Razer Core X Handle Opened

Razer Core X Review – Thick and Juicy

eGPU Reviews 32 Comments

Introduction

Razer fully catered to the tastes of the American market with its latest Thunderbolt 3 external GPU enclosure, the Core X. The recipe for success is similar to that of a fast food burger; deliver a juicy, thick-cut patty quick and easy. The Razer Core X grew larger in size and provides more Power Delivery than its older siblings, the Core and Core V2.

Razer Core X Blade Stealth Featured

Razer Core X next to original Core and Blade Stealth

There’s a lot to like about this new eGPU enclosure. First is its $299 price tag compared to the $499 Core V2. The 650W power supply amps up PD to a maximum 100W. It’s also one of the few Thunderbolt 3 enclosures that can withstand the extreme power demands of the RX Vega 64 graphics card. Internally it can accommodate virtually any GPU currently available on the market. Last but not least, the Razer Core X is a certified eGFX for both Windows and macOS.

Hardware Specifics

Razer Core X Gtx 980 Ti Hybrid Blade Stealth

Razer Core X + Blade Stealth + GTX 980 Ti Hybrid

Specifications  compare 
Price US$
$299
PSU location-type
internal-ATX
PSU max power 650W
GPU max power
500W
Power delivery (PD)
100W
USB-C controller
TI83
TB3 USB-C ports 1
Size (in/mm, LxWxH)
14.72 x 9.06 x 6.61
374 x 230 x 168
Max GPU len (in/cm)
12.99/33.0
Weight (kg/lb) 6.48/14.29
Updated firmware 33.1 ✔
TB3 cable length (cm) 50
Vendor page link
Implementations
link

Supersize it! That’s what Razer did in all dimensions. The Core X is easily twice the volume of the original. Its black anodized aluminum outer shell, sturdy hinged handle, and vertical bar front fascia continue the Razer Core design lineage. It’s chubbier than the Core V2, but thin enclosures don’t get to have all the fun. In the case of the Core X, its tremendous girth allows fitment of 3-slot wide graphics cards with seemingly unlimited length and height. Component wise, it shares nothing with the original Core or Core V2 except for the chipsets. The Razer Core X has neither RGB nor expansion ports. In other words, axing the price means a cut in features and portability.

Razer Core X Component Takeapart

Razer Core X Component View

Accessing the inner carrier and swapping the GPU is intuitive, requiring no tools. The enclosure handle sits flush to the body in lock position. Unlocked mode is engaged by an outward pull of this handle. By continuing this same motion you can slide the carrier out of its enclosure. The sliding mechanism operates smoothly thanks to the two plastic rails mounted on the bottom of the carrier and a wide plastic base on the enclosure.

Without an installed graphics card, the Core X’s inner carrier is deceptively light. This is due to fewer components and sheet metal construction. One of the omitted components is the expansion I/O daughterboard. The Razer Core X’s sole I/O is the Thunderbolt 3 port. This may be good for overall eGPU performance and stability during heavy load. We’ve learned enclosures with expansion ports such as the original Core often suffer from USB lagging/stuttering. The Razer Core V2 came with a clever fix for this issue by adding a second DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller to handle expansion ports. Another solution is to use a separate USB or Thunderbolt 3 hub for other peripherals.

Razer Core X Handle Opened

Razer Core X Handle Opened

Razer Core X Component Placement

Space for 3-Slot GPU + ATX PSU + 120MM Fan

The first component and one that features prominently inside the Razer Core X is the ATX power supply. This is only the second Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosure that comes equipped with such a PSU, the first being the OMEN Accelerator. The power supply’s label indicates it’s a 12V multi-rail unit. 5V and 3.3V outputs combine to provide at most 100W. The total current through 12V outputs tops out at 600W. Razer claims this PSU is capable of hosting AMD Radeon’s most powerful graphics cards such as the RX Vega 64 and Pro WX 9100. The only other enclosures with this capability are the Sonnet Breakaway Box 650 and ASUS XG Station 2. The Core X wiring harness provides one 24-pin power cable, one 4+4 EPS power cable, and two 6+2-pin PCIe power cables.

Razer Core X Psu Label

650W ATX PSU Label

Razer Core X 120mm Fan Bracket

120mm Enclosure Fan + Mounting Bracket

The Razer Core X and Sonnet Breakaway Box share similar component layout. The PSU’s self-contained fan is a 60mm unit, mounted towards the rear. This small fan produces the most noise when idling. It’s the weak link of an otherwise competent eGPU enclosure. The other cooling fan is 120mm and sits near the front of the enclosure. There’s a metal bracket for mounting the enclosure fan. It seems possible to modify this bracket in order to fit graphics cards with AIO liquid coolers. As a proof of concept, I used velcro squares to attach the radiator of an EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid. The result didn’t look too bad.

Razer Core X Velcro Squares Radiator

Velcro Squares on Radiator

Razer Core X Gtx 980 Ti Hybrid Top View

GTX 980 Ti Hybrid Top View

Razer Core X Gtx 980 Ti Hybrid Mounted

GTX 980 Ti Hybrid Mounted

The Thunderbolt main board has a simple layout with two power connectors. The first is a common arrangement, 24-pin power receptacle. The second connector is one I’ve never seen before in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. It’s an 8-pin EPS connector. I believe this EPS connector carries one of the four 12V rails. This is to distribute the load and prevent Over Current Protection shutting down the PSU. For eGPU use we prefer single-rail PSU because the primary power draw is from the single graphics card. The three crucial ICs are located near the Thunderbolt 3 port. The usual suspects are the TI83 USB-C controller, JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, and Winbond EEPROM.

Razer Core X Ti83 Usb C Controller

TI83 USB-C Controller

Razer Core X Jhl6540 Thunderbolt 3 Controller

JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Controller

Razer Core X Winbond Eeprom

Winbond EEPROM

Missing from the Core X’s main board is an LED strip and RGB effects under the enclosure as in the Core V2. As a matter of fact, there are no lights at all. This makes for a clean, understated look more appropriate for work settings. Mac users may find this non-feature more appealing compared to the original Core and Core V2. The RGB in those enclosures can only be adjusted/turned off through Razer Synapse utility software in Windows.

Testings & Benchmarks

Connecting to my 2016 15″ MacBook Pro showed power delivery is 100W as claimed. Unlike the Thunderbolt firmware version of the Razer Core V2 at 26.1, this Razer Core X comes with version 33.1. There’s no official statement as to what benefits this newer Thunderbolt firmware provides. The good news is all Razer eGPU enclosures so far have firmware that yields the most performance out of Thunderbolt 3 eGFX bandwidth (capped at 22Gbps).

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Power Delivery

Razer Core X Power Delivery

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Thunderbolt Firmware

Razer Core X Thunderbolt Firmware

An improvement in this Razer Core X versus its older siblings is airflow. Due to the minimal space inside the original Core form factor, Razer had used three 80mm fans placed on the bottom to dissipate hot air through the top. The Core X takes a different approach in moving air horizontally. Intake air goes in on the side of the graphics card. Exhaust air flows out the side of the PSU and cooling fan as well as the rear. In my observation, this approach helps the eGPU run cooler and emit less noise overall.

The Razer Core X is plug and play in macOS 10.13.4+ when paired with an RX Vega card and a Thunderbolt 3 Mac. Nvidia eGPU and older Macs don’t have support from Apple and require the use of workarounds. Mac_editor wrote a script to unblock Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 Macs for eGPU access. Goalque improved his automate-eGPU.kext to add external GPU compatibility for two dozen AMD graphics cards. Fr34k is developing an all-in-one automated script to enable Nvidia eGPU support in 10.13.4. I used fr34k’s solution to enable the GTX 1070 via this Razer Core X.

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Graphics Displays

Late 2016 15 Macbook Pro + Razer Core X + RX Vega 56

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Nvidia Graphics Displays

Late 2016 15 Macbook Pro + Razer Core X + GTX 1070

In Windows 10, there are more graphics card choices and the setup process is much easier. Razer described the setup process as “plug and game.” It really was that easy. You essentially plug the Thunderbolt 3 cable into your Thunderbolt 3 host computer, and Windows installs the drivers automatically. If it’s your first time connecting a TB3 enclosure, you may need to grant permission to establish this connection. It’s advisable to download the latest graphics drivers from AMD or Nvidia manually to get the best support for newest games. Mac computers running Windows in Bootcamp are an exception. In order to use the 15″ MacBook Pro with eGPU internal display acceleration, I followed the steps as outlined in our external GPU Bootcamp setup guide.

To run a set of synthetic benchmarks I paired the Razer Core X with the RX Vega 56 and the GTX 1070. The host computers are the 2016 15″ MacBook Pro and the 2018 Razer Blade Stealth. All tests were run through internal display mode in Windows 10 using the latest drivers. It’s worth noting the Razer Blade Stealth is one of only a few ultrabooks optimized for external graphics card use. For detailed criteria in selecting the best ultrabook to use with an eGPU, read our buying guide.

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Rx Vega 56 Egpu Aida64

2016 15″MBP RX Vega 56

Late 2016 15 In Macbook Pro Razer Core X Gtx 1070 Egpu Aida64

2016 15″MBP GTX 1070

Razer Blade Stealth Core X Rx Vega 56 Egpu Aida

Razer Blade Stealth Rx Vega 56

Razer Blade Stealth Core X Gtx 1070 Egpu Aida

Razer Blade Stealth GTX 1070

Razer Core X15" MBP + RX Vega5615" MBP + GTX 107013" RBS + RX Vega5613" RBS + GTX 1070
Unigine Valley69.8 FPS73.3 FPS69.8 FPS73.3 FPS
Unigine Heaven70.8 FPS68.8 FPS69.9 FPS68.5 FPS
Unigine Superposition85.6 FPS77.1 FPS84.1 FPS76.2 FPS
3DMark Time Spy36.2 FPSerror39.9 FPS33.6 FPS
3DMark Fire Strike69.6 FPS64.5 FPS85.2 FPS63.1 FPS
Tomb Raider 2013111.6 FPS107.2 FPS153. 2 FPS137 FPS
Shadow of Mordor87.5 FPS82.9 FPS85.5 FPS81.8 FPS
Dirt Rally73.1 FPS77.3 FPS64.1 FPS65.6 FPS
Hitman66.2 FPS72.5 FPS55.2 FPS53.4 FPS

Conclusion

The Razer Core V2 is the filet mignon you order at a fine dining restaurant. It’s delicious and refined with the price to match. The Core X is more like a Big Mac. It gets the job done, appealing to many palates and satisfying your hunger affordably. The Core X checks off many of the items from the Core V2 wishlist including a sub $400 price point and a quieter power supply. Meeting these demands meant compromising the slender build, RGB effects and expansion I/O. Despite this, Razer not only priced its new enclosure at $299 but also increased the Power Delivery, internal enclosure volume and GPU max power. Effectively the Core X emerges as the go-to single I/O Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure that can pair with almost all graphics cards and Thunderbolt 3 laptops.

 

See also

 

Rate this Post

Share this Post

 

Related Articles
  • Best eGPU Enclosures Reviewed - External GPU Buyer's Guide...
    October 16, 2018
  • Akitio Node Duo Tested Pcie Expansion Cards
    AKiTiO Node Duo Review - Two Slots, Endless Possibilities
    October 15, 2018
    2
  • State of eGPU for Macs – Mojave 10.14 Update
    October 13, 2018
    62
  • Asus Xg Station Pro Strix Gtx 1080 Ti 2016 15 In Macbook Pro
    ASUS XG Station Pro Review - Cool, Calm and...
    August 16, 2018
    50
  • Blackmagic Egpu Radeon Pro 580 Alienware 15 R3
    Blackmagic eGPU Review - Apple's UltraFine Curse
    July 31, 2018
    39
  • Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box Review - Little in...
    May 7, 2018
    64
  • macOS External GPU Review - Out-of-Body Experiment
    May 3, 2018
    45
  • Mantiz Titan Thunderbolt 3 Dock
    Mantiz Titan Thunderbolt 3 Dock Review - #Donglelife Simplified
    April 23, 2018
    35
  • Zotac AMP BOX Mini Review - Budget Friendly, Promise...
    March 19, 2018
    16
  • Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock Review - Dead on...
    March 12, 2018
    24
  • AKiTiO Node Pro Review - Jack of All Trades
    February 12, 2018
    38
  • Hands-on with Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock
    January 11, 2018
    29
  • Hands-on with ASUS XG Station Pro Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure
    January 10, 2018
    17
  • Razer Core V2 Review - Think Inside the Box
    January 1, 2018
    10
  • ASUS ROG XG Station 2 Review - Irresponsible Power
    December 20, 2017
    11
  • Sonnet Breakaway Puck Review - Pint-sized Compromise
    November 16, 2017
    11
  • Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1080 Gaming Box Review – Tiny...
    November 3, 2017
    69
  • OMEN Accelerator Review - HP's External GPU Voodoo Doll
    October 14, 2017
    33
  • Unboxing: Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck
    October 4, 2017
    31
  • Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1070 Gaming Box Review - Tiny...
    August 11, 2017
    237
  • Unboxing: Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1070 Gaming Box
    August 4, 2017
    5
  • Netstor Hercules HL23T Review - Speak Softly and Carry...
    July 31, 2017
    65
  • The Makings of a Good Thunderbolt 3 Host -...
    July 5, 2017
    6
  • Alienware Graphics Amplifier Review - Faster than Thunderbolt 3...
    June 16, 2017
    23
  • Razer Core Review - an eGPU Enclosure Built for...
    June 8, 2017
  • RX 580 External GPU Review - AMD XConnect and...
    May 27, 2017
    29
  • Sonnet Breakaway Box Review - It's cool to be...
    April 30, 2017
    43
  • Unboxing: Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box
    April 26, 2017
    17
  • Mantiz Venus Review: All-in-one Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Docking Station
    March 26, 2017
    44
  • AKiTiO Node Review & The State of Thunderbolt 3...
    January 7, 2017
    28
  • Unboxing: AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure
    December 15, 2016
    9
  • Acer Graphics Dock Review
    December 6, 2016
    21

 

32
Leave a Reply

avatar
20 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
mac_editorOchichkamac_editorblisster138mois Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Eightarmedpet
Member

Holy cow the size of that thing! One hell on an enclosure but why are people still making these things so big? The V2 Core looks ideal to me…

nando4
Admin

@eightarmedpet, it’s 14.45L volume sits it between a US$269 AKiTiO Node (14.09L) and a US$300 HP Omen Accelerator (16.00L).

It’s given up those somewhat problematic & performance degrading I/O ports for top-of-the range 100W PD and 500W GPU. Feature making it appeal to budget gamers and power pro users wanting Vega64+ cards. 

Priced under $300, Razer could be onto a sales leader and remain synonymous with TB3 eGPUs.  Will the budget volume-selling AKiTiO Node and Sonnet Breakaway 350/550 sharpen their pricing as a response?

See the Buyer’s Guide for a full comparison:

https://egpu.io/external-gpu-buyers-guide-2018/

Eightarmedpet
Member

Oh its great an all, but still… I’ve seen smaller PC cases!

nando4
Admin

@eightarmedpet , yes it’s big. Hope AKiTiO does some sort of factory upgrade to give their Node Pro out-of-the box Vega64+ compatibility desired by Mac power users. It could then be a better-looking, if pricier, alternative bettering this with 2xTB3 ports.

ondert
Member

Even my SG13 with gtx 1080 and ryzen cpu pc was 11.5 liters. Then I bought Sonnet Breakaway and it was 12.7 liters. This thing is even bigger.. but why… I’m going to get Gigabyte’s gaming box which is the size they have to. I’m printing a mini itx pc case now capable of fitting a 65w tdp cpu, itx gpu (up to 1080) with flex atx psu at 3.78 liters. With these numbers, why would I buy such a big eGPU enclosure except Gigabyte’s model.

Haoshiro
Member

Will this work with a TB3 > TB2 adapter? I have a 2015 MBP and an XFX RX580 and the Akitio Node I have loves to just shut off (even my replacement node).

I was thinking about replacing the Node with this if it will work.

Joikansai
Guest

That’s really quick!! 🙂 Nice that Razer sent it to you earlier.

Jyin
Member

So close, but Razor missed few points in my opinion. ATX PSU is nice.. but too packed around it. Upgrading this to something like EVGA 850 T2 would been impossible. Why so much wasted space at top? If this was designed with more space on side of GPU than top, the air flow would have been much better. If they made it possible to have the radiator block to be mounted facing up/down, the extra space would made sense too, and this will also improve cooling. Better yet, let the GPU mount horizontally, use that vertical space for better arrangement… Read more »

Member

I wonder, the review didn’t show, can you really put in a three slot card? There are three slot covers? Also, I guess this little card http://www.palit.com/palit/vgapro.php?id=2614&lang=en still wouldn’t fit, would it 🙂 ?

Haoshiro
Member

I have a Core X and just eyeballing it, it does look like that Game Rock card would fit, but it would be tight.

There are not three slot covers just extra interior space for a taller card similar to the one you linked.

evilishhh
Member

@haoshiro i see you have the core x on your 2015 mac…i assume you’re using the tb3-tb2 adapter…can you confirm that powering through the thunderbolt is enough without using the magsafe? i have the same type of laptop and was thinking to get the core x… did you had any issues with your build and do you have any advices or tips you could share from your experience? thanks in advance

Haoshiro
Member

@joevt is correct, there is no power over tb2. I am using the adapter and went ahead and unplugged the magsafe just to be thorough! 😀 It continues to work fine, the Core X, my GPU, and external monitor. But the battery absolutely will still drain. So nothing stops working, but there is no charging over tb2; that’s a feature only of the later tb3/usb-c MBPs

nando4
Admin

The Razer Core X can now be purchased from Amazon for US$300.

Eightarmedpet
Member

Posted by: nando4
The Razer Core X can now be purchased from Amazon for US$300.

£259 in the UK which is actually a pretty decent price….

Strip_Steve
Guest

Hey man,

Nice review and nice photos !

I wanted to ask you, is the psu semi modular ?
I want to know if I can hook up another 8pin or 6+2 pin on it to power a 3x8pin requiring gpu.

joevt
Member

Posted by: evilishhh
@haoshiro i see you have the core x on your 2015 mac…i assume you’re using the tb3-tb2 adapter…can you confirm that powering through the thunderbolt is enough without using the magsafe? i have the same type of laptop and was thinking to get the core x… did you had any issues with your build and do you have any advices or tips you could share from your experience? thanks in advance

Thunderbolt 2 ports on a computer do not receive power. They can only provide 10W of power to connected Thunderbolt devices.

bystander
Member

Great review. On a side opinion, it’s crazy how fast the whole eGPU is developing. I love it.

toke lahti
Member

I’m trying to choose between this and Sonnet550W.
Little is said about CoreX’s psu Lite-on PS-86512. What kind of fan it has?

mois
Member

One feature that would make this box even more excellent, is if they would add a daisy chain connector, just like the Akitio Node Pro has. This would be perfect when used with laptops that have very few Thunderbolt 3 ports – such as Lenovo Thinkpads – and not Apple Macbook Pro:s which come with plenty of them, Macbook Pro:s have four Thunderbolt 3 ports on all better models. You never know when you need to connect two bus-powered TB3 devices at the same time, when that happens Core X wouldn’t deliver and instead Node Pro is the only option.… Read more »

blisster138
Guest

I just got the Razer Core X today with an ASUS Radeon RX Vega 64 card installed. I’ve been wanting an external Thunderbolt solution for several years now and with the new Quad Core option available for the 13″ Macbook I picked that up. While the enclosure works well under Mac OS High Sierra (installed without issue and automatically appeared in System Info), it’s not recognized at all in Adobe applications. Cinebench clocked the performance really well, but I haven’t checked any games as of yet. Likewise, the AMD drivers aren’t installing well on my Bootcamp partition and I likely… Read more »

mac_editor
Editor

@blisster138 consider trying set-eGPU.sh for apps not using the eGPU.

blisster138
Guest

Thanks for the tip! Totally worked for my internal display and most everything else appears to be working (with the exception of Bootcamp), now with the script installed. All my Adobe apps, games, etc. are running like a champ on my new MBP. Any tips on the Radeon support under Bootcamp? I’ve been chatting w/Razer support and there are apparently some known issues but I can’t tell if it’s with the Vega card or the enclosure. Trying to determine if I should trade up for an Nvidia card or different eGPU enclosure to get Windows support.

Ochichka
Member

I got one and it looks great. But think twice when buying Razer products – their support is the worst I’ve seen. I have a problem with Razer Core X whereby it doesn’t shutdown when the laptop is off. For 3 weeks now nobody at Razer is helping and they keep sending automated messages that they haven’t heard back from me.

Bottom line – this is just a seller that doesn’t have support, be careful!

Ochichka
Member

This is the absurd reply I got from Razer support: Thank you for being so understanding and waiting for any updates regarding your case. We were stress testing our devices to cater to your case and we just got feedback from our relevant advanced product specialists. We have just checked with our sources here physically and tested it out. The Core generally will still run it’s fans when the device is still connected to the laptop via USB-C connection. That explains the Core to power off when the USB-C is disconnected from the Core to the Laptop. It is a… Read more »

mac_editor
Editor

@ochichka I think it doesn’t shut down because it’s charging the laptop? I experience something similar with the Aorus Gaming Box (fans/PSU on, GPU not). Though while charging, the enclosure needn’t make as much noise as the Aorus does, and the fans can certainly be turned off – but aren’t. So much for that.

Ochichka
Member

@mac_editor Maybe you are right, but I can tell you that I also have Asus ROG XG Station 2 and it works flawlessly. When the laptop is off, the enclosure is also off. I think it’s not just the charging because when the laptop is shut down and the usb-c cable is disconnected, the Core X is also off. And then when I connect the cable it keeps being off (or in low power state). The issue occurs when I turn on the laptop and then turn it off. The Core simply keeps running (fans/PSU on, GPU not) indefinitely, or… Read more »