Sapphire has announced their newest eGPU: the GearBox 500 Thunderbolt™ 3 PULSE RX 6600XT 8GB eGFX. Sporting a futuristic aluminum sandwich-style case, the eGPU comes packed with a 6600XT, though it can accept a range of GPUs up to an AMD 6700XT, Nvidia 3060 Ti, or Nvidia Quadro P4000. If you don’t want to put a GPU in the case, the internal PCIe slot is rated at PCIe 3.0 x 4, but is physically an X16 length slot. Additionally, the GearBox 500 comes equipped with a 500 watt power supply, gigabit Ethernet port, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports.
The unit is fully upgradeable and supports two-slot GPUs up to 266mm long, and 125mm tall. The maximum power supported for GPUs is 350 watts, which covers almost every GPU on the market today.
Sapphire stated that the GearBox 500 with 6600XT offers a 4.2X performance improvement over an Acer TravelMate P4 in Adobe Premier, 10.7X improvement in Blender render times, and can achieve an average of 80 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077, at 1080P, medium detail. The claimed TimeSpy Graphics score is a bit over 8000. Most media outlets that have tested a 6600XT put the score at between 9000 and 9500 points. External GPUs always have a bit of performance loss due to various issues, but this isn’t that bad, and far from the 50% loss that some saw in the early days of eGPUs.
External GPUs have come a long, long way from a few years ago, and offer a very nice alternative to SFF users. So long as you have a proper Thunderbolt port, you could use something as small and portable as an Intel NUC, and simply connect it to a hidden eGPU when gaming or working on projects. It also offers a lot of flexibility to laptop users. Having been someone who routinely had to carry an iGPU laptop, it would be a welcome relief to be able to plug it into a real GPU for gaming.
The Sapphire GearBox 500 Thunderbolt 3 Pulse RX 660XT supports Windows 10, Windows 11, and Mac OS Monterey 12.1 or later.