Asus XG Station Pro eGPU System
Asus is finally releasing another external PCIe adapter, and this one looks promising. Dubbed the XG Station Pro, this eGPU dock is capable of handling 2.5-inch slot cards and houses a 330w power supply. Enough for a lot of high-end GPUs for sure, but 330w won’t cut it for something like a 1080ti, but as we know this isn’t a big deal since Thunderbolt 3 isn’t fast enough for GPUs higher than about a 1070 anyway, and yes that means this is using Thunderbolt 3.
Co-designed with InWin the XG Station is absolutely gorgeous and I feel would fit great in almost any modern environment, whether that be industrial, natural, etc… It also includes 2 120mm fans (likely could be swapped for nicer fans in the future if you want even better silence) that can be controlled directly from Strix GPUs fan headers. These fans also include start-stop like GPU fans, so in theory, if your GPU isn’t under load it could be 100% silent. Oh and don’t forget there is RGB that can sync with Aura Sync, of course, this may be designed for more professional markets, but it’s got features gamers could like too and is considerably cheaper than the ROG XG Station 2, more on that later.
The idea behind the XG Station Pro is more of a professional market, users that need more GPU power for work when they get home, things like video editing, 3d work, etc… But of course this doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used for gaming by any means, after all, it’s a PCIe expansion dock. Unlike the ROG XG Station 2, this guy doesn’t have gigabit Ethernet, a bunch of USB ports, etc… Instead it’s running a single Thunderbolt 3 port for the connection to the PC, and a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector which could be used with a USB hub for peripherals (again subtly appealing to gamers in my mind).
As for power, instead of an internal high wattage power supply like the ROG XG Station 2, the XG Station Pro uses an external 330w unit, 270w less than the 600w unit found in the ROG model. This PSU was taken from Asus’ laptop lineup, and in my opinion, should have been somehow integrated inside the dock, external power bricks are ugly enough as it goes, having desktop stuff with external power bricks is going too far. The XG Station Pro is also designed to charge the laptop connected to it through the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, but with such a small power supply I would be concerned about doing so even with a mid-range GPU like a 1070. If you do decide to use this for gaming I would recommend doing so with a laptop that has its own power source.
Finally, the price, at $329 this thing is a lot cheaper than the XG Station 2 ($549). Making it a huge value proposition for gamers on a budget, especially the likes of college students. Think about it, you have the ultrabook you use for school work, come home and plug in 1 (2 if you have a high-end GPU and can’t charge your notebook off the Thunderbolt cable) cable and boom, peripherals, displays, and a high-end GPU. In theory, it’s the ultimate solution for someone that doesn’t want 2 machines and doesn’t need insanely high-end CPU power for working at home. Albeit ultrabook CPUs don’t tend to be great for gaming, but the new quad-core chips should help with this substantially, that being said I would still recommend no higher than a 1070 in one of these, maybe even stick with a 1060.
The XG Station Pro from Asus looks promising, for both gamers and the professional market. Assuming Asus actually launches it later this month (January 2018) I think it’s a great option in the world of eGPU docks.