XG Station 2 – Asus GTX 1050 Ti – Aorus GTX 1080 Ti- Macbook 13 Pro Thunderbolt 3

Today we are going to talk about the

Asus XG Station 2
+ Asus GTX 1050 Ti  OC+Aorus GTX 1080 Ti

Connected on a Macbook 13 Thunderbolt 3.

First, let’s answer the questions I have received.

Is it compatible with MacOS ? Yes. On Beta or Developer MacOS High Sierra or Sierra with kext mod.

Is it compatible with Windows 10 ? It works better on Windows than MacOS (for the Hardware Acceleration part). Simply need to install the correct Thunderbolt 3 driver after installing the bootcamp drivers. You don’t need to disable any PCIe root port, despite the return from the people. It is more a question of right Thunderbolt 3 driver.

I recommend a clean bootcamp install. After all the necessary drivers installed, you simply need to install the NVIDIA drivers and bypass the boot check (hot plug). Basically you launch the Bootcamp Windows. When you see the Windows logo wait until you see the spinning loading and plug the Thunderbolt 3 cable from the XG Station 2. Also, be patient until you see your desktop.

Now let’s talk about the performance. The main problem is not the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth, the main problem is caused by a limitation from the intel driver and the CPU bottleneck. So you will have around 70 to 80% of the real GPU performance. There is a way to reach 90% and more, I will check to release the necessary tools for this.

So here’s some pictures of the XG Station 2 and the Asus GTX 1050 Ti, including a comparison with an Aorus GTX 1080 Ti.

I use the XG Station 2 on a MacBook 13 Pro TouchBar that is equipped with a Dual Core i5 Skylake. (Already a problem for the GTX 1080 Ti)

Benchmark I use: Cinema 4D, 3D Mark, Unigine, Cinegy, Unreal Engine 4 Element, Final Fantasy XIV

Configuration :

  • Macbook 13 Pro TB3.
  • 16GB ram 2133mhz
  • Core i5 6287U 3.1Ghz
  • Aorus GTX 1080 Ti – Asus GTX 1050 Ti OC
  • Asus XG Station 2.

Here’s an idea of my bench (push everything to the limit)

Let’s start with Cinegy, you will be surprised of the results.

As you can see
1050 Ti and 1080 Ti  are equal in video encoding/decoding no matter which resolution you are using, including 8K.
You clearly won’t see the big performance impact between 1050 Ti and 1080 Ti here.

Same goes with the next test, Cinema 4D. Both are still equal.

cin

I’m going to give you an explanation on why they are equal on both bench. Both bench include a certain algorithm that won’t take advantage of each GPU’s performance. Basically it is a universal algorithm that works with everything the same way. It basically won’t give you an advantage, if the tool itself was limited to a certain instruction that both GPU’s don’t care. It is a limitation purely due to software and not due to the card itself.

Now let’s continue with Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood Benchmark
Here we go. The GPU finally starts to talk to us and how this kind of benchmark takes advantage of the power of each card. Actually none of the benchmarks here will take a full advantage of the GPU because the benchmark limit itself to what the API is capable of and the limitation of this one is limitation purely due to software but I won’t continue this part.

We clearly see that the 1080 Ti is 3x times faster than the 1050 Ti. Not that the 1050 Ti is not good, as I said, I push the hardware to the possible limit of the software

Here the 1080 Ti is great, the 1050 Ti is good.

So what about Unigine Valley and Superposition. Here’s the results

4K SUPERPOSITION

8K SUPERPOSITION

Yes you can clearly see the 1080 Ti beating the 1050 Ti, but remember that’s not the point of this review. It is how both GPU’s behave in a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe enclosed pushed to their limit.

Can you play a 8K game on a MacBook 13? Yep, it is possible with the 1080 Ti. And no, it’s not possible with 1050 Ti but there is no surprise about this. Actually the 1050 Ti is more than capable when you think that at this point, all the tests were made in native resolution with all the software settings pushed to the limit.
Can you play a 4K game on 1050 Ti? Yes, even with extreme details but for that you need a well optimised engine. Take a look at the PS4/PRO/XBOXONE.

Last benchmark I tried with the 1080 Ti and 1050 Ti + Of course MacBook 13 and XG Station 2.

3D mark.

Here’s the results but you can clearly figure out what caused most of the problem, CPU bottleneck and poor TB3 drivers + Engine that is mostly brute/raw performance. Totally useless to give you an idea whether your platform is good for gaming or not. It’s mostly for fun, check this out.

TIME SPY

FIRE STRIKE

Yep, not that good results and you can clearly see the 20/30% of native performance that is caused by gen

eral usage of the hardware and software but let’s go to the conclusion now.

Final XG Station 2 + Aorus GTX 1080 Ti + Asus GTX 1050 Ti + MacBook 13

XG Station 2 :

Is probably one of the best TB3 PCIExpress Dock out there despite being oversized, almost size of a desktop case (even bigger than the Asus G20 series, just imagine). It offers a decent performance, bling bling light design that is candy for your eyes, light from everywhere like we just don’t care.

Pros.
2×8 Pin
Every possible led color
80 Plus Gold (650 W)! Power supply
Spaceship Open Case
Thunder Lightning Tube
4x USB 3.0
Ethernet Gigabyte Port
Stable, Efficient, Run and Fun
Quiet Extra Fans

Cons.
Oversized
Inside power button (no external one)
Start button sometimes doesn’t turn on (like an old car)
Annoying Thunder Lightning Tube (Cannot be turned off)
Weird Design (Alien Spaceship)

Aorus GTX 1080 Ti :

Well not doubt is the best single GPU out there equal to the Titan X Pascal (of course not XP)
At this range of price, this should have been the standard GTX 1080 in the first place. In general, NVIDIA always plays the evolution of power and still remains the best to deal with in this position in their current market while AMD being more sarcastic, playing the evolution of mining. Gaming or Mining, that’s the question.

Is this Aorus GTX 1080 Ti good ? Well it is a 1080 Ti so of course it is great but no idea how it compares with other branded GTX 1080 Ti. All I can say is that it is definitely a 1080 Ti.

Will I recommend this one in the configuration XG Station 2 + MacBook 13?

Yes and No. Yes, because it is a powerful card, future proof and doesn’t matter it becomes obsolete. Not anytime soon, maybe with 8K games but I think optimised engine will be more than ready to run on any card in the future with unification render. Also the XG Station 2 can accept any type of GPU PCIExpress, let’s not forget about that.
And of course you can play anything, even by closing your eyes and have pretty good performance on any game, even on a MacBook 13, as I said, 8K games capable.

No, if this is out of your budget range. If you expect to use this one at full power with a MacBook 13, forget. The CPU bottleneck don’t show up the true potential of the GTX 1080 Ti. If you only use this one for encoding/decoding, if you don’t play 3D Games or run 24/7 Benchmark, or look I have the best GPU with my MacBook 13, wood.
Also can be loud even in idle but with acceptable db

Basically it depends on your need. In my case, it is mostly dealing with every day performance issues in every line. So choose for yourself. I can tell you, forget about 3D Mark that doesn’t precisely represent general performance. The GPU will offer the best performance on the MacBook 13 + XG Station 2 configuration for sure.

Asus 1050 Ti :

What can I say. It is a good GPU, surprisingly good. It works decently on every type of usage and can be an excellent partner with your MacBook 13 but with a case like the XG Station 2 for this kind of card, you better look for a smaller sized dock. XG Station 2 is for the big boy right ?

Anyway as I said, it is a good GPU. Most games can run at the native resolution of the MacBook 13 + very high details and any kind of video editing/3D editor etc… run perfectly on it.

Will I recommend this one in the configuration XG Station 2 + MacBook 13?

Yes, because it is a good budget card. It offers great quality/price/performance and is one of the most quiet GPU cards (0db !). Seems to have no limit of overclocking, doesn’t need pin, consume way way less than the 1080 Ti.

No, for I don’t know, maybe not future proof, maybe yes. You know it is a cheap card with decent performance, difficult to argue. Basically no if you need an extreme crazy power house GPU on master commander race.

Conclusion: 



What do I think ? 🤔 Make your own decision based on what I wrote in this long story of the XG Station 2 and the 2 GPUs, I’m pretty sure you make your own conclusion on what is good and what fits the best for your own usage. On my side, it might be what I need, maybe not but at this point it is what I need for personal or pro usage.