At the moment even the lightest gaming laptops are still heavy devices, if you compare them to ultrabooks for office purposes. What if you cannot choose between a feather-light system and smooth frame rates? In that case an external gpu offers a solution: a separate box with a graphics card, with which your light laptop transforms into a potent gaming machine. In this article we take a look at the Gigabyte Aorus Gaming Box, a small external gpu housing that comes with Nvidia or AMD cards.
Gaming laptops are becoming thinner and lighter. There is no need to buy a laptop weighing five kilograms if you want to use your mobile machine for gaming. Still, even the lightest gaming laptops are a bit thicker and heavier than regular machines. A powerful graphics card requires good cooling, complete with larger heatsinks, multiple fans and larger airflow openings for hot air. In short, you are faced with the choice between a light, thin laptop or a more powerful but heavier device.
From office laptop to game pc
An external gpu is a possible way out if you do not want to choose. Instead of integrating the powerful hardware into the laptop, with all the difficulties that this entails, the gpu is placed in a small box that you simply place on your desk. With one Thunderbolt cable you can connect the housing to your laptop. Even though the laptop itself only features 'Intel HD Graphics', high frame rates suddenly appear on the screen - at least, that is the idea.
In this article we take a closer look at the Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box and the RX 580 Gaming Box. The cases distinguish themselves from direct competitors by their relatively limited size and the fact that the video cards are already installed. Some other vendors offer you only the housing. Gigabyte's solution is a matter of plugging in and playing.
This article begins with a discussion of the Gigabyte Aorus Gaming Boxes, including their aesthetics, specifications and connectivity. We also measure the noise level of the cases. Then, in a broader perspective, we look at the practical use cases of an external gpu. First of all, we cover how to use the device. Because Gigabyte has developed the RX 580 version specifically for Mac users, and content creators more often than not own such a machine, we are reviewing the installation process for both a Windows laptop and an Apple Macbook Pro.
Benchmarks and comparisons
The second part of the article consists of our tests of the performance of an egpu. After all, you buy such a device to give your mobile machine a graphical boost. We start with a general overview of the level of performance you can expect, given the way in which an egpu is connected to your system. In addition, a number of tips on how and in combination with which systems you can best use the box will be discussed.
The actual benchmark series consists of three components. First of all, we test the gaming performance. In order to do this we compare the Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box connected to the Dell XPS 13, a well-known business ultrabook, with a gaming notebook which has a built-in GTX 1070 that costs about as much. With the previously discussed practical tips in mind, we measure the performance level under various circumstances, in order to get a good idea of how they can influence the performance of a system with egpu.
In the second series of benchmarks we still focus on game performance. In combination with the XPS 13, we make a head-to-head comparison between the GTX 1070 Gaming Box and the RX 580 Gaming Box. Finally, our third set of benchmarks focuses on content creation. For this set of tests we use, in addition to the XPS 13, the Macbook Pro again. We measure the performance increase of an egpu in both Windows and MacOS.