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Sep 14, 2012

Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T External ThunderBolt PCI Express Enclosure

Professional graphic cards manufacturer, Japanese company Elsa is presenting a new external enclosure that can practically handle three video cards that are connected to the laptop or the computer through a ThunderBolt cable.

The reality is that ThunderBolt provides very good bandwidth, but not even a fifth of what a simple PCIe Gen2.0 x8 offers. This means that there is no point in building such a setup, with three video cards inside, unless the goal is to have various display options or several video capture cards. In fact, the manufacturer recommends its new Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T enclosure for video capture setups, media transcoding or encoding, audio processing or high-end solid-state drives with PCI Express interface like STEC’s SSAs, or OCZ’s RevoDrive. The Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T enclosure has two PCI-Express Gen2 x8 slots and one PCI-Express Gen2 x4 slot along with its own internal power supply unit that’s able to deliver a maximum of 220 watts.

Elsa’s new ThunderBolt enclosure is compatible with both, Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X operating systems. The main problem with installing one or several graphics cards inside the Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T enclosure is the lack of the necessary bandwidth and the power consumption limitations. On the other hand, the user can deduce in a simple way just what cards would fit together inside the new enclosure. They have to be single-slot solutions and the extra power connectors must be missing. If a card has a simple 6-pin power connector, it means that the part needs more than 75 watts that the PCI-Express slot is designed to offer.

Cards with no extra power connector must fit inside the 75W TDP and therefore the user is free to install three of such adapters as all three will not consume more than 225 watts. That’s a little bit over the Magma ExpressBox specifications, but the ThunderBolt connection should prevent the cards reaching the maximum processing peak so the maximum power consumption peak will also not be achievable.

Elsa Magma ExpressBox 3T External ThunderBolt PCI Express Enclosure
Images credits to ELSA


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