AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review

We put Thunderbolt 3 to the test with the Node eGPU external graphics card enclosure from AKiTiO.

| Oct 31, 2017 at 8:18 am CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: AKiTiO

AKiTiO has been a designer, OEM, and vendor of Thunderbolt products from day one. With Thunderbolt 3, technologies such as eGPU enclosures can now be taken seriously as the needed throughput for a high-strung GPU is now mostly available. Also, Thunderbolt 3 has given the end-user even more flexibility than past generations, with the move to this new generation, one cable now provides four times the data and twice the video throughput of any other on the market, all while supplying up to 100W of power.

AKiTiO played with the idea of an external PCIe enclosure with the Thunderbolt 2-powered Thunder2 PCIe Box. Now with the push to Thunderbolt 3, AKiTiO has launched an official solution called the Node.

The Node features a full aluminum enclosure with built in 400w power supply with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface supplying 75 watts of power. This enclosure can accommodate a GPU up to 6.7 inches wide and 12.6 inches long, this should give plenty of room for those ASUS Strix and MSI TwinFrozr coolers.

The MSRP of the AKiTiO Node comes in at $299.99 with a two-year warranty.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Packaging is ample for the Node. We have the slightest bit of marketing and branding along the bottom and a sketch of the enclosure centered.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The scope of delivery is quite good with reading materials, cable ties, and a Thunderbolt 3 cable included.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The Node has a full mesh front again an all-aluminum design.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The rear I/O supports double slot cards with the Thunderbolt 3 connection right below.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Internally, we find much of the business takes place on the left with AKiTiO using a modular design. This allows PCBs to be swapped in and out allowing AKiTiO an easy upgrade path for products. The GPU PCB includes 75 watts of power from the PSU at the top while allowing additional power via two 8-pin connections off the PSU itself.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 07 | TweakTown.com

The front houses a 92mm fan to push cool air into your GPU.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The power supply comes from Enhance. It's 400 watts and has 33 amps on the 12v rail. For those that want a higher quality PSU, you can freely replace this unit with any SFX unit you desire.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 10 | TweakTown.com

For testing this unit, I had a spare RX460 lying around, so I installed and started testing.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 11 | TweakTown.com

I decided to use Unigine Superposition because it's heavily biased towards GPU and not so much the CPU and since my initial results above show the card used internally on our C6H this was very important. Using the 4K optimized profile, this card brought in a score of 1281.

AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure Review 12 | TweakTown.com

The setup for using this drive externally included using our Alienware 15 R3. With this being a new platform, I was pleasantly surprised with a score of 1259. 22 points shy of our internal results.

The eGPU market has exploded over the last year; I'm not sure there is a single vendor not offering some sort of solution. For those that want a simple box for their MacBook or Ultrabook, the AKiTiO Node is a perfect solution that complements in aesthetics as well. Build quality is top notch, but with that, I am kind of suspect on the PSU, as don't know the brand and have been burned in the past with cheap units. I would have loved to see AKiTiO reach out to SilverStone or Corsair for a quality unit.

With an RX460, the Node was plenty, from our internal testing to external testing we lost 21 points in Unigine Superposition. Internally we grabbed a max of 11.57 FPS with an average of 9.58 FPS. Temperatures idled at 49c and maxed at 70c. Moving the GPU to the Node, we see temperatures at 48c idle and 69c max, and FPS coming in at 9.42 average and 11.28 max.

Setup of the AKiTiO Node was simple; a few screws open the enclosure, you install the card, and plug in any power. For the RX460, we had no issues due to its size and lack of PCIe power needs, but larger GPUs like a power hungry RX480 or Vega may need more attention to detail. The included Thunderbolt 3 cable I found a bit on the short side whereas I'd like to see a 2m cable or enough to get the box away from the Notebook included. With all of that, the Node represents one of the cheapest Thunderbolt 3 GPU solutions on the market, but it does have some serious competition in the Razer Core and Sonnet eGFX box.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST

TweakTown award
Overall Rating91%

The Bottom Line: The Node is our first foray into external GPUs, but its a strong start with a budget-friendly solution that with a few tweaks could be the best bang for your buck.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de


Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags