The dream of graphics amps is that you can carry a lightweight laptop around all day and then come home and plug into a powerful external GPU on your desk for gaming and creative work. Unfortunately, so far, the reality in this nascent category hasn't quite lived up to expectations.
The few graphics amps that exist are some combination of bulky, expensive and limited to just one brand of laptops. Aorus's GTX 1070 Gaming Box solves all these problems by offering compatibility with any Thunderbolt 3-powered laptop and building a powerful Nvidia GTX 1070 card into the compact chassis. Even better, at $599 for the complete package, it's a really compelling deal.
While exact dimensions were not available at press time, the GTX 1070 Gaming Box appears to be about half the length and height of the Razer Core and the Alienware Graphics Amp, the current market leaders in this nascent space. Undoubtedly, the Gaming Box benefits from having its card built-in and, because Aorus makes video cards, the company has an edge up on the competition.
The Gaming Box isn't blinged out like the Core or Asus's XG Station 2, but its subtle, black-metal chassis is quite attractive. A mesh vent on its left side lets you see the fans from the video card spinning and there are some customizable RGB lights below it.
The back of the Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box is filled with ports you can use to connect to monitors and other peripherals, including four USB 3.0 ports, two DVI-out connectors, one HDMI out and a single, full-size DisplayPort connection. There's also a Thunderbolt 3 port that you use to connect to your laptop.
Unlike any other graphics amp we've seen, the Gaming Box is actually portable. In fact, it comes with an attractive padded case you can use to take it with you on trips.
The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box also like a fantastic deal in comparison to competitors. The Razer Core costs $499 without a graphics card inside and a mini GTX 1070 card like the gaming box goes for between $350 and $400. So, for $599 Aorus is giving you a package that would cost $850 to $900 with the other leading Thunderbolt 3-based amp. Alienware's amp is under $200, but only works with the company's own laptops.
Of course, if you want a graphics amp so you can put in a higher-end graphics cards such as an Nvidia GTX 1080, the Gaming Box isn't for you. But if you just want to turn your mainstream or business notebook into capable gaming rig, Aorus's graphics amp seems like a compelling choice.
The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box is due out this summer.