Visiting the SilverStone booth was rather interesting.  In a similar ilk to MSI’s GUS which used Thunderbolt to transmit data over PCIe, Silverstone are developing their own at-home device capable of dual-width GPUs up to 450W.

This is still in the development cycle – the main issue with MSI’s device (and I’d assume Silverstone as well) is how to deal with hot-plugging during the middle of intense GPU workloads.  Aside from frame buffer management, at the point in time when the device is detatched there is no longer access to any data on the card – the PC or laptop then has to transfer what it knows to the frame buffer on the IGP and recalculate.  Sounds easy-ish, but not a trivial task by any means.

Silverstone told me there is no release date as such as they are still in the alpha phase of development, but they are aiming for the $200-250 price point without a GPU. 

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  • Dentons - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    That's a decent PSU, an adequate PSU can be had for half that. An adequate case is not much more. An adequate MB - CPU combo can be had for $110 to $150. Add RAM and an HD and you'll be barely more than $250. Less if you shop for sales.

    Plop a serious GPU in such an "adequate box" and it may run better than if the GPU were dropped into this and cabled to an i7 laptop. And of course, if you build an actual PC, you have another entirely separate computer to do whatever with.
  • mavere - Saturday, June 8, 2013 - link

    "And of course, if you build an actual PC, you have another entirely separate computer to do whatever with."

    Which is actually a downside in this situation. If I wanted to build a separate computer, I'd have built one already...
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    $49 for a case, thunderbolt to PCI-E adapter, and 450W Silverstone PSU? No. Maybe more like $149-199. This version is a proof of concept, there will probably be cheaper options available in the future.
  • mercutiouk - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    I'd be more than happy to see an external box that doesn't need to feed things back to the internal display.
    This is definitely a fine crack at making a good product though. My own setup will have the full setup (raid card, graphics card, sound card with attached drives, screen and speakers) waiting at home for a decent gaming grade laptop to act as it's base unit all attached via thunderbolt. I'm even quite happy to take the thunderbolt to PCIe bridge card (TH05 when it gets certified) and build my own chassis for it all to sit in. We just need devices like this to push things along.
  • chaosbloodterfly - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    There are people for whom a couple hundred dollars isn't a terribly big deal, and want the power of a desktop and the portability of a laptop.
    e.g. the people who spent $2000 on a Sony Vaio Z with the GPU dock.
  • ananduser - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    Meanwhile the Z no longer sells.
  • jfraser13 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    Since it uses Thunderbolt, there's no way that it could be $50. Just having Thunderbolt adds about $50 to the price. Besides, this type of product is mostly for Mac users(like myself). This would allow someone to use a MacBook Pro for graphics intensive programs instead of buying a desktop because there are two other options besides an eGPU: buying a PC desktop or buying a Mac desktop. Buying a PC desktop wouldn't be ideal, not just because it runs Windows, but because you'd have to use different programs and you might have to buy Windows versions of some games. On the other side of the fence, a Mac Pro desktop costs over $2500. If the T004 ships for $250 without a Thunderbolt cable, you could get an eGPU with a GTX 650 for around $400(before tax). The issue boils down to $2500 vs $400. For a Mac user like myself, this would be a perfect solution. The only issue is that Intel won't allow Silverstone to sell it despite co-branding with Asus. Intel told Village Tronic that Thunderbolt doesn't support "Host Adapters to Thunderbolt, Graphics Controller cards in external chassis and PCIe Expansion Chassis for Windows", which of course is a bunch of malarky because Magma and Sonnet already sell this type of thing for a much higher price. I already set up a petition to demand that Intel allow the sale of the T004 and affordable eGPUs in general. Here's a link to it if you'd like to sign it:
  • twistedgamez - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    to clarify: i put a graphics card in here, then i plug it into my windows macbook and the laptop will think it has the gpu plugged into it? like the (non grahics card designed) sonnet thunderbolt expansion thingy?

    does anyone know if thunderbolt 2 which is double speed runs on pcie 4x like thunderbolt 1?
  • DanNeely - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    Why is the GPU oriented the way it is? Flip it 180 and it's fans can have direct access to draw outside air for better cooling.

    I'm also wondering about the PSU; the fat multi-colored cable looks like ATX-24; which in turn implies they're using a full on computer PSU. All they should need is a pure 12V model which'd be more compact; thunderbolt itself can send 10 watts down the cable; which should be more than sufficient to run whatever odds and ends the controller board needs.
  • hansfilipelo - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    The GPU is oriented that way since hot air has lower density. The nature helps the fan to draw the hot air to the top of the chassis.

    If the fan would have been in the top of the chassis it would've drawn the hot air into the graphics card.

    This is like fourth grade physics.

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