External GPU via Thunderbolt (with Sonnet Echo Express)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sampdoria, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #1
    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:rolleyes:.
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #2
    I wan´t a external thunderbolt GPU!
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #3
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/e-g...n/418851-diy-egpu-experiences.html#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.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #4
    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.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #5
    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."

    :(
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #7
    What for controller/case they used for that?
     
  8. macrumors 6502

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    #8
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #9
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    #11
    Could it introduce lag? Since it has to go to different converter chips.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    #13
    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??
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    #14
    What video cards would be compatible with this?
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #15
    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.

    ----------

    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.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Savannah
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland US
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #18
    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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