Razer Core X Chroma External GPU Review
In this review, well see what this new version of the Core X has to offer and find out. If an external graphics solution is worth it., Basically the Core X Chroma is a box with a power supply that you install a desktop graphics card into., The exterior is all metal with a matte black finish. It definitely looks more premium compared to most others, Ive seen. Its on the larger and heavier side, though. However, this does also give it the advantage of supporting graphics cards up to 3 PCIe slots wide.. The front has this grooved black plastic design. However, there isnt, actually any air ventilation here. The left and right sides have air vents. The left is the intake for the graphics card fans, while the right is for air exhaust. On the back. Weve got the power input and switch to turn it on single Thunderbolt Type C port, which is used to connect to the laptop gigabit ethernet and four USB Type, A ports.. Once a laptop is connected via Thunderbolt. We can use the Core X Chroma as a USB hub to attach additional devices and even network connectivity, so that single connection to the laptop provides a lot of functionality. To open it up, theres a handle back which comes out. Then you just slide out the tray. No tools required. The tray inside, has a PCIe slot for the graphics card and theres a little card in the x1 slot for the IO.
. Otherwise, in here we can see the 120mm exhaust fan, which blows warm air out. The side., The 700 watt power supply is also in here, and this provides up to 500 watts for a graphics card and up to 100 watts over Type C for the laptop.. There are two 8 pin power connectors for attaching a graphics card, which should be enough for most options out there. However, some like MSIs 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio, do need more, so youll want to check what youre using is supported. You might be able to use adapters Im, not sure.. The only issue I had with the Core X Chroma was that it was a little difficult to move the graphics card power cables so that they wouldnt get pushed into the fan blades.. There are velcro cable ties, though, so you should be able to move them. A bit. Installation is very straightforward. Just take out the single thumbscrew to remove the PCIe cover, insert the graphics card into the PCIe slot. Put the thumbscrew back in connect the power cables to the graphics card and slide the tray back in.. That was basically it. I connected the enclosure to my laptop with the included. Thunderbolt cable switched it on and it was automatically recognized in some cases. You may need to reinstall Nvidia drivers, though, and make sure youve got Thunderbolt drivers installed.. Now it wouldnt be a modern Razer product without some RGB lighting theres, some lighting underneath the front and inside which lights up the graphics card.
. There are a few built in effects, but you can also customize the side or front independently through the Razer Chroma software or turn lighting off. If you prefer. Im testing the Core X Chroma with Razers Blade Stealth, a 13 inch laptop with MX150 graphics. Ive got a separate, detailed review on the Blade Stealth 13. Already, if youre after more information. Its worth, noting that the Core X Chroma should work with any laptop that has Thunderbolt 3, its not limited to Razer laptops, as is the case with Alienwares solution. As the Blade Stealth charges over Type C port, we can even power. This laptop with just a single cable as the Core X Chroma enclosure provides up to 100 watts of power delivery over the Thunderbolt cable.. Next lets actually check out some benchmarks to see how this setup is boosting gaming performance., Im testing with an RTX 2080 Ti, so expect different results based on the GPU youre using this is best case at the moment.. My Blade Stealth has the quad core. I7 8565U CPU 16gb of LPDDR3 memory in dual channel and Nvidia MX150 graphics. In the upcoming benchmark results Ive tested games on the laptops built in MX150 GPU, then, with the Core X Chroma, both with the laptop screen and with an external monitor. In general. We expect higher performance when using an external screen connected directly to the external GPU.. This is because there is less overhead on the Thunderbolt 3 connection, but also the Intel integrated graphics is no longer involved in the process.
When using the laptop screen. The signal needs to come over Thunderbolt from our external graphics and get processed by the Intel iGPU before showing on the laptop display.. This step is avoided by running the game directly on an external screen resulting in increased performance.. Not only is an external screen a much better experience, especially as the Blade Stealth only has a 60Hz screen. It can also be a lot larger and, to be honest, if youre using a docking solution like this chances are, you may also have space to leave a monitor on your desk. Battlefield. 5 was tested in campaign mode with ultra settings., The game wasnt playable on the MX150 averaging just 15 FPS at max settings., Even using the laptops own screen in combination with the 2080 Ti, resulted in a 370 boost to average frame rate, while an external monitor connected To the Core X, Chroma increased this by a further 15. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark with highest settings.. It was a similar deal here very low result with the MX150. This thing obviously isnt made to play modern games at max settings, but it does clearly demonstrate that we can take a machine like this to playable levels of performance., Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the built in benchmark at max settings.. The results follow the same trend as the previous games below 20 FPS on the laptops own MX150 graphics.
Then above 60 FPS averages under ideal conditions with the Core X Chroma. Apex Legends was tested with all settings at maximum., The MX150 wasnt doing too badly. Here compared to the other games. There was less of a difference with the 2080 Ti, at least, but still a big difference. Nonetheless. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature and was chosen as an example of a less demanding game that I thought would still work alright on the MX150 graphics, however, that wasnt the case. To be fair, it did go alright at lower settings, but we can see The massive boost to performance with the Core X Chroma in use. Ive only tested a few games to demonstrate what the Core X Chroma can do for this review. Im planning a far more in depth, video comparing laptops with their own Nvidia, graphics, against an eGPU enclosure with a wide range of different graphics cards installed and then against a desktop PC as well, so make sure youre subscribed for that one.. Although there are both CPU and Thunderbolt bottlenecks present preventing full performance like wed, see in a desktop PC, we are now able to get a more than playable experience in modern games on our Blade Stealth, even with max settings compared to trying to play games without the Core X Chroma., So is an external GPU enclosure. Like this a practical solution Honestly for most people, not really., You could build a whole mini ITX PC that takes up less space and will easily outperform any modern, laptop and eGPU combination for similar money.
. I think this is a niche solution for a small group of people and, if youre in that group, then its great to have this as an option. To me, something like this is for someone who must use a laptop for the portability aspect. If you dont need any portability, then theres less need to own a laptop.. Many people, myself included just use a separate, desktop PC at home and have a laptop for travel. An advantage of the eGPU setup. Is you only need one machine, no need to maintain two installations of apps and files granted things like that could be mitigated with something like a NAS. Personally, I think it makes more sense to just have a 15 laptop with decent graphics built in, but if you Really want something smaller like a 13, I believe the best graphics you can get at the moment is a GTX 1650. So this is at least an option. If you need more power and have a laptop with Thunderbolt, support. Ive only used one other eGPU enclosure. Before the Mantiz Venus – and I have to say, the Core X Chroma did feel like a more premium product. Getting inside was a lot easier and the sliding tray mechanism made installation simple, its even got RGB lighting for additional FPS.. That said, though, it was on the larger and heavier side, though this does give you more option with regards to the graphics cards, you can fit inside.
. Otherwise, the price is one of the reasons that makes this more of a niche solution.. You can check updated prices linked in the description at the time of recording in the US. The Razer Core X, Chroma is going for 400 USD or 650 AUD. Here in Australia.. The older Core X is 100 cheaper and offers the same basic functionality.. The key differences are that the older Core X has a lower 650 watt power supply, meaning less powerful graphics cards are supported.. The older Core X also doesnt have USB ports or ethernet, which, in my opinion, make the newer Chroma version a better overall solution. As you can just plug in one cable from the eGPU enclosure to the laptop and get not just extra graphical power, but also gigabit ethernet and USB devices like keyboard and mouse., Oh and as per the name, the new Chroma also has the all important RGB lighting.. When shopping for an eGPU, you of course need to factor in the price of a graphics card, and this is why costs start adding up. So youll have to decide if this is an option for you, as opposed to just buying a laptop with more powerful graphics inside or desktop PC.. In many cases, even a more powerful external GPU will get similar results to even a lower powered laptop GPU. After things like Thunderbolt, bottlenecks are considered.