Thinking about a middle-super option now. Could there be a better combination than just creating a middle dock and a separated eGPU?
If I got it correctly from the previous debates, there are two things that would make a middle sized dock or an eGPU expensive:
- (a) The TB3 controller
- (b) The case
If we create a middle dock and then an eGPU as modules or separate devices, we would need two TB3 controllers, making the combination of both devices expensive. So, could we design a middle dock that has the ability to host an entirely optional eGPU without improving the base cost for non-ePGU users?
Maybe, if we overcome (a) and (b).
- (a) By using a single TB3 controller for both: Creating one single device that works as a TB3 dock, but also supports an eGPU connected to the same controller via PCIe. There wouldn’t be any performance drop, no second TB3 controller, and no important added cost to the base dock.
- (b) By literally thinking “outside the box” and using no case (or just an optional case) for the ePGU: We could design the device so that the casing could be added by eGPU owners… or not. This would make the eGPU expansion much more affordable
and open to a growing DIY community. Or you could just buy the extra case and enjoy a polished solution.
Some other people here have already suggested this. Things would look a bit like this:
(1) A base middle-sized dock, with an (unobtrusive) included PCIe connector. As most of the price would go to the casing and the TB3 controller, having a PCIe connector wouldn’t make this much more expensive to non-eGPU users. There would be no integrated PSU, just pass-through USB PD or a basic PSU to power the V and some peripherals.
(2) A GPU + external PSU. If the dock included an easy way to attach it to a VESA mount and hide it away behind a monitor or under a table, I would go for this option, and I think a lot of DIYers would too. For some, an exposed GPU may even look cool:
(3) An optional case for the eGPU with an integrated PSU, for those wanting to have everything in a more protected package… at a significant added cost ($$$). This case would leave all the ports of the base dock exposed, so you would have a great all-in-one solution.
Some problems/challenges for this approach:
- Finding the right external PSU for (2).
- Achieving a good design that looks clean even if “half encased” (2), and solving a way to firmly attach the GPU to the dock.
- Making the dock’s video ports redundant when having a GPU plugged in. But as having them wouldn’t increase the prices significantly, I’d cope with that. And they wouldn’t be totally useless, as they could still be used to connect a monitor to the Intel iGPU.
- Really keeping the price of the base dock as close as possible to an equivalent non-GPU-enabled dock.
- … Any others you can think of?
Some of them are relatively easy or not deal breakers to me. What do you think? Is this too crazy?
- Innovative and very unique solution, very Eve-like.
- Cost-effective, having not only a modular design, but also a truly modular pricing, where you would not be paying for duplicated stuff (except some video ports).
- No extra performance drop for the GPU.
- Attractive to a very wide audience (middle-weight dock users + DIY eGPU users + polished eGPU users).
- … Any others you can think of?