Sapphire GearBox Thunderbolt 3 Review: Discrete Graphics On The Outside

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Fan Speeds, Temperatures, Clock Rates, and GPU Load

A quick comparison between Sapphire’s Nitro+ Radeon RX 590 running on our Aorus Z270X-Gaming 7 and in the GearBox should illustrate any issues attributable to the external enclosure.

Both configurations ramp up similarly, though the GearBox-based setup remains in its semi-passive mode a little longer.

Along the way, temperatures remain close. If anything, the Radeon card in Sapphire’s enclosure actually runs a little cooler thanks to those two 120mm fans drawing warm air away.

There don’t seem to be any clock rate issues, either.

AMD’s Polaris GPU spends most of its time under 100% load, regardless of whether it communicates over a motherboard’s 16-lane link or Thunderbolt 3’s narrower bus.

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Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • LordConrad
    "Discrete graphics, gigabit Ethernet, and USB 3.0 from one enclosure"

    This is not a Pro, because all devices connected to the enclosure will share the bandwidth of that single Thunderbolt 3 connection. Any use of the Ethernet and/or USB ports will steal bandwidth from your graphics card, which is already bandwidth starved from being on Thunderbolt.
  • abhipw
    How can an always on blue light bar be a con?
  • cangelini
    abhipw said:
    How can an always on blue light bar be a con?
    If it's on your desk, and you're always looking at it, an always-on light becomes a con. When it comes time to watch a movie or play a game, you'll want the ability to disable it.
  • mlee 2500
    Call me old fashioned, but I put my GPU directly inside my computer.