External graphics enclosures are probably going to be all the rage in the next year or so, as the technology finally reaches something approaching maturity. It’s an interesting thing to think about – a 3D and compute device that plugs in and out as easily as any USB hard drive – and the use case for it works across all devices and form factors. PowerColor seems to have cottoned onto this idea as well, and they’re making and selling an external GPU enclosure called the Devil Box. What makes it different, though, is that it fits almost any GPU you can think of inside.
The Devil Box is not diminutive in the slightest. It measures 400 x 171 x 241mm, and will fit graphics cards up to 300mm in length, but triple-slot graphics cards are right out the window, so those won’t fit. You could use a GPU that has a cooler shroud just slightly higher than two PCI slot widths by taking off the side panel, which probably won’t make any difference given that it’s vented anyway.
Inside there’s a 500 watt power supply to run everything, and the unit can deliver a maximum of 375 watts to the GPU. That means that a large number of cards are not going to fit in here like the Radeon R9 295×2 purely due to power constraints, but anything like the Geforce GTX Titan X or Radeon R9 390X will be just fine, and lower power draw will obviously result in a quieter system. The spare power is for the four USB 3.0 ports and USB 3.1 Type-C connector, as well as the gigabit Ethernet controller and SATA 3 connector for an external hard drive.
With new graphics cards popping out from both major vendors, as well as Intel and AMD working on their own external graphics connectivity solutions, this is probably going to be the first time that this kind of setup actually takes off. We’ve tried it before with external PCI connectors on Fujitsu Siemens Amilo laptops, and it’ll definitely solve a bunch of problems with notebooks not having enough GPU horsepower. I’m looking forward to seeing someone bring one of these to the NAG LAN at rAge this year, because it would be a fantastic way to cart a high-end system around with you.
PowerColor’s Devil Box has a launch slated for 2H 2016 and does not have a recommended price yet.
Moar: PowerColor blog