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Razer's Core X unleashes an eGPU priced to compete

The company's newest external Thunderbolt 3 GPU box isn't as sleek as the Core v2 and lacks some of the frills, but it's a lot cheaper.

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Razer Core X: bigger and badder

Sarah Tew/CNET

An external GPU box can turn your lightweight laptop into a muscular machine, but at $500 for an empty box, Razer's Core v2 eGPU doesn't make sense for a lot of people. It's snazzy and slim, but with most mainstream eGPUs closer to $300, you start thinking about how much more sense it makes to spend that extra $200 on a better graphics card to put inside. For those folks, Razer has brought our the Core X, a $300 alternative that's bigger and bulkier and lacking in some of the extras, but that can take a three-slot-wide desktop graphics card instead of the v2's 2.2-slot-wide.

It's shipping in the US; we don't have pricing and availability for the UK and Australia, but the US price directly converts to about £225 and AU$395.

Like all of Razer's eGPUs, the Core X connects via a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, but the Core X houses a bigger power supply (650 watts compared to 500) and an extra slot. While it also has an aluminum chassis with a tray that slides out and thumbscrews for easy card insertion and 100-watt USB-C out to charge a laptop, Razer cut the Type A USB and Ethernet connectors on the back. And you'll have to forgo the Razer Chroma programmable lighting.

To use a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU you need Windows 10 1609 (Anniversary Edition) or MacOS High Sierra 10.13.4. On a Windows sytems, the Core X will work with most Maxwell-or-later Nvidia GeForce cards or a handful of Pascal-based Quadro GPUs as well as AMD Radeon R9 or later. Since Apple doesn't support Nvidia, you'll only be able to use the latest RX 570 or better or Vega cards, or the workstation-level Radeon Pro WX 7100 and 9100.

Other specs include:

  • Slots: PCIe x16
  • Inner dimensions: 13 x 6.3 x 2.4 in (330 x 160 x 60mm)
  • Outer dimensions: 14.7 x 9.1 x 6.6 in (374 x 230 x 168mm)

The complete list of compatible GPUs:


MacWindows

Nvidia

n/a

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan V

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Xp

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980

Nvidia GeForce GTX 970

Nvidia GeForce GTX 960

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 750

Nvidia Quadro P4000

Nvidia Quadro P5000

Nvidia Quadro P6000

Nvidia Quadro GP100

AMD

AMD Radeon RX 570

AMD Radeon RX580

AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

AMD Vega Frontier Edition Air

AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100

AMD Radeon VEGA RX 64

AMD Radeon VEGA RX 56

AMD Radeon RX 500 Series

AMD Radeon RX 400 Series

AMD Radeon R9 Fury

AMD Radeon R9 Nano

AMD Radeon R9 300 Series

AMD Radeon R9 290X

AMD Radeon R9 290

AMD Radeon R9 285

Correction, May 22 12 p.m.: Well, I get a C in memory and reading comprehension but hopefully an A for accountability on this one. It's a "three-slot wide" box, not a box with three slots.

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