Akitio Node Lite is a small aluminum home for PCIe devices

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.

Comments closed
    • jihadjoe
    • 6 years ago

    No [url=http://gizmodo.com/343641/1960s-braun-products-hold-the-secrets-to-apples-future<]blame[/url<] necessary. Good design is timeless.

    • Laykun
    • 6 years ago

    There are multiple use cases. Firstly it’s likely to be used as a docking station for a mobile device so you can connect all your display port monitors, keyboards, sound devices, etc with just one cable. Secondly this is still useful for VR applications if you want a highly portable laptop but want to use VR at some stage. Yes the PCI-E bandwidth doesn’t compare to a full 16x PCI-E slot, but a full 16x PCI-E 3.0 slot isn’t required to get the most out of high-end video cards these days and this box may be sufficient for most use cases.

    EDIT : Missed the part about 25W, VR is out of the question.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 6 years ago

    “Braun” created the look in the 60s. Blame Apple for making it stick though.

    • hungarianhc
    • 6 years ago

    It’s interesting how the “cheese grater” design Mac Pro has been gone for so long, but even today, companies still imitate that look.

    • alphadogg
    • 6 years ago

    So, TB3 has a 40Gbit/s theoretical bandwidth capacity. One PCIe 3.0 16x slot has 32GByte/s, right? Therefore, why, as an enthusiast who would likeliest to look for and buy the more expensive version of this box, put a video card in such an enclosure? ( I understand this logic may not apply to the above model more for PCI storage, I guess.)

    • Voldenuit
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<] Just how many "money is no object" customers are there that know enough to want an external PCIe SSD over one of those RAID 0 external drives, yet don't want to just shove it in a desktop? [/quote<] Mac users? Laptop users who edit a lot of video? Which could mean on-site editing if you go out camping or trekking in a 4x4 or capture drone footage. mITX users who don't have spare slots? I can see use cases beyond traditional ATX desktops for these.

    • brucethemoose
    • 6 years ago

    This seems like a very small niche to fill. Just how many “money is no object” customers are there that know enough to want an external PCIe SSD over one of those RAID 0 external drives, yet don’t want to just shove it in a desktop?

    It’s not really portable, since it needs an external power brick anyway. And I assume there’s a performance hit with thunderbolt vs. straight PCIe.

    • pyro_
    • 6 years ago

    These have been around for a while as the thunder3. There have been a number of people who have used these for egpus by either getting a new 120w external power brick or doing a more extensive power upgrade for those cards which need more than 75w of power

    • davidbowser
    • 6 years ago

    TL/DR – External TB3 SSD case. $270

    This seems like a pretty odd solution. They already sell a 512GB SSD TB3 device for $340 with what seems to be dual 256GB drives in RAID0 inside. So what you are paying for here is the premium for ludicrous speed option of PCIE SSDs in an external enclosure.

    EDIT – forgot the link


    • tay
    • 6 years ago

    Hilarious pricing for 25W.

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 6 years ago

    25W? My phone draws more than that when it’s charging. Why do they have to bounce off extremes here – 25W vs 400W. I can’t see they had significant cost savings chopping off 50 watts when this thing is still nearly three hundred bucks

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