Tuesday, May 28th 2019

ASRock RX570TM-ITX TBT is a Thunderbolt External GPU with Copious Amounts of Downstream I/O

ASRock showed off the TM-ITX TBT external graphics box platform with a model powered by a Radeon RX 570 GPU. Roughly the size of an SFF mini PC (hence the name thin-mini ITX), the TM-ITX TBT plugs into a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connector, and in addition to graphics, puts out a constellation of downstream connectivity that includes a 1 GbE wired Ethernet, four USB 3.1 type-A ports, USB 2.0, and a drive bay with SATA 6 Gbps connectivity. Display outputs include two HDMI 2.0, and LVDS (for all-in-one desktops). The RX 570 comes in 4 GB or 8 GB options.
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18 Comments on ASRock RX570TM-ITX TBT is a Thunderbolt External GPU with Copious Amounts of Downstream I/O

#1
biffzinker
Was that photo taken by TPU? Another site had a news article up but no accompanying photo. Was curious what it looked like.
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#2
londiste
This... actually is not a bad idea.
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#3
jeremyshaw
This seems like a more powerful version of the Lenovo TB3 Graphics dock.

I wonder what the price will be. The Lenovo I got from Lenovo's US store at ~$220 on sale (it's back to $300 now).

At ~$250 with <$200 sales, this would probably be a nice buy.
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#4
TheLostSwede
biffzinker, post: 4055564, member: 163731"
Was that photo taken by TPU? Another site had a news article up but no accompanying photo. Was curious what it looked like.
Hence the watermarks...

jeremyshaw, post: 4055567, member: 92377"
This seems like a more powerful version of the Lenovo TB3 Graphics dock.

I wonder what the price will be. The Lenovo I got from Lenovo's US store at ~$220 on sale (it's back to $300 now).

At ~$250 with <$200 sales, this would probably be a nice buy.
Did you miss the built in $200 graphics card?
Should the rest be given away for free?
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#5
londiste
$200? RX570 is a $120 graphics card by common knowledge...
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#6
Valantar
The reason for the name "Thin-ITX" is that the board is that form factor, nothing else. It's not an allusion to small size, it's a PCB standard. Which allows this to fit into a bunch of AIO PC chassis made for that motherboard standard, making them very interesting laptop accessories.
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#7
londiste
I wish they would have used a standard ATX power connector as well :)
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#8
Valantar
londiste, post: 4055607, member: 169790"
I wish they would have used a standard ATX power connector as well :)
Then it wouldn't be thin-ITX compliant - those boards use external power or internal 2/4-pin power. You can run it off a standard PSU, just get an adapter to deliver 2-pin 12V (though check that the input isn't 19V first - it might be!) and stick a jumper in the 24-pin. It'll work just fine. Though using this with an ATX (or even SFX) PSU would be rather silly. The PSU would be 4-5 times the volume of the GPU.
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#9
Assimilator
Why would you make a product like this, then put in a terrible GPU?
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#10
erixx
the foto certainly is not a external GPU. .... Maybe a mobo? :D
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#11
Deathy
I really don't see the appeal or the reason. But I guess I'm not the target market. Pretty large for just being a low range GPU, extra connectivity is already present in a lot of eGPU cases (USB3.x and Ethernet, display output is handled by the GPU) and it also bogs down the already limited TB bus (although with such a low performance GPU, it may not matter much). And on top of all that, it is non user replaceable, so you are stuck with an RX570 forever.

Small correction:
"1 GbE wired Ethernet" The capital "E" already stands for "Ethernet". :)
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#12
kapone32
Assimilator, post: 4055647, member: 7058"
Why would you make a product like this, then put in a terrible GPU?
Why is the RX570 a terrible GPU?
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#13
illrigger
Deathy, post: 4055944, member: 181802"
I really don't see the appeal or the reason. But I guess I'm not the target market. Pretty large for just being a low range GPU, extra connectivity is already present in a lot of eGPU cases (USB3.x and Ethernet, display output is handled by the GPU) and it also bogs down the already limited TB bus (although with such a low performance GPU, it may not matter much). And on top of all that, it is non user replaceable, so you are stuck with an RX570 forever.

Small correction:
"1 GbE wired Ethernet" The capital "E" already stands for "Ethernet". :)
It's a full blown desktop docking station for your laptop, including a built-in storage bay, and there's no point in putting anything faster than an RX570 on TB3 because the bandwidth cripples anything faster anyway. User upgradeability is a non issue if upgrading gives you no improvement.

It's pretty much squarely aimed at MacBook users, who have only TB3 for expansion options and mostly are stuck with an Iris iGPU or lower. I agree it's not optimal, but beggars can't be choosers, even if said beggars paid over $1000 to be one.
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#14
Valantar
Deathy, post: 4055944, member: 181802"
I really don't see the appeal or the reason. But I guess I'm not the target market. Pretty large for just being a low range GPU, extra connectivity is already present in a lot of eGPU cases (USB3.x and Ethernet, display output is handled by the GPU) and it also bogs down the already limited TB bus (although with such a low performance GPU, it may not matter much). And on top of all that, it is non user replaceable, so you are stuck with an RX570 forever.

Small correction:
"1 GbE wired Ethernet" The capital "E" already stands for "Ethernet". :)
There are plenty of thin-ITX AIO "cases" (monitors with motherboard mounts) in China/Asia, where this will be a shoo-in for "bring-your-own laptop"-style eGPU docking monitors. Cheap, easy to make, standardized, fits existing hardware. Pretty brilliant IMO.

Besides, even for an eGPU, this simplifies its design and manufacturing - just swap in a different GPU on the same board, keep the I/O, done. Easy future upgrades (likely not for end users, but for OEMs/system integrators).
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#15
nienorgt
Finally, a eGPU that behaves like a dock.
Why it took so long and why it don't use an upgradable GPU like any other?
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#16
Valantar
nienorgt, post: 4056139, member: 153965"
Finally, a eGPU that behaves like a dock.
Why it took so long and why it don't use an upgradable GPU like any other?
Because an upgradeable GPU would mean that this wouldn't fit in the many, many thin-ITX AIO chassis on the Asian market.

Still, there's plenty of room to adapt this to fit a normal GPU - just add a PCIe slot instead of the GPU, and ideally angled so the GPU is parallel to the board. Done. You'd need a very weird case, though.
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#17
CheapMeat
I LOVE stuff like this just for the sake of it. I'd love to buy 2 or 3 for my homelab just because the form factor is fairly unique. I wonder if going with an MXM GPU would make this even further practical. So the board could be semi-standardized and "open", as to allow more variance without having to do re-do each board.
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#18
jeremyshaw
CheapMeat, post: 4056749, member: 174204"
I LOVE stuff like this just for the sake of it. I'd love to buy 2 or 3 for my homelab just because the form factor is fairly unique. I wonder if going with an MXM GPU would make this even further practical. So the board could be semi-standardized and "open", as to allow more variance without having to do re-do each board.
MXM is basically dead. It was a Nvidia standard, designed for pushing their GPUs into more systems (less recertification for every GPU variant). However, Nvidia is now providing that support directly to ODMs, making the engineering/production modularity of MXM moot (from a vendor standpoint). As a result, Nvidia is no longer directly designing and manufacturing MXM boards (as they used to). The few that exist are all made by OEM/ODMs on their own volition, and few of those follow the MXM specs too closely. This basically fractured what was left of "MXM compatibility."

AMD is too busy pushing their APU idea to care (and Intel has done it much better than AMD - using one of AMD's own GPUs, too!). Intel is likely to not be interested in pushing something that really only benefits Nvidia.

So without Nvidia pushing, MXM is dead. I don't even believe the MXM organization's website is active anymore.

TheLostSwede, post: 4055575, member: 3382"
Did you miss the built in $200 graphics card?
Should the rest be given away for free?
In which universe is a RX570 still worth $200? Even the RX590 has dipped to $160 as of late.

IMO, the dock should have a ceiling of $250, though I am aware Mac users are basically stuck with AMD cards (they are about the only market where eGPUs actually make sense - I'm saying this as a Windows eGPU user with a TB3 GPU dock and a Thinkpad X1 Carbon 6th gen). As a result, this does mean the vendors can fleece Mac users (they are used to it, anyways). For the rest of the market, my postulated $250 is a generous MSRP. I was thinking of ~$250 MSRP with two hundred street price, just like my Lenovo TB3 GPU dock was "$400", but really sold for around $270 and dipped lower than that.
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