Pack along an RX 570 with a Sonnet Tech eGFX Breakaway Puck

Once upon a time, it was fairly common for laptops to have unique docking stations that added capabilities like multimedia or networking functions. Those days are mostly past, but in recent years we've seen the emergence of external GPU boxes. Like the docking stations of yore, these self-powered boxes are large, heavy, and intended to occupy a permanent spot on a desk. There's no reason you couldn't bring along a Sonnet Technologies eGFX Breakaway Puck, though. These little boxes pack a Radeon RX 560 or RX 570 into a one-liter package.

The graphics chips in question are the mobile versions. The boxes come with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory connected to their Radeon GPUs. The Breakaway Pucks can drive their respective graphics chips full-bore while sending up to 45W of power to the TB3-connected laptop. Either model can run four monitors in up to 3840×2160 resolution at 60 Hz using a trio of DisplayPort 1.4 connections and a single HDMI 2.0 port.

The Pucks themselves are positively petite. Both models are the same size: 6" wide, 5" deep, and 2" tall (or 15.2 cm x 12.7 cm x 5.1 cm). They're so small that they can be attached to a monitor's VESA mount using an optional bracket. That would seem to miss the point of a portable plug-in performance upgrade, though. The RX 560 model takes a 160W power adapter and the RX 570 model uses a 220W brick. Thankfully, Sonnet has skipped the common flimsy barrel-plug design for a more durable DIN connector.

Sonnet claims that you can plug the RX 560 model into an ultrabook with a Core i7-7600U and whip out nearly 100 FPS on average in Quake Champions with "Ultra" settings. The company also claims that with the RX 570 model, a similar machine could average 120 FPS in Doom on "High" quality. Those are heady claims for an eGPU, although we must stress that the company didn't specify what resolution it used for these tests. Regular TR readers will also be wary of simple average-FPS measurements.

The eGFX Breakaway Pucks are already up for sale at Amazon. The model with the Radeon RX 560 (GPU-RX560-TB3) will run you $449. Its big brother with a Radeon RX 570 (GPU-RX570-TB3) will set you back $599. The "PuckCuff" VESA mounting bracket will be $59 and can be ordered from Sonnet's website. Those prices might seem steep, but miniaturization doesn't come cheap.

Comments closed
    • freebird
    • 2 years ago

    Yeah, but what’s its mining hash rate and can it play Crysis???

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    As much as I agree that this eGPU is the most practical for real-world portability, I’m also slightly dubious about the performance/$

    At $599 for an RX570, it’s facing real competition from laptops that come with a 1050Ti and 1060 MaxQ – there are plenty of models in these configurations that are already so thin that the RJ45 socket is a spring-loaded expanding socket, because the laptop is too thin to house a standard-height one.

    The 1050Ti appeared in $800 laptops (admittedly the thinner ones are closer to $1000) well over a year ago (~14 months now).

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      These external products are always going to be a niche, so there’s always going to be some type of price markup over what you would expect from just slapping the GPU into a notebook. I do like seeing more of these products though, and hopefully the prices can come down if they become at least a little more widespread.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]At $599 for an RX570, it's facing real competition from laptops that come with a 1050Ti and 1060 MaxQ [/quote<] The [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125990<]Gigabyte GTX 1070 Gaming Box[/url<] is $569. The sonnet makes no sense, no sense at all.

        • mudcore
        • 2 years ago

        None. In fact I think it’s flat terrible but the top voted comment is praise for it. No one will buy this.

        • Firestarter
        • 2 years ago

        it’s somewhat more portable than the gaming box, that might be important to some people

          • Voldenuit
          • 2 years ago

          True, but it’s also a lot bulkier and more cumbersome than getting a laptop with a GTX 1060 or 1050 Ti Max Q, not to mention that compared to the 1070 eGPU box, the sonnet uses an external power brick, is slower, non-upgradeable and more expensive.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah, it’s the portability that makes it special; People consistently pay a premium for portable machines, and the GTX1070 option you listed isn’t really portable.

          My comment was more about the fact that laptops with 1050Ti and 1060MaxQ GPUs in them are already extremely portable, so a GPU dock really has to be massively more powerful that the GPUs in existing ultraportables to be an attractive proposition to the mobility crowd, otherwise the more portable option is “the GPU in my laptop already”

          There are ultrabooks with a GT1030 in them that will AAA game adequately for most casuals, and then there are things like the 14″ Stealth pro with a full GTX1060 in it if you’re willing to put up with 0.69″ thick (including screen) and an extra pound of weight. Suddenly, lugging around a 1L GPU box and heavy 220W power brick for [i<]inferior[/i<] performance seems like a dumb idea just so that your laptop can be quarter of an inch and one pound lighter when you don't want to game on it.

    • the
    • 2 years ago

    Internally, are these GPUs on a MXM board?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      Yes. There’s a teardown in the egpu.io forums.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Explains the price, doesn’t explain the 220W power brick that probably matches this box for size!

        • tsk
        • 2 years ago

        Would be nice if you linked that, I couldn’t fint it.

        Edit; Nvm found it 🙂 [url<]https://egpu.io/forums/news/unboxing-sonnet-egfx-breakaway-puck-rx-560/#post-21428[/url<]

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 2 years ago

    No RGB? No thanks.

      • UberGerbil
      • 2 years ago

      RGB is so first-half-2017. I want to know why it isn’t constructed entirely of tempered glass.

    • tsk
    • 2 years ago

    Wow finally someone gets it, this is what eGFX solutions should look like IMO.

      • mudcore
      • 2 years ago

      $600 for an RX570? I don’t like the idea of separate bricks for the GPU itself and the PSU either.

        • Kraaketaer
        • 2 years ago

        Even if the alternative is an SFX PSU, massively increasing both size, design complexity, noise and cost? I guess they could internalize the power brick, but that would cause some serious heat issues (not to mention make it non-replaceable if it should fail).

          • mudcore
          • 2 years ago

          You’re making assumptions I think you shouldn’t. Slightly larger in size overall may be the case but I don’t think it’d be more complex, noiser, or cost more. I personally rather trade off a slight bump in size for a all in one package.

          But more than that I think $600 for an RX570 level of performance is just straight crazy and I’d never pay for it.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, but at what i think is an unreasonable performance for the price.

      • Kraaketaer
      • 2 years ago

      Completely agree. The “eGFX box the size of a full mITX PC” thing boggles my mind. Kind of a shame that it lacks USB ports, tho, even just a couple of USB 2.0 for peripherals.

      Would love to see what this looks like inside.

      The price has to come down, but I guess that’s the cost of this being a first. I would absolutely love a 560-based “puck” for around $300, or a 570-based one around $400-450.

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