"OGRE-250" .67L OCuLink eGpu module, using HDPlex GAN 250w

msystems

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Apr 28, 2017
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OGRE-250


Size comparison to Razer Core X


With 200mm 3060ti


Outside views


Underside and internal views


Many various riser cards support Oculink on m.2 and PCI x16

Info​


I really loved the pocket eGpu and RCC-eGPU2 projects, but never had a system to be able to use it since Deskmini has no Thunderbolt. So almost 2 months ago after learning about Oculink (which uses m.2 and can work on DeskMini, Steam deck, crappy old laptop, etc) I ordered some Riser and cables on Ali express to try to see if it would work. (Since that time, I learned there is an even better successor to the pocket eGpu called OneDock which has TB3 and Oculink, which looks excellent by the way!)

I decided to try to make a dock with internal power and call it OGRE-250 [Oculink GRaphics Expander], a mod to repurpose the HDPlex GAN for use as an Oculink eGpu module. It is .67L with internal power, 62 x 52 x 210mm.

If anyone is interested in making this I will write a more detailed guide, for now I just post the parts and files.

Parts​

-HDplex 250w GAN https://hdplex.com/hdplex-fanless-250w-gan-aio-atx-psu.html
-ChenYang OCuLink to x16 riser https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256804863746898.html
-2.54mm two pin Jumper wire
-320 C6 (come with HDPlex)
-CPU 4 pin to SATA (come with HDPlex)
-8pin GPU cable (come with HDPlex)
-3D printed shell
-7x m3 x 5mm screws
-2x m2.5 x 8mm screws (this is for the 320 C6 plug, but instead, I would suggest just hot gluing it)
-1x m3 Threaded insert for the front screw, OD=4.5mm L=5mm
-1x m3 x 8mm to 12mm screw (This is the one in front which will grip the bracket firmly)

For your device to connect:
- Generic OCuLink 4i cable https://www.aliexpress.us/item/2251832871359684.html
- m.2 to OCuLink adapter card https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256804847640731.html
- Alternate 90 degree m.2 to OCuLink adapter card https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256804422431762.html
(Cost of all: About $200 USD)

3D Files​


Printables link
Current Version: REV4
Material: PETG or ABS recommended. HDPlex can reach 65C+

Compatibility

MINI PC
Gen3 x4Gen4 x4
Deskmini x300YesN/A
Deskmini b660Not WorkingNot Working
UM690UntestedUntested
Nuc ProUntestedUntested


DESKTOP
Gen3 x4Gen4 x4
Asus Rog Strix b660-iYesYes


HANDHELDS / LAPTOP
Gen3 x4Gen4 x4
Steam DeckUntestedUntested
WIN MAX 2YesUntested
GPD Win 4UntestedUntested

Notes​

1) Compatibility is still vague. This worked for me on Deskmini x300 but not on the b660, even though the b660 has no issue driving a GPU over ADT m.2 riser. I'm hoping we can make a compatibility chart with a list of risers and parts that work and which system they worked with.

2) Next revision will probably add 40mm cooling fan to keep HDPlex temp stable, it currently can rise above 60C after prolonged period of gaming with 200 watt load. I would only recommend this without a fan if the continuous load is 125 watts or less, then the skin temperature is stable. But if the sustained load is above 125 watts, use with caution.

3) There are some other Oculink hardware combinations which may be better than this one, if someone test a good setup, please suggest it. I am familiar with the OSMeta ones which are good quality but appear to be too large to work in this. There's also all kinds of crazy adapters for Laptops to help expose the Oculink connector like this without having to mod your case. Those can all be found on this TaoBao store: Link
 
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Killinger

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Jun 25, 2018
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THANK YOU SO MUCH, I literally had all these same parts lying around and hadnt had time to make a chassis before a long work trip in a few weeks, and you just saved me multiple hours trying to figure it out!

One quick question, what are you using as jumper cables? Are you shorting the two wires used to daisy chain multiple units together? Also, your SATA cable seems FAR smaller than the one that came with my HDPlex, did you cut it that length?

thanks again, you're a life saver
 

msystems

King of Cable Management
Original poster
Apr 28, 2017
791
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THANK YOU SO MUCH, I literally had all these same parts lying around and hadnt had time to make a chassis before a long work trip in a few weeks, and you just saved me multiple hours trying to figure it out!

One quick question, what are you using as jumper cables? Are you shorting the two wires used to daisy chain multiple units together? Also, your SATA cable seems FAR smaller than the one that came with my HDPlex, did you cut it that length?

thanks again, you're a life saver
Yes, just either a jumper or a bit of wire with the jumpers at the end. I used a wire because its very hard to insert and remove a jumper in the hdplex as its recessed down inside. Well, if you use tweezers maybe.

As for the sata cable, I just cut & removed the last connector from the hdplex daisy chain and then made crimps on the wire and put the connector on it. If I need to can still swap back to the original cable. This part is one I could look into making if people need. There is a small pocket at the end with room to cram the oem sata cable in there though, barely.
 
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kotproger

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Jul 9, 2016
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It would also be interesting to develop the M2 adapter to the OCuLink mother connector using thin LVDS cables. This would allow, if desired, to bring the connection connector to the laptop case.
After all, now many custom versions of egpu have the same problem - they are not portable and require opening the case to connect.
Example:
 
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msystems

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Apr 28, 2017
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The Taobao seller has started to develop a solution for, small cables that bring the Oculink connector off and away from the device's m.2 riser (often located in an inaccessible place) and able to be placed into an accessible place with some modding.

So far, the following customized cables are being made: Thinkpad series 14 and 16, Acer Shadow knight, Asrock DB9 port, GPD WINMAX 2, and a few others which don't have specific hardware associated with them.



With all of these though, the host device still has to be modified to place the Oculink connector in an open position.

I believe they are open to engineering new versions for basically any device. It's possible one of the existing versions might work for Steam Deck if someone wants to try (the riser could be cut down to 2230 length).
 

msystems

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Apr 28, 2017
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Small update, a revision with 40mm Fan has been tested & drops temps by 10C, this gives the HDplex stable ~55C temps at sustained 200w load.

A PWM fan controller with customizable fan curve and thermistor was integrated without increasing the size, the only change is to the length, extended by 10mm to accommodate the fan. The pwm controller power input was crimped to a 4 pin CPU EPS connector (unused) on the HDplex. The PWM fan controller's thermistor connector housing was removed and the thermistor cables soldered directly to the board. The entire assembly was then wrapped in Kapton tape and placed inside.

Pictures to follow once i have a new clean 40mm fan to mod the cables and revise the 3D model.

Adding the fan doesn't add much expense overall. About $17 (the PWM fan controller is $1.71 USD + $14 for Noctua NFA4x10 fan + pennies for the EPS connector) but the wiring / soldering / crimping requires a bit of tools.

40mm Fan mod materials:
-Noctua A4x10mm
-12v Hardware Fan Controller with Thermistor and PWM output
-4pin CPU EPS connector & two crimp pins
-Kapton Tape


As an alternate to the fan mod, another idea is laser cutting aluminum body panels and using the thermal mass to conduct heat from the HDplex. This would be more expensive but is much quicker to assemble.
 
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msystems

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Another small update, although I thought this riser would not be compatible with Gen 4.0 speed, this is not true, as ive just tested on ITX and achieved full 4x 4.0 link speed (64 GT/S) and the comparison with x16 4.0 scores was within margin of error on 3060ti. Therefore there appears to be zero performance loss for midrange card or less when achieving 4.0 link speed. This is consistent with the trends I recorded on Gen 3.0 which showed only 3-4% losses at x4, and 0% losses at x8 comparatively to Gen 3.0 x16.

Can you tell which result is Oculink and which is x16? I can't.






Bottom result is Oculink.
 
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Killinger

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Jun 25, 2018
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Hi I would like to build this. Could you please post a more detailed build instruction?
Its a fairly easy build. All you need is a jumper to short the power, the screws mentioned above, the internals and a few minutes. It looks far more daunting than it actually is. You dont necessarily need the threaded insert or GPU screw unless you plan to travel with it.

Oh, but do NOT print in PLA or it WILL melt. Ask me how I know 😒
 

Killinger

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Jun 25, 2018
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Speaking of, @msystems any update on the fan mod? Would love to do it before I travel to a country that averages 32c and I have no clue where I should put it
 

msystems

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Apr 28, 2017
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Speaking of, @msystems any update on the fan mod? Would love to do it before I travel to a country that averages 32c and I have no clue where I should put it
Hello, thanks for the reminder... yes I did test the fan mod and it was effective, just need to make a few changes

To control the fan I used a small hardware controller, but cramming it all in there was a bit challenging. So I was considering also to get laser cut aluminum sides instead of doing the fan mod. But its expensive so.... let's say if 5 people want an aluminum version then I will get it cut. Cost will probably be about $30 or so for that. Then you can use thermal pad to shim the heat to the aluminum sides (increase thermal mass).

In the mean time though I will release the fan cooled version shortly, it just needs some small updates.
 
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SFFMunkee

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I LOVE this design, so clean and minimalist while still being stylish - "msystems, you've done it again"

Very peculiar that it doesn't work with the B660i - I can't think of any reason it would have issues unless it was trying to signal at PCIe4.0 rates and something up with the cable... But then you said it works on the Strix at 4.0.... SHENANIGANS I SAY

Those customised direct M.2 to OcuLink cables are very swish but I don't fancy my chances at keeping it from being damaged if it gets moved around much!
 
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msystems

King of Cable Management
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Apr 28, 2017
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I LOVE this design, so clean and minimalist while still being stylish - "msystems, you've done it again"

Very peculiar that it doesn't work with the B660i - I can't think of any reason it would have issues unless it was trying to signal at PCIe4.0 rates and something up with the cable... But then you said it works on the Strix at 4.0.... SHENANIGANS I SAY

Those customised direct M.2 to OcuLink cables are very swish but I don't fancy my chances at keeping it from being damaged if it gets moved around much!
Thanks :) yes, I dont know why the intel b660 Deskmini doesn't like it... oh well. I will be doing some testing with OneDock soon also to try and investigate further. (If you haven't seen it check out OneDock as well, this project is similar & aligned with the same goals).
 

SFFMunkee

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Jul 7, 2021
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Thanks :) yes, I dont know why the intel b660 Deskmini doesn't like it... oh well. I will be doing some testing with OneDock soon also to try and investigate further. (If you haven't seen it check out OneDock as well, this project is similar & aligned with the same goals).
Oh I have, OneDock is similarly attractive except that I have no need for Thunderbolt so less appealing to me :)
 
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msystems

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Fanned version is going up on printables, basic idea is you can put a 40mm fan there and then use the 4-pin "Half EPS" connector on the HDplex to make a little custom plug for the +12v/gnd it needs. Ideally you'd either add an inline resistor to just keep it from running 100%, or integrate the little PWM fan controller I linked above. If you do use the PWM fan controller, you'll need to take the headers off and solder to it because otherwise there's nowhere to cram it.



It's still going to get toasty even with the fan, but it should keep the temps a bit healthier at least.

I might re-do the design in the future at some point to make the fan cooling more effective, by moving the fans underneath but it's going to be quite a bit larger (taller?) as a result. The above still keeps it really small.
 
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TheFuriousOtter

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May 17, 2023
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Hi! I’ve been following you for a while now and your ice cream sandwich SFF inspired me to follow along and build the same! I saw this egpu concept on your Reddit post and wanted to express my interest for an aluminum enclosure!
 
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