[Unboxing] AORUS RTX 3080 Gaming Box Thunderbolt 3 eGPU
Gigabyte is preparing a new eGFX product for CES2021, the AORUS RTX 3080 Gaming Box. Due to the pandemic, the show is all digital. @gbt_brian arranged a media sample for eGPU.io to review. I have not received info on pricing or release date. Given the limited supply on the latest generation graphics cards, non-eGPU buyers would be eyeing this liquid cooled eGPU. I personally have tried to buy RTX 3000 and RX 6000 series cards on launch date and subsequent inventory drops without success. My hope is to work with Gigabyte for a group buy if we have enough interest in the forum.
Same as the RTX 2080 Ti version, the 2nd generation Gaming Box is no longer an ITX-sized enclosure. It's still a very portable eGPU solution. The packaging felt solid and made it to me from Taiwan without any damage.
Opening the carrying case reveals the Gaming Box inside more bubble wraps. Accessories are power cord, .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable, a shoulder strap for the carrying case, manuals, and an installation CD.
Here are more photos of the RTX 3080 Gaming Box next to Xbox controller with Mantiz Saturn Pro in the background for scale. It was plug-and-play in Windows 10 (version 20H2) on my 2020 Ice Lake 13-in MacBook Pro.
Nvidia eGPUs do not work in macOS since 10.13 Mojave. Power Delivery (100W) and other expansion ports work.
The AORUS RTX 3080 Gaming Box has good firmware, no H2D cap. It uses the same dual JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controllers.
One improvement over the RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box was no system hang when I cold-plug the eGPU with the MacBook Pro. This is likely a change in the Mac firmware rather than Nvidia cards. I could start the Ice Lake MacBook Pro with RTX 3080 connected and Windows 10 would boot into the desktop with Nvidia Optimus running without any workarounds or boot loaders.
I ran some quick 3DMark benchmarks through both loopback and external monitor modes (Samsung 4K FrameTV). This was off a 500GB Samsung T5 USB-C SSD.
Gameplay in 4K was smooth as can be seen in this Final Fantasy XV footage. I selected the Highest settings and also turned on NVIDIA Hairworks, TurfEffects, and ShadowLibs. The game used up almost the 10GB of available VRAM.
I will be doing more tests for a full review of this eGFX. Please let me know if I left out any information you’d like to know.
Thats a hell of a set up... I prob cant afford to be in for any group buy, however tempting it may be...
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10
Awesome! Shame no details about launch date yet, it must be close seeing as it's fully working with a box and everything.
I'd be interested in a group buy in for sure.
That said, I also have a 2080ti setup currently and it looks as if this is ranking not too much better in your timespy extreme scores vs your current build link. Wonder if it'd be worth doing if so? Maybe this card needs a proper TB4 setup to work? Getting 50% worse results vs desktop is... a lot, lot worse than previous generations. Maybe its time I caved in and just went with a mini-ITX build if I want to take advantage of the 3XXX series.
EDIT: To be fair the 50% worse result remark is based on this benchmark, which might not be accurate to most setups since it seems like it's more of the top end possible: https://www.3dmark.com/spy/13929835
Other reviews were getting closer 7500 score on desktop, which isn't as huge of a difference but still pretty big.
@itsage, Thank you for your valiant research! Can't wait to see the reviews come in for this thing, including your full analysis.
I would definitely be interested in a group buy. I seriously can't believe how hard it is to get GPUs these days, let alone solid eGPU + enclosures. I ended up getting the only pre-built one available this summer, the Sonnet Breakaway Puck RX 560 (4GB), and I'm dying for more power. I usually need to go down to 720p to get 60 fps on most games, but even that isn't stable.
I have a few questions:
1) Would you happen to have any insight on how many units of the 2080 Ti (or other Gaming Boxes) they've sold?
2) Any word if they are releasing smaller air cooled units like with the 1000 series?
3) Can you test the device on a Comet Lake CPU? I have the i7-10510u (Galaxy Book Ion 15") and would love to see how it performs using the internal screen, on an HDMI display, and how that compares to Ice/Tiger Lake. Even though I have a 10th gen CPU, I understand that my lower version doesn't have the TB3 controller on the die.
Thanks for all that you do! Please forward my appreciation as well to your contacts at Aorus. I'm thrilled about their products and am so thankful they are still making eGPUs.
My Galaxy Book Ion 15" Specs:
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510u (4 cores, 8 threads @ 2.30 GHz base speed.)
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 560 4 GB eGPU (via Thunderbolt 3, Sonnet Breakaway Puck)
RAM: 24 GB DDR4 RAM @ 2666 MHz (upgraded from stock 8 GB)
Storage: 1.5 TB M.2 SSD (stock 512 GB + Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB)
Some suggestions for screen shots:
1) make the Thunderbolt screenshot taller so we can see both busses of the AORUS, or start with the top device of the AURUS (we don't need to the Thunderbolt bus of the computer).
2) I think the Ethernet Card "iBridge" is the T2 bridge Ethernet? This screenshot should be replaced with screen shots from USB. There should be 3 or 4 USB buses (one is the Thunderbolt controller, plus three ASM1142 two port USB controllers which is 6 ports total, 7 if they use the second Thunderbolt controller's downstream port for USB), then a USB Ethernet adapter. Does it have a macOS driver or is a third party driver required (which may or may not exist)? I only see 3 USB ports and one Ethernet so I don't know why there's three ASM1142 controllers (which limits the devices to 8 Gbps instead of 10 Gbps anyway but maybe some of the ports don't need to share the 8 Gbps).
3) HWiNFO screen shot only shows the first Thunderbolt controller. Include the second one with the USB controllers and devices. If they only connected three USB controllers, then that leaves them with a free PCIe lane. They could have used a ASM3142 for one of the USB controllers to allow 10 Gbps USB (16 Gbps shared between two ports).
That looks like an awesome portable eGPU, thanks for sharing!
Too bad Virtual Link never took off and it's been abandoned. These super portable eGPUs would benefit the most from a portable USB-C monitor like the Asus XG17.
@lycid, There's likely not much difference in FHD performance between RTX 2080 Ti vs RTX 3080 eGPU. We typically compare the graphics score for 3DMark results, which is about 25% less in this instance. Thunderbolt 4 is Thunderbolt 3 done right. We won't get much performance gain because max bandwidth remains the same at 22Gbps.
@joshjames1234 Unfortunately I don't have access to the sales number. Gigabyte/AORUS Gaming Boxes have been a great value but $1,500 was more than many laptops so my guess would be only a few hundreds of the RTX 2080 Ti version sold. Production for the 1st generation ITX Gaming Boxes ended a while ago. I hope Gigabyte is working on a Radeon version but I hear you on GPU shortage this year. My plans are to do some comparisons between 2019 13-in MacBook Pro (i7-8569U) vs this 2020 13-in MacBook Pro (i5-1038NG7) vs Razer Book 13 (i7-1165G7).
@joevt Thank you for the advice. I will redo the screen captures per your suggestions and update the OP.
@lezzard1248 I agree with you about VirtualLink. At CES2018, ASUS showcased a portable 21.6" OLED 4K monitor that works through a single USB-C cable. The foldable sleeve also serves as the stand. It was an amazing prototype but unfortunately never made to production. Combined with a portable eGPU like this gaming box and an ultrabook, we'd only need a single power cable to run the whole setup!
@odin I wouldn't say it's completely quiet. Due to the water cooling system, you'd always hear the pump running. It's not bad at all.
I'd second passing on interest in a Radeon Auros box - I'd be interested in a small(ish?) 6800XT or 6800 as it's close to nvidia performance for the price point (aside from ray tracing) and will help out in macOS as well.
I'd just be using on the internal monitor on my 2016 MBP 15".