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rip-off alert : "Thunderbolt" ViDock/BizonBox are crippled TB-to-EC 4Gbps units

22 posts in this topic


I tend to avoid discussion about Villagetronic whose expresscard enclosure prices are several times that of a functionally equivalent US$50 EXP GDC or BPlus PE4C V2.x, so not worthwhile mentioning. However, it's been brought to my attention that just like the Bizonbox in the next post we are seeing shady marketting by Villagetronic in order it seems to secure sales of their their virtually identical outdated, underperforming and overpriced units. 
 

Just like Bizon, Villagetronic is NOT an Intel certified Thunderbolt developer nor are they going to be in the foreseeable future (REF: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/8130-why-intel-not-allowing-thunderbolt-egpus-ideas-inside.html#post110698 ). That means the best they can offer is a 4Gbps solution via a Sonnet Thunderbolt-to-Expresscard adapter. This will downgrade a 16Gbps-TB2 or 10Gbps-TB1 native Thunderbolt link to 4Gbps-EC2 giving as little as 25% of it's full bandwidth potential.

Discerning Thunderbolt customers would purchase a native Thunderbolt enclosure like http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7205-us%24189-akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-16gbps-tb2.html#post98210 instead that offers 2.5 times (10Gbps-TB1) or 4 times (16Gbps-TB2) more PCIe bandwidth at less than half what the 4Gbps-EC2 Villagetronic solution sells for. Anybody wanting to use the accelerated internal LCD mode (NVidia Optimus or LucidLogix Virtu for AMD) will definitely want that extra native Thunderbolt bandwidth to give significantly better FPS. Besides, those who prefer Villagetronic 4Gbps-EC2 slow speed (why??) can downgrade their native Thunderbolt eGPU from 4-lanes to 1-lane by cellophane taping their video card as shown.

There are plenty of Thunderbolt DIY eGPU example implementations at http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt to help you along. 

Q: With so much better options and help available why would anyone line the pockets of Villagetronic?



Examples of shady marketting being done by Villagetronic in the spoiler . . .

Many thanks to Felipe for making such a good demo and the neat setup! 
Benchmark ViDock versus Built-in GPU

- The above slick marketting linked above is hiding details about the Sonnet Thunderbolt-to-expresscard adapter and it's downgrading of a 16Gbps-TB2 or 10Gbps-TB1 link to 4Gbps-EC. 

- The CEO is making false performance and price claims. Here claiming his Thunderbolt-to-Expresscard (4Gbps) solutions are better performing and cheaper than native Thunderbolt ones. And here's another. The sort of crazy brow bashing you'd expect from a religious zealot! Important inaccuracies quoted below:

 
Nino wrote a a comparison review ofViDock plus Sonnet Adapter is actually faster for 3D game play that the Sonnet Echo III PCIe Expansion Box: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-External-Graphics-Cards-for-Laptops.112162.0.html


Bobby has been using ViDock with the Sonnet Thunderbolt to ExpressCard Adapter since a while. This combination has been very reliable and performance was very good. In effect ViDock plus Thunderbolt Adapter is still lower cost than other Thunderbolt Native PCIe Expansion Boxes. For Game Play ViDock with Thunderbolt Adapter is still faster than the other offerings of the more expensive native Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Boxes, simply because you can put more powerful graphics cards inside. So this will be our official Thunderbolt ViDock. We have removed a native Thunderbolt ViDock from our Road Map to make space for other cool existing products! Bobby has made a first Video on how using ViDock with Thunderbolt on Mac works. Please have a look in our YouTube Channel: VillageViDock - YouTube


- I am aware that a regular forum member and contributor has been involved in that marketting. Q: How do you feel deliberately advocating underperforming gear and not providing the higher performance alternatives? Why are you not making a stance to ensure your fellow Macbook colleagues get the best possible experience on their platform?

Alerting potential victims on the Villagetronic Facebook page 

Those who are concerned may wish comment about it on the facebook page to alert potential victims about the Villagetronic over priced and underperforming gear. Most important is for to open their eyes to the significantly better priced and performance options they have available at: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/6578-implementations-hub-tb-ec-mpcie.html#Thunderbolt.


Reversing the Villagetronic purchase is costly and time consuming

Otherwise the victim would endure the headache of engaging a Paypal buyer protection refund within 45 days of puchase. Involved would be sending the unit back to China at their expense based on misleading/misreading the product advertising. An exercise usually so cost prohibitive that less loss is incurred by offloading the ViDock lump on ebay instead. This being the case only if the victim discovered they've had the wool pulled over their eyes.


Who are Villagetronic (CN)? Purchasing Villagetronic gear will charitably support those shown in the spoiler . . .
As the Villagetronic link explains, the CEO is on the far right next to his wife. His son is shown in the centre.

10171105_10152035394619135_1110800465747



Appendix: Villagetronic claiming to be eGPU pioneer and now using our community names "DIY" and "eGPU"
Villagetronic stealing our development name for their new product "ViDock DIY", then mixing in liberal use of "eGPU" it seems to get as much lookalike traffic/interest related to our activities to be routed their their way. This is capitalizing on NBR's failure to honor the Feb-2013 DMCA takedown of the DIY eGPU/ViDock material off their website that now providing additional advertising material for Villagetronic's "ViDock DIY" product 

Is use of "DIY eGPU" a copyright infringement? It doesn't matter, Villagetronic are run out of China with little policing of IP law infringements. 

Any pioneering claims lack merit. The reality is Villagetronic fell asleep at the wheel between 2009 and 2014. During that time the DIY eGPU community popularised the eGPU idea for mPCIe/EC and TB implementation, resolving all the compatibility issues (error 12, DSDT overide_ to allow eGPUs to be attached to virtually any Intel-based notebook, documenting an impressive list of compatibility and collecting a very large knowledgebase of eGPU related information about important topics like NVidia Optimus, PCIe compression, LucidLogix Virtu. All for public perusal. 

During that time, Villagetronic also violated the DIY eGPU Setup 1.x software 'not-for-commercial-use' terms, referring their customers to this software as shown1, 2, 3. 

You can see how much of a pioneer Villagetronic was by perusing the Villageinstruments and Villagetronic website archives. Not much happened there other than sales of hardware. Initial pages had compatibility limited to only a few machines, many of which needed to be reduced to 2GB of RAM to overcome error 12 issues.

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Saw your reply for a split second, and now you're hidden too!! This Bizon guy in the above video is a major opportunist. Let's hope other eGPU users will down vote his youtube video to protect against the "whoah.. I want it" knee-jerk purchase after watching his (what borders on fraudulent) advertising. Only way we can protect unsuspecting users from being ripped off.

Bizon is trying to get over US$336 profit for his US$610 kit (EXP GDC V6). With each sale he makes he can buy a USD$200-$270 AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box in profit along + quite a few McHappy meals for his mates.

Pls dislike (thumbs down) the above youtube Bizon (RU) video to warn customers of being ripped off

If you feel that charging US$610 (21,990 RUB) for his BizonBox, comprising of US$274 worth of parts listed below is an insult to Russian eGPU fans then pls dislike his video linked

or clickable above to warn potential customers.

*
USD$99 EXP GDC V6 + 220W Dell DA-2 AC adapter

*
USD$130 Sonnet Echo Expresscard Pro

*
USD$20 Acrylic cover
with customized Bizon labelling

* US$25 Thunderbolt cable

As Bizon is censoring non-supportive comments like mine in the Appendix below, <span style="background-color:yellow">youtube video dislikes are the only remaining mechanism to warn customers of being ripped off.</span> Bizon's steering strategy resulting in 57 likes and 11 dislikes so far. While Bizon continues to rip off Russian customers, I'll continue to list him as an eGPU saboteur

Bizon may be monitoring this thread. Makes sense. It would probably have been here from which he gathered information to create his bundle. If so, Bizon please:

  1. cease insulting Russian eGPU users by massive profiteering. You are selling US$274 (that's retail, not wholesale) of parts for US$610.
    <br>
  2. cease hiding the Sonnet Echo Expresscard adapter in your video and not providing it's functionality detail in your product description. Doing so betrays your customer confidence as it *appears* you are providing a unique 10Gbps Thunderbolt solution. Instead, your BizonBox is a 4Gbps TB-to-EC2 solution using a EXP GDC V6 + Sonnet Echo Expresscard Pro.

Thank you

Appendix - Russian and English price warning comment I posted on the above youtube video that is being censored by Bizon:

Цена предупреждение: US $ 610 Бизон Box является решением 4Gbps Thunderbolt-на-ExpressCard состоит из частей, которые вы можете купить за $ 274 (1) US $ 99 EXP GDC V6 + 220W Dell DA-2 Адаптер переменного тока (2) USD $ 130 Сонет Эхо Expresscard Pro (3) USD $ 20 Акриловая крышка с индивидуальным Бизон маркировки и (4) США $ 25 Thunderbolt кабеля

Намного лучше AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box решение изначально Thunderbolt2 дает до 16G б.п. пропускную способность по той же или меньшей стоимости. Может проверить его на Google "DIY ЕГПУ» (TechInferno).

----

Price warning: a US$610 Bizon Box is a 4Gbps Thunderbolt-to-expresscard solution is made up of parts that you can buy for US$274 (1) US$99 EXP GDC V6 + 220W Dell DA-2 AC adapter (2) USD$130 Sonnet Echo Expresscard Pro (3) USD$20 Acrylic cover with customized Bizon labelling and (4) US$25 Thunderbolt cable

The much better AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box native Thunderbolt2 solution gives up to 16G bps bandwidth for the same or less cost. Can check it out at Google "DIY eGPU" (TechInferno).

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Hi guys,

Just a quick question. I tried to search but couldn't find anything about this. I own a Macbook Retina (MacBookPro11,3) and is about to buy a ViDock Nano (320w) and connect it with a Nvidia GTX 780 or 970.

I run a setup with a Apple Thunderbolt display 27" and I just want to ask if it's possible to run this setup or any other setup. I am looking intro more pure thunderbolt solutions instead via the Sonnet Echo Pro ExpressCard. Pro/cons? What a like with the ViDock is that I don't need any extra PSU just plug everything in and you have a compact solution.

Also does the ViDock work with the OS X fix to run it on the main system? So more or less Windows 8.1 connected with a TB Display for gaming and OS X 10.10 with modified drivers.

Thoughts?

- - - Updated - - -

I did read this thread: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/7939-villagetronic-rip-off-alert-thunderbolt-vidock-crippled-tb-ec-4gbps-unit.html but I still haven't found any good case that provides the support for the power that a modern graphic card needs or have the space for built in a PSU. Sorry if I post something that it's already in here but I am new here and I could't find anything.

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I own a Macbook Retina (MacBookPro11,3) and is about to buy a ViDock Nano (320w) and connect it with a Nvidia GTX 780 or 970.

I run a setup with a Apple Thunderbolt display 27" and I just want to ask if it's possible to run this setup or any other setup. I am looking intro more pure thunderbolt solutions instead via the Sonnet Echo Pro ExpressCard. Pro/cons? What a like with the ViDock is that I don't need any extra PSU just plug everything in and you have a compact solution.

Given the choice, are you prepared to live with choppy gaming because of your desire to have a compact 4Gbps-EC2 solution? You have a 16Gbps-TB2 port that you want to significantly downgrade to run at 4Gbps (TB2-to-EC2) on a expresscard ViDock. There are many on here that would dearly love the reverse of the situation.. the ability to convert their 4Gbps Expresscard2 slot to a 16Gbps TB2 port. The 16Gbps TB2 port currently only exists on four machines: 2013+ 13/15" Macbook Pro and HP ZBook 15/17 Gen2 systems as shown: http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-gpu-projects/4109-egpu-candidate-system-list.html#post57511

Intel are roadblocking plug'n'play eGPU enclosures

Intel not certifying Thunderbolt enclosures for eGPU use and may have even been putting roadblocks to prevent it since MSI GUS-II or Silverstone T004 TB enclosures designed for eGPU use were never released. It's no surprise then there are very few enclosures that are plug-n-play in the way that you want.

It would seem to me that are sabotaging the idea since CUDA/OpenCL eGPU-based processing could eat into their their core CPU business.

What are the closest plug'n'play eGPU enclosures available

* 10Gbps-TB1 Sonnet Echo Expresscard Pro (150W) - discontinued. Need to hunt one down on say ebay.

* 16Gbps-TB2 Sonnet Echo Express III-D (up to 300W) - http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7872-us%24979-sonnet-echo-express-iii-d-enclosure-16gbps-tb2.html#post107170

Neither of the above is ideal for your situation. The first is a downgraded 10Gbps-TB1 device and the second is overpriced and requires tweaking to uprate it from 150W to it's full 300W capacity.

A modified US$200 AKiTiO Thunder2 enclosure is the best value solution

The best device to hit the market that overcomes both these problems is the http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7205-us%24200-akitio-thunder2-pcie-box-16gbps-tb2.html#post98210 . A 204mm Zotac GTX970 with deshrouded fan fits into it as shown by Sloveden here . However I'm monitoring progress there to see what power mods are needed.

The advantage of the AKiTiO is not only are you paying less than the ViDock solution but you would be seeing 4-times more bandwidth. That's very important if you want to game on the internal retina display via NVidia Optimus. Furthermore, @jacobsson looking to route through a 150-220W AC adapter to provide a compact enclosure + PSU to drive it all.

Vidock-specific questions can be asked at https://www.facebook.com/VillageViDock .

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Oh dear. More recent false advertising by the Villagetronic CEO quoted and integrated into the opening post. I'm speechless at the Villagetronic CEO's lack of knowledge or straight out dishonesty. Which is it?

Here claiming his Thunderbolt-to-Expresscard (4Gbps) solutions are better performing and cheaper than native Thunderbolt ones. And here's another. The sort of crazy brow bashing you'd expect from a religious zealot! Important inaccuracies quoted below:

Nino wrote a a comparison review of ViDock plus Sonnet Adapter is actually faster for 3D game play that the Sonnet Echo III PCIe Expansion Box: Review External Graphics Cards for Laptops - NotebookCheck.net Reviews
Bobby has been using ViDock with the Sonnet Thunderbolt to ExpressCard Adapter since a while. This combination has been very reliable and performance was very good. In effect ViDock plus Thunderbolt Adapter is still lower cost than other Thunderbolt Native PCIe Expansion Boxes. For Game Play ViDock with Thunderbolt Adapter is still faster than the other offerings of the more expensive native Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion Boxes, simply because you can put more powerful graphics cards inside. So this will be our official Thunderbolt ViDock. We have removed a native Thunderbolt ViDock from our Road Map to make space for other cool existing products! Bobby has made a first Video on how using ViDock with Thunderbolt on Mac works. Please have a look in our YouTube Channel: VillageViDock - YouTube
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Hi

I think I have found something interesting here.

Since I work in Kyiv/Ukraine right now I had been forced to use local sources for my eGPU and while looking for the parts I found this.

It looks like they have produced a ready to use box including the GPU. I know its hard to read but just use google chrome and auto translate, I speak Russian and the translation is pretty legit.

Хотите купить Mac Pro или Mac, но дорого? | Внешние видеокарты Ð´Ð»Ñ Ð½Ð¾ÑƒÑ‚Ð±ÑƒÐºÐ¾Ð² MacBook (Thunderbolt, Expresscard, eGPU)

Bizon Kits come in different variants.

1. Only Box

2. Nvidia GTX 750,760,770 or 970

There is also a video preview, which pretty much speaks for itself.

The price is the downturn, around 900 USD coming with the nVIDIA GTX 760.

If anyone will answer me if I can get my Thunderbolt Display to run vie Bootcamp and Optimus I might be willing to even make my own review in English.

post-32872-14494999356703_thumb.jpg

post-32872-14494999356419_thumb.jpg

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wow thx should really use the search button ;) I was close to buying it today. Thing is, its really hard to get hold of an Akitio Thunder2 here in Ukraine :/

But you have just saved me like 500€. Thanks for that.

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Hi Guys

I'm planning to put together a travel friendly egpu setup that could be connected to 2014 13" macbook pro.

There is a lot of vidock ripoff talk here (thanks btw, that was what I originally wanted to buy), so I ended up in the void. Could you help me with proposing a setup for:

- light weight

- preferably with an integrated power source (if not integrated than portable one)

- something that will take on GTX980

- something that can work well with macbook pro 13 retina internal screen ( don't care for mac os x, win 8/8.1 will suffice)

Cheers,

Peter

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Anything that can house a GTX980 in a stock case will be expensive: Sonnet III-D

If you consider a GTX970 you can use the AKiTiO Thunder2 as a case.

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From what I gather vidock nano will compromise the GTX980 because it needs Thunderbolt to ExpressCard adaptor. Am I right?

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ViDock doesn't have a TB IO, yes. It has an express card and you will need the Sonnet to transfer that to TB.

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Should I anticipate a significant performance drop over the transition ? One thing which is appealing about the vidock is the integrated power supply

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Well it is an external power brick. Probably 12V. I don't think that we have any ViDock Users here…

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Well it is an external power brick. Probably 12V. I don't think that we have any ViDock Users here…

All in all it weights less than the other setups with power supplies. But my q was about the performance.

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Since we don't have any way to compare it… no. But the fact is that the ViDock will only offer a fraction of the available bandwidth of TB2: http://forum.techinferno.com/enclosures-adapters/7939-rip-off-alert-thunderbolt-vidock-bizonbox-crippled-tb-ec-4gbps-units.html

I believe there is a line of defence on the vidock part about this particular thing Performance ([h=3]Concern#3: A Thunderbolt to ExpressCard Adapter should a bottleneck and thus the whole endeavor is futile)[/h]

And I say this is totally irrelevant, because it is also true that this bandwidth advantage of Thunderbolt does not translate into significantly faster 3D performance. As you read on, you will see that my Benchmark results are getting close to 3D Desktop Benchmark results and thus there is not much room Thunderbolt can improve upon, if at all.

Since you are obviously more experienced in the topic, could you say if benchmarks below prove anything from what he states above ? ?

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I believe there is a line of defence on the vidock part about this particular thing Performance (Concern#3: A Thunderbolt to ExpressCard Adapter should a bottleneck and thus the whole endeavor is futile)

Since you are obviously more experienced in the topic, could you say if benchmarks below prove anything from what he states above ? ?

If he'd be that confident he could at least show a comparison between Vidock and a desktop computer with the same graphics card. But he doesn't do that. This way he'd show there's a loss of performance in comparison to a usual desktop which may let the product look "bad". Don't believe a salesman when he "proves" his product to be of the same power as others without showing relevant data. Everything he shows is that eGPU is many many times faster than his HD4000 iGPU...which isn't in any way surprising, is it? ;)

Look at this -> GeForce GTX 980 PCI-Express Scaling | techPowerUp

Take a reasonable resolution like 1920x1080 and then have look at the charts. x1 2.0 isn't even on board, the lowest is x4 1.1 which equals x2 2.0 and this is set at 75%. So x1 2.0 is again lower than 75%. x4 2.0 which is TB2 rates 12% higher.

There will be an impact on the FPS. Maybe it won't be huge, maybe it will. This depends on the game as well.

As far as I know the Vidock products aren't cheap either so if there's the possibility to use Thunderbolt, use it.

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Look at this -> GeForce GTX 980 PCI-Express Scaling | techPowerUp

Take a reasonable resolution like 1920x1080 and then have look at the charts. x1 2.0 isn't even on board, the lowest is x4 1.1 which equals x2 2.0 and this is set at 75%. So x1 2.0 is again lower than 75%. x4 2.0 which is TB2 rates 12% higher.

There will be an impact on the FPS. Maybe it won't be huge, maybe it will. This depends on the game as well.

As far as I know the Vidock products aren't cheap either so if there's the possibility to use Thunderbolt, use it.

Thanks, that's a lot of quality information!

Do you think it is possible to put together a DIY EGPU for travel purposes? Out of the box thunderbolt solutions for GTX980 proposed on this forum are 3-4kg+ without a card.

If there is a list of things I could put together to get gtx 980 running and close it in a case it would be awesome to hear it.

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Would be nice to actually compare that to a TB2 eGPU...

And that x1 speed seems to enable a compression on Nvidia cards.

In case of a connection via an x1 interface, data for the graphics card will be compressed and the graphics card itself decompresses them again. Because of the high performance of the graphics card, the performance loss is low despite having only a fraction of the bandwidth. All graphics cards with Fermi architecture and newer since the GT 4xx are supported. Further, these graphics cards allocate the memory of the notebook in a way they will have sufficient memory.

Source: Review External Graphics Cards for Laptops - NotebookCheck.net Reviews

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This guy is selling both for 275$ not sure if this is a good deal ViDock and Sonnet Echo Pro

I have MacBook Pro 2015 13' i5, Do I need this stuff Or should I just go and buy Akitio2 + GPU + Power?

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Do not buy this. You would limit yourself to 5 Gbps instead of the 16 Gbps your Macbook is capable of. Additionally the Akitio costs less than this bundle, currently 217$ on Amazon.com for example. If you buy a Dell DA-2 to power your eGPU you'd have an additional ~25$ or about 40-50$ for a usual ATX PSU. Both variants would cost less and will provide you with the full bandwidth that you can get.

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