When you think "Thunderbolt 3 enclosure", you probably think about the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, the Razer Core, or the Powercolor Devil Box. There's a lot more that can go in a PCIe slot than graphics cards, though. If, for example, you need to hook up an NVMe SSD to your laptop, Akitio has you covered with the Node Lite Thunderbolt 3 external PCIe enclosure.
Regular readers might remember the original Akitio Node from when we reported on it back in November. That enclosure includes a 400-watt SFX power supply and is large enough to house all but the biggest graphics cards. The new Node Lite is much smaller, just nine inches long and a little under six inches tall. That means it can only accept half-length PCIe cards.
That's fine, though, because Akitio says the Node Lite isn't meant for graphics cards despite being wide enough to accept dual-slot devices. That warning probably originates in the fact that its PCIe x16 slot can only provide 25W of power, while your typical graphics card expects to draw up to 75W from the slot. The example device the company uses is an Intel 750 PCIe SSD, which would surely be an upgrade from your standard-issue external hard drive or USB stick.
The Node Lite takes a Thunderbolt connection via USB Type-C port and has a second Type-C port so that you can pass the connection through to another Thunderbolt or USB device. There's also a DisplayPort connector on the back for use with devices that support DP Alternate Mode. The box comes with its own power adapter to juice up any devices you stick inside it. Akitio says the little aluminum box is completely tool-less, and that it will be available in this quarter for $270.
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