PowerColor Announces Devil Box: Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Enclosureby Anton Shilov on October 24, 2016 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- External GPU
- Devil Box
PowerColor has introduced its first enclosure for external graphics cards, the Devil Box. The accessory enables gamers to connect desktop video cards to AIO, SFF or laptop PCs using the Thunderbolt 3 interface and comes with its own power supply. The Devil Box will be a limited edition product compatible with select graphics cards (due to driver and physical limitations) and, like other external GPU chassis we've seen thus far, is priced as a premium product. Nonetheless, for the time being, this box will be among a few TB3-based external enclosures capable of running desktop GPUs.
The PowerColor Devil Box supports both NVIDIA and AMD (XConnect) GPUs, and resembles Razer’s Core eGFX enclosure introduced earlier this year. The two boxes have slightly different dimensions, but both can accommodate a qualified double-wide PCIe x16 video card (which will operate in PCIe x4 mode) that is up to 12.2”/310 mm long. The design of the Devil Box (as well as the Core) allows operation of graphics adapters with different cooling systems (blower, open air), except hybrid (e.g., Radeon Fury X, Radeon R9 295X2) due to space constraints. To feed the GPUs, the Devil Box incorporates a 500 W PSU and the maximum GPU power draw is rated at 375 W (exactly the specs of the Core).
Next up is connectivity and this is where PowerColor’s Devil Box has an edge over Razer’s Core. Both enclosures support additional USB 3.0 receptacles to connect peripherals and a GbE port to enable high-speed wired Internet on ultra-thin laptops that do not feature GbE. However, the product from PowerColor can also host a 2.5” HDD or SSD (I suspect with the help of a USB-to-SATA bridge, to simplify the process), thus expanding storage capabilities of the host system.
|PowerColor Devil Box Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Chassis Specifications|
|Max Video Card Size||Double-Wide, 12.2" Long
(310 × 152 × 44 mm)
|Max Video Card Power||375 W|
|Connectivity||1 × Thunderblot 3 (40 Gbps) port to connect to host PCs and charge them
4 × USB 3.0 Type-A
1 × USB 3.0 Type-C
1 × SATA 6 Gbps
1 × Gigabit Ethernet
|Chassis Size||6.77 × 15.74 × 9.52 inches
(172 × 400 × 242 mm)
|Internal PSU||500 W|
|System Requirements||Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Certified PC
Thundebolt 3 w/Active Cable (included)
|Shipping Date||October 2016|
|Retailers||1st Wave||U.S.: http://www.newegg.com
|2nd Wave||Japan: https://www.amazon.co.jp/
When it comes to compatibility, PowerColor lists the latest AMD Radeon RX 400-series as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 10-series graphics adapters in addition to numerous previous-gen products. We cannot verify whether all of the GPUs listed by the manufacturer support plug’n’play properly, but they are guaranteed to work inside the Devil Box.
|PowerColor Devil Box Video Card Compatibility List|
|Radeon RX 480||GeForce GTX 1080|
|Radeon RX 470||GeForce GTX 1070|
|Radeon RX 460||GeForce GTX 1060|
|Radeon R9 Fury||GeForce GTX Titan X|
|Radeon R9 Nano||GeForce GTX 980 Ti|
|Radeon R9 300 Series||GeForce GTX 980|
|Radeon R9 290X||GeForce GTX 970|
|Radeon R9 290||GeForce GTX 960|
|Radeon R9 285||GeForce GTX 950|
|GeForce GTX 750/750 Ti|
While the whole external GPU idea seems very plausible because all-in-one, small form-factor and mobile PCs are gaining popularity among gamers, eGFX chassis are still not mainstream. This is not exactly surprising given the fact that the eGFX hardware (Thunderbolt 3 with v16 or newer firmware) and software (Windows 10 with updates, drivers) were finalized only months ago and far not all PCs can properly support external graphics adapters. As a result, being aware of limited demand (because far not all TB3-enabled laptops are eGFX-certified), Power Color naturally does not want to produce a lot of Devil Boxes, which is why the enclosures will be available from select retailers and in select countries (see the table).
A good news is that PowerColor’s Devil Box will be more affordable than Razer’s Core and will sell for $379 or €419, depending on the market. The price of the enclosure is still rather high, but none the less a good improvement over where the Razer Core launched earlier this year.
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BrokenCrayons - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkYup, ugly is an understatement. The protruding thumbscrews on the sides give it a Frankenstein neck bolts look and the folded sheet metal all around adds unnecessary product bulk. The PSU fan looks tiny and potentially noisy given the rated wattage. The worst part is the branding and logo plastered on the front. That's shameful and a bit of silver duct tape to cover it would be a huge improvement if the logo couldn't be somehow scraped off. This thing looks like it was designed on a Friday night at the bar when everyone was already too many drinks into their night to realize they were making something hideous. The only shred of good sense PowerColor is demonstrating here is making it a limited production run. I doubt with its revolting looks that these things are going to leap off the shelves.
melgross - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkUgh, gamer chic! My daughter is a very hard core gamer, and even she thinks this is fugly.
lewisl9029 - Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - linkSometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think we can conclude this thing is just objectively ugly, by anyone's standards.
ToTTenTranz - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkAt these prices they're just making sure the interest for discrete GPU boxes withers away.
TheinsanegamerN - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkJeez, that thing is big enough to be a full computer.
cigar3tte - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkSo this isn't a device to let you connect to the laptop and play on the laptop screen? You'd need to connect to an external monitor?
With Thunderbolt connection, I'm assuming it works for MacBook Pro?
val1984 - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkThe MacBook Pro doesn't have a Thunderbolt 3 connector... Yet since it may be the case as soon as on Thursday.
zanon - Monday, October 24, 2016 - link>With Thunderbolt connection, I'm assuming it works for MacBook Pro?
First, on the hardware side this needs Thunderbolt 3, the current rMBPs are only TB2. Presumably the models they'll announce in 3 days will be TB3 though. Second you still need software support. Nvidia's web drivers can be made to work with a 900 series, and macOS has some AMD 4xx support, so maybe that part could function. The 10xx are right out though for now, maybe indefinitely as long as Apple doesn't care to use Nvidia GPUs. The OS itself also needs to have it.
New MBPs with TB3 will certainly work with this if they're booted into Windows, but the ability to use it with macOS at all is an open question. On the other hand, to the extent Mac users might ever hope to have the option to get good GPUs ever again these sorts of enclosures are the best shot. Apple choosing to completely kill the PCIe slot even in their "professional" desktop systems nuked the market, but they still sell lots of notebooks and a well done market in GPU docking stations might represent enough sales potential to make it worth it to Nvidia to bother updating their drivers again.
jsntech - Monday, October 24, 2016 - linkGood info...thanks!
I'm not sure how much demand there is for high-power gaming in MacOS (thoughts, anyone?). I do think this could be really cool for Boot Camp gaming...plug a (TBA) TB3 MBP into this beast and boot up to eGPU goodness? Yes, please.
Maybe it's just me, but this price doesn't seem unreasonable for *that* much flexibility and increased functionality.
zanon - Monday, October 24, 2016 - link>I'm not sure how much demand there is for high-power gaming in MacOS
For the right price? I'm sure there's some, because Steam does alright despite the headwinds from Apple, and there are still significant numbers of Mac ports that seem to sell fine. Rebooting to another OS is a pain and carries a lot of overhead, most people in general prefer convenience unless there is a massive reason to do otherwise. Ultimately remember that when the profit margin is high enough and costs are amortized enough there don't need to be *that* many for the marginal value to be there. The cost of developing a GPU and most related aspects is already sunk anyway. The Mac market at least for now would definitely not be worth developing anything special for. But if they can take the 100% exact same hardware and just do a bit of a software shim and sell another few tens of thousands even? Might be worth it, it's a market with a lot of disposable income.
Don't forget too that there's more use for GPUs then just gaming, and this particularly could benefit Nvidia because so much of the pro market is CUDA-based due to Nvidia's superior tooling, middleware, and general support. There are MBP users who would want to be able to take more advantage of that in scenarios that can't be offloaded to a cluster. Nvidia might even consider it strategically valuable beyond direct profit to help make sure there is no little corner where a competitor to CUDA might gain some oxygen.
I still think it's unlikely to gain any huge support in the near future, but it's a better shot then there has been in a while. Notebooks are by far the biggest percentage of PC sales, and a big internal GPU involves major tradeoffs in thermals, battery life, and physical size. On the other hand CPUs don't tend to be so limited these days, with even very high end portable ones having a fraction of the TDP of a full fat GPU and are mostly capable of keeping it fed. Being able to have great size, battery and so forth on the go then sit down in the desk and have direct attached workstation class graphics (and networking, storage, maybe even power) with one cable and only one system to manage isn't unattractive in principle. They'll have to get all the UI and pricing reasonably right, but I don't see why there wouldn't be money to be made there.