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PCIe Expansion Boxes

Davo McConville

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Hi all,


I'm trying to expand a Retina MacBook Pro via an Akitio Thunder2 Thunderbolt enclosure.


I've looked at the Cyclone 2705 and 2707 boxes – they look good but are impossible to buy.


Does anyone know enough about the Magma EB7 boxes – usually used for Digidesign Pro Tools setups – and whether they would work for this purpose and offer enough bandwidth?





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Few things... first off, even thunderbolt 3, can only use around 60-70% of the external GPU's potential.


There are A LOT of chassis on the market, a quick google search revealed at least 10. I like the smaller, more portable one's like this: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/HELIOS1TB3/


I have used external chassis with a trashcan mac pro before, (the sonnet 19" rack mount one) and it could be temperamental. I'm not sure what the performance would be like with a laptop. Unless you had external monitors and were using the GPU output, you wouldn't get the benefit of the display portion of the card, which is the big problem most of the time. The built-in GPU's can't deal with DaVinci, Premiere and FCPX's GUI very well. I use DaVinci and had to buy an older cheese grater Mac Pro 5,1 with a decent GPU to make it work well. I spent around $2500 on my build computer included and it's pretty old tech yes, but it's fast enough with DaVinci to actually work with 4k Red and Alexa media in real time.


Oh and the only expansion chassis that will work are one's that clearly are labeled Thunderbolt. The Cyclone's are for machines that already have PCI slots and it uses a card that goes into one of those PCI slots to expand the bus. Those solutions actually work pretty well, but nowhere near the speed of cards internally on the 16X bus.

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