A few years back, the idea of external GPUs was exactly that – an Idea, but, thanks to some rather amazing technological advancements and some sleek designing, eGPUs are now a reality.
One of the major players in this niche are Zotac, and after demonstrating their eGPU tech at the CES 2017 event, it seems they are finally in the market with their offering, aka, the AMP box.
Available in two flavours – the AMP Box and the AMP Box Mini, the product is meant to accelerate performance and breathe new life into existing systems with a flexible and easy to use solution.
The USP of the AMP box is that you can convert any thunderbolt 3 Mini PC, Notebook, or Desktop PC into a powerful Game Ready or VR Ready System.
While its true that the system is limited to hosting dual slot GPUS upto 9 inches in length, it still is a very significant step forward in terms of this new category of external GPU enclosures. It is worth noting however, that Zotac produces a mini version of this box for each of Nvidia’s GPU offerings, thus making it heavily market relevant. Another point of note is that, alongside Nvidia, Zotac devices also support multitude if AMD GPUs as well. The idea is simple – if it fits , go right ahead !!
The second device in the AMP box lineup is the AMP Box Mini. Known simply as the “External Box” at the Computex event last year, the AMP Box mini is a huge refinement over the Computex concept.
Initially, the prototype was only limited to PCIe SSDs, with Zotac demonstrating the concept using the Sonix SSDs on board, and while this sounded like a deal breaker to most with experts even panning this device as a lacklustre concept, Zotac seems to have heard the critiques which is probably why we can see the production model of the AMP Box Mini have a slightly more elongated chassis to accomodate a 6 pin PCIe Power conncetor along with a 180 W adapter to give users that extra juice for the machine. The trade off here is that the AMP Box Mini supports GPUs that draw up to 150W and measure in under 7.87 inches in length. This means that the overall range of GPUs that can be accomodated in the AMP Box Mini is less than those tht can go into the bigger version, however, thanks to the VR support present in both flavours of the AMP box, the product is still one worth taking a look.
Finally, we have the “expansive” nature of the AMP Box lineup. Basically, while the AMP box itself takes up one port on your PC or laptop, it in turn gives you four USB 3.0 ports of its own, making it possible for users to use those ports and the devices to connect other devices or even charge your smartphones. Its not a big feature, but its pretty neat nonetheless.
All in all, the eGPUs are officially here and they mark the obvious next step in the world of computing, and going by the AMP box lineup, it looks like Zotac is truly a force to be reckoned with.