To eGPU or not to eGPU?

egpu
dock

#1

I think the first question we should answer with regards to design is this: should the new dock have eGPU capabilities?

Yes I could poll this, but I wanted a discussion thread first. The reason I say this is “first” is that it impacts a number of other decisions, including form factor (portability), size, PRICE, complexity, etc.

For those not sure what I’m talking about, an eGPU is something like the Razor Core or Aorus Gaming Box, that allows you (via a Thunderbolt 3 connection) to hook up an external box to a laptop (or V in our case) to allow it to do gaming, and/or other graphics-intensive tasks via having an actual desktop-grade graphics card in the box. These eGPU boxes are hooked up to wall power, and are thus sometimes “luggable” but not “portable” as in they don’t work off of batteries. Sometimes they also include things like network cards, extra USB ports, etc, but sometimes not as much. Most let you put whatever graphics card you want (that fits) inside, and some (like the Aorus one above) have a discrete one that comes with it that is (probably) not replaceable.


Some have expressed support on this board for an Eve eGPU as being the dock, and others have said that the dock should be its own thing, with a TB3 pass-through so it SUPPORTS having an eGPU, but isn’t an eGPU by itself. So here’s one thread to talk about that since Eve is likely only making ONE product, not a dock AND an eGPU. So I intend this thread to be less about the merits of using eGPUs, and more about the tradeoffs of the decision either way.


#2

You should create a poll!


#3

I would postpone this discussion untill we decided / know if the dock will be modular or not.

Shouldn’t be too diffucult to create an eGPU module; however if the dock is a single item there are different implications for decision for / against eGPU.

So first of all: Will + Can we make the dock modular?


#4

I agree. I would think modular would be a good option if possible. You can have a dock that exists on its own, or with a modular extension it can hold an eGPU. I think this would serve a wider client base as an initial thought.

I personally have no interest in an eGPU and would like a dock SANS eGPU.


#5

A modular dock design will give a personal choice / personal price.
As such it will be appealing to many more people.


#6

I wanted the discussion first, rather than poll right away on topics/features people may not be familiar with yet.

And be that much more difficult for a small company to produce (there have already been discussions about how too many SKUs causes problems, hence why only 3 for V). Modular may not be a viable design choice at all for Eve. Or it might be. Not a bad compromise, but it may not be possible.

If you had to make the hard yes/no on this, which would it be and why?


My vote would be a dock WITHOUT an eGPU, but supporting daisy-chaining TB3 (which the standard supports) so you can buy a simpler eGPU if you wish. Though I like the modular idea, I put it as less probable that it’s technically feasible for a small company like Eve, and they’d get higher sales on a small dock that works for non-V devices, than a more expensive “All-in-one” eGPU dock.

In any cases, it should work for “any” usb-C computer, not just V, though of course work wonderfully with V. There’s plenty of 3rd-party usb-C “docks/port expanders” for MacBooks and soon PixelBooks, so it’s probably a good market that you’d want to tap, WITHOUT making it an eGPU, which less people would buy.


#7

I agree somewhat with what your saying. The only thing that I really disagree with is the notion that

If Eve were to make a modular dock (which I agree will be tricky but not impossible) they would have a unique device which would mean sales they would also have multiple modules which would mean repeat sales.

If they were to make a generic dock or generic egpu box, it wouldn’t be unique meaning low sales and because it’s not modular no repeat sales.

So I would strongly side with both egpu and modular. The cool thing is the Base dock can just be a Tb3 dock for people who want that but it isn’t limited and can grow as peoples needs change.


#8

Me too! A dock is a dock and an eGPu is an eGPU Don’t think we are looking at a hybrid for the larger market somehow - otherwise the Dells etc would have done one already


#9

Do you mean something like the Acer Revo Build, but for accessories? I just want to be sure what you’re meaning.

I’m meaning make a TB3 dock, that supports daisy-chaining with other (3rd-party) eGPUs or other stuff. You seem to be suggesting that that’s OK, but then make it “integrate” somehow like the Revo Build I linked above.

Or do you mean something else? I would like clarification.


And where this discussion has gone is why I didn’t just make a poll right away!


#10

Correct, there are several different ways of doing it and I’ll draw some sketches but you seem to geit the idea. I’ll refer you to this post for clarification.

And this


#11

Another thing to keep in mind is whether the GPU could be replaceable or not, it could be non-replaceable, which would reduce its size making it a lot more portable, but allowing the user to upgrade would mean that it’s futureproof, at the cost of portability.


#12

Not egpu.
If the folks want have an egpu. I would prefer a dock with pass through tb for an egpu. I can’t believe that the v + egpu can be that gaming experience. Perhaps for AutoCAD or something like that.


#13

Whether we decide to go modular or not doesn’t really matter yet if we make the decision to go with a non-eGPU dock with TB3 pass through. I would vote for non-eGPU dock as the starting point. We can then discuss and vote on form factor, modularity vs stand-alone, etc.


[Donald Dock][Step 2.2] [SUMMARY/DISCUSSION] Potential product type
#14

I imagine the eGPU should’ve been the ‘master’ dock, which means in your case, the Eve dock doesn’t need to support daisy-chaining, but the eGPU does. The reason is eGPU is much more sensitive to latency and bandwidth than other TB3 applications. Heck, Id even argue that all other functions can be achieved via USB.

Regarding the OP, here’s what a PC with comparable performance to the mid-range Eve V (Core i5) would cost

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Pentium G4400 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($49.88 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI - B250M PRO-VD Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial - 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($68.00 @ Adorama)
Storage: Western Digital - Black PCIe 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($109.88 @ OutletPC)
Power Supply: EVGA - BT 450W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($15.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $288.73

Benchmark of Pentium G4400 https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G4400+%40+3.30GHz
Benchmark of Core i5-7Y54 https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-7Y54
The Pentium even manage to beat the Core i5 by almost 30% in single-threaded tasks, since it is not as power constrained as the Core i5 (TDP of G4400: 54W. TDP of 7Y54: 7W)

Therefore, in my opinion, the dock shouldn’t be more expensive than that. Because otherwise I, and I believe many others, would rather get a separate desktop PC and put my GPU on it.


#15

Personally I think that the thing that makes the dock would be an eGPU. A non-eGPU Dock is basically a branded TB3/USB hub at this point, and you might as well just use a cheap and cheerful hub from your local parts supplier.

That being said, the modular concept is nice, but I don’t know how realistic the cost structure would be for a company the size of eve.

Maybe the question is: how many of us would buy an eGPU dock?


#16

How about designing both with and w/o eGPU?


#17

@AntonyTerence why not do both , it can be both replaceable and portable. At the expense of cost. :slight_smile:

@Christoph again modularity allows for both a tb3 dock and a egpu add on module. Plus you can use it with something that isn’t a V like an Intel skull canyon NUC. :slight_smile:

@Patrick_Hermawan thanks for that!, it was very helpful to see a pc comparison :slight_smile:

@Woku yup that’s what were saying with the modularity thing :slight_smile:


#18

I agree with @Moof a dock without eGPU is not too interesting since there’s a lot of option on the market for simple dock.

Also since the V already come with a lot more USB port than the competition I don’t really need more. But if the dock has eGPU and add more USB port then I’m first in line to buy it. :nerd_face:


#19

for me it seems there is more than meets the eye in the eGPU module:

To make it a module, it would have to be small enough.

That would seem to introduce a new problem: how do you cool it in that confined space?

Razer Core is HUGE! (that also so it could fit the biggest cards in). But that size also helps with the airflow (fitting big fans around, etc)


#20

I would go with “not eGPU” - at least not within the dock.
This leaves the dock slimmer and more focused on what a dock is truly intended to do: allow the connection of multiple devices to one device without having to plug in all cables.

The dock itself should allow the possiblilty to connect an eGPU to it (ideally at max performance of course so TB3 pass through is a must).