It can be hard to cram a high-performance graphics card into a small computer. But ASRock’s new RX570TM-ITX/TBT is a graphics card designed to fit inside a mini ITX PC case.
The new 6.7″ x 6.7″ board features AMD Radeon RX 570 graphics with up to 8GB of GDDR5 memory. But what truly makes it unusual is the way you connect it to a PC: via a Thunderbolt 3 cable.
ASRock calls this “the world’s first Thunderbolt 3 graphics card,” which isn’t exactly true — PC makers have been offering Thunderbolt 3 graphics docks for the past few years, allowing you to plug an external GPU into a laptop or desktop via a Thunderbolt 3 cable.
What’s new is that you can use this compact card to build your own graphics dock — just buy a mini ITX chassis and power supply, install the graphics card, and plug it into a notebook or other computer via the 40 GB/s Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C port.
Alternately, ASRock says PC makers can use the RX570TM-ITX/TBT to build all-in-one PCs with high-power graphics and slim designs.
Theoretically you could also build a small form-factor desktop computer if you could find (or design) a mini ITX chassis that would support both a motherboard and this GPU.
In addition to a Thunderbolt 3 ports and integrated AMD Radeon GPU, the graphics card features HDMI 2.0, VGA, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and Ethernet ports. That allows you to use it to connect an external display or two, add a wired internet connection, and plug in peripherals for use or charging.
Update: The folks at Anandtech got a chance to see the new ASRock Thunderbolt 3 GPU board at Computex, and have a bunch of photos of potential applications including external GPU boxes and all-in-one PCs. Unsurprisingly, ASRock is targeting OEMs at launch, but it could also be an intriguing platform for the DIY set.
This is great! I currently have the Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Dock with the GTX 1050 in it to power my Intel Skull Canyon NUC. It’s the perfect slim form factor to slide right my NUC without taking up so much space like all the other TB3 enclosures for GPU’s. However, the Lenovo Graphics Dock isn’t upgradeable so I’m pretty much stuck with the GTX 1050 in it which isn’t a bad GPU for most of the tasks I do but I would like to be able to do some more gaming on that PC and the 1050 just doesn’t cut it.
If I can get this new TB3 RX570 in a similar form factor as the Lenovo Graphics Dock at a reasonable price, then that would be a great replacement for my current GPU. The RX 570 I believe should be significantly more powerful than the GTX 1050, probably even better than the 1050 Ti I hope.
I really like the idea. External GPU cases are way too expensive (for what they are), however I can think of a few $50 Mini ITX cases that I really like.
I have some concerns though. Price compared to similar PCIe card? variety of cards available? Cooling solution compared to PCIe card GPUs?
Any word on a release date?
Ah, okay, I get it now. It’s not a full motherboard that has a TB3 to connect a graphics card, this is the graphics card itself, but the form factor of a normal mini-ITX motherboard. So, you can stack a mniITX PC and another similar chassis, but with only the GPU in it on top of each other, or put it in an AIO that accepts mini-ITX motherboards, essentially transforming the AIO into a regular screen, but with a built-in GPU. This is nice. I like this.
I like this way of thinking!
No , No, we want next gen thunderbolt! Which should hit the bandwidth sweetspot.
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