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Thunderbolt 3 to PCI-Express Box?

ruslan120

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Jul 12, 2009
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Hi MacRumors,

I was wondering if anyone’s seen PCI-Express enclosures that have multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports to multiple PCI-Express slots, rather than singular PCI-Express to singular Thunderbolt.

i.e. One board, 4 slots, 4 TB3 ports, one for each slot. Or 2 slots, 2 ports.

Mostly asking out of curiosity. A singular power supply + an internal or dual m.2 slots + a slot dedicated to graphics would make for a great Mac Mini expansion module IMO.

Thanks in advance
 
Last edited:

Hessel89

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2017
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Netherlands
Intersting proposition but AFAIK this does not excist yet. What do you want to use the PCIe connections for? If you’re only after multiple M.2 slots I can definitely recommend the OWC 4m2.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
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Jul 12, 2009
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Thanks for the responses!

Intersting proposition but AFAIK this does not excist yet. What do you want to use the PCIe connections for? If you’re only after multiple M.2 slots I can definitely recommend the OWC 4m2.

10 Gb Ethernet. NVMe SSDs inside of PCI-Express adapters. Mod the box and mount SATA SSD’s or hard disks for additional storage, provided the PSU can handle it. One GPU. Maybe a capture card to record 4K video on the fly. Tons of possibilities.

Doesn’t the OWC run the SSD’s at x1 bandwidth?

I haven't seen what you're describing, which amounts to multiple single slot PCI to TB3 in one chassis. I have seen multiple PCI to one TB3 though.

https://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpress3dtb3.html

That is perfect. A shame it’s so expensive + single TB port. I might actually buy this if it becomes cheaper...
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
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Jul 12, 2009
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I guess one of these would have sufficient bandwidth for a 10 Gigabit Ethernet card + NVMe SSD Adapter (but not RAID 0).

Akitio T3N2AA0002Y00U Node Duo: (Thunderbolt 3 to X2 Half Length PCIe Expansion Box) Electronics https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FB9QBT7/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3VZsDbG8ZNFJZ

I bet it’s not intelligently engineered and just splits the available PCI-Express lanes between the two cards though. And it’s not an all-inclusive Mac Mini / iMac Pro upgrade solution that would create the illusion of an upgradable Mac desktop machine (with a Mac mini “core” that you swap out for a better processor and RAM every few years).
 
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venom600

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2003
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Los Angeles, CA
I think i'm getting the idea now... you want a board that fits into a tower case and allows for all the benefits of slots and airflow and expansion that connects to the Mini (or MBP or whatever) using all available Thunderbolt bandwidth. Effectively you'd be able to buy the actual computer and get the expansion tower later, like Apple did with the Powerbook Duo back in the day. Now that would be something I'd buy in a second! I'm picturing an enlarged Blackmagic eGPU chassis sitting next to a Mac Mini housing a graphics card, PCI M.2 RAID and a few SATA drives for good measure.
 
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