3D World

Son­net Break­away Box 550

PRICE £306

- Tech · Gadgets · Hardware · Computers · Apple Inc · AMD · Nvidia · Macintosh · Node.js · Mac Pro · Razer Inc.

Ap­ple’s co-de­vel­op­ment and early adop­tion of Thun­der­bolt tech­nol­ogy led to a num­ber of pe­riph­eral ven­dors that were fo­cused on high-band­width stor­age, net­work­ing, dock­ing sta­tions and other ac­ces­sories pri­mar­ily in­tended for use with Macs. Son­net is one such ven­dor, along with OWC, be­hind the Aki­tio Node EGPU re­viewed on the next page.

Its prod­uct cat­a­log is full of Mac Pro ex­pan­sion cards, Thun­der­bolt 2 and 3 ac­ces­sories and var­i­ous use­ful stor­age tools. But Thun­der­bolt is now as much a Win­dows PC tech­nol­ogy as it is Mac.

Son­net sells two styles of EGPU, the Break­away Box, which is a bare­bones EGPU en­clo­sure sold with­out a graph­ics card, and the Break­away Puck, which is smaller and sold with an in­te­grated AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU – we have the for­mer on test.

Its 550W power sup­ply de­liv­ers up to 375W of power to graph­ics cards, with two in­te­grated eight-pin power con­nec­tors. Son­net’s com­pat­i­bil­ity page lists Nvidia cards up to a Ge­force RTX 2080 and AMD Radeon 5700 XT in this en­clo­sure.

Son­net sells a num­ber of dif­fer­ent power con­fig­u­ra­tions. On test is the 550W ver­sion but there are also 650W and 450W mod­els avail­able.

There’s a plas­tic fa­cia with a blue light, and the metal case slides open to re­veal the tiny cus­tom moth­er­board, which has a sin­gle PCIE slot but space for a dual slot graph­ics card. There’s a sin­gle fan that looks like it could be eas­ily re­placed with some­thing more ef­fi­cient, and a small bracket that pre­vents the GPU from be­com­ing loose.

There are no ad­di­tional USB ports or ex­pan­sion op­tions. The unique sell­ing point of the Break­away Box is its at­trac­tive low price. It un­der­cuts ev­ery other EGPU we’ve looked at, which is wel­come given that you may need to also fac­tor a graph­ics card pur­chase into your bud­get.

It’s not par­tic­u­larly small or light. It closely re­sem­bles Razer’s Core X Chroma, with a large, chunky de­sign, but that can be an ad­van­tage. Plus, it’s not par­tic­u­larly noisy.

Given the rel­a­tive af­ford­abil­ity of the Break­away Box, we were gen­er­ally im­pressed by it. It’s a no-frills de­sign but a great, in­ex­pen­sive way to get an EGPU up and run­ning, par­tic­u­larly if you opt for the lower PSU op­tion. For most peo­ple who just need ex­ter­nal graph­ics sup­port, this en­clo­sure will do the trick.

A low-price, bare­bones en­clo­sure that gets the job done “THE UNIQUE SELL­ING POINT IS THE BREAK­AWAY BOX’S AT­TRAC­TIVE LOW PRICE”

VERDICT

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WEB­SITE www.son­net­tech.com
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