Upgrading today's thin-and-light laptops is almost impossible, but thanks to their Thunderbolt 3/4 ports it is possible to attach an external GPU or a high-performance storage system. This week Sapphire introduced its new GearBox 500 Thunderbolt 3 Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT eGFX Solution that enables a thin-and-light notebook to be upgraded with AMD's mainstream graphics offering.
Sapphire's GearBox 500 Thunderbolt 3 Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT eGFX box packs a Sapphire graphics card based on the AMD Navi 23 GPU with 2048 stream processors and 8GB of GDDR6 memory connected via a 128-bit interface. The graphics card in question, the Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT features a dual-fan dual-slot cooling system, four display outputs (three DP 1.4, one HDMI 2.0), and one 8-pin auxiliary PCIe power connector.
In addition to the graphics card, the box adds two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and a gigabit Ethernet connector. Furthermore, as the solution is powered by a 500W PSU, it can deliver up to 60W of power back to the host machine.
Measuring 300 × 138 × 204 mm, the eGFX box is smaller when compared to other solutions, which is good for those looking for a compact external graphics card. But this is not exactly an advantage for those who plan to upgrade the Radeon RX 6600 XT to something more powerful and reuse the chassis.
The box is compatible with all Thunderbolt 3/4-enabled systems that run Microsoft Windows or MacOS, but in case of the latter, only Intel-based systems are supported since Apple does not seem to be readying any third-party GPU drivers for its Apple Silicon-powered PCs.
Sapphire did not disclose any recommended pricing for its new GearBox 500 Thunderbolt 3 Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT eGFX Solution, which is logical as there are hardly any graphics cards available at their recommended pricing. Meanwhile, the Gearbox 500 can be acquired separately.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.