ASUS Announces XG Station Pro, a Thunderbolt 3 External GPU Enclosure for Windows and Mac

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 4, 2018 - 10:15 AM |
Tagged: external graphics, external gpu, CES 2017, CES, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS today announced the XG Station Pro, a Thunderbolt 3-based external GPU enclosure tailored for both gamers and professionals. The XG Station Pro can accommodate full-size GPUs up to 2.5 slots wide, including large cards such as the ROG Strix 1080 Ti and Radeon RX Vega 64.

Featuring a "contemporary design with clean lines and subtle styling," the XG Station Pro has a footprint of 4.3-inches x 14.8-inches, thanks to ASUS's decision to use an external power supply. In order to provide enough juice for high-end graphics cards, ASUS is borrowing the power supply design from its GX800 gaming laptop, which puts out up to 330 watts.

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The XG Station Pro's chassis, designed by case maker In Win, has a smooth dark gray finish with a black PCB and sleeved PCIe power cables. It features a soft white internal glow that can be controlled by ASUS's Aura software, including Aura Sync to synchronize lighting with your compatible ASUS and ROG graphics cards and laptops.

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Inside the XG Station Pro, dual 120mm PWM fans provide exhaust out of the right side of the chassis. The fans automatically ramp down and even shut off below certain temperatures, but users can also manually control the fans with the ASUS GPU Tweak II application.

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Around back, users will find an extra USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, which can supply up to 15 watts of power to compatible devices such as smartphones and external storage. Finally, ASUS notes that it includes the require Thunderbolt 3 cable in the box, something that many Thunderbolt-based devices seem to lack.

The ASUS XG Station Pro will launch later this month for $329 with support for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs in Windows 10, and just AMD Vega-based GPUs in macOS Sierra and newer.

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte's Aorus GTX 1070, the GPU you don't unbox

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 28, 2017 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: external gpu, gigabyte, aorus, gtx 1070, thunderbolt 3, nvidia, gaming box

Have a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 and a mobile GPU that just doesn't cut it anymore?  Gigabyte now offers an incredibly easy way to upgrade your laptop, with no screwdriver required!  The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box contains an external desktop class GTX 1070 and separate PSU, giving you a dock with some serious gaming prowess.  The Tech Report's benchmarks compare this external GPU against the GTX 1060 installed in their Alienware gaming laptop and Alienware's own external GPU enclosure, on both the internal display and an external monitor.  The results are somewhat mixed and worth reading through fully, however if you are on an integrated GPU then this solution is an incredible upgrade.

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"Gigabyte's Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box offers us a look into a future where a big shot of graphics performance is just a single cable away for ultraportable notebook PCs. We plugged the Gaming Box into a test notebook and gave it a spin to see just how bright that future looks."

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A song of external GPUs; Sonnet' eGFX Breakaway Box

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 3, 2017 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: external gpu, sonnet, eGFX Breakaway Box, thunderbolt 3

The version of Sonnet's Breakaway Box which Ars Technica tested is priced at $300, for that you get the housing with a 350W PSU inside that can handle a GPU of up to 300W.  There are two other models, the Developer Edition which shipped with Apple's External GPU Dev kit and a higher powered model which can support cards that require up to 375W.  AMD worked with Sonnet to create an optimized driver for this enclosure which has enabled them to retain more performance than NVIDIA on this Thunderbolt 3 enclosure, however all the cards they tested did show performance degradation compared to a GPU inside of a desktop system.  On the other hand that is not what this device is for; it is to enable a laptop to play high end games and in that it does succeed.  Check out the full review here.

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"The Breakaway Box is best described as functional, consisting of a simple steel chassis and vented side panels (neither of which, sadly, feature proper dust filters), with a power supply, 120mm fan, and a single PCIe slot inside."

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Source: Ars Technica

Podcast #458 - Intel Xeons, ThunderBolt 3 GPU chassis, Affordable 10GbE, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xeon, x299, video, thunderbolt 3, sapphire, RX470, rift, radeon, podcast, nand, Intel, HDK2, gigabyte, external gpu, asus, 10GbE

PC Perspective Podcast #458 - 07/13/17

Join us for Intel Xeon launch, external ThunderBolt3 GPUs, 10Gb Ethernet, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:08
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: ASUS XG-C100C lol
    2. Jeremy: Um, well I keep meaning to play Deserts of Kharak
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:
Author:
Manufacturer: AKiTiO

A long time coming

External video cards for laptops have long been a dream of many PC enthusiasts, and for good reason. It’s compelling to have a thin-and-light notebook with great battery life for things like meetings or class, with the ability to plug it into a dock at home and enjoy your favorite PC games.

Many times we have been promised that external GPUs for notebooks would be a viable option. Over the years there have been many commercial solutions involving both industry standard protocols like ExpressCard, as well as proprietary connections to allow you to externally connect PCIe devices. Inspiring hackers have also had their hand with this for many years, cobbling together interesting solutions using mPCIe and M.2 ports on their notebooks which were meant for other devices.

With the introduction of Intel’s Thunderbolt standard in 2011, there was a hope that we would finally achieve external graphics nirvana. A modern, Intel-backed protocol promising PCIe x4 speeds (PCIe 2.0 at that point) sounded like it would be ideal for connecting GPUs to notebooks, and in some ways it was. Once again the external graphics communities managed to get it to work through the use of enclosures meant to connect other non-GPU PCIe devices such as RAID and video capture cards to systems. However, software support was still a limiting factor. You were required to use an external monitor to display your video, and it still felt like you were just riding the line between usability and a total hack. It felt like we were never going to get true universal support for external GPUs on notebooks.

Then, seemingly of out of nowhere, Intel decided to promote native support for external GPUs as a priority when they introduced Thunderbolt 3. Fast forward, and we've already seen a much larger adoption of Thunderbolt 3 on PC notebooks than we ever did with the previous Thunderbolt implementations. Taking all of this into account, we figured it was time to finally dip our toes into the eGPU market. 

For our testing, we decided on the AKiTio Node for several reasons. First, at around $300, it's by far the lowest cost enclosure built to support GPUs. Additionally, it seems to be one of the most compatible devices currently on the market according to the very helpful comparison chart over at eGPU.io. The eGPU site is a wonderful resource for everything external GPU, over any interface possible, and I would highly recommend heading over there to do some reading if you are interested in trying out an eGPU for yourself.

The Node unit itself is a very utilitarian design. Essentially you get a folded sheet metal box with a Thunderbolt controller and 400W SFX power supply inside.

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In order to install a GPU into the Node, you must first unscrew the enclosure from the back and slide the outer shell off of the device.

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Once inside, we can see that there is ample room for any graphics card you might want to install in this enclosure. In fact, it seems a little too large for any of the GPUs we installed, including GTX 1080 Ti models. Here, you can see a more reasonable RX 570 installed.

Beyond opening up the enclosure to install a GPU, there is very little configuration required. My unit required a firmware update, but that was easily applied with the tools from the AKiTio site.

From here, I simply connected the Node to a ThinkPad X1, installed the NVIDIA drivers for our GTX 1080 Ti, and everything seemed to work — including using the 1080 Ti with the integrated notebook display and no external monitor!

Now that we've got the Node working, let's take a look at some performance numbers.

Continue reading our look at external graphics with the Thunderbolt 3 AKiTiO Node!

ZOTAC also announced an External VGA Box

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | May 25, 2017 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: external gpu, zotac, thunderbolt 3, computex 2017

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They haven't given us much detail but as you would expect the ZOTAC external GPU box connects an GPU to your system via a Thunderbolt 3 connector, allowing you to add more GPU power to a mobile system or any other computer which needs a little boost to its graphics.  You can fit cards of up to 9" in length, which makes it a perfect match for the two Mini-GPUs just below or other lower powered cards which are not as well endowed as your average GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti.  It also adds four USB 3.0 ports and a Quick Charge 3.0 port to your system so you can leave it at home and simply attach your laptop via the Thunderbolt cable and get right to gaming.

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Source: Zotac

Move over Razer Blade, we want to see the Razer Core

Subject: Mobile | April 25, 2017 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: external gpu, razer, razer blade, Razer Core

Razer updated their Blade gaming laptop with a GTX 1060 and i7-7700HQ along with a bump in the 16GB of memory to DDR4-2400 and an 256GB M.2 Samsung PM961 SSD.  That is not what makes this review from Kitguru interesting, it is the additional product which came with the Blade that does.  The Razer Core is a housing for an external GPU which connects over Thunderbolt 3.  You can install either an AMD or NVIDIA GPU which 310mm or less in length which can be powered by a 500W PSU, which is pretty much any GPU on the market.  Kitguru installed a GTX 1080 and compared the performance of the integrated GTX 1060 to the higher end card; you can see the results here.

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"We began our recent review of the 2017 Razer Blade by telling you that Razer had updated the graphics chip from GTX 970M to GTX 1060. The laptop has continued to evolve and now it’s the turn of the CPU which has been changed from Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake to Core i7-7700HQ Kaby Lake."

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Source: Kitguru

CES 2017: MSI GUS Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Upgrade System

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 5, 2017 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: video card, thunderbolt 3, msi, gus, graphics, external gpu, enclosure, CES 2017, CES

You would need to go all the way back to CES 2012 to see our coverage of the GUS II external graphics enclosure, and now MSI has a new G.U.S. (Graphics Upgrade System) GPU enclosure to show, this time using Thunderbolt 3.

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In addition to 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, the G.U.S. includes a built-in 500W power supply with 80 Plus Gold certification, as well as USB 3.0 Type-C and Type-A ports including a quick-charge port on the front of the unit.

Ryan had a look at the G.U.S. (running an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, no less) at MSI's booth:

Specifications from MSI:

  • 1x Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps) port to connect to host PCs
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A (rear)
  • 1x USB 3.0 Type-C (rear)
  • 1x USB 3.0 Type-A w/QC (front)
  • 80 Plus Gold 500W internal PSU

We do not have specifics on pricing or availablity for the G.U.S. just yet.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSI

ZOTAC AT CES 2017 - Thunderbolt 3 Zbox, TB3 external GPU dock

Subject: Shows and Expos | December 30, 2016 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: zotac, ZBOX C, zbox, SFF, GTX 1080 Mini, external gpu, CES 2017

Zotac have hinted at three new products they will be showing off at CES this year.  The first is an updated ZBOX family which will feature Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for new monitors, high bandwidth external storage or perhaps even an external GPU.  It will be powered by a Kaby Lake processor and will be passively cooled, offering great performance in small and silent form factor.

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The second offering will be an enclosure for an external GPU, offering 16x PCIe 3.0 bandwidth thanks to the TB3 connection to your machine.  It also provides three USB 3.0 ports and a Quick Charge 3.0 USB port for your mobile devices.  Inside is a 400W PSU which can be used to power your system

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Last up is a tiny version of a GTX 1080, which doesn't skimp on the power.  It has a base clock of 1620 MHz and Boost of 1759 MHz, with a full 8GB of memory running at 5GHz.  The PR does not give the measurements of the card but as you can see below it is about half again as long as the PCI slot it plugs into and remains a two slot card.

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HONG KONG – December 30, 2016 – ZOTAC International, a global manufacturer of innovation, is pleased to bring 10 years of design excellence to CES 2017 and showcase innovative VR and commercial solutions. A strong lineup including ZOTAC’s first Thunderbolt 3 Mini PC and External VGA box will be on show at One-Story Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort. “We believe the future of computing should be flexible,” says Tony Wong, CEO, ZOTAC International. “Our next generation of computing products enables users to get the best of mobile and stationary experience.”

New Productivity Levels with new Mini PCs
The next generation of high speed and versatile connection has arrived on ZOTAC Mini PCs with next generation Intel Kaby Lake processors and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Thunderbolt 3 delivers more transfer speed, more charging power and more compatible protocols. Richer display colors, lightning data transfer speed and a wide range of expansions become available with this new protocol.

The new ZBOX Mini PCs also introduce greater productive functionality with Intel vPRO and UNITE features. UNITE is introduced for the first time in ZOTAC Mini PCs, enabling it to become a platform for secure conference connections. Furthermore, it retains the functions of Intel vPRO and AMT, providing the convenience of deep repairs and maintenance through a remote connection. Intel Kaby Lake processors and GeForce GTX graphics are paired for the first time to make gaming Mini PCs more powerful and even more power efficient.

Unlock Potential Performance with External Graphics Dock
The external graphics dock enables a device equipped with Thunderbolt 3 port to greatly enhance its graphical processing capabilities and expand its functionalities. The ZOTAC external graphics dock (tentative) comes with a PCIE 3.0 slot , 3 standard USB 3.0 ports and 1 Quick Charge 3.0 enabled USB 3.0 port. This enables users to take advantage of the latest in battery technology in their supported devices such as smartphones and tablets.

“Our goal is to turn low power and ultra-portable Windows devices such as notebooks and mini PCs into performance racecars,” says Danny Wong, Director of Product Management, ZOTAC International. “The external graphics dock enables any device equipped with Thunderbolt 3 ports to take full advantage of the transfer speed and bandwidth, potentially becoming exponentially more powerful.”

The external graphics dock also serves as a power source with a 400W power supply, meaning it can directly power a connected mini PC or supported system. Only a single Thunderbolt 3 type-C cable connection is needed for both power and data transfer on supported devices. All these features allow the dock to become a literal powerhouse for any notebooks or mini PCs. See it in action at ZOTAC’s suite.

Explore New Territories with VR GO
As the VR GO hits the shelves, there is no better time to demonstrate what VR GO does that makes the difference.

The ZOTAC VR GO is designed for a truly mobile VR experience. From hardware to comfort, every detail is considered. VR GO provides powerful yet efficient performance with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics and Intel Core i7 processor. Hardware and thermal design enable marathon playtime with comfort and minimal noise.

 

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

 

Source: Zotac

PowerColor's Devil Box, a laptop dock with space for a GPU

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 31, 2016 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: powercolor, devil box, external gpu

Thunderbolt 3, when properly implemented, provides enough bandwidth to make external GPUs possible.  The rather large Devil Box dock offers all the connectivity generally found in a docking station but can also handle even the most recently released GPUs.  Overclockers Club tested out the effectiveness of the Devil Box with an RX 480, comparing the performance of the card when installed internally and externally.  As you would reasonably expect the performance is slower over Thunderbolt, by a fair margin in most cases but not as much in the DX12 Ashes of the Singularity.  Drop by to see the full review and ponder if adding an external desktop GPU to your laptop is interesting enough for to you invest in.

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"If you are using a laptop, you get single connection to everything you need via Thunderbolt 3. External storage, connecting USB peripherals, Gigabit LAN connectivity, display output, and charging all through one cable. Pricing will come in at $375 US for just the Devil Box enclosure and included Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps cable. Add in the cost of a good, solid $200 GPU and you fast approach $600."

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