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Use the TUL PowerColor Devil Box to Enable Massive Graphics Performance on the Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017)

Thunderbolt
Product Review
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Reviewed Products

HP's Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) is a nice looking 2-in-1 convertible notebook PC which is great for portability.  With its integrated Intel graphics, it's more targeted towards office productivity or casual home use but its two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow the Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) to dramatically increase its graphics performance to support graphics intensive gaming, virtual reality, and 3D modeling and rendering software.

To add this level of graphics performance, you will need to add a high end external graphics card like the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 480 8GB GDDR5 which traditionally needed to be used in a desktop PC motherboard.  With new Thunderbolt 3 external graphics docks like the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box, you can now connect external graphics cards through the dock to a Thunderbolt 3 enabled notebook PC.  This allows you to keep the mobility advantages of a notebook PC while providing the flexibility to add graphics performance and access to more peripherals when back at your desk.

Note to get the maximum performance, make sure you use the 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 cable that comes with the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box or you can use a third party cable like the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps USB-C Cable (0.5m).

To look at how much additional performance could be gained by using the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box with the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 480 8GB GDDR5, we ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider's DX12 benchmarking to compare frames per second (fps) results.

Without the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box, we only got an overall score of 6.52 fps running the game on an external 4K display.

By adding the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box, we were able to see a drastic increase in performance, achieving an overall score of 32.16 fps while running the game on the same 4K display.

The TUL-PowerColor Devil Box uses Thunderbolt 3 to not only enables increased graphics performance but also delivers power to the Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) by leveraging USB Power Delivery technology.

Taking a closer look at the USB Power Delivery protocol communication, after we connect the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box to the Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) using the Thunderbolt cable, we can see that the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box declares it can provide 15 watts (5 volts @ 3 amps), 36 watts (12 volts @ 3 amps), and 60 watts (20 volts @ 3 amps).  The Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) then requests to pull the full 60 watts (20 volts @ 3 amps) from the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box.  

We can confirm that the Spectre x360 (2nd Generation 2017) is pulling close to 20 volts and 1 amps from the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box with the notebook's battery half charged.  

In addition to providing graphics performance and charging power, the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box also provides convenience by serving as a docking station with three USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gb/s) Type-A, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.  This allows you add an Ethernet cable for high speed LAN gaming and attached other USB gaming controller and storage peripherals.

 

The nice thing with the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box is you can achieve this graphics performance boost with a number of Thunderbolt 3 PC's especially those that are based on the 7th generation Intel (Kaby Lake) processor.  This means different people can carry around their own notebook PC and connect to a shared TUL-PowerColor Devil Box based docking setup back at home or in the office.  Also, if you decide to upgrade to another Thunderbolt 3 PC later on, you can still reuse the investment you've made in the TUL-PowerColor Devil Box (make sure you check for compatibility first).

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