Echo Express Pro: Desktop Graphics In A Thunderbolt Chassis

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gm0n3y

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If this was under $200 then it would actually be a pretty useful piece of kit. The main reason that I've shied away from laptops / ultrabooks is because I can't game on them. So I've continued to build desktops instead. If I had the option to just buy an ultrabook, one of these and a decent graphics card, I might make the switch. It just needs to be cheaper and a little faster.
 

jestersage

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Would be interesting to try HD7750 in crossfire. Powercolor has a single slot model, I believe. I saw some CF HD7750 benchmarks when Toms investigated the GTX 660 memory bandwidth issue. Maybe that could work here. Less messy, too. No 6pin power connectors needed. Each card uses around 55W which is readily handled by the Pro version's 150 power supply.
 
G

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C'mon guys!! just think about the price dropping in 3 or 4 years, that would be awesome just to have 1 laptop (instead of 1 laptop for internet surfing and a powerful RIG for gaming as I do have now) and a poweful video card, as some of you stated before maybe AMD or Nvidia would sell a card ready to connect to the thunderbolt port... well we still have a problem with the power supply since a really good card is very demanding, but this is a really good start, I'm pretty sure this will impact pc gaming in 3 or 4 years!
 

jazz84

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Okay, so as others have pointed out, the price on these things is still too high for what you can get out of it. If I'm going to spend the cash on an Ultrabook with Thunderbolt connectivity in addition to $400 - $800 for one of these enclosures, I'd like to be able to install a decent GPU in there (yet another expense) to get my money's worth. However, seeing as you're limited to the power output of the PCIe bus itself as well as only 10Gb/s bandwidth, I cannot think of any GPU that would make this setup worth the extra money. This is much better suited to high-end storage; all of the associated costs simply don't justify what would amount to "meh"-class gaming performance.
 

RedJaron

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Intriguing concept. Definitely makes gaming on a non-extreme laptop viable. I'll be interested to see just how far the price drops.

Between this and technology like nVidia's Optimus, mobile gaming on truly mobile computers could go a long way. My question is whether the limited clock's of ultra-low-voltage CPUs can keep up. I'd guess they'd serve well enough for the limited GPU these external chassis can handle.
 

army_ant7

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At that current price, I'd say you'd be better off buying a separate desktop system in addition to your laptop, if having the ability to game hard is what you need. Though that means having to work on two separate computers and having all the bad sides (and benefits) of using a desktop system. You'd have the advantages of having two systems as well like being able to have someone else use one or the other and probably having more hardware life from distributed usage.

You'd have to buy your hardware sans the graphics card (which you'd have to get with the external solution anyway) and OS if you build it yourself, but still, considering that you'd spend hundreds on the enclosure may make some think that that's money pretty much thrown away if it's only for graphics muscle.

Those points mentioned by other commenters above about if an external monitor is needed is really a concern. I wonder if Windows or the drivers work in a way that they "give" the frames to the built-in monitor still.

I wonder what the price of the MSI GUS II would be, how it would perform, and what features (like power connectors) will it have.


+1
Was gonna propose the same thing, except with HD 7770's, though I wasn't sure if they can be CF'ed, if they needed power connectors (also if 150W could satisfy them both), or if there were single-slot versions (or if they just plain were).
 

egowhip69

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While the video card test is interesting, I think it missed the mark a bit...

You can get very powerful laptops now, so think more of a mobile workstation rather than gaming machine.

Take the Mac Book Pro you already have, slap in a dual port 4 gig fiber card into this chassis, and hook the sucker into a SAN environment... BAM, instant workstation running 800Mbps to the SAN volume.

This would be good thing for those post houses that rent out HDD space along with edit bays for independent groups and small personal projects.

I also wonder if the Pro tools cards would fit in this thing... if they do, again, that gives you a pretty powerful mobile audio editing rig...
 

Iluv2raceit

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The idea for extenal graphics solutions for latops with several protypes that were shown off at years past consumer electronic shows) is not new at all. The now in eternal limbo External PCI-E hardware technlogy was the flavor of the day back then. Thunderbolt seems like a much more viable solution, though we may have to wait until Thunderbolt 2 is released that has the adequate bandwidth to support the PCI-E 3.0 interface. For now, this is a novelty that won't reach consumer level wide sales just because of the price of entry is just too high. Remember, enthusiasts only make up 1% of all consumers that purchase computer hardware - not enough to justify nor sustain the introduction of this kind of technology. Plain and simple, financial risk reduction - too little profit can be made by producing such a device. Maybe in a few years it will become a reality once prices subside and laptops become a majority of computers in the consumer household.
 

bsnache

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!BIG IMPORTANT QUESTION! I am a graphic and web designer, I use one desktop computer for graphic design and a late 2011 MacAir for on the go and business. Sonnet Tech could make a huge difference for me as I live in Chicago, LA, & Amsterdam, I need to transport and do work in multiple locations, bringing a large desktop with me is rarely an option, and I am on a budget, plus it would be nice to keep my computer information more consolidated. BUT, I know the MacBook Airs have a slightly different and inferior Thunderbolt connector, compared to the new MacBook Pro. In your opinion, theory, or from any data you might have please help answer these questions:
1. Will (I'm mean probably) this inferior thunderbolt on the mac air effect the performance of using sonnet.
2. How much do you think it may effect the performance?
3. Do you think this device may still have value for me, with the possible effect on performance?

*I'm not a gamer, and gaming performance is not my goal, but I do some photo, video, and graphic editing, and my Mac Air falls a bit short.
 

bsnache

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!BIG IMPORTANT QUESTION! I am a graphic and web designer, I use one desktop computer for graphic design and a late 2011 MacAir for on the go and business. Sonnet Tech could make a huge difference for me as I live in Chicago, LA, & Amsterdam, I need to transport and do work in multiple locations, bringing a large desktop with me is rarely an option, and I am on a budget, plus it would be nice to keep my computer information more consolidated. BUT, I know the MacBook Airs have a slightly different and inferior Thunderbolt connector, compared to the new MacBook Pro. In your opinion, theory, or from any data you might have please help answer these questions:
1. Will (I'm mean probably) this inferior thunderbolt on the mac air effect the performance of using sonnet.
2. How much do you think it may effect the performance?
3. Do you think this device may still have value for me, with the possible effect on performance?

*I'm not a gamer, and gaming performance is not my goal, but I do some photo, video, and graphic editing, and my Mac Air falls a bit short.
 

jazz84

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[citation][nom]nihlius222[/nom]Saw off the end, plop in a GTX690....that'll put some pep in an Ultrabook![/citation]

You'll need to pop a supplemental PSU on there too if you want to power that beast. Then again, it's all wasted thanks to the limited bandwidth. If you have the money to blow on an ultrabook with Thunderbolt connectivity, one of these enclosures, a decent GPU (as decent as this thing will handle), and are passionate enough about gaming to do all of this, you're probably better off / can afford getting a gaming laptop and replacing it as needed. Besides, lugging one of these around with an ultrabook rather defeats the purpose of an ultrabook anyway.
 

thefizzle656

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[citation][nom]Jazz84[/nom]You'll need to pop a supplemental PSU on there too if you want to power that beast. Then again, it's all wasted thanks to the limited bandwidth. If you have the money to blow on an ultrabook with Thunderbolt connectivity, one of these enclosures, a decent GPU (as decent as this thing will handle), and are passionate enough about gaming to do all of this, you're probably better off / can afford getting a gaming laptop and replacing it as needed. Besides, lugging one of these around with an ultrabook rather defeats the purpose of an ultrabook anyway.[/citation]

I don't think the idea is to lug one of these things around with your Ultrabook, but rather to have it at home or wherever you do most of your gaming and leave it there (hooked up to your monitor) and plug it in when you want to game. You get the benefit of a portable computer for the road and a decent gaming machine when you're at home.
 

f-14

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Because Thunderbolt is limited to 10 Gb/s of throughput, though, you can really only expect the equivalent of a four-lane second-gen link.
in other words USB 3 will work just as well for less

thunderbolt, obsolete before it even gets out of the gate, another worthless apple production like firewire.

unless apple subsidizes the cost to motherboard vendors i don't even want this on my motherboard, i don't even want to hear about this feature if it doesn't involve installation of iCrapple OS.

another forced advertisement like Cloud articles where i just feel the violent need to rain on their parade hurricane style.

look at the enclosure, that is the perfect way to fry any video card, those rinky dinky fans on the back aren't qualified to cool anything more than a soundcard or lan card.
 

f-14

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my old gtx 275 would turn this into a vaccum cannister sucking in more waste to sit inside this enclosure than a kirby vaccum. piss poorly designed.
 

jazz84

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A very fair point! Yeah, in that case I could see this being a decent investment, especially if you don't have the space or need for a full-fledged desktop. Then again, if space isn't an issue, you'd get better gaming bang for your buck putting together the $500 gaming rig from the August System Builder Marathon and still have $400 of wiggle room before reaching the ~$900 it would cost for an Echo Express Pro and, say, a basic Radeon 7750.
 

alidan

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well really, look at it this way.

once this comes allong, you will have an exturnal card, 400$
nvidia has a premium on some sites as 1000$ for their high end laptop card i believe, which is at most mid range preformance.

what i want to see is metro 2033 on its higher settings, that bring internal cards to their knees, i want to see how that preforms, something that even an inturnal card cant play at reasonable frame rates, not battlefield which is hitting over 30 inturnally.
 

ashinms

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What I think is really crazy is that a lot of the programming was done by a kid.. Also, the first run was calculating pi. Not exactly the most parallel code ever....
 

Chronobodi

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I just build myself a Bitfenix Prodigy GTX 660ti/3770k, but i'll rather go for external gpus though, since i already have a Thunderbolt on my 2011 Macbook Pro 15 inch... Why this isn't available? At least the Bitfenix can be hauled around a lot easier than a typical tower.
 

youssef 2010

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[citation][nom]amuffin[/nom]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[/citation]

Expensive, but promising
 
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