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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Hey,

I work freelance and have to travel around, but also live a few months here and there to work. ALSO I love to play videogames.

Right now, I'm happy to  at least play some Dota on my Zenbook 3 Deluxe, but I really would love to play Dota 2 on on higher settings and things like Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire or Total Warhammer 2. What is the most portable solution for my low to mid-end gaming demand? Is there something I can easily travel with, if I need to move with my train-safe luggage?
Of course I am not asking for something to use on the go, but just for some lightweight and small enclosure + GPU-solution.

This topic was modified 1 year ago

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@astfgl_ - The AORUS Gaming Box by Gigabyte is pretty small and comes with a nifty carry case (about the size of a DSLR camera carry case) that can be used to move it about safely. It comes in RX580, GTX1070, GTX1080 and GTX2070 versions. You can also find an empty shell on ebay and place a different card into it (for example, a R9 Nano, or Vega 56 Nano). As far as easily mobile solution go, it is the most commonly used one because of price, availability and the included carry case.

There are smaller options, but they are either very expensive, very hard to find, entirely un-upgrade-able or all of these at once. The AORUS can be upgraded, but the maximum size of the card it can contain is rather small (half-length, dual-slot), which is the price you pay for relatively easy mobility.

For alternatives, look into the Sonnet Breakaway Puck RX570 (includes a MXM-based RX570), Zotac AMP Box Mini (comes with no card), Lenovo Graphics Dock (built in, soldered on, GTX1050) or an AKiTiO Node Lite or AKiTiO Thunder3 (the last two are pretty much the same thing, and by using an upgraded power brick you can run a card without an additional power plug in them, which is something like a GTX1050Ti or GTX1650. Neither comes with a card. With some modding more powerful cards are also possible).

This post was modified 1 year ago

Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."

 
2012 14" Lenovo Thinkpad T430s [3rd,2C,M] + RX 550 @ 10Gbps-TB1 (Atto Thunderlink) + Win10 [build link]  


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DrEGPU
(@dregpu)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Another vote for the AORUS Gaming Boxes, for all the reasons Yukikaze stated. I have 3 of them! If you set it up correctly, you can use it to power the laptop's LCD display, although with some performance hit.

MBP 2018 16 inch + Razer Core X@40Gbps-TB1 (Zotac RTX 2080 Ti Amp) + Ubuntu 20.04, Win10

 
2011 13" MacBook Pro [2nd,2C,M] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 10Gbps-TB1>TB3 (Razer Core X) + Linux Ubuntu 18.04.02 LTS [build link]  


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Trusted Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I have both the Aorus Gaming Box GTX 1070 and the Akitio Thunder 3 with a Zotac Gtx 1050Ti mini in it (5.7" x 4.38" which easily fits). I also have a Zotac AMP box mini on back order but not sure when or if I will get it. When I get time I can send you photos. I've looked into the Sonnet Breakaway puck which is by far the smallest and lightest but it goes for $400 for an RX 560 and $600 for an RX570. You pay a massive premium for that portability.

Aorus Gaming Box

  • $499 on Amazon but you can probably pick it up For $450 and less for pre-owned as quite a few available on ebay.
  • It just needs a regular power cord (separate PSU not required) and the T3 cable (the one that comes with it is only 0.5 ft. A longer one will run you about $30-50)
  • It comes with a padded carrying pouch and is the lighter of the 2. The GTX 1070 obviously outperforms the GTX 1050TI in my Akitio by quite some margin. I tried to overclock the 1070 but that didn't go well. It performs really well with my Dell XPS 13.
  • There is no on/off button. It's completely plug and play and usually starts up fine with the laptop. If something goes wrong (it did for me once) you have to yank the cord and leave it al off for a while before restarting and have to count on it to restart. You  need to make sure firmware is up to date as I had problems with fans not turning off. I don't use it that often but apart from that one time it's flawless. It really performs well for any game I play.
  • Once you put the Gaming box in its padded bag it takes up quite a bit of room and you would need to carry it as a separate bag or else work out a better way to pad it and take it in your backpack Linus has a video on its portability on youtube.

Akitio Thunder 3 (Akitio Node lite is identical)

  • Bought it off ebay for $160 (included the separate 120 Watt PSU power brick (looks like a regular PC power adapter) which you will need to run a GPU like the GTX 1050TI (and may cost you extra) and a quieter fan already installed (stock one is loud). You should be able to get one sub $200.
  • I bought a Zotac GTX 1050TI mini (EVGA make one identical size) for $91 pre owned on ebay to place it inside. I think GTX 1050TI is the most powerful GPU you can include that doesn't need a dedicated PCI-E 6 pin or more cable to power it. It draws power from the 120W brick and through the PCI expansion slot only. If you want a card that needs to be powered bby  PCI-E cable you need a case mod or leave the cover off.
  • There is no room for an internal power supply and if you want a more powerful GPU that requires external power you will have to mod the case with cutouts and get a more powerful PSU like the Dell DA-2 (220W) which is a super big brick which also requires a special cable (Akitio Thunder 3 6-Pin PCI-E (lay flat) Power Solution Dell DA-2 PSU by Kareon cables). Any solution that requires the Dell DA-2 doesn't make it portable in my opinion which is why I chose to stay with the 1050TI mini. There are many examples of case mods on egpu.io for the Akitio Thunder 3, Node Lite and Thunder 2 which all have the same form factor.
  • If you keep the 1050TI I think the combined weight of the all steel Akitio enclosure (thing is heavy. I'll let you know exactly how much) and the 120W PSU power brick is much more than the Aourus.
  • However, the Akitio solution with a GTX 1050TI is much cheaper and might be worth the additional weight if your gaming requirements aren't so demanding. All up the Akitio + brick is like carrying a 4-5 pound gaming laptop as well as your ultrabook.

Zotac AMP Box mini

  • Its about $220 dollars and is on back order everywhere (will take at least 3 weeks and I'm not sure if I will even get it) and looks like it will be lighter but slightly bigger than the Akitio. However it will have an internal power supply and an eight pin PCI-E cable that can probably be adapted to most of the half size GPUs (GTX 1060 may be max - yet to see) .
  • There isn't much on it on youtube (probably only 3 videos)and they mostly seem to be found overseas (UK ebayers are selling them at ridiculous prices)
  • I will let you know if the order comes in

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070

 
2018 13" Lenovo Yoga 730 [8th,4C,U] + GTX 1050 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Lenovo TB3 GFX Dock) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@sabrefv where are you based? Amazon UK has the Zotac box atm for 250... tempted grab it myself for either a MITX 2070 or whatever Navi yields...

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

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I'm based in germany right now. Zotac Amp Box mini 230W is at ~240USD / 210€, whereas the Gigabyte/Aorus Gaming Boxes are barely available. Only one RX580 on amazon, nowhere else to be seen.

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Good appraisals of the small enclosures btw. I have a secondary eGPU of a Node Lite and rx 560 and have my fingers crossed for a bit more power with Navi. 
Only one correction- the Zotac has an external psu, which I like as it means less heat with the box itself.

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

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Trusted Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I'm Australian but live in the US. Think I could order on Amazon UK and get it shipped?

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070

 
2018 13" Lenovo Yoga 730 [8th,4C,U] + GTX 1050 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Lenovo TB3 GFX Dock) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@sabrefv you’ll find it cheaper in the US probably?
if you can’t find it and they don’t post I’d be happy to help out but postage is rarely cheap. Think it cost me £50 to send a Thunder3 to Germany once. 

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

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


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odin
 odin
(@odin)
Trusted Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I have to also throw my hat in the Aorus Gaming Box ring. Those things are super small.

Here's Linus using one in a hotel room a while back with a Blade Stealth. Granted this is the previous generation 1080 version.

LG Gram 17 | Sonnet Breakaway Box 550 | Asus Strix RTX 2070 OC Edition | Win 10 Pro 2004 + Fedora 32 Dual Boot
Build Link

 
2018 17" LG Gram 17 [8th,4C,U] + RTX 2070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 550) + Win10 [build link]  


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