The Akitio Node is certainly a great enclosure for those looking for a barebones solution. It is cheap, effective, and has enough power to run a full GTX 1080Ti without any issues. Check it out on Amazon.com
What We Like
What We Don't
Gone are the days when you had to be limited to full-sized desktop PCs, or really heavy and expensive gaming laptops, in order to play your favorite games.
External GPUs have made things a lot easier than before, and the best part is that they are widely available which makes gaming easy for everyone.
Akitio Node Review
Today, we are reviewing the Akitio Node, a promising eGPU enclosure that has been making waves in the market for being one of the cheapest enclosures available. I had some reservations at first. But despite being cheap, it does have all the right chops.
You'll get Thunderbolt 3 capability, 400 watts of power that will be exclusive to the GPU, along with enough length to accommodate some of the bigger graphics cards. The enclosure is also made out of solid quality materials and will sit quietly on your desk.
On the downside, the enclosure itself is almost as big as a mini-ITX case, and the supplied cable is only 20 centimeters long.
If you are okay with these shortcomings, then the Akitio Node is definitely worth checking out.
Features And Benefits
The next step is to look at the features and benefits you will be getting with this enclosure. This is to make sure that our readers are well aware of what they are buying, and whether they should actually go for the Akitio Node, or are there any other alternatives available in the market.
As far as the build quality is concerned, it does not disappoint. Most of the enclosure is constructed out of solid, brushed steel.
It is certainly an understated design but the good thing is that once you put it in its place, you won’t have to worry about the enclosure going through any damages whatsoever.
Just make sure that you are taking good care of it, and that would be all.
The price is the biggest benefit of buying the Akitio Node.
This happens to be one of the cheapest eGPU enclosures available in the market, so you do not have to spend a lot of money on it. Getting it on cheap means that you can invest in a good GPU to put inside the enclosure.
If you are worried that some corners have been cut to make the Node this cheap, then do not worry as nothing like that has happened. The quality is good, the overall performance is one of the best, and you get a great product as well.
I believe design is one of the factors where the Akitio Node falls back the most. It is not bad by any means, but in a world of RGB and other elements, the design is too simple for its own good. That is not to say it is a bad thing but seems like Akitio entirely skipped the design language on this enclosure, and make it look like a NAS or an ITX case for that matters.
Now that we have looked at the Akitio Node, it is time to look at some of the alternatives available in the market.
Alienware Graphics Amplifier
The Alienware Amplifier is a great option that is available in the market for users who are looking for a cheaper option. The good thing is that aside from being cheap, the Amplifier does come with specific advantages over the Akitio Node.
- 4 USB 3.0 ports.
- 460 watts of the power supply unit.
- Aggressive, gamer-esque design.
OWC Mercury Helios 3
If you are looking for something that is a lot smaller than everything else is in the market, then there's OWC Mercury Helios 3.
However, the crux here is that you will have to use a lesser powerful graphics card for that. The enclosure does not come with a power supply, but rather uses a 90W adapter to power the GPU.
Still, there are a few benefits you get from this enclosure that you can check out below.
- Extremely small form factor.
- Mini Display port.
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports.
If you are looking for something on the smaller side, then the OWC Mercury Helios 3 is definitely worth the price.
HP Omen Accelerator
Another great alternative available in the market is the HP Omen Accelerator. This enclosure is on the larger side as compared to some of the others, so that is certainly a downside. However, there are still good things about this accelerator that you must know about.
Below, you will find a few benefits over the Akitio Node.
- Replaceable power supply option.
- Add an HDD or an SSD.
- 2x USB Type-C with one of them supporting Thunderbolt 3.
- 4x USB 3.1 ports.
Things To Look For In An External GPU Enclosure
If you are finally making a decision about buying an external GPU enclosure, there are a few things worth considering. After all, it is all about having a good experience, and in order to go through that experience, it is better that you are well prepared.
Does Your Laptop Have a Thunderbolt 3 Port?
Considering the main reason for you to buy an eGPU enclosure is that you wish to connect it with your laptop. You need to make sure that your laptop comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port. The reason why that is important is rather simple, without a Thunderbolt3 port, you might not be able to use the enclosure at all.
Thunderbolt 3 allows for a high rate of bandwidth and transfer, and without it, a GPU might not work at all.
What GPU Will You Go For?
Another important thing that you must consider is that you need to consider a good GPU to go with the enclosure. Make sure you do not end up with something that neither fits the enclosure nor is supported by the PSU that comes with the enclosure.
Additionally, you need to make sure that the GPU is not too powerful to bottleneck your laptop’s processor. Ideally, a quad-core laptop processor should be good with almost all the GPUs up till GTX 1080.
How Often Will You Use It?
One really important thing that you must consider is whether you will be using the enclosure at all or not. The reason is simple, these enclosures are not portable by any means, which means that if you want to game, you will have to sit on your desk and game.
So, unless you are okay with it, there is no point in spending upwards of at least $300 on an eGPU enclosure.
Is It Customizable?
Another really important thing that you must consider is making sure that the GPU enclosure you are buying is actually customizable. Some companies do offer that ability, but they charge you a higher price.
There is a whole heap of great eGPU enclosures available in the market. However, the important thing that you must know is that finding the right one can be a difficult task. The Akitio Node is certainly a great enclosure for those who are looking for a barebones solution. It is cheap, effective, and has enough power to run a full GTX 1080Ti without any issues.
There are some minor problems with respect to the features it comes with, but overall, the Akitio Node is great, and you should definitely give it a try if you are looking for a good GPU enclosure that will allow you to get the job done without any issues whatsoever. Just make sure that you take the dimensions into an account before buying a GPU with it.