Razer launched the Core v2 eGFX enclosure in Q4 2017. It came with a unique industrial design and dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers that justified its price premium over other eGFX enclosures. Today, coinciding with the introduction of the Razer Blade 15.6, Razer is launching the Core X eGFX enclosure.

The Razer Core X does away with the bells and whistles of the Core v2 - the chassis is more economical to manufacture, thanks to a simpler industrial design. The second Thunderbolt 3 controller is gone, as are the I/O extension ports - the Core X serves as a eGFX enclosure and supports only a PCIe 3.0 x4 peripheral. That said, the Core X supports larger graphics cards compared to the Core v2. The internal power supply is also an ATX 650W one (compared to the 500W Flex-ATX PSU in the Core v2). This allows the Thunderbolt 3 port to support power delivery up to 100W (compared to the 65W in the Core v2). The Core X also uses the Alpine Ridge C-stepping, unlike the Core v2 which used an older stepping of the controller. The Core X doesn't support Razer Chroma (the RGB lighting feature common across various Razer peripherals). All these changes allow Razer to price the Core X at $299 compared to the Core v2's $499.

The Core X launch also brings Mac support to Razer's family of eGFX enclosures (Core v2 and Core X only). Similar to the Core v2, the Core X is designed with open vents to support adequate airflow for the installed GPUs and aid in optimal thermal performance. Razer also touts easy installation of GPUs - a rear panel that slides out and a thumb-screw that allows for tool-less installation - as a major selling point for the Core X. macOS compatibility is advertised only with AMD GPUs. On the Windows side, a wide variety of GPUs ranging from the NVIDIA GTX 750 to the GTX 1080 Ti and GTX Titan XP. NVIDIA Quadro GPUs are also supported. On the AMD front, all XConnect GPUs are supported.

The table below presents the specifications of various eGFX enclosures currently announced / available in the market.

Comparison of eGFX Enclosures
Aspect Razer Core X
Chassis Dimensions 14.72" x 6.61" x 9.06" 14.72" x 6.61" x 9.06"
Max. GPU Dimensions 12.99" x 2.36" x 6.29" 12.99" x 2.36" x 6.29"
Max. GPU Power 500W 500W
PSU 650W ATX 650W ATX
Cooling Fans 1x 120mm (Chassis)
? (PSU)
1x 120mm (Chassis)
? (PSU)
Connectivity 1x Thunderbolt 3 (to host) 1x Thunderbolt 3 (to host)
Power Delivery 100W 100W
Shipping Date May 2018 May 2018
Price (in USD, at launch) $299 $299

A look at the table above shows that the Core X presents a unique value proposition for users dealing with bulky GPUs. There are other eGFX enclosures supporting similar-sized GPUs, but, they come with a much higher price tag. Those around the Core X's price point tend to support only smaller GPUs, or, not support more than 15W on the power delivery side. From that perspective, the Core X complements the premium nature of the Core v2, and allows Razer to target different segments of the eGFX enclosure market.

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  • WinterCharm - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    Why on earth they didn't use an SFX power supply, I have no fucking idea. They're also commercially available off the shelf, and much smaller than an ATX PSU. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    this is the cheap scale down model, and ATX PSUs are cheaper even if they grossly add to the clownshoe volume problem.

    It uses 14.44L of volume to hold a 3.16L max GPU, vs their $500 model being only 7.78L for 1.87L of card (still bigger than almost all oversized cards).
    Reply
  • Manch - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    $299 isn't horrible TBF. It is a niche product though but I see the use case. Have a decent laptop that's not a plastic behemoth for when you're on the go and a EGPU & monitor for gaming when home. Not everyone can afford multiple computers, want multiple, etc. If I was still in the barracks, and going on trips a lot, this would be awesome. I may get one for when I retire my current laptop to wife duties. Then she can play her Oculus without hogging my machine. Reply
  • Reflex - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    Just finished building out my DAN A4 last weekend. That is *such* a nice and sharp looking case. Mine now has a Ryzen 2700X/32GB/GTX1080/960EVO and it flies. Temps seem just fine too despite the horsepower.

    Super happy with it.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    As mentioned in other comments, 650W ATX PSU + room for a full length GPU with triple-slot cooler and enough height for taller cards with clearance for the power cables = Core X size. The Razer Core v2 uses a semi-custom, 500W 1U PSU from Enhance and only fits double-slot cards to keep the size in check: https://egpu.io/razer-core-v2-review-think-inside-...

    As for the cost, it's not at all unreasonable if you consider buying the components separately. The custom enclosure with cooling fan and LED bling is probably not much different than a mini-ITX case which costs about $50. A decent 650W ATX PSU runs $50-$60. Basic Thunderbolt 3 add-in cards from Gigabyte, ASRock and ASUS that only have the Intel Alpine Ridge and TI USB Type-C port controllers go for $60-$70. AFAIK, Razer designs their own boards for their eGPU enclosures and doesn't just use a reference design or source from an ODM. Considering this box also supports USB PD up to 100W and most likely requires a microcontroller and custom firmware, we're probably closer to $80-$100 territory. A passive 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps 3A cable (most likely what is packed in the box) will cost you $20. If you want an active cable (>1m) or one with an e-marker that can actually support 5A power delivery (>60W), be prepared to spend closer to $40.

    The total for that pile of parts comes to somewhere between $200-$250. And these are street prices from Amazon, Newegg, B&H and Monoprice for commodity components from low-margin OEMs. I wouldn't expect the introductory MSRP for a relatively niche product from Razer to be anywhere near that, especially considering where their competition is at.
    Reply
  • wolrah - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    Relatedly, what I don't get is why everyone feels the need to bother with a case at all. Why hasn't someone created a TB3 dock in a standard motherboard format like Mini-ITX? Make it have a standard I/O panel, standard ATX power connectors inside (with optional support for external bricks for ultra-compact builds), and a standard PCIe slot, then from there people can do whatever their cases of choice allow them to do.

    I could see a market for four total variants. One for full PCIe cards, one for MXM, and then in each of those cases having one variant that just connects to a GPU and that's it and another that's more of a proper dock with additional USB ports, ethernet, etc.
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - link

    What we really need is for someone to fix the heat problem on high frequency colossally scaled integrated circuits. (I wanted to say Large Scale Integrated Circuits, but we called them that back in the 1990's and I didn't want so sound old... Doh!!!)

    Apple's 12" MacBook always had a certain appeal in that it was a completely fan-less design. So is the entry level Surface Pro, but you can't buy it with more than 4GB of RAM and larger SSD. I like the idea of not having ANY fans ... if there are no fans you can't have fan noise.

    This is where Apple's A-Series processors might perform very well. They have better GPU implementations than what you find on a Y-Series core processor. Someone (maybe Apple) needs to solve this VERY SOLVABLE problem. Optical processors still seem a long way off.
    Reply
  • Manch - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    You in the wrong article? Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    Why do we need external GPU's for laptops? Because the silicon inside the laptop get's too hot, uses too much power, and the tiny fans that are required to dissipate the heat generate too much noise.

    These external GPU's are a highly compromised solution to the problem.
    Reply
  • Manch - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    What? No. You're way off in left field. The whole idea is to have a laptop that's portable with decent battery life vs one of those plastic behemoths that cant last 2hrs. When you are home, you can enjoy an expanded experience. Thermals will ALWAYS be a limit in a laptop vs a DT. Cant get around that. Will performance improve? Yes, of course. Will performance improve for DT cards that are too power hungry for a laptop? Yes of course. Reply

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