Echo Express Pro: Desktop Graphics In A Thunderbolt Chassis

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Well, getting a laptop that supports thunderbolt is already pretty expensive. Then, you have to get one of these which ranges from $400-$800. THEN you have to buy a dedicated card....

It's pretty expensive once you add it all up :/
 

yobobjm

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I like it, but I see limited use for it, especially for those of us who already have large towers, and don't really want another small tower added on to that. That being said, this would make a pretty awesome home dock for a laptop, and good for those tiny desktops that intel, apple, asrock, zotac and many others make (once all of those get thunderbolt).
 

acku

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Prices will go down. Remember that.

Second, it's about the cost you'd have to pay anyways for a desktop (which you need if you want to game since you can't on a vanilla ultrabook), so its more like an alternative solution for those who want a single system setup.

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
Tom's Hardware
 

acku

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You don't know that :). USB 3.0 was expensive when it first came out. Look at things now. Wow things have changed. Prices are substantially lower now.
 

Vorador2

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Needs to be cheaper. That's my only serious gripe.

And well, for this purpose Thunderbolt still needs to be faster to fully take advantage of the external GPU, best around 16 Gb/s since it's the speed of a 16x PCIE 3.0 slot.

Although you could potentially sidestep this issue if you use two linked thunderbolt interfaces, but then there's the problem of synchronizing data transfers (and finding a laptop with two thunderbolt interfaces...if there's any)
 

Menigmand

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If they can make this much cheaper, I would be very interested. I prefer to game on a laptop so I can easily stow it away when I have guests over and need the dining table. An extra box would be ok, as long as it doesn't need an external display.
 

assasin32

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Well this makes things more interesting, when the price goes down and becomes resonable within probably the next few years it may give us the ability to buy laptops and attach some reasonble GPU's to them so we can play games on them a lot better.

If this was around 8 years ago I would have been all over it and had it for my laptop since I used to use that for gaming.
 

beavermml

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this maybe a stupid problem.. but will there be mouse lag using external dock with xtra latency? i dont know internal stuff much...
 

abhijitkalyane

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Think of the possibilities - Sonnet or nVidia or AMD could release Thunderbolt GPUs directly (instead of dock+GPU) - that would be a very viable alternative for Ultrabook gamers.
If such a combination (UB with i7 + Thunderbolt GPU) is available at a reasonable price, a lot of mobile gamers will consider it. I know I would.
 

toddybody

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Really cool idea...but the real world application doesnt make much sense for a windows (HW) user. For this much money...you could just build another rig/upgrade desktop internals.

If gaming on OSX is your cup o' tea...then it does have some (albeit expensive) application.

No offense, but hardcore gamer + Apple dont jive. Im at peace with the fact my MBA cant game...its great at what it does. Same goes for my gaming desktop (I dont cry about the lost potential of OSX applications on it).
 

thefizzle656

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[citation][nom]menigmand[/nom]If they can make this much cheaper, I would be very interested. I prefer to game on a laptop so I can easily stow it away when I have guests over and need the dining table. An extra box would be ok, as long as it doesn't need an external display.[/citation]

I'm pretty sure that this and all other possible external GPU solutions require an external monitor. The box hooks up the TB port on your computer, and then you have to hook up the actual GPU to a monitor (via HDMI, DVI, etc).
 
G

Guest

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Hi there, from reading this review, i noticed that you used it with your macbook pro. Were you able to use the external graphic card with OSX or did you install windows on your mac to use it. Would be really nice to be able to use this in OSX. Also would the Echo express be able to accommodate the GTX 460 or even better hd 7750, or would i need the more expensive echo express pro. Thanks for helping me with these questions. =)
 

xenol

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Call me crazy, but maybe this will simplify the laptop market a little (sort of). At least in the entry level to midrange, the only thing distinguishing laptops is their processor, memory, storage, etc. Then if the user wants to, add in a discrete external card.

Should also save board space since you no longer have to have a dedicated GPU and its RAM and house keeping to put on the board. Which means more room for the battery.
 

yialanliu

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I actually have an external graphics card via an expressport on an old Dell laptop. Works great. Also, I know Sony makes an external GPU for their high end laptop as well. So this isn't new tech at all. It's just using a new interface that's it.

While it works really well, the price is a limiting factor and it never did come down after I bought it since it's just not that popular.
 

boiler1990

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I'd be in for one of these if the price were ~half. An external GPU would be ideal for somebody who wants a laptop that is useable on the go (MacBook Air, maybe even the 13" Pro) but likes to dock it when they sit down to work for extended periods of time. This would prevent some people from buying a desktop for just one or two features.
 

KelvinTy

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There used to be products using PCIe 4x or 2x slot for external graphics... but then they abandoned it.
I would imagine this would be exactly the same since the thunderbolt is an even more expensive solution...
 
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