Skip to main content

External Graphics Over PCIe 3.0? Netstor's NA255A, Reviewed

Results: Medal Of Honor Warfighter

With those two compute-oriented tests out of the way, let's have a look at entirely different type of use case: gaming. Again, this isn't what the TurboBox was intended for, but application's demands are going to tax the TurboBox in a different way; perhaps we'll be able to see where available throughput affects scaling, and how that compares to a native motherboard-based solution.

Interestingly, the fastest results are achieved by two graphics cards plugged into our X79-based motherboard. Adding a third card adversely affects performance, either due to a platform limitation or an unoptimized three-way CrossFire profile, both of which could be indicated by a lower minimum frame rates. The TurboBox performs well, but does fall behind the motherboard-attached cards.

With a single card installed, all three configurations perform identically.

Again, the TurboBox performs almost identically as the motherboard-installed cards. At this resolution, we see three cards slightly outperforming two, although they suffer lower minimum frame rates, too. In all cases, scaling is sub-par, to be sure.

  • ohyouknow
    Interesting
    Reply
  • MasterMace
    This is a nice article. I wonder if Tom's can do a multi-cpu article as well.
    Reply
  • dagamer34
    Now if only we could get external GPUs via Thunderbolt (or it's future iterations) so that laptops wouldn't be forever gimped, we'd be in business!
    Reply
  • Whooo whoo, if i had the money to burn, i would get this NA255A, remove the PSU bundle, replace it with a Seasonic 1000 Platinum, slap four GTX Titans, add a custom water-cooling loop, connect it to my main PC and have (if it works) three more NA255A's for each of the PCIe for the main PC with a grand total of 16 GTX Titans for massive GPU computation. All for a grand total of $13,800. Massive electric bill, here i come!
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    PCIE signals scale poorly to long wires. So it is a technical achievement to have these signals travel over a meter of wire.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    dagamer34Now if only we could get external GPUs via Thunderbolt (or it's future iterations) so that laptops wouldn't be forever gimped, we'd be in business!
    There are some external GPU cases.

    The only issue is that the cheapest is somewhere slightly less than $400.

    Please explain to me how an aluminum box, a micro-PSU, and a Thunderbolt-to-PCIE adapter adds up to even $200...
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    EDIT: And when I meant the cheapest, I meant the ones that are only sufficient for a 7750. Want to pair a 7970 with a ultrabook?

    $400-$500 for a slightly longer box with a slightly more capable PSU.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    An expensive solution to inferior Mac hardware...
    Reply
  • Vatharian
    Good X79 workstation mobo with 7 PCI-e slots, and 4 K20x-s on each of them. That's a TON of computing power, and if you don't want to deal with high-speed networking multiple boxes, that's nice. Of course only if this thing can actuallty work in pairs or more and in some way circumvent the 15 gpu limit in bios memory mapping. Can this thing be turned on with working machine?
    Reply
  • adgjlsfhk
    But what about someone working on a Mac Pro? Apple's more limited ecosystem means there is no such thing as a three- or four-way graphics array. This could be one of the only options for enabling multiple GPUs. If massive compute potential is important, you might need to swallow hard and consider Netstor's solution the cost of doing business in Apple's world.
    Or you could use the $2000 to ditch your mac pro that is years out of date and use the money to buy a pc that is better in pretty much every way.
    Reply