Having a desktop PC in your office ensures you can easily delve into high-performance computing. In today's mobile world, though, some folks' primary machines may be laptops without the discrete graphics power needed to run demanding games or visualization apps. For those who want the best of both worlds, Sapphire's GearBox Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosure could prove an interesting new option.
As the name reveals, the GearBox is an external graphics card enclosure that hooks up to a host machine by way of a Thunderbolt 3 connection. Sapphire says that graphics cards with power draw up to 300 W can go in the chassis' PCIe x16 slot, juiced up by an integrated 500-W power supply. Said cards can be of the dual-slot, full-length variety, too. That covers the vast majority of graphics cards out there right now.
Besides the internal slot for the graphics card, the GearBox provides a Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 connectors. The Thunderbolt 3 port can provide 60 W of power for charging an attached device, too. Although Sapphire doesn't specify build materials, the press photos appear to show an aluminum construction. The company notes that the GearBox is "officially recommended" by none other than Apple itself, too.
The Sapphire GearBox Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosure should be available right now for $339, though we spotted it at Amazon for just $259. Bundles should be available with select Sapphire graphics cards. A pack with a Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 4 GB will set buyers back $538, and a bundle with the 8 GB version of that card will go for $578. Meanwhile, a set with a Pulse Radeon RX 580 8 GB sits happily in the middle at $558. If the retail price of the box alone is any indication, those figures will likely be much lower once the bundles pop up at e-tailers.