Frequently Asked Questions

The CUBE2 is the correct product for your board but unfortunately, Apple computers do not recognize Nvidia GPUs. I understand that there are ways to hack into the Mac to make a GPU work but we do not know them. There is a list of Apple-compatible boards that you can use in Mac products on under ‘Thunderbolt’.

This type of issue is almost always BIOS related. Either the BIOS does not have enough device numbers available to handle more than the 7 you are plugging in or it does not assign enough memory for Memory Mapped IO (MMIO). If your BIOS has the options available in it, you can try assigning MMIO to space above 4GB and increasing the amount of memory assigned. If these option are not available in you BIOS then the only resolution is a change to the BIOS by the manufacturer.

PCIe Gen1 = 2.5Gb/s per lane, PCIe Gen2 = 5Gb/s per lane, PCIe Gen3 = 8Gb/s per lane
Gen 1 is often indicated as 1.0, Gen2 as 2.0 and Gen3 as 3.0
PCIe lanes are indicated by x1, x4, x8, and x16
Example: A PCIe x16 Gen3 board can operate up to 128Gb/s when inserted in a PCIe x16 Gen3 slot. 
Thunderbolt1 (TB1) has a 10Gb/s data path and a 10Gb/s Display Port
Thunderbolt2 (TB2) has a 20Gb/s data path and a 20Gb/s Display Port

MAXexpansion does not offer drivers because our PCIe products do not require them. For third party products, please see the respective manufacturers websites.

No, if you are using a Max Expansion cable adapter it will not be “seen” by the system. The cable adapters have redrivers and buffers for the PCIe signals and Ref clock and if you have the cable adapter cabled to an endpoint device, that device should show up in your system.

Yes, each Max Expansion cable adapter just needs its own PCIe x16 host interface, so if the host system has available slots it’s ready to go.

To help you get the right product we would ask you these questions: 

1) What host PC or laptop are you using for expansion (manufacturer and model #)?
2) How many host slots do you want to use with the expansion system?
3) What type of slots are available for our host cards (for example one PCIe 3.0 x16 and one PCIe 2.0 x8)
4) How may GPUs do you want in the expansion system and what models do you plan to use?
5) What are the power requirements of the GPUs?

Unfortunately, the Thunderbolt card we make only works as a target device. While it has a PCIe card edge connection it is a slightly custom pin-out and the device on the card is set in downstream mode. The Thunderbolt spec makes it difficult and costly to make a Thunderbolt certified host card. Many parameters of Thunderbolt are tied directly to motherboard resources that are not part of the PCIe slot. These include the requirement for Thunderbolt to support Display Port video and hot-swap of the cable through BIOS.

For PCIe Gen 1 and Gen 2 products, cable lengths run from .5m to 7m. Gen 3 products operate best on cable lengths up to 1m. The CUBE-PCIe x4 is a Gen 2 product that ships with a 1m PCIe x4 cable. You can order an additional PCIe x4 .5m, 1m, 2m, 3m, 5m, or 7m cable cable separately if you need a longer cable.

The Cube allows any PCIe peripheral to plug into a laptop via PCIe Express Card slots or Thunderbolt slots including GPUs for video or GP GPU rendering. While there are no hardware restrictions on this connection, the laptop BIOS may limit the types of hardware supported over the PCIe or Thunderbolt link. In addition, some peripheral drivers may not support the operating system of some laptops or embedded products with ExpressCard or Thunderbolt ports. For example, a laptop or embedded host system that runs Windows 8 RT may not support a high end peripheral with only a Windows 8 driver.

Expansion products including The CUBE offer added functionality and performance, and they are also reliable and cost-effective. The CUBE provides a solution to some common I/O obstacles like your PC not having enough slots, power, or cooling to support some large cards. The CUBE really provides the most valuable solution with the growing market for GPUs. GPUs often require greater bandwidth, power, and cooling that The CUBE can provide with PCIe expansion.

The CUBE enclosures support up to PCIe x16 add-in cards including the latest Gen3 GPUs. However the speed at which any card operates is dependent on the speed of the bus connecting them to the host computer. In the case of Thunderbolt the data connection operates at 10Gb/s. The CUBE enclosures also operate on MAC Pro workstations using PCIe as the connectivity up to 128Gb/s.  The workstation needs to have an available slot and the speed of the slot also governs the speed at which the external card operates. 

Unfortunately, all laptops only put out PCIe .01 x1 (2.5Gb/s) bandwidth through the ExpressCard slot. We offer a x4 connector on an ExpressCard for customers who want to connect the laptop to a device with a x4 connector. A laptop (Apple, Windows, Acer, to name a few) with Thunderbolt 2 operates at 20Gb/s.

The CUBE is transparent to your OS so it will work with any computer with a PCIe slot or Thunderbolt connector.