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Zotac unveils two Thunderbolt 3 enclosures to attach external GPUs to Apple's MacBooks

Zotac is joining the slowly growing market of external enclosures potentially capable of using Thunderbolt 3 to connect to a MacBook, unveiling at Computex the Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock for connecting a graphics card to a host system, alongside a smaller Thunderbolt 3 External Box meant for attaching other hardware.




The Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock is an enclosure meant to house graphics cards, with Zotac advising it is compatible with cards up to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. According to Tom's Hardware, the device supports cards up to 9 inches in length, restricting its usage to shorter graphics cards.

In order to accommodate the power needs of a graphics card, the enclosure includes its own 400-Watt internal power supply, which is also capable of charging a connected notebook. So far, Zotac has not advised of how much power it could deliver to a connected system.

Like other GPU enclosures, it connects via Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C to a notebook or a desktop, providing transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s, and potentially allowing a notebook to take advantage of the graphics card for gaming, video editing, and other specialized needs. The unit also offers extra connectivity options, with four USB 3.0 ports, and a Quick Charge 3.0 port.




The second device, the Thunderbolt 3 External Box, performs a similar function to the graphics dock, but it is generally meant for other types of PCI-e hardware. Tech Power Up reports the enclosure includes a smaller 120-Watt power supply without any additional PCIe power connectors, meaning it will work with graphics cards that can function adequately that just draw power from the PCI-Express 3.0x16 slot.

Rather than for a graphics card, the Thunderbolt 3 External Box is intended for other hardware that uses the PCI-e slot, such as PCI-e solid state drives or multiple-port network cards. Just as with the graphics dock, the enclosure also has four USB 3.0 ports, with an extra 32Gb/s M.2 NVMe slot internally.

Zotac has yet to confirm how much the Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock and Thunderbolt 3 External Box will cost, nor when the two enclosures will start shipping.