Sonnet has released the two portable eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 5500 XT and Radeon RX 5700 for Intel Macs, which combine both an external graphics card for more GPU power and a docking station. They also allow older Macs to boost performance well above the level of the new Macs with Apple's M1 chip. The Sonnet eGPU docks work together with Apple's MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac or iMac Pro models as long as they have Thunderbolt 3 ports.
They are equipped with either AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT and Radeon RX 5700 GPU to extend the rather low performance of the integrated GPU and offer two USB 3.2 Type A ports, one HDMI 2.0 port (which supports a 4K monitor at 60 Hz ), one DisplayPort 1. 4 (which supports a 4K monitor at 60 Hz), and a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C output for connecting a 4K, 5K, or 6K monitor (at 60 Hz) such as a 6K Apple Pro Display XDR, or two additional monitors via Sonnet's Thunderbolt 3 Dual Display Adapter (via HDMI or DisplayPort). Up to four external monitors can be connected simultaneously via these interfaces. In addition, a MacBook connected via Thunderbolt 3 is supplied with up to 60W of charging current. The eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 5500 XT is equipped with 4 GB VRAM, the Radeon RX 5700 with 8 GB VRAM.
The new models are the replacements for the now discontinued eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 560 and Radeon RX 570 eGPUs, and while they have the same form factor, they are said to offer a performance increase of more than 300% over the previous generation models in many cases.
eGPUs - what for?
External GPUs are important for all computationally intensive forms of editing (or even exporting) (moving) images, as many corresponding programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve are outsourcing more and more tasks to the graphics card, and internal GPUs are usually not very powerful.
Unlike eGPU cases, for example, the also just announced www.sonnettech.com/product/egpu-breakaway-box/overview. html (eGPU Breakaway Boxes 750 and 750ex) from Sonnet that allow users to connect any desktop GPU PCIe card externally to their computer, the Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 5500 XT/RX 5700 pucks are already configured with compact AMD Radeon GPUs, and so with dimensions of 15.24cm in width, 13cm in depth and 5cm in height, are small enough to fit in a computer bag - unlike the larger eGPU Breaway boxes.
Both eGPU Breakaway Puck models support up to three 4K @ 60 Hz displays (four with one of Sonnet's separately available dual-display adapters), or one 6K plus two 4K displays at a time. Via a second Thunderbolt 3 port, the Pucks provide both graphics and data to fully support all popular Thunderbolt/USB-C displays, including LG UltraFine 4K and 5K displays.
Price and Availability.
The eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 5500 XT (GPU-RX55-TB3-S) and the eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 5700 (GPU-RX57-TB3-S) are available now from Sonnet for a suggested retail price of around and , respectively. It should be noted, however, that they only work with Apple's Intel Macs, the new M1 models do not (yet) support eGPUs.