GPU are very big compared to the only compontents that you need (PSU, GPU & Thunderbolt board). So a custom enclosure that fits on our desk would be much nicer.

I definitely agree an official solution would be most beneficial. It's unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be a lot concrete information that we should expect any of these any time soon. I like the SilverStone FT03 solution, however, the price point is far beyond the $45 for the other ITX case. I am looking for something at the bare minimum price and an ITX case like I showed seems like a better solution than just having the components lying around in my specific case. Plus the case comes with 2 fans installed which is a great addition.

AKiTiO ($199) + 16x Powered Riser (~$10) + PSU (~$30) + ITX Case ($45) = ~$284 USD for a Thunderbolt 2 eGPU setup with enclosure (minus the GPU of course) seems like a phenomenal deal for those on a budget.

If I can get some solid confirmation the AKiTiO is functionally sound for eGPUs at that price, I will be doing this next month. Second option is the ThunderTek chassis, but since I have Thunderbolt2 support, it'd be great to make use of that.

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Sachin10    17
I've ordered something off of the UK amazon store without issue before and I'm in the US. If I remember correctly, they charged me more for shipping. The negative was if I needed a return or exchange, that money would come out of my pocket and be rather expensive. I don't know if it works both ways, but could be an option for you.

Amazon US doesn't accept an European address. Akitio forwarded my message to their European distributor MAG GmbH. But they haven't even received a demo unit and have no idea when the product will be available in Europe.

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JWalk325    10
Amazon US doesn't accept an European address. Akitio forwarded my message to their European distributor MAG GmbH. But they haven't even received a demo unit and have no idea when the product will be available in Europe.

I just checked it out as well and I see that only certain items are available to ship internationally. Unfortunately the AKiTiO is not one of them.

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