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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
Seems like a really nice solution with TB3 passthrough. Much more future-proof than the Blackmagic boxes.

Can't find much about it on this forum which is surprising. I'm planning to use it with the 16" MBP and potentially the XDR display. is there any reason it might not work?


https://www.akitio.com/expansion/node-pro

  • Thunderbolt™ 3 for lightning fast transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps
  • Dedicated DisplayPort for additional monitor to expand the workspace
  • 2nd Thunderbolt port supports Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and DisplayPort devices
  • USB power delivery provides 60W of power to recharge compatible laptops
  • Built-in 500W SFX power supply with an extra pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors
  • 1 PCIe (x16) slot supporting full-length, full-height, double-width cards
  • 4 lane PCI Express 3.0 compliant interface
  • Wire mesh panel to dissipate heat from cards with on-board fans
  • Retractable carry handle to easily transport the device
  • No tools required for installation of PCIe card
akitio-node-pro-size-1920_658295609.jpg


akitio-node-pro-back-1920.jpg
 

nethead

macrumors newbie
Oct 5, 2008
29
39
I think this will not work for the XDR display, because the Akitio Node Pro uses an Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller (JHL6540), which only supports DisplayPort 1.2. However, the XDR display requires DisplayPort 1.4 over ThunderBolt, which is the reason why e.g. the iMac Pro doesn't support it (it also still has the older controller).

It will also not work well for the Ultrafine 5K display, because according to a post on egpu.io, "the second Thunderbolt 3 port on the enclosure can only provide DisplayPort passthrough from the Mac’s iGPU/dGPU". This means that the eGPU's graphics card will not directly output to the screen connected to the Thunderbolt port of the Node Pro, instead the display output will be generated by the dGPU built into the MacBook Pro.

I think the Blackmagic eGPUs are the only ones that can drive a Thunderbolt monitor, there's no other option.
 

M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
Are you using this to charge your MBP as well? It says it supports up to 60W PD, and the 16” uses 96W.

Sadly there are no external devices / eGPU's able to power the 16" MBP at this moment.


I think this will not work for the XDR display, because the Akitio Node Pro uses an Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller (JHL6540), which only supports DisplayPort 1.2. However, the XDR display requires DisplayPort 1.4 over ThunderBolt, which is the reason why e.g. the iMac Pro doesn't support it (it also still has the older controller).

It will also not work well for the Ultrafine 5K display, because according to a post on egpu.io, "the second Thunderbolt 3 port on the enclosure can only provide DisplayPort passthrough from the Mac’s iGPU/dGPU". This means that the eGPU's graphics card will not directly output to the screen connected to the Thunderbolt port of the Node Pro, instead the display output will be generated by the dGPU built into the MacBook Pro.

I think the Blackmagic eGPUs are the only ones that can drive a Thunderbolt monitor, there's no other option.

Ahh this is interesting. I was trying to find a specification for the Node Pro and whether it had Alpine Ridge or Titan Ridge.

That really is too bad about the TB3 port not outputting the eGPU. My Node Pro arrives tomorrow so I will have to determine if it's worth keeping at that point...
 

bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,311
2,703
Sadly there are no external devices / eGPU's able to power the 16" MBP at this moment.

This is 100% untrue. The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 (GPU-650WOC-TB3) provides 100W power via TB3 connection. Personally can 100% confirm the 100W works with MBP16,1. Make sure you're looking at the OC model. The non-OC model is 87W.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
Well my Node Pro came and I installed the AMD RX Vega 56 card into it.

It's all powered up and running, kicking ass!
 
Last edited:

M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
Has anyone tried connecting the Akitio Node with the XDR yet?
 

M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
OK I've just received the XDR. Plugged the thunderbolt cable into my Node Pro, and it just works. 6k 60hz. I'm very surprised.

Is there a way to determine whether its the Vega 56 driving the XDR, or my internal display? Just want to know that I'm using the eGPU to its full abilities....
 

frou

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2009
1,308
1,811
Is there a way to determine whether its the Vega 56 driving the XDR, or my internal display? Just want to know that I'm using the eGPU to its full abilities....
Apple Menu > About > System Report > Graphics > (Select a GPU) > Displays

It's almost certainly the MBP's internal GPU driving it over Thunderbolt daisychain. I don't think normal AMD PCIe cards have any concept of Thunderbolt.
 

M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
Apple Menu > About > System Report > Graphics > (Select a GPU) > Displays

It's almost certainly the MBP's internal GPU driving it over Thunderbolt daisychain. I don't think normal AMD PCIe cards have any concept of Thunderbolt.

Yes it looks like the internal GPU is powering the display.
 

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Arizor

macrumors member
Aug 24, 2012
61
11
How have you got it set up? It should absolutely be able to drive the monitor.

My Vega 64 (running a 4K LG Monitor via my 16") is: 2m thunderbolt from Macbook to eGPU chassis >> eGPU card DisplayPort cable to external monitor.

edit: Ah the XDR only accepts thunderbolt, no HDMI or DisplayPort. Yeah that's a problem I think.
 
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M3Jedi77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 30, 2007
122
42
I purchased a 5700XT GPU since that supports DSC. I was curious to see if I could run a DP1.4 --> Thunderbolt cable directly from the GPU into the XDR. It works, but only for 5K....

Likely returning the 5700XT & selling the Akitio + Vega 56 since I am not seeing major gains in Photoshop or Lightroom as opposed to using just XDR + 16" MBP.
 
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