Could external graphics card mean big business in 2019?
While at CES 2019 we had the opportunity to visit with PowerColor who were showing off their latest external GPU enclosures including the TBX-180/240FU, and the TBX-750FA. Starting with the TBX-750FA this external GPU enclosure uses a Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) connection and has a 750-watt internal power supply. Due to the size of not only the enclosure but the power supply as well, graphics cards measuring up to 335 x 170 x 58 mm (13.18 x 6.69 x 2.28 inches). When you factor in maximum GPU power is rated at 500-watts pretty much any GPU on the market should work with this enclosure like a cat with a box if it fits it sits. Connectivity options consist of the 1x Thunderbolt 3 port for connection to the host system, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 5x USB 3.0 (3 up front, 2 in back), 1x SD 4.0, and finally 1x SATA. Overall the enclosure measures in at 359 x 179 x 198 mm and supports Windows 10 and MacOS 10.13.4 or later.
Looking at the TBX-180F and TBX-240FU or the Mini and Mini Pro as they have been named, share similar designs but come in a few different configurations. The TBX-240FU or Mini Pro version will come with a Radeon RX 570 8 GB and has an extra fan for improved cooling. It also offers up 1x Gigabit ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, and of course a Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting to the host system. Concerning power delivery the system supplies 75-watts via the PCIe slot and has a Max GPU power limit of 150-watts. Rather than using a traditional power supply, these eGPU enclosures make use of an external adapter. The TBX-180F or Mini is very similar, but it sacrifices a few features and downgrades the GPU to a Radeon RX 560 4 GB. Gone are the USB 3.0 ports and extra fan while the ethernet connection is no longer a Gigabit offering. However, it also comes with a much more affordable price. The Mini Pro with RX 570 is expected to cost $499, while the regular Mini is listed for $359. Later on, a standalone enclosure with no GPU will be released for $199. As for GPU support at this time, PowerColor had a short list that consisted of various GTX 1060, GTX1070, and RX 570 cards, however, all of them were Mini or ITX versions since any graphics cards larger than 175 x 131 x 38 mm (6.88 x 5.15 x 1.49 inches) in size will not fit. The same goes for any graphics card that has a TDP higher than 150-watts.