Razer Core and other external GPU enclosures

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by Scott_Arm, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. Scott_Arm

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    #1 Scott_Arm, Jan 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
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  2. Rikimaru

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    It's using USB Type-C connector, but connection is Thunderbolt 3.
     
  3. Scott_Arm

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    Updated the thread title.
     
  4. Scott_Arm

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    Both the refreshed Intel NUC and Gigabyte BRIX will support Thunderbolt 3 over a USB type-c connector. If the BIOS supports graphics switching, it could be an interesting option, on top of cheap-ish laptops in the future.
     
  5. Silent_Buddha

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    Hell, I'd be interested in that for my desktop computer. That's roughly 4x PCIE 3.0 lanes which doesn't seem to hamper AMD GPUs in any significant way. I don't know about Nvidia GPUs, I'm assuming the situation is not as good there as Nvidia doesn't allow x4 connectors for SLI the last time I looked. I wonder if the latency will be good enough for good performance?

    Would love to be able to just completely power down the gaming GPU whenever I'm not gaming.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  6. Scott_Arm

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    I was reading up and there are already people doing external gpus using this Atiko Thunder 2 case. It uses Thunderbolt 2, which is much slower than 3. Seems to get very good results. It's just ugly, because the case doesn't have enough power for GPUs so it requires an external power supply to supply the card. Performance seems to be good, from what I've read. Seems to work with macbook pro because it has an intel chipset that supports graphics switching. In windows the graphics driver allows you to switch between discrete and integrated gpu. You have to power up the GPU and the macbook at the same time. I think people put them on a power strip and turn them on together.

    Update: A little more reading, I think getting it to work in OSX is more involved. You have to edit a whole bunch of files or something. Don't have the details, but it's not straightforward.

     
    #6 Scott_Arm, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
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  7. Scott_Arm

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    Why can I not delete my own posts ...
     
  8. ToTTenTranz

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    Because XenForo hates you.
     
  9. AnarchX

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    After seeing external graphic cards on different trade fairs the last decade, with USB-C/Thunderbolt there is indeed finally a solution to offer this concept vendor independent. But on the other hand in maybe two years you can access multi TFLOPs on-demand-gaming with your cheap/low-power devices from everywhere. Even if you want your "own system", you can get a GPU-powered vServer, where you can install all your software and modded games. Its just to late. External PCIe is about 10 years around, but notebook vendors and part suppliers wanted you to buy new devices.
     
  10. Scott_Arm

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    Yep. The future may be game streaming. I still think this is a fairly compelling model, at least for now. As long as the enclosure is somewhat affordable ($100-200), then it's really hard to compete with price-wise. It's like buying a PC case and GPU, but not having to buy a motherboard, RAM, CPU etc. Using that sort of diy setup above, they're probably more into the $250 + GPU range. Hard to find precise benchmarks for comparisons, but people do seem to get very good gaming performance. I'd be curious to see how games made with d3d12 fair, and whether games end up being too CPU-limited to get good gaming performance. This type of setup seems best for a mid-range GPU, but there are people putting top-end Nivida GPUs in these things.
     
  11. ImSpartacus

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    I feel like it'll be closer to the $200 side, maybe higher. Using your $250 example, do you think it makes sense to pair such an implementation with a ~$200 mid-range GPU? I feel like if you're putting that much money into this external GPU chassis, you oughta go for at least a $300-$400 GPU to make the investment worth it.

    By "investment", I mostly mean in the context of comparing to something like the $2000 1080p 256GB Blade and its 970M. If your external GPU is only a $200 960 (or similar), then it starts to engender direct comparisons to something like a 970M (let alone the CPU disparity). Besides, if your ultrabook ends up being something like the $1200 256GB Blade Stealth, then the complete setup ($1200+~$250+$200) starts flirting with a $2000 Blade on price as well (even closer if the chassis is more than $250).

    These kinds of comparisons always get very subjective & personal, but my major point is that it will take a while before external GPUs are an "obvious" solution. It's currently a pretty muddy decision.

    The really crummy thing is that it will likely continue to be a muddy decision as competing non-external solutions are only going to get better and better as the years go on. And that's not even considering innovative solutions like "streaming", as you mentioned.

    The 980 seems to do ok with only the equivalent of a 4x connector, though it's unclear what the latency effects will be. I look forward to seeing the performance effects
     
  12. Scott_Arm

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    I'd probably consider a $200 gpu to be low end. It's not a solution that fits everyone. I guess we'll see how many issues commercial solutions with Thunderbolt 3 have.

    edit:
    I would say even if it's niche, as long as it's not too clumsy to use, there will be a market for external gpus. Companies like Razer really only stand to gain by selling enclosures that can house gpus. It's not like providing the option will block any other technology from being developed. Even if the product has a short life.

    For me, personally, if I had a laptop with Thunderbolt 3, and the razer core worked pretty well, it would be a no brainer decision. As it stands, my laptop won't support it, so I'll probably be buying something like the upcoming gaming-oriented Intel NUC "Skull Canyon" or another small form-factor PC with an AMD APU based on Polaris. Intel NUC is interesting though, because it could support an external GPU with thunderbolt 3, so it would perhaps have a better upgrade path in the future.

    Overall, any new options for people to buy and use gpus is a good thing for consumers.
     
    #12 Scott_Arm, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  13. Scott_Arm

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    #13 Scott_Arm, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  14. Andrew Lauritzen

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    I still think these things are basically pointless - the GPU bread box is no smaller than an entire SFF PC and for the products out there today, it doesn't even seem to end up cheaper. Pairing it with a 15W ultrabook CPU is going to put a limit on what level of GPU you put in there and simultaneously cost more to get laptop parts vs. the equivalent desktop ones (for the same price you could get a high end i5 quad core at the very least).

    As I argued in the other thread, this still doesn't make a whole lot of sense vs. just buying a laptop and a SFF desktop which is a significantly more flexible and robust solution for a similar price.

    I can concede a small argument about the convenience of using a laptop KB+monitor in a "mobile LAN" sort of setup, but that could easily be possible while still keeping the external bit as a fully functioning desktop. Ultimately gaming on laptop screens and keyboards isn't ideal to start with.

    If you really need a mobile gaming setup, there are still non-obnoxious gaming laptops out there (such as the Aorus and full Blade) that are going to provide a similar experience with less size and hassle. I just can't see the application for this kind of setup - it pretty much always seems better to have an ultraportable + desktop/gaming laptop.
     
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  15. Scott_Arm

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    There's a lot to consider like the cost of the enclosure, and whether you need two computers. A lot of households might need two computers, so this wouldn't make any sense. You might be better off buying a full gaming desktop and just have your family share the laptop/desktop. For single people, like students, or younger people, this could be a laptop you use for school/work, and then you have the gpu enclosure at home.

    It's pretty niche for me. I think the best case is if you have a laptop with a decent CPU and a good deal of RAM, but not a decent GPU. You can use it for work, productivity wherever, and then take it home to your desk where you have the enclosure setup with a monitor, keyboard and mouse to sit down and do gaming, or whatever requires a more serious GPU. But if you're buying a new laptop anyway, and you know you want to game, maybe a gaming laptop is the best solution. It's far less upgradeable, but maybe the idea of upgrading a GPU in an enclosure is pointless as well. Really depends on how hampered the GPUs are by the thunderbolt 3 connection. Even if thunderbolt 3 is sufficient, you may have to be the type of person that would want to upgrade gpus frequently to make this worthwhile over just buying a real gaming laptop.

    There could still be business on the Mac-user side, because they just don't offer gaming macbooks, so having a macbook + external gpu would be an option.
     
  16. BRiT

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    It makes sense for those who have work providing a business style laptop, ie: all cpu and no gpu. After work hours all it takes is a quick swap out of the boot drive and the laptop is now all yours. Plug in an external GPU and you've got yourself one nice setup.

    Yes, it's niche, but I and my coworkers could find good use for it.
     
  17. Silent_Buddha

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    For me it's not about mobile gaming. It's all about potentially having the ability to completely power down the gaming GPU when not gaming. BTW - I have no idea if this Razer GPU enclosure would support something like that.

    Ever since switchable graphics came to notebooks, I've been wishing either AMD or Nvidia or someone would come out with a desktop GPU which could be completely powered down when not gaming. The closest thing is AMD with their ultra low power state. But that requires that the monitors enter sleep mode and the computer is basically idle.

    I want a desktop solution that uses the IGP. Then when gaming either automatically or manually (user toggled) enable a gaming grade GPU for use. Then when you are done can automatically or manually disable the gaming grade GPU.

    I don't need the GPU power of a full blown discrete graphics card 90% of the time while using my desktop computer, yet I have to have it on consuming power and creating noise even if I don't need it. And that truly annoys me to no end.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  18. Kyyla

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    I just don't see any point in this either. I use a desktop PC and a Surface 3. Perfect combo for me.
     
  19. Scott_Arm

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    It's really a dollar proposition. If you can afford both, ,then sure, that's a better solution.
     
  20. Andrew Lauritzen

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    But that's the thing - it isn't even that much cheaper (if at all) especially when you consider you can get a really cheap desktop CPU if you just want to match the speed of a 15W ultrabook laptop chip or whatever. At least with none of the current solutions is this a compelling argument. Maybe that will change, maybe not.
     
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