Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box and RX 580 Gaming Box
Gigabyte has made the Aorus Gaming Box a nice little box, because internally there is a mini-itx card. The sizes are 21.1 cm in length, 16.2 cm in height and 9.6 cm in width. At the office we were already asked if we ordered a new nas. At 2.36 kg, the weight also remains modest: many gaming laptops weigh even more in total. Aside from the box, the packaging also includes a carrying bag which allows you to easily transport the egpu.
Case and graphics card
The Aorus Gaming Box is made of matte black coated metal, just like a normal computer case. The GTX 1070 box features a glossy Aorus logo on the front. The RX 580 Gaming Box, which is not officially a part of the Aorus line, has a Gigabyte logo on that site, but otherwise looks identical to the Aorus version. There are two large grids on the sides of the housing; these allow you to see the graphics card on the left side.
If you need some visual spectacle, you can light up the video card using the built-in rgb LEDs, hidden on the circuit board under the card. Gigabytes Aorus Engine software lets you choose a colour scheme. You can also choose some lighting effects, even though the LEDs cannot be controlled individually. In other words: the whole strip shows one colour.
The Aorus Gaming Box with GTX 1070 is equipped with a standard Gigabyte mini-itx card. This is the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Mini ITX OC 8GB. The gpu runs at a standard clockspeed of 1531 MHz with a boost speed of 1721 MHz, 40 MHz faster than the reference model. The semi-passive fan has a diameter of 90 mm.
Unlike the box with the Nvidia card, Gigabyte has equipped the variant with RX 580 with a custom card that is not sold separately. Outside the housing the card looks quite strange due to the absence of a fan shroud above the heatsink. Because the casing around the fan is omitted, the fan can be a lot larger: the diameter is 130 mm, so the fan blades protrude a bit further than the underlying heatsink. Just like the GTX 1070 model, the fan does not spin when under low load. The maximum clockspeed in standard mode is 1340MHz, identical to the reference speeds.
The built-in power supply of the box is located behind the graphics card; on the right side if you look at it from the front. This is a 450 W psu and it has a promised efficiency of more than 90 percent, although Gigabyte did not get it the official 80 Plus Gold certificate. Although the GTX 1070 and the RX 580 do not consume that much power even under heavy load, Gigabyte also has an the option to equip the same box with the more power hungry GTX 1080. In addition, according to Gigabyte, the Aorus Gaming Box can supply up to 100 W of power to a suitable laptop.
At the back we see the connectors of the video card on the right. In the case of the GTX 1070 version, these are a single displayport 1.4, two dvi-outputs and one hdmi 2.0, the RX 580 has three displayport 1.4 connectors and one hdmi 2.0 output.
At the top left of both products is one of the small fans of the built-in power supply, with a standard three pin power connector underneath. To the far left at the bottom is the Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting the system; here you can plug in the supplied 50 centimeter long cable. In addition, Gigabyte has installed a USB hub with three USB 3.0 connector. A fourth USB connector with a different orange colour scheme can be used for fast charging a suitable smartphone via Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
It is a shame that Gigabyte has not also integrated a gigabit Ethernet port. This would have made the Aorus Gaming Box a complete docking solution. On the other hand, the manufacturer's aim was to make the housing as small as possible. If you do not want to have to plug a separate network cable into your laptop, then of course you can easily plug a USB network card into one of the ports on the dock, something Gigabyte recommends.
As mentioned above, both the Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box and the version with RX 580 are equipped with a video card with a semi-passive cooling solution. This means that the video card fan does not spin during normal desktop use. However, the power supply also needs to be cooled, and for this purpose Gigabyte has installed no less than three small 40 mm fans in both boxes: two behind the grille at the front, one at the back. We measured the total noise production of both products.
The graphs show that the noise levels in idle and under load are pretty much the same for both products. This indicates that the power supply fans are responsible for most of the noise, as the video card fan does not turn on in idle. Since we measure the noise production at a distance of 10 cm, we do have to put the measured 40 db(A) into perspective. At a normal distance the fan noise was not disturbing in a normal office environment, although it was still audible. What was more annoying to us was the coilwhine which both test models had, especially the Gaming Box with the GTX 1070. All in all, the noise levels could be something to improve upon for a future version.