22 Replies Latest reply on Oct 18, 2017 11:28 PM by Alex Taguchi

    anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?

    Gerald Berzins

      Looking at purchasing a portable laptop with I7 and new thunderbolt 3 ports. External graphics cards can be placed into a PCI enclosure and connected via Thunderbolt 3 to laptop. Does SW support this? Is there any noticable speed in graphics with this method?

        • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
          Gian Flavio Violi

          Are you refering somethink like the Razer Core?


          That would be so cool to know.


            • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
              Shane Meadows

              I'm late to answer, but I was wondering the same thing a couple months ago and I decided to try this out.  My travel schedule made carrying a workstation-class laptop overwhelming, and although most of our components and assemblies are on the simple side, I was not thrilled with the idea of moving full time to a machine with no graphics card for work.


              Currently, I have the newer version razer blade stealth, with razer core, and a Quadro M2000 card installed.  Neither the PC or the card are monsters, but the hope is that they'll be sufficient for small assemblies while being more portable / maintain better battery life than any laptop with a discreet graphics card.


              On initial install the core recognized the m2000 and downloaded a functional driver, and after a quick restart everything appears to be running well.

              I have not benchmarked SW yet, but everything appears to be running smoothly.  Will try it out for a couple days and benchmark the set up and report back... I had been waiting to see if anyone else would take the plunge and report back, but got tired carrying my old laptop. 



                • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                  Alex Taguchi

                  Hi Shane,


                  You are probably the only person in the world who has stuck a Quadro in an external GPU dock.

                  Does RealView work?

                  Can you run the RX Benchmark and post your final score?

                  Does SWX Visualize recognize the CUDA cores?

                    • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                      Shane Meadows

                      I've been trying a few things since dropping the new card into the core. Realview is working right out of the gate, and Visualize is recognizing and using the card, allowing GPU only rendering at about a 9 - 10x time savings rendering the demo Camaro at 1920x1080 compared to CPU only.  (I have not used SW enough with this hardware configuration to comment on stability.  I'll post back after using it in a regular workflow for a few days.)


                      Initial benchmark results on the other hand are a little mixed.  The core / GPU are improving the SW bench graphics score, but causing a small hit on IO / processor. Results from a few different runs summarized below.  I've never payed attention to benchmark on previous setups, so I don't have much to reference against.


                      4K Resolution, Using Core+M2000 - output to external monitor,

                      Graphics - 15


                      I/O - 29.3

                      (Overall 81.7)

                      Realview: 33.7


                      2560 x 1440 Resolution (native on laptop screen), No core

                      Graphics 18.1

                      Processor 36.6

                      I/O  25.4

                      (Overall 80.1)

                      Realview --


                      2560x1440 Resolution (Native on laptop screen), Using Core + M2000

                      Graphics - 11.1

                      Processor - 37.2

                      I/O - 28.1

                      (Overall 76.4)

                      Realview 18.3

                    • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                      Patrick Couture

                      I'm really interested in this setup also! I can't wait to have more feedback from you!


                      Thanks for sharing.

                      • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                        Matt Gjertson

                        Thanks for trying that!  See this thread for some more info, but I was looking at eGPU solutions towards the end of the year but it just stayed on the back burner.  I contacted a few of the manufacturers of different docks, but nobody would give a firm yes or no, and simply said "here's a list of cards we support."  I even contacted NVIDIA and all they said is the Quadro line does not support external graphics.


                        All marketing info is geared towards gaming, and it was tricky to find any info as to whether or not it would work with workstation cards.  I did find, somewhere, that it should work with any newer (Maxwell) card, so my hope of using it on my Quadro 2000 began to dwindle pretty quickly.  I also was able to find someone that had a Razer Core and a Quadro 400 laying around who was willing to give it a quick test, but it did not work.


                        I'm very tempted to pull the trigger on an M2000 and Razer Core now that I have a much better idea that I won't just be wasting $1,000 or so.  It worked basically plug-and-play for you, right?

                          • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                            Alex Taguchi

                            Hi Matt,

                            Based on what I've read around, I think the razer core via tbolt3 and a Quadro will work fine with your NUC or any laptop/desktop with a tbolt3 plug. See the setup instructions here for a Geforce build(I bet it will work just the same with a Quadro):


                            NUC6i7KYK NUC Kit by Intel and Core by Razer Compatibility - GTrusted


                            I also saw a video from CES 2017 from the MSI GUS device that is plugged into a new Intel Kaby Lake NUC running games, seemed to work great.

                              • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                Matt Gjertson

                                Except I was able to find someone that had a Quadro 400 who was willing to see if the Core would recognize it.  He put it in, but it resulted in crashes and blue screens.  I'm mostly concerned with plug and play ability, which means it would need to have at least some level of support from Razer and/or NVIDIA to ensure that drivers now and in the future will be fine.  I don't want to have to find a workaround for it, now or in the near future.  See this thread for some relevant discussion about what is supported:


                                "At launch of the Razer Core, NVIDIA will support GeForce GTX GPUs, including the entire lineup of Maxwell GPUs, such as the best-selling GTX 970..."


                                The NUC works fine as-is, for me, but the graphics are unsupported.  I'm not going to spend $500-$1,000 for performance gains if it's unsupported, as those gains mean little to me at this point.  When NVIDIA told me, specifically, that their Quadro cards do not support external graphics, I basically stopped pursuing the idea.

                            • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                              Matthew Barnes

                              Hi Shane,


                              I have a similar setup with a Quadro K620 card, however i'm having some issues as it seems SolidWorks is determined to use the integrated graphics rather than the Quadro.


                              Where did you find the correct supported driver? Was it from the SolidWorks website or did you go direct to nVidia?


                              Also you mentioned it was just plug and play, did you first install the Razer Core without the Quadro then install the card or did you go for it all in one go?


                              Please could you offer some guidance on this as it seems we are the only people in the world using this setup!!

                              Please see my question here: Help! Integrated Graphics Prioritised Over nVidia Quadro K620





                                • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                  Shane Meadows

                                  Hey Matt - not sure I can be of much help since mine was so easy to get running.


                                  The core arrived before the graphics card I had ordered, so I did use the Core without the GPU first, strictly as a laptop dock for extra the USB ports for a couple of days. I didn't have to do anything special.  The Stealth recognized the Core immediately, and added it to the Razer peripheral software, allowing plug and play access to mouse / keyboard attached through the Core.


                                  When the card arrived, I installed it into the Core, which recognized the Quadro and downloaded a functional driver without any intervention on my part.  (Driver 372.90 for what it's worth).  After that Solidworks recognized the card and let it take over from the Intel graphics...

                                  I didn't have to mess with settings, so I haven't lived through what you're dealing with.  Can you tell if the card is being used at all outside of solidworks? Can you plug a monitor into it?




                                    • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                      Matthew Barnes

                                      Hi Shane,


                                      To my knowledge it is not running outside of solidworks either unless I disable the integrated graphics first.


                                      Although windows does then recognise the K620 card, and solidworks will run with realview, it does run with some slight glitches and errors. I ran a benchmarking tool for graphics processing and received this error. I thought this may be a scaling issue but I do not receive the error with integrated graphics.



                                      It will also work with an external monitor, however i'm not convinced it is working 100% effectively.


                                      I have been informed on my question here: Help! Integrated Graphics Prioritised Over nVidia Quadro K620 that the K620 card may in fact have an architecture which is too old to be compatible with the Razer Core. I am going to have one last effort at completely uninstalling the graphics drivers and razer core and installing how you did, after which I may be looking at a newer graohcis card!


                                      I will post an update in the next few days, thanks for your help!



                              • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                Gerald Berzins

                                The guys over at http://gpunerd.com/  have put together a good overview. The idea is that Thunderbolt 3 is fast enough to attach an external PCI expansion box to the laptop and put in any fast graphics card. Just wondering if anyone has evaluated this setup with a fast laptop. Manufacturers like Bizon and Razor are already providing hardware. Curious what the SW community thinks....

                                • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                  Alex Taguchi

                                  There are quite a few manufacturers getting into this space, and I have not heard of anyone attempting to install a Quadro in one of these eGPU boxes. That would be some great testimony.


                                  I actually contacted Razer support and asked them if a Quadro would work in their Core and would it work just like an internal GPU and they said yes, it would. However they only offer plug-n-play support for a limited selection of Geforce/Radeons, so you will just have to install the Quadro driver to get it to work.


                                  I have not seen anyone do this, but it really looks like it's a great way to get mobility and performance in one solution. Here are a few other options using the similar technology:

                                  Alienware Graphics Amplifier | Dell

                                  GS30 Shadow with Gaming Dock (Intel Iris Pro 5200) | MSI USA | Laptops - The best gaming laptop provider

                                  Razer Core External Graphics Dock

                                  It also looks like someone was able to get the Razer Core to work with a Dell: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/10761-razer-core-review/

                                  Razer Core review - how it works with the Razer Blade and Dell XPS 15

                                  • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                    John Sterbonic

                                    We just started testing the razer core for use with Solidworks ourselves. Initial impressions are very good. Being there wasn't a lot of documentation out there on the subject, we were quite skeptical but still optimistic. I won't go into a lot of detail now, but will entertain testing options to help everyone get better information and gather real world data if anyone is interested.

                                    One thing that initially pleased me was the Quadro card I have used for testing thus far was plug n play with the razer core. You won't believe the card we have used and are still using (until our new Quadros arrive), it is the Quadro FX-4600. It has less than a gb of mem (768mb to be exact). Still worked plug n play with the latest Solidworks x64 bit approved Nvidea drivers no problem at all. We use Solidworks for mechanical and electrical engineering for the most part, simulation is an important aspect as well.

                                    I forgot to mention that we are using a new 7th gen i7 (kaby lake) razer stealth with the core, but had it running for a brief time with a new dell xps 13 6th gen i7 (skylake), and will be revisiting it soon for more tests.  I am fairly certain we will end up using a dell precision or similar (with thunderbolt) and a mobile quadro gfx card with the razer core, hence the testing with the xps 13. It's the only dell we have with thunderbolt for now. Things are looking promising so far.

                                    • Re: anyone using thunderbolt 3 external graphics cards?
                                      Alex Taguchi

                                      Razer just released the Core V2 which now offers official plug n play support for the latest Quadros.

                                      • NVIDIA® Quadro® P4000
                                      • NVIDIA® Quadro® P5000
                                      • NVIDIA® Quadro® P6000
                                      • NVIDIA® Quadro® GP100


                                      External Graphics Enclosure - Razer Core V2