If you're using a gaming laptop but want more graphics power, external graphics cards are a great way to get into the TDP space of a desktop-class GPU without actually owning a full PC. Thus, alongside the onslaught of RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards that still seem to be nearly impossible to obtain, Gigabyte is launching its Aorus RTX 3090 / 3080 Gaming Box.
This is an external graphics card unit that comes with Nvidia's latest GPUs, packing them into a Thunderbolt 3 driven enclosure. To cool the GPU, Gigbayte installed a waterblock onto the cards, along with a 240mm radiator and a pump -- and Gigabyte takes claim to this being the first watercooled external graphics card. The waterblock covers the GPU, memory, and power delivery system.
Gigabyte did not reveal the clock speeds for either of the GPUs, so we don't know whether the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 cards installed run with an overclock or at stock settings. As far as performance goes, you can use our RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 reviews as reference, though note that CPU power and Thunderbolt bandwidth limitations may hamper framerates a little.
To aid with practicality, the Gaming Box does come with a bit of extra IO, namely an Ethernet port, a couple of extra USB ports, and of course the DisplayPort and HDMI ports of the GPU itself. This will make connecting your laptop to it a breeze, as you can essentially use the external graphics card as a docking station to connect your gaming monitor and peripherals.
No word on pricing or availability.