The majority of Thunderbolt 3-enabled external chassis for video cards are rather big in order to accommodate high-end graphics adapters that tend to feature large PCBs and cooling systems. Meanwhile, not everyone needs a 300 W GPU and has enough space for a large box on their desk, but finding a compact and suitable eGFX enclosure may be problematic as the choice is very limited. Fortunately, PowerColor and VisionTek have just released three of such products.
While we are talking about three different SKUs, PowerColor’s Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 180F and Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 240F as well as VisionTek’s Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX (240 W) enclosures actually rely on the same TBX-180/240FU chassis developed by PowerColor and originally showcased at Computex in June, 2018. There are important differences though: PowerColor sells its boxes outfitted with its Radeon RX 560 and Radeon RX 570 graphics adapters, whereas VisionTek offers just an enclosure.
Measuring 215×153×68 mm, the said eGFX chassis can accommodate double-wide video cards that feature a 175 mm length and a 131 mm height, which generally limits compatibility to mainstream and Mini-ITX graphics adapters that have appropriate power ratings.
PowerColor’s Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 240F (with Radeon RX 570 inside) and VisionTek’s Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX boxes equipped with a 240 W PSU feature a GbE connector and a dual-port USB 3.0 hub. To provide dedicated lanes for GPU as well as USB and GbE controllers, these chassis feature two Thunderbolt 3 controllers. Meanwhile, the Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 180F does not feature any additional ports and therefore uses a simpler architecture.
Compact eGFX Enclosures from PowerColor & VisionTek
Thunderbolt eGFX Box 180F
PowerColor Mini Pro
Thunderbolt eGFX Box 240F
VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX
Radeon RX 560 4 GB
Radeon RX 570 8 GB
Max GPU Size
Dual-Port USB 3.0 hub
Power Delivery to Laptop
15 W – 45 W
VisionTek’s Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX is currently available directly from the company for $350 and is set to become available from Dell and Lenovo in the near future with more retailers to follow. PowerColor’s new compact eGFX solutions will hit the market in the coming weeks.