Tuesday, June 07, 2017
As announced at WWDC on June 5, 2017, macOS High Sierra brings support for external graphics processors to any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
MacBook Pro (2016) with macOS High Sierra and the Node with an AMD Radeon RX 470 graphics card
Our Akitio team in Taiwan has recorded a short video to show what happens, without any modifications to the system or hardware whatsoever, when the Node is connected to a Thunderbolt 3 Mac running macOS 10.13. After connecting the Thunderbolt cable to the computer (0:25), the external GPU is detected and the user is prompted to logout (0:40). After logging in again, the GPU is ready to use (1:22). When disconnecting the Thunderbolt cable (1:30), the same procedure of logging out and logging in has to be repeated and that's all it takes.
How about a Thunderbolt 2 Mac with the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple?
Yes, this appears to work as well.
How about graphics cards from Nvidia?
No, according to the release notes (v1.0) for the external graphics development kit, only the AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card is supported. Other graphics cards are unsupported.
Finally an affordable eGPU box
The Thunderbolt™ 3 eGXF box is a low cost expansion chassis designed to house an external graphics card. Connected to the computer via Thunderbolt 3, the additional GPU power instantly upgrades a regular laptop or a mini PC and makes it possible to do things that would normally require a high-end workstation or gaming computer. For video editors and colorists, the dedicated GPU reduces the time it takes to render the footage, a computer that was not powerful enough for a VR headset is now potentially VR ready and for those that like to play games, these can now run at much higher frame rates than before.
Thunderbolt™ 3 for lighting fast transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps
1 PCIe (x16) slot supporting full-length, full-height, double-width cards
Spacious enclosure for use with standard and large sized graphics cards
Built-in 400W SFX power supply to provide extra power to GPU
PCIe x16 slot supplying up to 75W of power
4 lane PCI Express 3.0 compliant interface
Removable back panel for double-width cards
Carry handle to easily transport the device
Supports standard and large sized PCIe Gen3 x4 cards
The PCIe (x16) slot accepts full-length, full-height, double-width cards with enough space available inside the enclosure for both standard and large sized graphics cards. The four PCIe Gen3 lanes and the Thunderbolt 3 interface are capable of transfer rates up to 40Gbps, providing enough bandwidth even for the most demanding PCIe cards.
Extra power for graphics cards
400W SFX PSU
The built-in power supply provides enough power for the AKiTiO Node (~10W) as well as for graphics cards. If the standard 75W through the PCIe slot is insufficient, two extra pairs of 8-pin power connectors are available inside the AKiTiO Node that can be connected to the GPU, providing a total of about 390W.
The power of external GPUs
Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all – delivering the fastest, most versatile connection to any dock, display, or data device. In combination with the AKiTiO Node, this makes it possible to instantly upgrade your regular laptop or Mini-PC and achieve a performance that usually requires high-end workstations or specialized gaming computers.
Frequently asked questions about the Akitio Thunder3 Range and Mac
How about older Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 products with the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter?
Yes, existing Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 devices from Akitio will work fine on the new MacBook Pro with the bidirectional adapter from Apple or with our own T3T adapter. There might be some models that require a firmware update but testing is currently still ongoing. Once we have concluded all the tests, we will update this page again. For more details about the compatibility of the adapter from Apple, please refer to https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207266.
How about an older Mac in combination with the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter?
The bidirectional adapter from Apple can connect Thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port but it requires macOS Sierra. For more details about the compatibility of the adapter from Apple, please refer to https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207266. In our tests, we found that with Mac OS 10.10 the adapter does not work at all but with Mac OS 10.11 and macOS 10.12, the adapter appears to work. The devices mentioned above that are currently not compatible with the MacBook Pro 2016 (Thunder3 Duo Pro, Thunder3 PCIe Box, Thunder3 Quad) appear to work OK on a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 computer. The Node and the PCIe SSD are still not compatible.
How about Boot Camp?
Boot Camp is not part of the Thunderbolt™ compatibility testing and certification process by Apple and Intel. Even if the product has been certified for Windows, this does NOT include systems that are running Windows on a Mac with the help of Boot Camp. For this reason, Akitio does not support Boot Camp. If you still want to use Boot Camp, in our experience, the external storage drives are recognized by the system as long as you connect them before starting up the system. Hot plug is not supported. External GPUs like the AKiTiO Node are not supported at all.
Are you really sure that the Node is not compatible with a Mac computer?
Yes, we can only confirm that the Node is compatible with the Thunderbolt 3 Intel NUC and the Razer laptops. Several other PCs using Windows 10 appear to be compatible upon initial testing but the Node is NOT compatible with the Mac.This also applies to a Mac running Boot Camp and to older Thunderbolt 2 computers. Having said all that, we are aware how dedicated the eGPU community is and who knows, as this statement is published, someone might already have found a way to make it work anyway.
How long do I have to wait for these new Thunderbolt 3 products that are compatible with both PCs and a Macs?
We are currently working to make all of our Thunderbolt 3 products except the Node and the Thunder3 PCIe SSD compatible with Windows and macOS. As this includes a hardware change and the new products have to be re-tested and re-certified to make sure everything is working as expected, it's likely going to take some time. As a rough estimate, we expect the first products to be available at the beginning of the next year (2017).
If I cannot use the Node on my Mac, how can I then use a full-length PCIe card?
We are working on another Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis designed for full-length cards, other than external graphics cards, that will work with both Windows and macOS. Please give us a bit of time and we will have the right solution for you.
NODE-T3IA-AKTU (without graphics card)
2-year limited warranty
SECC sheet metal
1 x PCIe card (see compatibility chart)
Supports full-length, full-height and double-width cards
PCIe (x16) slot provides a maximum of 75W but additional power can be supplied to the PCIe card by connecting a pair of 8-pin connectors
1 x Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C) port
1 x internal PCIe (x16) slot with 4 lane PCI Express 3.0 interface
Thunderbolt 3 up to 40 Gbps
System requirements (PC)
Computer with Thunderbolt™ 3 port
Computer must support external GPUs (see compatibility chart)
System requirements (Mac)
Operating Temperature: 5°C ~ 35°C
Storage Temperature: -20°C ~ 60°C
Relative Humidity: 5% ~ 95% (non-condensing)
Internal power supply (UL, cUL, CE, FCC, BSMI, TUV approved)
Input: AC 100-240V, 50Hz-60Hz
Output: DC +12V/33A
Fan noise level
16.85 inches x 5.71 inches x 8.94 inches
42.8 cm x 14.5 cm x 22.7 cm
AKiTiO Node with built-in 400W PSU
Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable
Retail Box Size: 20.24 x 9.72 x 14.37 in. (51.4 x 24.7 x 36.5 cm)
The computer must support external GPUs.
Not all Thunderbolt 3 computers support external GPUs. If in doubt, please contact the manufacturer of your computer.
To prevent damage, always uninstall graphics cards when transporting the device.
The monitor, VR headset, Intel® NUC and graphics card are for reference only.
Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
| Stock code || TBP-AK-T3N|
| Brand || AKiTiO|
| Series || Thunderbolt3 PCIe|
| Model || Thunder3 Node NODE-T3IA-AKTU|
| Type || 1x TB3 USB-C, 1x PCI-Express-v3.0-x16 FHHL (x4 speed, 75W) - Windows Only|
| ROHS || Y|
| Date added || 28/10/2016|
Thunder3 Node NODE-T3IA-AKTU Spec Information
| Form factor / drive height || 42.8 x 14.5 x 22.7 cm|
| Guarantee || 2yr|
| OS Support - Windows || Windows 10|
| OS Support - Mac/OSX || MacOS High Sierra|
Thunder3 Node NODE-T3IA-AKTU Spec Connections
|PCIe||PCIe v3 x16||Internal||1|
Thunder3 Node NODE-T3IA-AKTU Speed
| Weight (kg) || 6.97kg|
| Weight (bare) || 4.5kg|
| Watts || 75+?|
| External Length (mm) || 514cm|
| External Width (mm) || 247cm|
| External Height (mm) || 365cm|
AKiTiO USB3.1 Gen2 Desktop Case NT2 U3.1 NT2-U31AA-AKTU Case for 2x 3.5" SATA HD JBOD/RAID-0/1 |
AKiTiO USB3.1 Gen2 Pocket Case SK-2520 U3.1 SK25-U31AS-AKT For 2x 2.5" SATA HD (up to 15mm) JBOD/RAID-0/1 USB-C |
AKiTiO Thunderbolt3 PCIe Thunder3 Node Lite T3NL-T3DIS-AKTU 2x TB3 USB-C, 1x PCI-Express-v3.0-x16 FHHL (x4 speed, 25W) - Windows & macOS |
AKiTiO 2-Bay SATA -to- USB3.1+Thunderbolt3 Thunder3 Duo Pro T3DP-T3DU3IS-AKTU Case for 2x SATA HD, RAID-0/1 (2x TB3, 1x USB, 1x DP) - Windows Only |
AKiTiO 4-Bay SATA -to- Thunderbolt3 Thunder3 Quad T3Q-T3DIAS-AKTU Case for 4x SATA HD, Non-RAID (2x TB3, 1x DP) - Windows Only |
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