Hands-On With Sonnet's DuoModo Modular Desktop Enclosures and eGPU

Sonnet in June announced a new DuoModo series of mix and match modular Thunderbolt expansion options both for the desktop and for rack installation, and we thought we'd take a hands-on look at the new offerings for MacRumors readers who are looking to power up their desktops.


There are three interchangeable expansion modules that are part of the DuoModo line, including a three-slot PCIe card system, an eGPU card system, and a Mac mini mounting system with an integrated Thunderbolt storage dock, plus a series of enclosures. Since these are mix and match you can pick and choose, but Sonnet also offers a few preconfigured options.

The DuoModo Echo III includes one x16 and two x8 PCIe slots that connect to a Mac's Thunderbolt port, along with a 400W power supply and a 75W auxiliary power connector for cards that require additional power.

Sonnet's DuoModo eGPU Module, which is what most MacRumors readers may be interested in, supports full-length, full-height 2.5-slot width GPU cards, and it has built-in variable-speed fans for cooling purposes. It's future proof with an 800W power supply. We used an AMD Radeon 6800 in the eGPU with an Intel ‌Mac mini‌ and saw OpenCL and Metal scores of 97499 and 132543, respectively, vastly outperforming the 4561 OpenCL and 4522 Metal scores from the integrated Graphics 630 card.

There's also a DuoModo xMac mini Module that holds an Intel or M1 ‌Mac mini‌ and allows it to be mounted in an enclosure. There's a built-in Thunderbolt 3 storage dock with two 10Gb/s USB-C ports, one USB-A port, and one 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 port. It also has two M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD sockets to let users add up to 16TB of storage.

These modules can go in one of Sonnet's enclosures, such as the Dual-Module Desktop Enclosure. Sonnet's dual enclosure holds any two of the DuoModo modules, and there's also a single-module option.

Sonnet's DuoModo system is comprehensive, versatile, and easy to use for those who need professional expansion options. Make sure to check out our video up above to see the DuoModo in action.

Tag: Sonnet

Top Rated Comments

ratspg Avatar
9 weeks ago

kinda pointless for m1 owners.
Would be awesome if it worked with my M1 Macs. Lol. Wishful thinking.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdriftmeyer Avatar
9 weeks ago

Do these companies continuing to develop EGPU know something we don't about apple's future plans with thunderbolt (maybe M2 eGPU compatibility?) or are they basically just developing these for the PC market and what remains of the legacy intel macs?

It really doesn't make sense to me to keep releasing these products with the apparent depreciation of eGPU thunderbolt support.
With millions of non-M series Macs you see this as pointless?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ilikewhey Avatar
9 weeks ago
kinda pointless for m1 owners.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
InuNacho Avatar
9 weeks ago

eGPU is one of the biggest failed attempts in Apple history. The enclosure is expensive, the cards are expensive, compatibility is not universal and in the end the performance is much less than a directly connected GPU.

Who needs or wants such a setup? Just buy a PC or Mac Pro. The price of the enclosure+GPU is probably nearing enough to build a better dedicated PC.
Given the price difference between the 2018 i7 Mac Mini and the lowest end 2019 Mac Pro is $4700, this is a pretty good stop gap for the semi-pro/pro that needs some but not all of what the Mac Pro offers.
Gotta love the ole' Macrumors "I don't get it therefore nobody wants or needs it".
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aggedor Avatar
9 weeks ago

Not sure why you mention the M1 in this post, this is just going to cause trouble for a lot of people who don't do their research.
The DuoModo website lists the M1 for just the xMac mini Module (Mac mini Mounting Module + Thunderbolt SSD Storage Dock), which isn't for the eGPU, I don't think... although it's hard to tell, the website is a little hard to follow.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Richdmoore Avatar
9 weeks ago
Do these companies continuing to develop EGPU know something we don't about apple's future plans with thunderbolt (maybe M2 eGPU compatibility?) or are they basically just developing these for the PC market and what remains of the legacy intel macs?

It really doesn't make sense to me to keep releasing these products with the apparent depreciation of eGPU thunderbolt support.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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