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Akitio Node Pro Review: An eGPU With Style
For Mac users that appreciate quality aesthetics and design quality, the Akitio Node Pro eGPU ticks all the right boxes. Not only that, it offers excellent performance and value for money compared to other eGPUs on this level.
Pros:
  • 2 Thunderbolt Ports
  • Slick Alumnium casing and build quality
  • Useful retractable carry handle
Cons:
  • Short Thunderbolt cable
  • Fans can get noisy
85%Overall Score

The Akitio Node Pro made our top list of the best Mac compatible eGPU units and in this review, we see what it can do and how it compares the baseline Akitio Node eGPU.

The Akitio Node Pro eGPU is the more advanced version of the Akitio Node eGPU. Both the Akitio Node baseline version and the Pro are both compatible as a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion device.

The main difference between the Akitio Node Pro and the baseline version is 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports compared to one and a dedicated display port supporting speeds of up to 40 Gbps to connect another display or to daisychain it other devices.

akitio node pro for mac reverse

 

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There’s one PCIe (x16) slot which supports full-length, full-height, double-width cards although at the moment, Mac users can only use AMD cards such as the XFX Radeon RX 580 which works great with the Akitio Node Pro.

Apart from that, there are some subtle differences in styling and material makeup that distinguish the Pro from the baseline model. Most noticeable is the Akitio Node Pro has a much better build quality than the baseline version and really fits the Mac quality aesthetic.

In this review, we take a closer look at this slick and impressive External Graphics Processing Unit.

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The Akitio Node Pro has a different styling to the Akitio Node and the build quality is much higher.

The casing of the Akitio Node Pro has a smarter aluminum casing -- compared to sheet metal on the Akitio Node -- with a pop-up spring loaded carry handle on the top rather than a fixed one on the backside of the baseline model.

It’s also taller and slimmer than the baseline Akitio Node and even though it’s a more powerful unit, it’s actually lighter. In fact, it’s surprisingly light for an eGPU and definitely portable compared to most eGPUs.

akitio node pro review

As with all eGPUs, the Thunderbolt 3 cable that comes with the Akitio Node Pro eGPU is very short at just 50cm but you can buy a longer Thunderbolt 3 cable. Note however that a longer cable may slow down the maximum transfer rate of 40 Gbps.

We noticed the fan seems slightly noisier than the baseline model when under increased load but it’s nothing annoying that makes the unit unusable. There’s a bigger mesh panel for the cooling fan on the Pro to handle the throughput of 2 Thunderbolt ports compared to just one on the base model.

One way of improving this is to install a bigger fan which isn’t too complicated if you buy a cooling fan adapter and install a better fan.

Performance when gaming with the Akitio Node Pro eGPU is excellent with 60Fps gameplay easily achievable if you have decent graphics card installed such as the AMD Radeon RX 580.

If you’re going to be doing 4K video editing of any kind, then you have to go for the Akitio Node Pro rather than the base model because of the extra display adapter for 4K monitors.

However, if it’s just for general gaming or other usage, there’s no real need to go for the Pro version.

Akitio Node vs Akitio Node Pro

To summarize, the main differences between the Akitio Node and Akitio Node Pro are:

  • 2 Thunderbolt ports compared to one
  • Extra display adapter for 4K monitors
  • Smarter Aluminum casing compared to sheet me
  • Better build quality
  • Carry handle is retractable, spring-loaded on the top of the unit
  • Provides 60W of charging power to MacBook batteries

Like the baseline version, the Akitio Node Pro works with larger cards including more specialized ones like the Red Rocket-X. It’s easy to access the graphics card slow with four thumb screws to remove the panel so no special tools needed.

To insert a graphics card, you simply slide off the top cover and you can then access the inside of the enclosure and then it’s just easy to remove thumb screws to swap out a GPU.

Akitio Node Pro eGPU Specifications

 

You can check the latest pricing and availability of the Akitio Node Pro here.

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