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Pack a puck: The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck is a portable eGPU solution

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck. (Source: Sonnet)
Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck. (Source: Sonnet)
Sonnet has released a compact eGPU designed to fit in your bag, ideal for travel, LAN parties, or MacOS High Sierra.

Most external graphics solutions (eGPU), such as the Alienware Graphics Amplifier or the Razer Core, are designed to stay located on a desk while the laptop connected to them is packed up and used on the go. This makes sense when you have an ultrabook and doesn't need that extra graphics power on the go. But what about if you did need GPU acceleration, and your other device requirements ruled out options with dedicated GPUs?

That’s where the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck comes into play, a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure that comes with a built-in AMD RX 560 or RX 570, but is also relatively compact and designed for use outside the home or office. Measuring in at just 6 x 5.1 x 2 inches (15.2 x 13 x 5.1 cm) W x D x H, the Breakaway Puck is tiny in comparison to most other eGPUs. The Thunderbolt 3 passes through up to 45 W of power, which is enough for most GPU-less ultrabooks, removing the need for an additional power adaptor. Sonnet says that laptops with power adaptors up to 60 W can be charged by the Puck since these typically allow for when the internal GPU is also under load.

Specifications include:

  • AMD RX 560 with 4 GB VRAM or RX 570 with 4 GB VRAM options
  • 6 x 5.1 x 2 inches (15.2 x 13 x 5.1 cm) W x D x H
  • RX 560: 4.15 pounds (1.88 kg) and 160 W power adaptor
  • RX 570: 5.25 pounds (2.38 kg) and 220 W power adaptor
  • 3 x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0b
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 for connection with supported notebooks
  • AMD Freesync and Eyefinity

Sonnet makes several products for Apple devices, so while the Breakaway Puck might find some use among Windows users for editing on the go, gaming while traveling, or attending LAN parties, one of the real strengths comes when we consider the MacBook Pro 13. AMD cards have better support on MacOS, and High Sierra brings external graphics abilities to the platform. This means that MacBook Pro 13 users who want GPU acceleration might have a smoother and less frustrating experience using a pre-built enclosure containing an AMD GPU.

The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck retails at US$449 for the RX 560 model or US$599 for the RX 570 model. Sonnet doesn't provide a lot of information on MacOS, but their Amazon page only lists Mac support for the RX 570 model.

Performance comparison between the RX 560 and RX 570 models. (Source: Sonnet)
Performance comparison between the RX 560 and RX 570 models. (Source: Sonnet)
VESA mount compatibility. (Source: Sonnet)
VESA mount compatibility. (Source: Sonnet)
Portable use. (Source: Sonnet)
Portable use. (Source: Sonnet)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 11 > Pack a puck: The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck is a portable eGPU solution
Craig Ward, 2017-11- 8 (Update: 2017-11- 8)
Craig Ward
Craig Ward - News Editor
I grew up in a family surrounded by technology, starting with my father loading up games for me on a Commodore 64, and later on a 486. In the late 90's and early 00's I started learning how to tinker with Windows, while also playing around with Linux distributions, both of which gave me an interest for learning how to make software do what you want it to do, and modifying settings that aren't normally user accessible. After this I started building my own computers, and tearing laptops apart, which gave me an insight into hardware and how it works in a complete system. Now keeping up with the latest in hardware and software news is a passion of mine.