Revised proposal for modular dock with GPU


#21

This is isn’t really a concern for me because firstly eve is highly motivated by community preference so I would feel really comfortable buying into eves ecosystem without fear of being ripped off or ignored (as Apple routinely does)

Second as you rightly said Eve can sell ‘empty’ modules. That’s essentially what the GPU module is. A hard drive module can be a similar empty box with two 2.5 inch drive bays. They could sell an emtpy PC module compatible with Mini ITX boards (the module would have to be 180 x 180). Or maybe a barbies version like a skullcanyon NUC .

Also most components that are part of the system are generic parts, only the specs really matter not the brand behind them like; hdd’s, ssd’s, blu ray drives, speakers, network switch, TV tuner and so on. And we get to choose/vote for the competent specs.

So it’s a win win :slight_smile: clean desk with preferred components, future upgradablility all in a simple customisable form factor.


#22

Also the beauty of using both open standards ports (on the dock) and a semi custom docking mechanism is that you don’t have to buy eve modules if you don’t want to. If you prefer a hard drive from X brand then just plug it into one of the USB ports, If your using very specific hardware like audio equipment then just connect that how you normally would.

There’s really no downside to the modular design, so long as it can be done affordably and with minimal impact on performance (both of which remain to be seen).


#23

I quite like the idea of having the thunderbolt controller in the dock and not in the GPU box. It lowers the cost for those that want to have both the dock and the eGPU since they will only be paying for one thunderbolt controller instead of two.

I do have one concern though. For those that intend to use only the dock and not the eGPU, having the PCI-e components in the dock might increase its size; as well as having a unutilized PCI-e port existing somewhere on the dock might not be ideal. In my opinion the best solution would be to have two models for the dock, and the only difference between them would be the removal of the PCI-e component and consequently their size.

Regarding the actual design, I like the first option. However I think that all the different boxes should be connected and secured in a way such that they will not fall apart if the whole thing is put on its side. This way the user could choose to have it either upright or sideways, just like they can with almost any modern gaming console.


#24

Yeah I thought about the pcie port thing. And I don’t think it’s cost effective to have to SKU’s with such a small change. Also it isn’t that big of a deal if it goes unused (I’ve never used the ethernet port on my surface dock). It’s one of those ‘I’d rather not need it and have it , rather than need it and not have it’ scenarios. Removing the pcie port won’t bring you any cost savings because it’s such a cheap part and the cost of having to create a second PCB&housing would probably make it the same price as the one with the pcie connector.

Yeah ideally most of the modules would stack togwther quite solidly, but Im in two minds about this because it think it could be very useful if some of the modules (the top few above the dock) detached easily. For example think of a battery pack module with qi charging. It could charge whilst in the modular setup and then you could easily detach it and take it on the go with you. Same could be useful for a harddrive module or even a speaker module.

The ‘clasping mechanism’ definitely needs work.

The placing the dock on its side is definitely interesting, although it may not be possible If you have a setup without gpu It might work.


#25

@Attiq, even if none of this happens, I just want to say that this really cool and keep doing what you’re doing.

I like option X the best purely from the stance that I would want the smallest footprint possible and taller achieves that better than wider. Given the viability issues though, I’d vote option 1. I also really like the NUC-like concept.

I share the concerns about not being able to use the eGPU on the go. I really like the idea on being able to use each piece on its own or together and a desktop “Voltron”. :grinning: I see your point about the price conundrum though.

Ya, all the modules need to be able to be stacked in any order and not dependant upon having a certain module below or above them.

Empty modules concept is great. Regarding some of the discussion about eGPU capabilties and power needs…I bought the V knowing that I was making a compromise on power to get better battery life, fanless, etc. I would be fine with an eGPU that gives me a decent boost but isn’t a giant powerhouse in exchange for better modularity and portability. I would primarily want one to help with video and photo work. I can always use a desktop for really heavy workloads.


#26

As a laymen in this respect, but wouldn’t it be also suitable for an external hard drive that is needed for backup or other reason. I really like that idea - to use this as a shelter for an external drive instead of an eGPU.


#27

Thanks for the kind comments :slight_smile: I Will keep up with the concepts as best as I can.

In regards to option x, this is just wishful thinking but I was hoping Eve would use option 1 as a stepping stone to option X once they gain enough users and hit critical mass (not sure when that would be). The cool thing is you’d just have to swap out thru GPU module to get from option 1 to x. The problem with option X is you wouldn’t be able to put your own cards In there, it would require a custom GPU card with custom power supply. Which would be expensive.

As for the stand alone use lf the GPU . Sadly Intel heavily controls the use and sales of thunderbolt controllers. Meaning they are very expensive. Hopefully the price will come down once they gain popularity.

Interestingly even a full size 1060 GPU could be squeezed into and option X style design because the zotac 1060, is 174mm long. So the foot print would grow to about 180x180mm


#28

Ok I have a question. What will be in the other modules? I think eGPU is kinda obligatory in this concept, right? So you have video out automatically. What else… some USB ports? You drew 3 yellow boxes and a red box in your concepts. Now please provide 4 different examples of what might be in those boxes.

I think with this concept, it would be way cheaper to just buy a whole dock with all the features you can put in this one, than to buy the base unit. Not to mention the price of extra modules…


#29

As you say GPU and Dock are a given.

Possible standard (yellow) modules:

  • HDD/SSD module (2 x 2.5" drive bays, user replaceable)
  • 4K HDR Blu-ray drives
  • TV Tuner
  • Sound Card/ Amp thingy (I’m a noob when it comes to audio equipment)
  • video capture card
  • network switch
  • simple speaker with mic array and playback buttons (Cortana capabilities)
  • mesh router node
  • projector was suggested too
  • charging bank ( unfortunately it would require another power lead)

Possible top modules (always go on the top)

  • portable battery bank with QI wireless charging.
  • QI wireless charging top plate.

Possible Base/ core modules:

  • thunderbolt 3 dock
  • mini pc (like skull canyon NUC)
  • TV set top box (could be a low powered pc but software is tricky)
  • mesh router system

I am not suggesting Eve build all of these, its just the full scope of the design, the ones in bold are a good starting point then Eve can come back to it at a later date (couple of years).


#30

Wow… I haven’t used optical drives for years… Does anyone actually still use them?

Does anyone still use those?

If Eve made one, it would be pretty much useless because it would give the same quality as Eve V. If you want a good DAC/amp, you should be looking at real hi-fi companies, and not just random tech companies.

What does it do? Shouldn’t such things be placed next to your TV/set-top box? Let me remind you, you don’t need any extra hardware to record video from your computer.

Can you elaborate?

Eve V already has integrated mic and speakers, and there are playback controls on both the screen and the keyboard.

These need to be strategically placed. Not on your desk. Unless you have 4 devices on your desk, all connected to ethernet… But even if you do, you don’t want the cable clutter on your desk. Ethernet cables are thick.

Then it’s not a dock anymore.

Each ISP has their own software that runs only on their own boxes. So this just won’t work in the worldwide context.

So basically, the ones that would work and be useful are:

  • external storage
  • projector
  • all sorts of chargers

Now, who uses a projector at home? Maybe for watching movies or something, but then it probably isn’t in the same room where you’re working. I really see no point in having a projector on your desk. I’ll admit, the external storage idea is pretty useful. But now that the list was narrowed down, why not just include all these features in one box?


#31

Add 360degree camera to the possible top modules…


#32

@Attiq provided possible options as you asked for. He didn’t ask you to rate these based on your personal use cases. Just to pull one example… Yes, there are other people that do use optical drives. I own a good collection that I don’t want to throw away just because I can stream something that I have to rent or buy again. If I will buy a dock and there is an option for an optical drive as Modul i’ll very much consider it.
I bet the same is the case for various other options that you immediately turned down because you didn’t see a benefit for any of your use cases.
Please try to be a bit more open minded. We’ll get to a point when options will get limited soon enough…


#33

I think people had the same problem with floppy disks… But you know, you can just rip them all and put on your hard drive - that’s what people did with floppy disks :slight_smile:


#34

That’s exactly what I do with my collection of discs but you still need an optical drive to rip those discs don’t you?

Even with how fast online streaming services are progressing, a Blu-ray disc with 40 Mbps of bit rate is still going to offer better video quality, so I think I’ll continue to buy them for a couple more years.


#35

From a technical perspective that is possible, maybe even from a logical perspective to a certain point… from a legal perspective it is not. Ripping something which requires you to overcome copy protection is illegal in Germany. Also to preserve the quality I’d need huge amounts of extra storage which again requires me to purchase something (if I recall you correctly you do not like to spend money to replace something as long as it is good, so you should understand).


#36

Yes, lot’s of people still use optical drives. My work environment still needs them from time to time.

Video capture cards are used for importing video from cameras. I’ve never had a use for one since we moved from Mini DV tapes to SD cards but I’m sure they still get used.

Mesh router node- A node that connects to a wireless mesh system.

Speaker/Mic- Quality would be better that what comes onboard the V.

Network Switch- I want it strategically placed on my desk so I can test/configure equipment, hook up an IP phone, connect another computer for trouble shooting, etc.

Mini PC- That would make it both. Maybe someone wants to setup a low profile Plex server or personal cloud.

Projector- I’d love to be able to have a small projector at my home and office desks for quick presentations on the wall.

Again, we all have different use cases and they evolve. I would think that the conversations within the community would have made that very obvious by now.


#37

So I understand what people are saying with that they still need optical drives. That’s fine. But why would you want to add one onto a new product? Don’t you already have optical drives right now for that? Why would you need a second one on Double D? That’s a waste of money and space. If you need an optical drive you probably have one, and most people don’t need one or two.


#38

For me that concepts sounds weird. If you think it to the end the result are several base boxes and some additional USB hubs/devices.

For example a base box that has an ePCIE slot for an graphics card, power and some USB to connect the addon boxes. Another base box has some display outputs, power and again USB for the addon boxes. The addon boxes are USB hubs/devices.

At the end of the day the only difference to an existing dock + usb hubs/devices is the form factor. This implies that this form factor and design is something a lot of people want. A really difficult goal - tastes are different.

I think it could still work if you design it in a way that any addon box is optional and the base box can be used as a dock itself.


#39

I personally don’t need an optical drive module because I could plug in my external usb drive into the dock if I needed one. I’m simply saying that they still get used and someone might want one. There would obviously need to be a demand for it which would be determined once the development process got to that stage.


#40

That’s exactly how its works, there is only one base module, the thunderbolt dock (in red). All the others (aside from GPU) are basically USB devices theta neatly stack together. so for example a hard drive module is just a USB hard drive.