Zotac has finally decided to throw its weight into the external graphics box category with its new Amp Box and Amp Box Mini. Not surprisingly, both are comparatively compact, which plays to Zotac's strengths—the company is known for its line of mini PCs. Unfortunately, the size of these boxes also means that users are limited in their choice of graphics cards.
Starting with the larger of the two, the Amp Box measures 271mm (L) x 146mm (W) x 257.3mm (H). It has a PCIe x16 slot supporting a PCIe x4 signal lane and a 450W power supply that can juice up to a 250W graphics card. That's enough power for a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, though there's only enough room to install a card up to 228mm long.
We looked at some of the options that are out there and found that most GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards won't fit. For example, EVGA's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition measures 266.7mm long, and this MSI variant with two cooling fans is even longer at 290mm.
So what will fit? We haven't looked at all the options, but it appears that Zotac designed these boxes for its own cards. Zotac's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini measures just under 211mm and should fit snugly inside.
You don't have to use the Amp Box with a graphics card. Zotac also points to the possibility of installing a PCIe SSD.
"In addition to the graphics performance boost, Amp Box series is ideal for acting as an instant fast external storage or a fast scratch disk for temporary program utilization and more. Install a fast NVMe PCIe x4 SSD and the Amp Box series can deliver up to the same level of fast performance when installed directly into a PC system," Zotac says.
That approach could breathe new life into an aging system or boost a newer one that shipped with weak storage, though this seems like an expensive way of going about a storage upgrade.
The Amp Box Mini is even smaller, measuring 183mm (L) x 230mm (W) x 99mm (H). Zotac bills both as being small and portable, though obviously the Amp Box Mini has the edge here.
You can install up to a GeForce GTX 1060 in the Amp Box Mini, which has a 180W PSU to provide up to 150W of power by way of a single 6-pin PCIe connector. Size is an even more a restriction here—there's room to install a graphics card up (or PCIe SSD) up to 200mm in length. Zotac's GeForce GTX 1060 Mini measures 174mm, whereas most other 1060 cards stretch to around 250mm.
Both boxes feature Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. They also have two USB 3.0 ports (one of which is a Quick Charge port) and adjustable Spectra lighting.
Zotac did not say when these enclosures will be available or how much they will cost.