When you talk about a cheap option for an eGPU, what do you envision the price and product to look like? I have trouble seeing an external graphics option as being a “DIY” since you can’t design any of the components except for the enclosure. Once you purchase a graphics card, PCIe slot, and power supply, the rest is plug-and-play since you definitely wouldn’t be programming the drivers yourself either.
To put it bluntly, I just don’t see how this hasn’t been done. By the sound of it, what you’re looking for is something along the lines of this
Just a PCIe card designed to connect with a gpu. It works with laptops, and it comes with nothing else. It’s a component, and you fill in the rest to build your own system.
That component sells for $128.00 and works with x16 GPUs. It’s an older technology only capable at running 8GB/s. It sells for that price because the target audience (eGPU users with compatible computers) is small, and it is a high speed data handling component.
The problem with that component is that it’s not fast enough for new GPU systems that require more speed. Luckily Thunderbolt 3 makes those speeds attainable, but that affects the cost. Assuming someone made that exact same component, only 5 times faster transfer rate, and made it compatible with Intel’s proprietary Thunderbolt 3 connector, I think at best the component would cost around $220-$250 on its own due to low volume production and performance requirements.
At that point, after buying a $235 adapter and a $400+ GPU to go with it, I would be a little put out if they didn’t at least include a basic shell to store it in. With that in place, you have an AkiTio Node for $270 already available. It is just a TB3-x16PCIe adapter board with a shell. Find your own GPU and power supply. If you really don’t like the box, scrap it and make your own.
I’m sorry for the confusion, I’m really not trying to say what Eve would or wouldn’t do based on what the community would or would not want. All I’m saying is that a DIY eGPU would just be Eve reselling a single component made by another company in China. Maybe you’re right though, and with a few tweaks and extra options the community could come up with a better and cheaper AkiTio clone just like the Eve V is a better and cheaper Surface Pro. Maybe I just misunderstood what you meant by the term DIY, since I usually think of DIY as being at least 75% custom designed, not store bought components designed to be fit together.