Progress On My Gpu Expansion Card

So because of midterms, I haven’t spent time on this recently but I’m thinking something under the lines of using a thunderbolt to PCI-e and then a PCI-e to mxm converter.

(2 things I conveniently found here:

PCI E to MXM3.0 Graphics Card PCI Express X1 to MXM 3.0 Raiser Riser Card Adapter Converter Board with LED for BTC Miner Mining|Add On Cards| - AliExpress)

included with an housing and a noctua slim fan going through a 7mm heatsink.

I might use 2 expantion card slots for fan control and added power to the GPU, as well as I wont use these parts on aliexpress exactly but they will give me the basic idea of how to do this.


I have concerns about how much power that first Thunderbolt → PCIE adapter makes available to the slot. Otherwise, I had no idea such a thing existed, I have a couple of janky NUC (TB3) > EGPU enclosure > PCIE riser setups that I could MASSIVELY simplify, but only because that last step in the daisy chain has external power.

edit: yeah they don’t supply 12V, you could have problems. see:

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This is the exact reason I don’t want to use the exact intel board, but I read somewhere it doesn’t have a cap on the power it can give down the chain. It’s very jank but with some modifications could work. the base thunderbolt can provide 100w of power and with 2 of them I should definitely power a 160watt mxm 3.0 GPU and a 2watt fan. This is being hopeful as I don’t have the money to buy any of these right now.

Edit: and you editided your before I could reply. yepp that kinda shoots down the idea of my first prototype just being one of these duct taped to the mxm riser. I guess im gonna have to design a pcb now.

Edit 2 electric boogaloo: Some older mxm gpu’s can work with 3.3 volts but I will have to for the modularity of gpu Im going for change the pcb or use the other thunderbolt port for power supply. I could also just… underclock it. but that would be no fun.

Ok furthermore looking into this strange board, there are multiple empty pins that can be used for the power supply. So now I just need to make a splitter PCB for both the GPU and fans. Something that hopefully shouldn’t be hard.

These boards appear to be somewhat rare, and the price you found happens to be the lowest I could find that ships to US addresses, if it’s reliable. It’s really close to just getting an eGPU, and those usually come with a power supply (but you’ll have to get full sized GPUs instead of mxm, which isn’t a whole lot of fun these days). But if you’re going the “from scratch” route, you can get just the Thunderbolt controller from electronics suppliers like Mouser and try to smash this all together on one board.

If you can find the corresponding trace pattern on Sonnet’s eGPUs, it looks like you can buy their Thunderbolt (client) boards a la carte: Echo Express III-D & III-R Thunderbolt 3 Upgrade Card – Sonnet Online Store

I live in canada and the aliexpress link I showed you is able to ship directly to my house with free shipping : ) they also have 970 in stock

It is meant to be somewhat of an egpu as a bottom panel extension to the framework laptop adding 10-15mm on the bottom of the machine yet adding a mxm card slot and added cooling. It’s meant to be a small personal project and I won’t go from scratch, yet as I see hope in using another port as a power supply. In future, these boards could eventually be officially sold to framework from intel for a module. I’m making this to show framework my idea and maybe one day I can look back at this while applying for a job here and say “well I made this thing for you” Also being a design student who does a discusting amount of game making and modelling it would be nice to have a GPU that is not a big clunky brick.
I just want it to be somewhat integrated.

A 970 mobile is pretty old these days and they’re not the same as a 970 desktop either.

Interesting project. Not sure you’ll be doing better than the intergrated XE graphics though with a 900 series.

A 970 will beat a XE, the XE is about 40% better than a GT 1030 which is nothing against a 970. XE vs GTX 970M the 970 is about 50% better,

the 970 mobile is just in case I can’t figure out how to set up the second expansion card port for power. The goal, in the end, is to be able to use any mxm card. (hopefully) but I have found a way to get the 12v power for modern mxm cards.
(btw there are 970 of the intel thunderbolt to pci-e chips in stock. not the 970 gpu.)

so by doing some more research it turns out that most mxm 3.0 gpu’s are 3.3v, but Im still making a small diagram for overclocking and bigger cards.

ok so some more problems exist, the gpu can use anywhere from 100w to 200w of power, the framework laptop can only charge at 100w of power so this means It will still loose power while plugged in, Something that I think we all would like to avoid. So I am adding another port onto the back of my extension for 300w charging allowing for the computer to stay charged while working. It will probably use this lenovo charger I found online due to the slimness. This would also leave 2 open ports while using the gpu module and charging at the same time due to the powers of thunderbolt.

charger thing:

Make sure you can buy the female of the plug first. Especially given it’s more likely to be a proprietary connector.

if you can get mxm working why not think about a pcie one. but for me i would opt for pcie4 nvme that give much more bandwidth.

If you’re looking to power the GPU externally, it would be nice to use a cheaper alternative other than a $150 charger with a proprietary connector. Something like the Dell (DA-2, D220P) charger – that comes with a PSU 8pin connector – that’s popular with the eGPU community would be more suitable. (~$20 used)

Oh Boy, update time! so basically intel purged all sales of its funny chip. so the one I found for sale is $600 and that is something that I am not willing to spend. So I basically have to make my own chip now. This allows me to do some cool shit though now including higher transfer speeds using the true thunderbolt 4 of the framework laptop instead of going through the thunderbolt 3 chip.

On the more detailed side, this new system will cost about $50 USD and is based on m.2 and sata.
I figured out a better 12v power supply system and a slightly more advanced cooling system. So you will no longer need another funny port for charging and can continue to use the base power cable. (yay for me)

you can buy something on amazon like that for pretty cheap. you just need to not mind it sitting beside your laptop or you can stuff it in an underside case kinda like im doing with the gpu.

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