The rule of thumb when buying a gaming laptop is to splurge on a model with the highest-end GPU you can afford, since you're basically entering into a committed relationship (until a full laptop upgrade do you part). However, that mentality may change if the external GPU enclosures catch on. While that remains to be seen, you can add Gigabyte's Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box (opens in new tab) to the growing list of options.
Similar to Razer's Core enclosure, Gigabyte's Gaming Box is a plug-and-play solution that is compatible with Thunderbolt 3-enabled laptops. But unlike the Core, this particular Gaming Box comes outfitted with an overclocked GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card already installed. It draws power from an embedded 450W power supply.
"The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box also provides a more compact solution compared to other external graphics alternatives with its small form factor, which takes up very little space and can be easily stored or carried on the go with the included carrying bag, enhancing the device with better portability," Gigabyte boasts (opens in new tab).
More specifically, the Gaming Box measures 212mm deep by 96mm wide and 162mm high. For comparison, Razer's Core measures 339.mm x 104.9mm x 218.4mm. It also sports a slightly beefier PSU at 500W.
The idea behind these types of enclosures is that you can achieve desktop-class gaming performance on an ultrabook at home, while tapping into integrated graphics during business or leisure trips. Gigabyte also pitches taking the Gaming Box with you and tosses in a carrying bag to make it easier, though at that point, you might want to just consider a dedicated gaming laptop. The argument against going that route is being able to upgrade the graphics card in an external GPU enclosure. Gigabyte does not mention if that is an option here, though we'd be surprised if it wasn't.
In addition to boosting graphics performance, the Gaming Box acts as a docking station with three USB 3.0 ports, plus a Quick Charge 3.0 port. Display outputs include HDMI, DisplayPort, and two dual-link DIV ports.
We actually spent some hands-on time with Gigabyte's Box at Computex and came away pretty impressed. Unfortunately Gigabyte still hast not mentioned a price or release date, though we heard at Computex that it will debut in July.