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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:38 PM   #1
sampdoria
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External GPU via Thunderbolt (with Sonnet Echo Express)

Since the new Mac Mini doesn't offer discrete GPU and there is...
Sonnet Echo Express
Just wondering (or dreaming) if and when this will ever happen for external discrete GPUs. I myself use 2D/3D modeling software and Adobe CS but imagine Gamers would welcome it as much. Maybe it's not as efficient as a Mac Pro or tower configuration...anyhow I'll just keep wondering.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:43 PM   #2
Snowcake
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I wan´t a external thunderbolt GPU!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 02:40 PM   #3
Zackmd1
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Originally Posted by Snowcake View Post
I wan´t a external thunderbolt GPU!
http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-gp...tml#enclosures

If you people like to get your hands dirty you can make one! My friend made one for his windows laptop (hp I think) with a nvidia 560 ti. Battlefield 3 went from 20 FPS on all low settings and 800x600 res on the HD4000 to 32 FPS on 1080p and ultra settings with the 560! I plan on making one for the mini if I decide to get one. The additional item us mac users would need is the sonnet express card to thunderbolt adapter.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:12 PM   #4
Snowcake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zackmd1 View Post
http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-gp...tml#enclosures

If you people like to get your hands dirty you can make one! My friend made one for his windows laptop (hp I think) with a nvidia 560 ti. Battlefield 3 went from 20 FPS on all low settings and 800x600 res on the HD4000 to 32 FPS on 1080p and ultra settings with the 560! I plan on making one for the mini if I decide to get one. The additional item us mac users would need is the sonnet express card to thunderbolt adapter.
I don't know if OSX support a graphics card via thunderbolt.
I have currently no Mac. I wan't to buy the Mac Mini but it has problems so i don't know if i am gonna buy it.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:38 PM   #5
sampdoria
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Here's the response I got from Sonnet, when I asked, "When will we see graphic cards work with Sonnet TB Chassis?"...

"When the card makers start producing 4x graphics cards.

Most graphics cards made today are 16x cards, the Sonnet TB chassis
have 4x slots in them due to the bandwidth limitations of TB.

Sonnet has done some preliminary testing with graphics cards and
has determined that type of PCIe card is not a good fit for the TB chassis."

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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:11 PM   #6
Zackmd1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sampdoria View Post
Here's the response I got from Sonnet, when I asked, "When will we see graphic cards work with Sonnet TB Chassis?"...

"When the card makers start producing 4x graphics cards.

Most graphics cards made today are 16x cards, the Sonnet TB chassis
have 4x slots in them due to the bandwidth limitations of TB.

Sonnet has done some preliminary testing with graphics cards and
has determined that type of PCIe card is not a good fit for the TB chassis."

Yes the bandwidth through thunderbolt is limited to x4 pcie, however a x16 desktop graphics card running at x4 speeds is still a huge difference in performance vs the HD 4000. Here is a video of an egpu setup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jIb2jurRIU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowcake View Post
I don't know if OSX support a graphics card via thunderbolt.
I have currently no Mac. I wan't to buy the Mac Mini but it has problems so i don't know if i am gonna buy it.
People on the diy forum have confirmed that mountain lion does support egpu's through thudnerbolt. Granted the graphics card must be mac compatible but it does work.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:58 PM   #7
Snowcake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zackmd1 View Post
Yes the bandwidth through thunderbolt is limited to x4 pcie, however a x16 desktop graphics card running at x4 speeds is still a huge difference in performance vs the HD 4000. Here is a video of an egpu setup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jIb2jurRIU
----------

[/COLOR]

People on the diy forum have confirmed that mountain lion does support egpu's through thudnerbolt. Granted the graphics card must be mac compatible but it does work.
What for controller/case they used for that?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:04 PM   #8
Zackmd1
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Originally Posted by Snowcake View Post
What for controller/case they used for that?
All the information is on this forum in the intro.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-gp...tml#enclosures

You can make your own or you can buy something called a vidock 4 which is basically a fully assembled version of what you can build.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:13 PM   #9
Snowcake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zackmd1 View Post
All the information is on this forum in the intro.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-gp...tml#enclosures

You can make your own or you can buy something called a vidock 4 which is basically a fully assembled version of what you can build.
Vidock 4 do not use thunderbolt but ExpressCard according to their site.
Link: http://www.villageinstruments.com/ti...hp?page=ViDock
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:23 PM   #10
Zackmd1
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Vidock 4 do not use thunderbolt but ExpressCard according to their site.
Link: http://www.villageinstruments.com/ti...hp?page=ViDock
That's why you would also need to use sonnets express card to thunderbolt adapter. Even if you build your own you would need to use this adapter.

Basically it would be thunderbolt to express card then express card to vidock or DIY solution. This is no reduction in speed with this setup.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:32 PM   #11
Snowcake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zackmd1 View Post
That's why you would also need to use sonnets express card to thunderbolt adapter. Even if you build your own you would need to use this adapter.

Basically it would be thunderbolt to express card then express card to vidock or DIY solution. This is no reduction in speed with this setup.
Could it introduce lag? Since it has to go to different converter chips.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:05 PM   #12
Zackmd1
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Originally Posted by Snowcake View Post
Could it introduce lag? Since it has to go to different converter chips.
From what I have read it doesn't. Thunderbolt is about x4 faster then the link used in egpu applications so if there is any loss from the chips it isn't perceivable on the user end.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:02 PM   #13
milkmandan
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so there are two thunderbolt ports on this thing?
Does that mean I can get this, stick a Black Magic card inside and drive my 2560x1440 display through miniDP to DP from the Sonnet Echo Express 2nd Thunderbolt Port??
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:29 PM   #14
TheMTtakeover
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What video cards would be compatible with this?
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 05:58 AM   #15
Zackmd1
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Originally Posted by milkmandan View Post
so there are two thunderbolt ports on this thing?
Does that mean I can get this, stick a Black Magic card inside and drive my 2560x1440 display through miniDP to DP from the Sonnet Echo Express 2nd Thunderbolt Port??
I am by no means an expert on the subject as all I have done is research the subject but from what I have found that should be possible.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMTtakeover View Post
What video cards would be compatible with this?
Any modern x16 should work with the exception of dual chip cards such as the gtx 690. If using this setup only for Mac you would want to find a Mac compatible card such as the gtx 560 ti.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 08:30 AM   #16
analogkid
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Thank you for the updates on the thunderbolt gpu situation... Surely it couldn't be too long before a nice ready to go turnkey box appears? ...hmnn.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:25 AM   #17
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My hope is that apple will include one in their redesigned Thunderbolt Display... Think about it, opticaly laminated display, thinner, and includes a gtx 680mx and would work with any thunderbolt equipped Mac! It still wouldn't have the graphics performance of a bto imac but it would be a vast improvement in graphics for most of the Mac lineup.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:50 PM   #18
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For your uses, you'd probably be better served by a light windows workstation. Adding up a strong gaming gpu and one of these enclosures doesn't give you much for your money. The macbook pros will handle simple scenes, but damn do they get hot.
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