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Review: Sapphire GearBox Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Enclosure

by Tarinder Sandhu on 29 March 2019, 13:01

Tags: Sapphire, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

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We are generating three sets of results for each ensuing gaming graph. The lowest score will be posted by the NUC running its integrated Iris Plus Graphics 640 alone, and its performance is a good proxy of what you might expect an Ultrabook or slim MacBook might score. The middle result details the performance of the Sapphire GearBox with a Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ 8GB card installed and connected to the NUC via USB-C-riding Thunderbolt 3. Lastly, we install the same graphics card into our high-end gaming platform that runs an overclocked Core i7-8700K.

These two synthetic benchmarks ably illustrate the step up in performance from integrated to discrete RX 580 graphics.

Using the Time Spy test as a gaming guide, performance is about 6x better than the Iris Plus Graphics 640. We usually recommend a score of around 4,000 for solid gameplay at 1080p.

That said, there is an unwanted consequence of running the Radeon via Thunderbolt 3 and alongside a Core i5-7260U. This combination results in performance that is 33 per cent lower in the default Fire Strike test than having it installed on a PC's motherboard.