Tiny eGPU- Echo Express SEL

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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Anybody ever used this thing, would like to try with a WX4100.
 
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thewizzard1

Airflow Optimizer
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Jan 27, 2017
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I'm willing to bet it's just power keeping the GPUs off the "recommended" list.
 

reasons4reasons

Caliper Novice
Jul 9, 2017
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If you're okay with Thunderbolt 3, it looks like they have a low-profile one that'd be perfect for a WX 4100. I know some folks on the eGPU forums have had success with just connecting a bigger PSU to their enclosures to get them to power cards without external power adapters, and since this guy uses a standard 60 W, 12 V PSU I'm wondering if something like this 100 W unit from MiniBox would work. If you only need workstation cards, it'd be a pretty sweet setup.
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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If you're okay with Thunderbolt 3, it looks like they have a low-profile one that'd be perfect for a WX 4100. I know some folks on the eGPU forums have had success with just connecting a bigger PSU to their enclosures to get them to power cards without external power adapters, and since this guy uses a standard 60 W, 12 V PSU I'm wondering if something like this 100 W unit from MiniBox would work. If you only need workstation cards, it'd be a pretty sweet setup.
That's the link I had meant to copy.

I saw something on LTT forums where they got it working
 

Valantar

King of Cable Management
Jan 20, 2018
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That's a very neat-looking little box. Really too bad there's no way of fitting a dual-slot card in there - suddenly you would be able to run an LP GTX 1650 with a slightly beefier power brick. Now that would be drool-worthy. Of course once I had that, I'd be looking for a way to fit an internal PSU into there XD
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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That's a very neat-looking little box. Really too bad there's no way of fitting a dual-slot card in there - suddenly you would be able to run an LP GTX 1650 with a slightly beefier power brick. Now that would be drool-worthy. Of course once I had that, I'd be looking for a way to fit an internal PSU into there XD
I don't think it would be hard to design a custom case with support.
 
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Valantar

King of Cable Management
Jan 20, 2018
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I don't think it would be hard to design a custom case with support.
You're probably right, but you would need a riser cable for the GPU given that the TB controller board is in front of rather than behind the GPU slot. Have to wonder if they would work in reverse order... Probably not. Still, riser cables aren't exactly exotic (at least not on these forums!), though once you go custom case you might as well leave room for an ITX dual-slot GPU IMO. Not that much bigger, and far better cooling, even if the PSU would still limit the choice of GPU.
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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You're probably right, but you would need a riser cable for the GPU given that the TB controller board is in front of rather than behind the GPU slot. Have to wonder if they would work in reverse order... Probably not. Still, riser cables aren't exactly exotic (at least not on these forums!), though once you go custom case you might as well leave room for an ITX dual-slot GPU IMO. Not that much bigger, and far better cooling, even if the PSU would still limit the choice of GPU.
Could use an HDPlex 200W, and see if the people at sonnet would sell just the internal boards.

This riser is powered, but not that trustworthy. Maybe get an ADT-Link riser.
 
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1337harcha

Minimal Tinkerer
Apr 9, 2019
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Could use an HDPlex 200W, and see if the people at sonnet would sell just the internal boards.

This riser is powered, but not that trustworthy. Maybe get an ADT-Link riser.
Pls don't buy that riser. Yes it's powered. But what PCIE gen is it?
(I have one of those, makes my GPU go at 1% the speed compared to plugging in the motherboard. Works for 2D stuff though..)
 

Valantar

King of Cable Management
Jan 20, 2018
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Pls don't buy that riser. Yes it's powered. But what PCIE gen is it?
(I have one of those, makes my GPU go at 1% the speed compared to plugging in the motherboard. Works for 2D stuff though..)
I tried two risers like that for my Optiplex mod, neither would work with my RX 570. Getting a proper riser (from ADT-link, also AliExpress, but 3x the price) worked perfectly - and that riser isn't even powered.
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 14, 2017
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Pls don't buy that riser. Yes it's powered. But what PCIE gen is it?
(I have one of those, makes my GPU go at 1% the speed compared to plugging in the motherboard. Works for 2D stuff though..)
I tried two risers like that for my Optiplex mod, neither would work with my RX 570. Getting a proper riser (from ADT-link, also AliExpress, but 3x the price) worked perfectly - and that riser isn't even powered.
That riser was just an example as to what type I would use.

Still, I think it could be a fun project.
What's the largest size GPU people would want?
 

reasons4reasons

Caliper Novice
Jul 9, 2017
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I think there's an underserved market for a short-ish eGPU case that uses a A4-like layout but cut down a little bit. So you'd have clearance for a ~230 mm GPU (which'll fit a lot of Nvidia cards and a fair chunk of AMD's low-to-mid-range), a SFX unit mounted at the front like it is on the A4, and the Thunderbolt IO where the motherboard IO would be in the A4. You'd also probably have clearance for a 2.5" SSD or two, as well, like the Mantiz Venus. In my head this'd be only around 6 liters, and have 90% of the practicality of the Venus, which is about double the size. It'd have an internal PSU, too, which even a lot of relatively "small" enclosures like the Asus XG Station Pro (around 8 liters) lack for whatever reason.

(This is a late addition but it also occurs to me that you'd probably be able to add another PCIe slot into that form factor with little to no volume penalty, which would allow users to select what IO they wanted in addition to the GPU (some folks like to add Thunderbolt cards to use something the the LG UltraFine, or maybe something like a 10G Ethernet card or a PCIe SSD). I'm not sure how bandwidth sharing works if you have two cards on one Thunderbolt link, so if the GPU is stuck on a x2 link it's probably not an optimal setup, but it is something to think about.)
 
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Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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I think there's an underserved market for a short-ish eGPU case that uses a A4-like layout but cut down a little bit. So you'd have clearance for a ~230 mm GPU (which'll fit a lot of Nvidia cards and a fair chunk of AMD's low-to-mid-range), a SFX unit mounted at the front like it is on the A4, and the Thunderbolt IO where the motherboard IO would be in the A4. You'd also probably have clearance for a 2.5" SSD or two, as well, like the Mantiz Venus. In my head this'd be only around 6 liters, and have 90% of the practicality of the Venus, which is about double the size. It'd have an internal PSU, too, which even a lot of relatively "small" enclosures like the Asus XG Station Pro (around 8 liters) lack for whatever reason.

(This is a late addition but it also occurs to me that you'd probably be able to add another PCIe slot into that form factor with little to no volume penalty, which would allow users to select what IO they wanted in addition to the GPU (some folks like to add Thunderbolt cards to use something the the LG UltraFine, or maybe something like a 10G Ethernet card or a PCIe SSD). I'm not sure how bandwidth sharing works if you have two cards on one Thunderbolt link, so if the GPU is stuck on a x2 link it's probably not an optimal setup, but it is something to think about.)
Problem is, that would require a custom TB3-PCIe board. I'm thinking just reuse the Echo Express SEL board.
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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Yeah that's definitely fair. Are you thinking 75w cards or more power than that?
Maybe a small one for Dual slot LP gpus and a larger one for full height GPUS, maybe 230mm max like you said.

Problem is, is the price would be an easy 350 bucks, is that fair for an eGPU enclosure (no PSU/anything except the TB3 card)
 

reasons4reasons

Caliper Novice
Jul 9, 2017
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It's definitely a niche product, but I feel like there's a market for it. There are mass-market enclosures that are in that price range. The Razer Core X is like $300, and the Chroma version is $100 more. A well-designed ~$150-$200 chassis that used a mass-market ~$200 Thunderbolt 3 enclosure as a base would be pretty slick, especially if it provided an actually compact form factor. I don't know if you'd sell a million of them, but a small production run would probably work pretty well.

The one caution I'd say is that none of the non-egpu enclosures really provide power delivery for laptops, but I'm not sure how much of a dealbreaker that is. I'd probably mostly be using mine with a Mac Mini and maybe occasionally a laptop, so selfishly I don't really care, but it's a nice feature for other folks.
 

Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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It's definitely a niche product, but I feel like there's a market for it. There are mass-market enclosures that are in that price range. The Razer Core X is like $300, and the Chroma version is $100 more. A well-designed ~$150-$200 chassis that used a mass-market ~$200 Thunderbolt 3 enclosure as a base would be pretty slick, especially if it provided an actually compact form factor. I don't know if you'd sell a million of them, but a small production run would probably work pretty well.

The one caution I'd say is that none of the non-egpu enclosures really provide power delivery for laptops, but I'm not sure how much of a dealbreaker that is. I'd probably mostly be using mine with a Mac Mini and maybe occasionally a laptop, so selfishly I don't really care, but it's a nice feature for other folks.
So what do you think:

Full height version, SFX PSU support (Unless at lower wattages, flex atx would be OK?)

Half-height version, HDPlex 200W support/meanwell, for GTX 1650LP

Two versions?

I personally would jump on the LP version far quicker, I feel like many would because:
  • Low power=low heat
  • Smaller/lighter
  • Possibly cheaper?
 

reasons4reasons

Caliper Novice
Jul 9, 2017
25
16
That strikes me as a solid division. I like the internal PSU on the low-profile card, too, especially because it'll make it a hell of a lot easier to transport. For the full-height version I think SFX is probably the best idea, just because they're around the same price at the same efficiency and significantly quieter. If you really wanted to get a little wild, a Meanwell would be able to power up to a RTX 2070 or a RX 5700, but from J-Hack's experience with how willing people are to use Meanwell units I think that possibility is maybe too niche to make a product around.

(Another late edit: it looks like there isn't a single GPU under 230 mm that'd come close to the capacity of that Silverstone 350 W 80+ Gold Flex unit. The Fury nano comes the closest at 275 W. According to the spec in that LTT post, chassis itself will use around 20 W when plugged into a laptop, leaving a pretty healthy margin even on a card as powerful as the 1080 Ti. Depending on how quiet it is, you might be able to get away with that flex unit easily. A perk of not having to deal with power delivery to a laptop, I guess.)
 
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Windfall

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 14, 2017
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That strikes me as a solid division. I like the internal PSU on the low-profile card, too, especially because it'll make it a hell of a lot easier to transport. For the full-height version I think SFX is probably the best idea, just because they're around the same price at the same efficiency and significantly quieter. If you really wanted to get a little wild, a Meanwell would be able to power up to a RTX 2070 or a RX 5700, but from J-Hack's experience with how willing people are to use Meanwell units I think that possibility is maybe too niche to make a product around.
Okay, here's layout:



Would use HDplex 80w because no LP gpu consumes above 75W
 
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