The concept of an external GPU enclosure is not new. In fact, it has been around for many years, albeit, as proprietary solutions. Take the Alienware Graphics Amplifier as an example. This eGPU can house even the most demanding desktop graphics card today, but the catch is that it only works on Alienware’s own gaming laptops.
What if you do not use their laptops? Are you left out? Well, not quite. You see, some companies have already created eGPU enclosures that can support non-proprietary laptops. The PowerColor Devil Box is one of that eGPUs. Does it warrant your money? Is it a good eGPU? We will find out.
Review of PowerColor Devil Box
Even though it is tempting to think that this eGPU is made from the Netherworld, it actually isn’t. It does have some design elements inspired by the devil, but other than that, this eGPU is nothing of that sort.
The PowerColor Devil Box comes with a metallic build with a predominantly gunmetal gray finish. This eGPU has a solid build quality and because of its all-metal construction, there is a considerable heft to it.
On the front side of the eGPU lies a USB 3.0 port, some LED indicators, and the eGPU’s “Devil” logo which looks abstract, but adds an incredible aesthetic appeal. This enclosure has dimensions of 401 x 172 x 241 mm and from the looks of it, it nearly looks like a mini ITX case.
On the left, you will find a small window where you can see the GPU and it also has some white LED strips lined in the enclosure for an added flair. It would’ve been nice if it were RGB, but the white LED can actually accentuate the beauty of the graphics card you put inside, so I ain’t complaining that much.
Inside, you will find a 500-watt power supply which should be enough to power even the most demanding desktop graphics cards today. It is also made by Seasonic which is a highly reputable brand when it comes to Power Supply Units.
At the back, you will find three additional USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a power supply port, complete with a switch to completely turn off the unit when it is not in use. There are air vents on the right side of the eGPU as well as the top. There is also a built-in fan inside which act as an exhaust to remove the heat from the enclosure when the GPU is under load.
Installing your graphics card of choice can be a bit tricky. You see, despite its big exterior, the interior of the enclosure houses some intricate parts. Now, to be clear, you can definitely put a full desktop graphics card in it. However, keep in mind that the wires can get in the way, so be sure to push them to the sides before installing your GPU.
Next, place your graphics card into the PCIe x16 slot on the unit and plug the appropriate power connections. There are two 8-pin power connectors inside but you can remove two of them if your graphics card makes use of 6-pin power connectors. Do note that the included power supply can only power a GPU with a maximum TDP of 375 watts. In most cases, all of the modern graphics cards should fit the bill.
Since the enclosure not only acts as an eGPU, it can also act as a portable hub. You can put a 2.5-inch storage device inside as well and there will be a power connector conveniently placed nearby. SSDs have become affordable these days and it would be wise to put them in the enclosure as well.
Once everything is in place, plug the Thunderbolt 3 cable into your laptop and fire away! Be sure that your laptop has updated Thunderbolt 3 drivers to ensure that you won’t run into problems. When the eGPU is recognized, you can then go ahead and install the latest drivers for your particular graphics card.
Now, this is where things get interesting. PowerColor states on their website that the PowerColor Devil Box only works on a handful of computers and laptops, but that isn’t really the case. In the real world, you can actually make use of this eGPU enclosure for use on laptops that have a Thunderbolt 3.0 connection, provided that the drivers and firmware are up-to-date.
That being said, the PowerColor Devil Box works flawlessly. When you first plug the eGPU into the laptop, it will prompt you to install the firmware of the eGPU. Once everything is installed, it will then be recognized as the same graphics card name you’re using. For example, if you’re using a GTX 1070 graphics card from Nvidia, it will display as that card in the Device Manager.
Performance is relative and it is mostly up to the graphics card you put in the enclosure. But one thing that I dislike about this eGPU is its obnoxiously loud fans. As previously mentioned, there is a fan inside that acts as an exhaust, but it gives off a loud noise which may put off people who want a more silent build.
Despite its loud fan noise, the PowerColor Devil Box works flawlessly. Again, when your laptop makes use of a Thunderbolt 3.0 connection, you’re golden. There is just one weird problem I ran into and that is when using the laptop with an external monitor.
For some reason, the clock speed of the GPU never gets past 0.8GHz. The only way for me to grasp the full performance of the GPU is to use the laptop’s display. I think this is a driver problem which will hopefully get fixed in the near future.
What I love about the PowerColor Devil Box is its solid build quality, design, and its vast array of graphics cards it can support. I also love the fact that it can be used on laptops that have the aforementioned Thunderbolt 3.0 port.
There are some problems with this eGPU, however, that can potentially be a deal breaker for some. First is its very loud fans. Although it does the job of dissipating the heat that your GPU produces, it can be a problem for people who values silence.
Second, the graphics card’s power will not be utilized to its full extent when using an external display. At the time of writing this article, there is still no news regarding this matter. Hopefully, future firmware updates can fix this.
All in all, the PowerColor Devil Box is a robust eGPU with an extensive GPU and Laptop support. The PowerColor Devil Box costs $450.
- Solid build quality
- 500-watt power supply with Thunderbolt 3 cable included
- 2.5-inch storage support with four USB 3.0 ports
- Compatible with laptops that have Thunderbolt 3 ports.
- Can support even the biggest graphics cards on the market
- Can be tricky to install the GPU
- Doesn’t support an External Display (will probably be fixed in the future)
- Slightly Expensive