GALAX and KFA2 have announced their first external graphics solutions for laptops and SFF PCs with a Thunderbolt 3 interconnection. The SNPR External Graphics Enclosure, equipped with a GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB inside, is a factory-built product that is smaller than most of eGFX solutions available today due to its integrated cooling solution and it can be used right out-of-the-box. The device is designed to not be upgraded or use discrete cards, like other enclosures.

Since Intel enabled support for TB3-based external graphics enclosures in the first half of 2016, about a dozen companies released designs targeting gamers with notebooks. In a bid to maximize compatibility with high-end video cards, these manufacturers made them big and bulky to accept almost any GPU. As there are a lot of people who prefer smaller peripherals and would rather not install graphics boards into eGFX boxes themselves, GIGABYTE earlier this year launched its compact Gaming Boxes featuring the pre-installed GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards. This week, Palit Microsystems (the company that owns Galax, KFA2 and other brands) introduced its eGFX solution, co-developed with SilverStone, that appears to be even smaller than the products offered by GIGABYTE. This was demoed as an early prototype at Compute in June, but is now getting a full launch.

 

The SNPR External Graphics Enclosure, with a GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB installed, comes in a custom stainless-steel chassis designed by SilverStone and integrates a graphics card featuring NVIDIA’s fully-fledged GP106 GPU. The SNPR GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB TB3 enclosure is 73 mm thick and measures 165.0×156.5 mm, which makes it the smallest Thunderbolt 3 graphics solution to date.

To make its TB3 eGFX solution so compact, Palit had to develop a special graphics adapter that is not available separately. The ultra-short video card is smaller than Mini-ITX GPU versions, and measures 145×110 mm. The card has a DisplayPort 1.4, a DL-DVI-D output and an HDMI 2.0 header to handle three monitors, so no compromises when it comes to connectivity. To ensure stable operation, the board uses a rather sophisticated cooling system featuring an aluminum radiator, three heat pipes, and two fans. Meanwhile, the chassis features honeycomb ventilation holes on its sides, on top as well as on the back.

The device is compatible with every computer that has a Thunderbolt 3 connector and appropriate software and firmware updates. The SNPR is equipped with an external 230 W PSU, so it consumes no power from the TB3 port, but cannot power laptops via the TB3 connection itself (unlike some TB3 docks).

SNPR External Graphics Enclosure with GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (GP106)
1280 stream processors,
80 texture units,
48 ROPs, 192-bit bus
Box Size 165.0 × 156.5 × 73.0 mm
6.50" × 6.16" × 2.87"
Box Weight 1.38 kilograms
PSU 230 W, external
AC Input 100-240 V
Graphics Card Custom GALAX/KFA2 GeForce GTX 1060
Base: 1531 MHz
Boost: 1746 MHz
6 GB of GDDR5 memory at 8 GT/s
Display Outputs DisplayPort 1.4
HDMI 2.0b
DL DVI-D
Additional Information, Links GALAX | KFA2

GALAX and KFA2 plan to start sales of the SNPR External Graphics Enclosure with GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB in the coming weeks. MSRP of the product for the U.S. is unknown, but in Europe the eGFX TB3 box will retail for €499. The price of the product seems to be a bit inflated because of its compact size and factory-installed video card. If size is not an issue, it would be cheaper to buy an AKiTiO Node ($249) and a GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB ($240) in the U.S. than to buy the solution from Palit’s brands. Moreover, GIGABYTE’s own AORUS GTX 1070 Gaming Box is currently available for $569

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Sources: GALAX, KFA2 (via TechPowerUp)

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  • Zeratul56 - Saturday, November 25, 2017 - link

    Chimeing in with my use case here. Right now when I travel I can fit my work computer(15” MacBook) and my personal windows 2 in 1(dell xps 9250) in my backpack. I don’t think I could fit a larger gaming computer in my back pack.

    Now where this will improve my experience is if I could stash a really small egpu in my roller board to boost the graphics. The intel hd 515 can game if you lower your expectations but obviously it’s limiting.

    I have a full gaming desktop at home so I don’t really need a at home docking station for the 2 in 1.
    Reply
  • Tams80 - Sunday, November 26, 2017 - link

    Eh? Perhaps someone wants a laptop which is light and has good battery runtime. Yet perhaps when they arrive at a location they want access to a decent GPU (and one that has better cooling to boot).

    Some people seem to think that heaviness is binary. There are different circumstances that allow for different bearable weights. Carrying something around all day? You want something as light as possible. Putting it in a carry-on? It can be a bit heavier. With a 'thin-and-light' and a an eGPU you can have one system that you can split up. Perhaps leave the eGPU in your hotel room. Or on a flight, leave it in the overhead storage while you use your laptop.
    Reply
  • Kakti - Monday, November 27, 2017 - link

    For many people using a large gaming laptop isn't an option. Could be because you're using a company provided computer, you don't want to travel with a large gaming laptop, or you just don't own one.

    Either way, as soon as someone says "just use a bigger laptop" they're missing the point The target market for these are ultrabook owners who want to play games. 14" or smaller, like 2.5lbs or lighter, running U-series processors. I doubt Y series could keep up, and HQ processors are basically non-existent in the 14" or less laptop group and more power hungry. I'd prefer them, but by and large the audience for these are U-series laptop owners.

    I think the original idea/intention was a stay at home box that you'd connect your ultrabook to, similar to a docking station but with a (fire)wire. With miniaturization at work, now we're seeing a box small and light enough that you could take it with you on business trips/vacations. That's pretty cool, and while I never had any intention of buying an eGPU for "home docking", I could really use it when traveling.

    Honestly though, $500 for an un-upgradable 1060 is dumb. Obviously I think it's both too expensive and too weak for the price, but if I had to choose one, I'd say they need a faster box for the price. With this not being upgradable, I wouldn't want to lock myself into 1060 level performance for the next 5+ years.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, November 24, 2017 - link

    "€499"

    I don't think that they get it... yet. We're buying the device and THEN buying this? We could just buy a machine, like the Surface Book 2, with a 1060 that's thin and portable.

    Where are the units that are bare bones, with no thrills, for £99?
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, November 24, 2017 - link

    P.s. Yes, I know, the Surface Book is a lot of cash but there's cheaper machines out there. Reply
  • thomasg - Saturday, November 25, 2017 - link

    Well, evidently you actually can't buy that.
    Microsoft will sell you that hardware for USD 2499, for comparison with the Euro pricetag of the "SNPR", which includes around 20% Tax common in Europe this is EUR 2999 - but it doesn't work as advertised.

    The laptop cannot handle the thermal output of this hardware over any reasonable amount of time under full load, so it reportedly throttles quickly.
    As some sites reported Microsoft also doesn't provide a power brick that can actually support the power draw, so it will discharge the battery while plugged in to provide enough current.

    So seeing that even Microsoft's premier workstation-class laptop can't do this for about 3000 Euros, I think this box isn't t hat bad an alternative.

    Yes, 500 Euro isn't cheap (for what's basically an enclosure with a Euro 300 graphics card), but if you game at home and don't need the GPU on the road, you can pick a Euro 1500 laptop with the same specs as the Microsoft machine (or even the small Surface Book without the nVidia for the same price).
    This way you can play games at full performance over stretched periods of time, at much lower noise, and save yourself 1000 Euros.
    Also, this works with laptops smaller than 15".

    Sure, this isn't for everyone, but I can see the value (even though I'd personally pick a box with replaceable cards). The price is high, but not extraordinarily so.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Sunday, November 26, 2017 - link

    "As some sites reported Microsoft also doesn't provide a power brick that can actually support the power draw, so it will discharge the battery while plugged in to provide enough current."

    A selection of MSI and Asus laptops do that... which is described as a feature.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, November 24, 2017 - link

    The price is pretty unpalatable given the fact that you can't upgrade the GPU. An unupgradable solution needs to be less expensive. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, November 24, 2017 - link

    599 euros for a huge nonupgradable GPU dock? Now I'm almost convinced there's a conspiracy out there where manufacturers will pit against each other to see who can put out the most pointless product while putting lipstick on that pig. Reply
  • mikegrok - Monday, December 25, 2017 - link

    I use dxo photo lab and macOS. Without an nvidia GPU on the fastest laptop Apple makes, it takes more than a day to process a days worth of photography. This box means that I do not need to bring a 50 pound desktop tower (only alternative) when I travel. Reply

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