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Elsa shows Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express solution for graphics cards

Posted on Friday, September 14 2012 @ 16:38:11 CEST by

One of the new products in Elsa's lineup is the Maga ExpressBox 3T, a Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express expansion box that can be used to connect graphics cards to a PCI using the Thunderbolt interface.

The Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T comes with a 220W internal power supply and features two PCI Express 2.0 x8 slots and one PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot, thus supporting PCI Express devices like graphics cards and PCIe solid state disk. The box is fully compatible with Windows and Mac OS X, and supports daisy-chaining and other advanced functionality that Thunderbolt has to offer.
The main aim of the Magma ExpressBox 3T is to add functionality (e.g., professional audio card or video-capture capability) to notebooks and all-in-one desktops with Thunderbolt interface, such as Apple MacBook Pro and iMac, which are used for professional purposes. Nonetheless, in some cases it may be possible to install a graphics card into the expansion box - provided that internal power supply can handle significant load and there is a driver available - in order to boost graphics processing performance.
The downside however is that Thunderbolt isn't fast enough for external graphics. X-bit Labs points out that Thunderbolt has just 1.25GB/s of bidirectional bandwidth, whereas PCI Express 2.0 x16 delivers 8GB/s of bandwidth and PCI Express 3.0 x16 as much as 12.8GB/s. The box may have some uses for video capture, media transcoding/encoding and audio processing, but for gamers it's definitely a no-go.

Elsa Thunderbolt to PCIe for graphics cards



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