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 Post subject: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Location: Youngstown, OH
OK so I'm wondering now with 20gbps thunderbolt 2.0 we must be pretty close to being able to have an external gpu with its own external power supply and external cooling in a box you can plug in and run a thunderbolt cable from another room into your pc. According to benchmarks 4x 8x and 16x pcie 3.0 gives almost exactly the same performance for gpu's. There is 985MB/sec of bandwidth per pcie 3.0 lane. Thats 7.88GB/sec on the 8x link or 63gbps per 8x link or 3.94GB/sec (31.5gbps) per 4x link. Before pci-e 3.0 the gpu's also ran perfectly fine off 8x pci-e 2.0 which is 4x pci-e 3.0 which is basically 32gbps. How well did GPU's run off 4x PCI-e 2.0? Because thunderbolt 2.0 is basically = to PCI-e 3.0 2.25x or pci-e 2.0 4.5x (yes I know these aren't actual configs) As benchmarks show pci-e 3.0 at 4x runs crossfire cards perfectly fine (nvidia artificially limits to 8x). So the current high end gpu's seem to have no problem utilizing 32gbps and still performing near their maximum. If cards can still perform at thier max at pci-e 2.0 4x speeds than TB 2.0 can handle it right now. I have a feeling TB 2.0 at 20gbps may slightly bottleneck the highest end GPU but I would love to be able to give this a try. If gpu's could run at pcie 2.0 4x than thunderbolt 2.0 has an extra 4gbps over this. AM I jumping the gun? Is 20gbps not quite enough to achieve this yet?

I would love to pull the gpu completely out of the room have its own power supply and external box and cooling all in another room I think this will be an awesome option in the future. You can have a cooling system with those crazy delta fans that blow at like 5000 RPM and sound like freaking hair driers that move ridiculous amounts of air since the card won't even be in the same room. This would allow for crazy extreme overclocking. The GPU can have it's own dedicated 500 watt GPU and the super highspeed fans and a LARGE custom radiator and you could push them to their voltage limit and really crank the clocks up. Maybe not with TB 2.0 but with 40gbps thunderbolt 3.0 this will without a doubt be fast enough to completely remove the most power hungry component out of the pc. Without a GPU inside you can go down to a very low power gpu. A fanless 300 watt gpu would easily run totally silent in the pc. Plus the temp inside the case would drop wildly. Space will be more open meaning the airflow will be less unobstructive. Just a very low power psu barely giving off any heat using less than 200 watts, the mobo chipset which barely handles any functions nowadays and gives off only 5 watts of heat, low voltage ram that barely gives off any heat and the cpu which is really the only thing giving off heat. Removing the gpu will allow you to totally lower the fans or even remove some of the fans totally and have all the fans running at an inaudible speed while keeping the temps in a good range. This will really make building a silent high end gaming PC childs play.

I think a lot of us silence freaks are going to be moving to external gpu's in the next 3-5 years. So what do you guys think, IS thunderbolt 2.0 fast enough to experiment sticking a high end GPU externally with its own cooling and power supply in another room (may need optical cables for the added length)? Or are we going to need to wait for TB 3.0 with 40gbps (who knows how long that will be)?

I'm really excited for this feature. I'm going to totally go for an incredibly high cooling capacity high power delivery external gpu with clock speeds out of this world once this available. Who cares if you get those industrial fans that spin 5000 RPM to move 500 CFM of air freezing the gpu's if it's in another room. I could probably push a gtx 770 to almost stock gtx titan levels if I had that much dedicated cooling and power to a gpu in another room.

We will build some crazy quiet high powered gaming pc's. Just imagine, high powered super overclocked top end gpu in another room. Cable modem, router, and NAS box with an external usb 3.0 bd-r connected to it. That's the majority of noise producing elements in an entirely different room. So now you are talking about totally silent computer in the room with very little heat coming out the back of it. A PSU using maybe 150-160 watts (it's only going to be running a few fans the cpu the mobo chipsets the ram and the ssd). The only item giving off any appreciable amount of heat will be the cpu. The case can have all the 5.25" cages removed and all the hard drive cages removed you can just hide the ssd behind the motherboard as it is basically impossible to overheat it even with no airflow behind the mobo they run well within spec. All this removed plus no gpu means totally unobstructed airflow allowing you to really lower the fans to 5V or 7V. CPU cooler could just be a smaller single tower cooler the the nh-u12s with the fan also running at 5v or 7v totally quiet. or you can go with the Huge nh-d14 With the 5V ULNA adapter and change the pwm profile to really have these fans barely moving at all and if you want to overclock the CPU will not have to worry about any latent heat from other components.

As you can see I'm like gushing over this possibility. Would be so awesome to have the most deadly silent PC with extreme gaming power. I'd love to even see a way to use dual gpu's 1 running off it's own thunderbolt port linked together in their external box. Finally dual gpu's without increasing the noise a ton which is always the outcome. Dual gpu's =
4-5 DB increase every time.


Last edited by laststop on Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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Location: Guatemala
I dont see thunderbolt taking on, with intel proprietary rights on it, idk, never have i seen a motherboard with it worth the extra $$$, then again i dont have need for such interface.

I can see it useful for laptops though, where you could be having a ultraportable and just hook it to an external PSU + eGPU for gaming, at home, etc. There are tons of people already doing it in other formats having success, NBR e-GPU (External Graphics) Discussion. You probably could ask your questions there, since there are poeple that do what you want to do, just in laptops.

Personally i dont see my self changing toward external gpu on a desktop, i love having all in one box. Tech that have me excited for the short run are Sata Express, DDR4, PCIe 4.0, and to get a 4k monitor....

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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:37 am
Posts: 91
Location: Youngstown, OH
C'mon Abula imagine how much quieter it would be to have your GPU in another room next to your nas box and bd-r drive. The HDD the optical drive and the GPU the 3 noisiest components totally out of the way. I think there are some silent gamer freaks on here that would have a wet dream over this.

And yes it's working on MUCH lowered powered laptop gpu's that don't require as much bandwidth as say a gtx titan or gtx 780 or gtx 690 or radeon 7990. Will thunderbolt 2.0 with 20gbps be enough bandwidth for say a massive gtx 790 which is rumored to be out soon (the dual gk110 gpu on single pcb?

That galaxy gtx 780 must get awfully noisy when its at max load


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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:37 am 
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MSI was playing around with an external enclosure last year...but as far as I know, it never came to market. To me, it's benefit would be the ability to buy a lightweight laptop with a decent CPU/SSD and whatever iGP, and then be able to plug in an external gfx card/monitor for gaming at home.

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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:54 am 
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Location: Germany
I fail to see the mass market for such a solution. To keep product cost comparable to GPU-Cards, a lot of those externals have to be sold.

And if you really really want silence and big bad graphic power, it is already doable. And (already) also expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:03 am
Posts: 1134
Location: Europe
CA_Steve wrote:
MSI was playing around with an external enclosure last year...but as far as I know, it never came to market.


Yea, they showed a prototype called GUS II during CES2012 but it was scrapped in the end I think. Earlier this year, at Computex, Silverstone showed their version of the same concept; Silverstone T004 External PCIe Graphics Card Expansion Case.


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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 5:27 pm
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Location: USA
If you're willing to run cables to the GPU, why not just put the entire machine in another room and keep the monitor/keyboard/mouse with you? The keyboard/mouse can already be wireless (maybe range issues) and soon enough the monitor too, so you might not even needs cables at all.


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 Post subject: Re: External thunderbolt gpu's becoming a possibility??
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:45 am 
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Location: de_DE
It's called Sonnett Echo Express II and it can do all you describe.
It's a Mac accessory so you'll pay Mac price.

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