Akitio Node makes Thunderbolt 3 graphics card docks attainable


— 11:00 AM on November 15, 2016

When Razer first unveiled the Core external GPU dock, it was met with equal parts hype and hesitation. The promise of plugging in a external graphics card is great, but most gerbils balked at the $499 price tag. Powercolor's Devil Box is cheaper, but $379 is still more than most people are likely to spend on a graphics card to begin with. Folks who are still chasing the external-graphics dream might want to take a look at Akitio's Node eGPU dock.

The Node is as simple as it gets: a metal box with a power supply and a PCIe slot connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port. It doesn't have any of the spurious extras that the other docks offer, like extra USB-C or DisplayPort connections. It also doesn't have flashy logos or LED lighting. What it does have is a 400W SFX power supply with a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The SFX power supply accepts standard PC power cables, so there's no worry about losing a difficult-to-replace power brick.

The Node also includes a 120-mm fan in the front of the chassis to bring in fresh air. Along with that, vents on the rear and one of the sides should mean there's plenty of airflow for hot GPUs. The back panel sports a thick aluminum handle, too.

While the dock has room for just about any video card you want to stuff inside it—including cards up to 6.7" tall, 12" long, and 1.73" wide—the PCIe 3.0 x4 connection of Thunderbolt 3 could mean that builders should mind their choice of card. Akitio says it plans to start selling the Node for $299 in December.

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