In the lab: Gigabyte’s Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box external graphics card

External graphics cards (or eGPUs) are one of the hotter developments in PC gaming this year. Gigabyte is getting in on the game with the Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box, a Thunderbolt 3 graphics enclosure that puts one of the company's mini GTX 1070s, a 450W power supply, and a Thunderbolt 3 controller into a case that's barely larger than a dual-disk external hard drive enclosure. We've got one of these little powerhouses in the lab now:

At $590, the Gaming Box is actually one of the more affordable ways into external graphics right now. The mini GTX 1070 inside is $420 on its own, so the Gaming Box itself is under $200 extra—not bad when you consider that the most affordable competition starts at about $300 for an empty enclosure. We'll be pairing the Gaming Box with a Thunderbolt 3 gaming notebook for a full range of tests soon. Stay tuned.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    So $200 for the enclosure and all that. Just curious, guys, what makes these things so expensive? Is it because of the lack of economies of scale alone? But I imagine folding a few bits of metal isn’t so darn hard.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 2 years ago

      case, adapter, and psu.

      Alternative, without case and PCIe:
      [url<]http://www.ebay.com/itm/PE4C-PM060A-V3-0-PCIe-x16-Adapter/322479409543[/url<] [url<]http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-OEM-DA-2-GX620-SX280-GX745-755-USFF-M8811-Power-Supply-Adapter-D220P-01/182232355087[/url<] Cheaper, but still close in price.

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      This is one of the enclosures I’m looking forward to, since it is relatively compact and clean – just a mains cord and a thunderbolt cable.

      As mentioned by DoomGuy, your $200 gets you a $75 1U power supply, a custom PCB that provides ~75W to the slot and also has the necessary TB3 chip to convert back to PCIe, as well as a fancy box and additional cooling fans. I would expect that when the dodgy Chinese brands start copying these things with uncertified TB3 chips and hillariously low-quality PSUs, we’ll see them for $99. Just don’t plug anything you value into them, at that price 😉

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 2 years ago

    Do you guys have a couple gaming notebooks for a quick look, I’m not expected the full run of tests to be on multiple machines. However I’m very interested in looking at one that runs over the DMI and another that runs strait off the CPU. I’m aware that most Windows pc’s with dedicated graphics run it off the DMI.

    • NTMBK
    • 2 years ago

    I’m still amazed that nobody has moved on from this “card in a box” design. You’re paying for two sets of plastic housings, two different PCBs slotting into each other, all the wiring to hook up a PCIe power connector, and a poor thermal design due to the limitations of the PCIe slot spec.

    Build a dedicated external GPU box! Integrate it all onto one board, with cooling directly integrated into the chassis, and an external power brick. I bet you could build something the size of a NUC, with a price only slightly higher than that of the GPU on its own.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]I'm still amazed that nobody has moved on from this "card in a box" design.[/quote<] It's my card in a box! Step 1, cut a hole in a box. Step 2, put your card in that box. Step 3, make her purchase the box. And that's the way you do it!

      • cygnus1
      • 2 years ago

      Engineering effort/cost, margin, and expected sales volume.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      Uh, sony did it with some criminally underpowered mobile GPU a few years back (a 6650M), and charged $500-600 for it. It was all a sealed unit too (although you did get a DVD or Blu-Ray drive in the bargain).

      No, discrete box + discrete GPU = future expandability. And that 450W PSU should give plenty of headroom. You do have to be careful with card lengths, though, since the Gigi box is limited to shorter cards than some of the other external docks out there.

        • demani
        • 2 years ago

        But the MXM form factor seems to be perfect for this use, and should theoretically have both a lower BOM and let you upgrade much the same way you do a CPU. And then when you buy a new one you are just getting silicon, without all the other extras.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 2 years ago

    Can you also comment if the card can be removed and upgraded? If you could swap in a new card a couple years down the road that would increase the future value of this box quite a bit

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 2 years ago

      Wouldn’t make sense if it couldn’t be removed.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    I’m intrigued by your idea of gauging the sizes of all computer products using The Threadripper package and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • trackerben
      • 2 years ago

      Wouldn’t you know, it’s TR’s core measuring unit.

      • Beahmont
      • 2 years ago

      Well it was Threadrippers or Yachts. And we all know you can’t measure consumer grade products in Yachts. That’s only for things like Xeons, Epycs, Quadros, Teslas.

    • emorgoch
    • 2 years ago

    Good price, but given the limited size, it’s really not that appealing. Unless something magical happens in the GPU industry, you’re always going to be relegated to mid-tier or less cards. Even worse, for those mid-tier cards, you’re going to be paying a premium for them to get the “cut-down” versions that will actually fit.

      • psuedonymous
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]Unless something magical happens in the GPU industry, you're always going to be relegated to mid-tier or less cards. [/quote<] The case looks just barely too small to fit the [url=https://www.zotac.com/us/product/graphics_card/zotac-geforce-gtx-1080-ti-mini<]1080Ti Mini[/url<] (211mm card, 211mm case) though if you took the front face panel off and added a small spacer it would fit just fine. A short 1080 would fit without issue.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      You’re also limited to a best-case 40-gigabit connection to the rest of the machine, and it seems like a lot of PCs get the PCI-Express capabilities from the chips further limiting performance.

      edit: oops

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        s/mega/giga/

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          derp, of course. Fixed.

          Been playing too many Genesis games lately.

            • chuckula
            • 2 years ago

            [url<]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Sega-Mega-Drive-JP-Mk1-Console-Set.jpg[/url<]

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            Yep, [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=119352&p=1359583&hilit=sega+genesis#p1359582<]exactly[/url<] [url<]https://imgur.com/gallery/1ShQv[/url<]

        • psuedonymous
        • 2 years ago

        Thunderbolt 3 can be hooked up as PCIe 4x. That’s [url=https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_1080_PCI_Express_Scaling/24.html<]a very small impact on real-world performance[/url<], even if it's from the chipset rather than the CPU.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, [url=https://techreport.com/news/32502/gigabyte-makes-what-could-be-the-smallest-gtx-1080-yet<]GTX1080 is sooooo mid tier[/url<] Oh, and [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?CompareItemList=48%7C14-125-893%5E14-125-893%2C14-137-092%5E14-137-092%2C14-125-875%5E14-125-875%2C14-137-167%5E14-137-167<]the small 1070's are the cheapest on the newegg market[/url<]

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        LOL yeah; The current Steam hardware survey shows that almost 98% of gamers can’t even afford a [i<]"mid tier"[/i<] 1080! I must be a cheapskate with my "lower tier" level Vega 56 and I wonder how all those 8.2 million peasants using GTX 1060 cards on Steam can even look themselves in the mirror every morning. FWIW the "tiers" are all kinds of vague in the first place, but I've always considered mid-tier to be around the $200 mark, and that's seemed to hold for about 15 years since Nvdia and ATi First started splitting their product stack and making a smaller die to service the mainstream market, rather than selling off last-generation products at a discount.

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