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US$314 Sonnet Echo Express SEL (16Gbps-TB2)

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Click >>> Summary of Thunderbolt eGPU implementations including Sonnet Echo Express SEL ones <<< 
 

NOTE: this product has two limitations preventing direct eGPU use. (1) it has a x8 pcie slot (2) there is 60W, rather than 75W per PCIe 1.1's 75W slot power limitation in this product. Both those limits can be be overcome by using it without enclosure via a powered x8-to-x16 PCIe riser.http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosu...6gbps-tb2.html doesn't have the first limitation AND costs less so is recommended over the Sonnet SEL for eGPU use.

 

Sonnet Echo Express SEL

Price? (inc Thunderbolt cable): US$314 bhphotovideo-US

Sonnet_Echo_Express_SEL.jpg Sonnet_Echo_Express_SEL_1.jpg Sonnet_Echo_Express_SEL_2.jpg

 

Quote
Form Factor: Desktop

External Connectors: 2 x Thunderbolt, Power

Expansion Slot: One x8 mechanical (x4 electrical) PCIe 2.0

Supported PCIe Cards: 1 x low-profile PCIe card (sold separately)

Power Supply: Universal 60W, 100 to 240 VAC, 50 to 60 Hz

Operating Temperature: 32 to 95°F (0 to 35°C)

Compatibility:

- Mac with a Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt port, OS X 10.8.5+

- Any PC with a Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt port Windows 8, 7

(Windows requires a Thunderbolt 2 interface in the computer and in the expansion chassis to support more than 2 PCIe controllers.)

Dimensions: (W x H x D) 4.00 x 2.82 x 8.42" (10.16 x 7.16 x 21.39 cm)

Weight: 1.7 lb (3.4 kg)

In the box: 60W power Adapter, Power Cord, Thunderbolt Cable, Limited 1-Year Warranty

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RE: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/6689-%5Bguide%5D-2013-15-macbook-pro-gtx780ti%4016gbps-tb2-sonnet-echo-express-iii-d-win8.html#post91182

Hi Squinks,

I attempted to follow your advice and get a Sonnet Echo SEL. an EVGA GTX 780 and an Antech PV550 PSU with a riser cable between the SEL and the GTX. It didn't work, so more research indicated that I needed to install EGPU software as my 2012 MBP Retina doesn't support plug and play. Still nothing is detected. Then I found that the Sonney Echo doesn't support PCI Reset Delay somehow, and powers the card the moment it is plugged into Thunderbolt. So there was a cable wiring guide supplied by Arise:

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-guides/4570-%5Bguide%5D-2012-13-macbook-pro-retina-gtx660%4010gbps-tb1-sonnet-ee-se-win7-8-a-3.html

I took the plunge and soldered an ATX cable to the PCIe cable to prevent the Sonnet card slot from prematurely powering it so it relies entirely on the PSU for power. I've followed various sequences of turning things on and no luck yet. I wondered if you have any advice or if you had to do any of the soldering mentioned for the PCI Reset Delay since you didn't mention it in your guide to the III-D. Your article inspired me and probably many others to try this finally, and I hope I can figure out what troubles my config has to help avoid this pain for others. Also I want to see my computer go fast!

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RE: http://forum.techinferno.com/implementation-guides/6689-%5Bguide%5D-2013-15-macbook-pro-gtx780ti%4016gbps-tb2-sonnet-echo-express-iii-d-win8.html#post91182

Hi Squinks,

I attempted to follow your advice and get a Sonnet Echo SEL. an EVGA GTX 780 and an Antech PV550 PSU with a riser cable between the SEL and the GTX. It didn't work, so more research indicated that I needed to install EGPU software as my 2012 MBP Retina doesn't support plug and play. Still nothing is detected. Then I found that the Sonney Echo doesn't support PCI Reset Delay somehow, and powers the card the moment it is plugged into Thunderbolt. So there was a cable wiring guide supplied by Arise:

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-guides/4570-%5Bguide%5D-2012-13-macbook-pro-retina-gtx660%4010gbps-tb1-sonnet-ee-se-win7-8-a-3.html

I took the plunge and soldered an ATX cable to the PCIe cable to prevent the Sonnet card slot from prematurely powering it so it relies entirely on the PSU for power. I've followed various sequences of turning things on and no luck yet. I wondered if you have any advice or if you had to do any of the soldering mentioned for the PCI Reset Delay since you didn't mention it in your guide to the III-D. Your article inspired me and probably many others to try this finally, and I hope I can figure out what troubles my config has to help avoid this pain for others. Also I want to see my computer go fast!

squinks did a UEFI Win8.1 installation, which is completely plug and plug. There the Apple firmware can boot and function with the eGPU powered on.

It's only when a MBR Win7/8 installation is made that the Apple firmware will not tolerate the eGPU, eg: 2012 cMBP and 2013 15" rMBP sees the eGPU and the machine will switch off. The fix there was to implement a PCI Reset Delay circuit.

So then for your system the plan to get a working eGPU is either (1) do a UEFI Win8.x installation or (2) do a MBR Win7/8.x installation BUT with a PCIe Reset Delay circuit. (1) Has also been used as a workaround to eradicate error 12 issues. You may want to try (1) if you are having difficulties with (2).

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Hello guys, after reading up and understanding as much as I can on this project, I've decided to bite the bullet and build myself an eGPU! I have a few questions though.

- I am aware that since I have the rMBP with dedicated graphics (750M), I cannot enable Optimus at all, and I'll need an external monitor. However, can I confirm that I can get around this by dragging the game window from the external monitor to my internal screen?

- Sometimes, I am also using one of the Thunderbolt ports to connect to the Internet via an adaptor. Will the performance of either the eGPU and/or the Gigabit adapter be affected if I use them simultaneously? How much more so if I decide to use a Thunderbolt Dock instead of the Gigabit adapter?

Here is a list of what I have at the moment:

- Sonnet Echo Express SEL

- MSI GTX 780Ti Gaming

- Corsair VS650 ATX PSU (650W)

- x8 to x16 PCIe Riser Cable

- 24 Pin ATX Bridging Plug

- 2m Apple Thunderbolt Cable

- 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Late 2013) with GT 750M Dedicated Graphics

- OS X 10.9.3 and Windows 8.1

- Am I missing something from the list? Also, can I confirm that the SEL does indeed work? I haven't heard of anyone using it for an eGPU, just SE II and SE III-D.

- Also, for PnP, I need to have the EFI version of Windows installed, right? How would I know which version I have installed?

- I also know that to get this working for OS X I will need to fiddle with some .kexts as well, but I'm going to use the Yosemite beta as well. Has anyone here successfully got an eGPU working with Yosemite?

That's all the questions I have at the moment, I'm waiting for the Sonnet to arrive (since it's been annoying to buy one here in the UK), so hopefully with almost £900 (:23_002:) spent so far I'll be joining the eGPU club!

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Your setup should work. I have the SEL + 780 Ti. For PnP, you will need a standard bootcamp install of Windows 8.1

See this post (The setup is for the III-D but pretend it's the SEL):

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6689-%5Bguide%5D-2013-15-macbook-pro-gtx780ti%4016gbps-tb2-sonnet-echo-express-iii-d-win8.html#post91182

And if you're curious, I just posted a first ever, SLI setup:

http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/7326-sli-success-2x-780ti-2x-sonnet-sel-macbook-pro-%4032gbps-tb2-2x-16gbps.html#post100318

For OSX, yes, you would see need modified kext files. See the OSX86 community for those answers

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Thanks squinks, I did manage to get this working in Windows 8.1, and I was getting over 9,000 in Fire Strike! Unfortunately, I've come across a couple of problems:

- When playing games like The Witcher or even LoL, my screen just froze and made a buzzing noise, I looked it up and it might have something to do with myself having a low-end PSU (considering upgrading to a Corsair RM550 or above, as I'm planning to use the second Thunderbolt port as an external HDD)

- This eGPU, unfortunately, did not work in Yosemite, so I'm trying to get this work on Mavericks, however, I couldn't get it to work at all! I'll be posting it on the OS X thread though. A search on Google shows that the 780 Ti has been known to have problems with Mavericks in the past, because it uses the GK110B chip. I wonder if this is still the case!

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Hello guys, I have managed to get an eGPU working... most of the time.

However, my computer crashes sometimes. When I do something that's graphically intensive, such as playing games, my computer will just freeze and shut down.

On Mavericks, the computer freezes on a frame, the sound stutters for a second and then the computer goes into a kernel panic. (Annoying when in the middle of a teamfight in LoL.)

On Windows, the computer freezes on a frame, and the sound stutters for a second and then the screen goes black. I have to force restart the computer (i.e. hold the power switch for 5-6 seconds).

I originally had an MSI GTX 780 Ti OC Gaming card, and a Corsair VS650. I originally thought that these were the culprits of this problem, either a defective card or a low-quality PSU. With this setup, I couldn't run FurMark on Windows for 10 minutes before the computer crashes.

Now that I have an EVGA 780 Ti SC with ACX cooler and a Seasonic M12II EVO, I can run the 15-minute FurMark Burn-in Benchmark with no problems, even on a "warm" start.

Temperatures wise, the hottest my card got during FurMark was 65ºC. It got up to 79ºC inside a case, but it still crashes without a case. I ran Unigine Valley on Mavericks, too. It was running at around 60-70 FPS then for some reason dropped to 25-30 FPS and crashed the computer when trying to change settings.

This is my current eGPU setup at the moment:

- Late 2013 15" MacBook Pro Retina with 750M dGPU.

- EVGA GTX 780 Ti SC with ACX Cooler

- Sonnet Echo Express SEL

- Seasonic M12II EVO 620W Fully Modular

- x8 to x16 flexible riser

- Supermicro RSC-R1UG-E16R-X9 right-angle riser (so it fits flush with my mini-ATX case) Even without this riser, the computer still crashes.

I don't know what's wrong with this now, and any help will be appreciated.

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Hello guys, I have managed to get an eGPU working... most of the time.

However, my computer crashes sometimes. When I do something that's graphically intensive, such as playing games, my computer will just freeze and shut down.

On Mavericks, the computer freezes on a frame, the sound stutters for a second and then the computer goes into a kernel panic. (Annoying when in the middle of a teamfight in LoL.)

On Windows, the computer freezes on a frame, and the sound stutters for a second and then the screen goes black. I have to force restart the computer (i.e. hold the power switch for 5-6 seconds).

I originally had an MSI GTX 780 Ti OC Gaming card, and a Corsair VS650. I originally thought that these were the culprits of this problem, either a defective card or a low-quality PSU. With this setup, I couldn't run FurMark on Windows for 10 minutes before the computer crashes.

Now that I have an EVGA 780 Ti SC with ACX cooler and a Seasonic M12II EVO, I can run the 15-minute FurMark Burn-in Benchmark with no problems, even on a "warm" start.

Temperatures wise, the hottest my card got during FurMark was 65ºC. It got up to 79ºC inside a case, but it still crashes without a case. I ran Unigine Valley on Mavericks, too. It was running at around 60-70 FPS then for some reason dropped to 25-30 FPS and crashed the computer when trying to change settings.

This is my current eGPU setup at the moment:

- Late 2013 15" MacBook Pro Retina with 750M dGPU.

- EVGA GTX 780 Ti SC with ACX Cooler

- Sonnet Echo Express SEL

- Seasonic M12II EVO 620W Fully Modular

- x8 to x16 flexible riser

- Supermicro RSC-R1UG-E16R-X9 right-angle riser (so it fits flush with my mini-ATX case) Even without this riser, the computer still crashes.

I don't know what's wrong with this now, and any help will be appreciated.

Do you think the Mac's hardware is getting tricked that temperature is too high and that's why the system shuts down? I had that experience too in my previous GPU 660, 760. Every 2 or 3 set of Steam DOTA 2 games in OS X, my Mini will just freeze and shut down. I have a CX750M PSU. After I updated to GTX 770 4GB Classified, I didn't got those kernel panic. I don't know what's really going on.

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Can u open a tool like MSI Afterburner or EVGAs Precision X and monitor the % of power the card is pulling of? Maybe the Sonnet box can't provide enough and your card is crashing because it needs more juice. Might also relate to the load (1.) of the card and the chips need more power the hotter (2.) they get.

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Thank you for all your replies, sorry I have been busy today! I moved houses so I will be without my eGPU as I am away for just over two weeks.

I was also wondering if the riser cable is the problem, since it is unpowered.

I assumed that it was fine seeing as according to specifications, the SEL is powered by a 60W adaptor, and the adaptor itself is powering other things as well, such as lights and the fan (which I've also disconnected and the computer still crashes). From what I've heard, 75W is needed to fully power a PCIe slot.

I know that the PSU is providing additional power to the GPU, and both 6 pin and 8 pin cables are connected, however, the 780 Ti is known for coming very close to the power limit of these PCIe power cables and the slot (300W as far as I know)

So by using a powered x8 to x16 riser, will I solve this problem? What I'm concerned about as well is the possibility of frying the GPU and/or the SEL (which will make this an £800 mistake) because it will draw too much power and overcome the circuitry. How many people have successfully used a powered riser for their eGPU?

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Can you put an extra cooling fan directly to your SEL? This is what I am going to try next. I noticed

one time after a couple steam game my AkiTio case feel so warm. Could this be one of the reason where

the board overheats?

BTW I didn't use a riser with test above.

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That's what I did at one point when placing the eGPU in a mini-ITX case (Cooler Master Elite 120). The Sunon Fan that came with the SEL died, so I hooked it up to a more powerful fan. However, the computer lagged and then crashed when I tried to run Sky Diver (Not even Fire Strike). I unplugged the fan and for some reason it worked.

I also have fans running inside the case, pushing air into both the backside of the GPU and the circuit board of the SEL. I was considering water cooling the GPU at one point if temperatures were an issue!

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An update:

I recently received a EVGA GTX750Ti to test with my Sonnet SEL. Like with most 750Tis, this card is only powered through the PCIe slot and is a compact solution.

As posted by zuwow, there is the "bug" of the black screen at boot. When I turned on the MBP, the EFI loaded up fine, but as soon as Windows booted I got a black screen. I used zuwow's trick to get it working. Just had to plug it the Thunderbolt cable just as Windows was booting, and it was detected in Windows, allowing for driver installation.

Unfortunately this EVGA 750Ti was defective, as it produced a weird scratching sound coming from its motherboard as soon as any graphics were displayed. I returned the card, and the the PC store staff asked whether I wanted to switch to another brand. I thought that I might give the ASUS version a try. This is the single fan, basic non-OC version of the card, which also does NOT require auxiliary power (internally powered), model number GTX750Ti-PH-2GD5.

This time, however, I cannot get the card detected in Windows under any circumstances. Plug and play does not work as with the EVGA, and the plug in at boot trick doesn't seem to work. The card spins up fine, but it either gives me a black screen at boot if I leave it plugged in, or it is never detected when I try other methods.

Does anybody have any experience with ASUS 750Ti cards? This is really getting annoying. I should have stuck with EVGA! It seems like perhaps some PCI adjustment commands might make a difference in the EFI Shell, but I'm not sure what to do...

Edit:

I seem to have gotten it to work. Still need to do a startup trick by plugging in the Thunderbolt cable at boot approximately at the same time as Windows boots. It works fine after that and is a mostly compact setup.

Only problem I have now is that the Sonnet SEL might be slightly defective. When any graphics are shown, the SEL board makes a strange sound. Looks like the sound I heard previously with EVGA came from the SEL, not the GPU. Hope this doesn't reduce the lifespan of the SEL or doesn't mean it's going to break soon...

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I'm working towards nearly the exact same setup as you (including a 3d printed enclosure), so this post has been very helpful. What would you use in place of your power routing/GPU stand set-up that you gutted from your EXP GDC V6?

Also, is there any reason to go with the Thundertek PCB over an Akitio Thunder2, besides the very minor price difference? It'd be nice to have TB2 ready for future upgrades.

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After a long and lengthy wait, my x8 to x16 powered riser has arrived!

I can run the Furmark Stress Test without problems, just like the last. During the stress test, I noticed that the card's power is going from 99.7-100.2%. Is that normal for a stress test?

I will have to use this set up intensively for a few days before I give this the all clear.

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After a long and lengthy wait, my x8 to x16 powered riser has arrived!

Good to know! I think cheap riser and especially the one with thin cables are not good. Sometimes it can help to isolate the flat riser cables with aluminum foil to reduce electro magnetic interference.

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Yeah, I looked hard to find a powered riser cable with two capacitors on either side of the card.

My eGPU still crashed though, but that's because I've nudged my eGPU and the Sonnet got unplugged, so I'm not going to count that!

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You need a powered riser, if the SEL is only 60W then its not even close to the max 75W for pcieslot power. I just bought a Akitio and i had to grab one too. Hopefully the dang thing shows up.

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I still have this problem even with a powered riser

I'm using a gigabyte 770 with the akitio box

The only time I manage not to crash is when I lower gpu power to 95% and reduce clocks by 100mhz core and memory, as well as reduce my CPU power from 100 to 99% in the windows power options

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That's strange. In theory, that should've provided enough power. Is your 770 factory overclocked? Do you have access to either another desktop computer or GPU? I have a feeling that you might have a defective card.

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Okay guys, here is an update:

It was going well for a few days, and I thought that having a powered riser would've sorted it. However, I was running Unigine Valley for an hour under Windows and it crashed yet again. I don't know what to do with this anymore :(

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I've had this issue running a 290x, sound stutter, black screen. I was unable to get it to run, I ended up switching to a different card, but I always suspected power issues from pcie rail. Does your riser have auxiliary power input? If not, I suggest getting one with a molex connector, and run it that way. Also, make sure that the 6 Pin and 8 Pin power connectors are not piggy backed from the same line.

I had a similar setup, 2013 Macbook (no 750M), Sonnet Echo Express Sel, EVGA 780 ACX SC (non-ti), and had zero issues. The 780 TI uses 90Watt more under full load.

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Yeah, my riser has a powered input via a molex connector. Doesn't crash under Furmark, crashes under Unigine Valley, and now a couple of games too.

I now think it's because that I have an overclocked 780 Ti that possibly exceeds the 300W limit that it theoretically can take (PCIe slot 75W + 6-pin PCIe 75W + 8-pin PCIe 150W).

I'm now seriously considering purchasing a reference GTX 980 and seeing how that goes. Apparently it draws less than 180W on peak load, far lower than the 225W theoretical maximum that the card can provide (2 x 6-pin 75W + PCIe slot 75W).

EDIT: Ahh that might be why my eGPU is crashing? Is it because I have both the 6 pin and 8 pin PCIe connector coming from the same line? I'm going to get my other PCIe cable and see that. Just to be sure, I'm going to get another molex cable dedicated to the powered riser too.

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Yeah, my riser has a powered input via a molex connector. Doesn't crash under Furmark, crashes under Unigine Valley, and now a couple of games too.

I now think it's because that I have an overclocked 780 Ti that possibly exceeds the 300W limit that it theoretically can take (PCIe slot 75W + 6-pin PCIe 75W + 8-pin PCIe 150W).

I'm now seriously considering purchasing a reference GTX 980 and seeing how that goes. Apparently it draws less than 180W on peak load, far lower than the 225W theoretical maximum that the card can provide (2 x 6-pin 75W + PCIe slot 75W).

Presumably you are still using the AC adapter supplied with the SEL. Since the pcie riser and the DC adapter are supply power to the same parts of the circuit (slot), they'd ideally be supplied by a single source. It's recommended you get a molex-to-DC adapter and power the DC jack of the SEL with your ATX PSU. It was pointed out in the AKiTiO thread that use of two PSUs could, and very likely is, introducing ground loops leading to instability.

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