Zotac unveils two Thunderbolt 3 enclosures to attach external GPUs to Apple's MacBooks

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in General Discussion
Zotac is joining the slowly growing market of external enclosures potentially capable of using Thunderbolt 3 to connect to a MacBook, unveiling at Computex the Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock for connecting a graphics card to a host system, alongside a smaller Thunderbolt 3 External Box meant for attaching other hardware.




The Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock is an enclosure meant to house graphics cards, with Zotac advising it is compatible with cards up to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. According to Tom's Hardware, the device supports cards up to 9 inches in length, restricting its usage to shorter graphics cards.

In order to accommodate the power needs of a graphics card, the enclosure includes its own 400-Watt internal power supply, which is also capable of charging a connected notebook. So far, Zotac has not advised of how much power it could deliver to a connected system.

Like other GPU enclosures, it connects via Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C to a notebook or a desktop, providing transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s, and potentially allowing a notebook to take advantage of the graphics card for gaming, video editing, and other specialized needs. The unit also offers extra connectivity options, with four USB 3.0 ports, and a Quick Charge 3.0 port.




The second device, the Thunderbolt 3 External Box, performs a similar function to the graphics dock, but it is generally meant for other types of PCI-e hardware. Tech Power Up reports the enclosure includes a smaller 120-Watt power supply without any additional PCIe power connectors, meaning it will work with graphics cards that can function adequately that just draw power from the PCI-Express 3.0x16 slot.

Rather than for a graphics card, the Thunderbolt 3 External Box is intended for other hardware that uses the PCI-e slot, such as PCI-e solid state drives or multiple-port network cards. Just as with the graphics dock, the enclosure also has four USB 3.0 ports, with an extra 32Gb/s M.2 NVMe slot internally.

Zotac has yet to confirm how much the Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock and Thunderbolt 3 External Box will cost, nor when the two enclosures will start shipping.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Sweetness. Pricing should start to drop even more. they are hovering around $300, but I'm seeing some hit sub $200's now.. Which is awesome.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    While good news - I think the concept is fundamentally flawed by Apple. Without Apple providing first party enclosures, graphics cards and standard drivers, few developers are going to develop for macs (e.g. games/GPU intensive apps). It will be relegated to niche high end peripherals and do-it-yourselfer driver hack jobs and PC boot camp gamers. Apple needs to get back into the video card business - and make mac pros and iMacs that can accept standard upgrades as the GPU market moves way faster then the CPU upgrade cycle.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 560member
    Without Apple providing first party enclosures, graphics cards and standard drivers, few developers are going to develop for macs (e.g. games/GPU intensive apps). 
    I still can't even get Blizzard's games to fully support the Apple-designed and Apple-built 5K display in my iMac which is already 2.5 years old. For one thing the resolution of the textures in the game is still designed for low resolution monitors like HD 1080.
    longpath
  • Reply 4 of 6
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 115member
    While good news - I think the concept is fundamentally flawed by Apple. Without Apple providing first party enclosures, graphics cards and standard drivers, few developers are going to develop for macs (e.g. games/GPU intensive apps). It will be relegated to niche high end peripherals and do-it-yourselfer driver hack jobs and PC boot camp gamers. Apple needs to get back into the video card business - and make mac pros and iMacs that can accept standard upgrades as the GPU market moves way faster then the CPU upgrade cycle.
    The Mac Pro, even when it had slots, was a niche within the Mac niche and this has always been an issue for developers. Thunderbolt 3 can potentially be on every Mac.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,163member
    I wish it was technically feasible to gang two TB2 connections and achieve TB3 throughput (kinda like a RAID setup except here it's the connection itself).  My 2013 Mac Pro 6 core would last another few years if it were.  I assume the bus is the hold up not the TB2s?
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 6 of 6
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,163member
    While good news - I think the concept is fundamentally flawed by Apple. Without Apple providing first party enclosures, graphics cards and standard drivers, few developers are going to develop for macs (e.g. games/GPU intensive apps). It will be relegated to niche high end peripherals and do-it-yourselfer driver hack jobs and PC boot camp gamers. Apple needs to get back into the video card business - and make mac pros and iMacs that can accept standard upgrades as the GPU market moves way faster then the CPU upgrade cycle.
    I don't disagree.  It's been a perpetual chicken and egg with games on the Mac.  If Apple were to develop their own GPUs and drivers then buy a few of the top game companies, heck throw Steam into that shopping list, and remove the reliance on developers who naturally follow the mass market, you and I would be happy :)  Sadly it isn't going to happen and I'll be booting into bloody Windows on an external SSD for the rest of eternity to play decent games.  That is until Apple goes away from Intel CPUs then I'm screwed I guess.
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