Mercury Elite Pro Dock

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is an interesting new Thunderbolt 3 enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that combines dual drive bays, a hardware RAID controller, and a number of connections – sort of a combination storage device and Thunderbolt 3 dock.

Connections include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 (supporting up to 4K), Gigabit Ethernet, a front-mounted SD 4.0 (UHS-II) card reader, and two 5Gbps USB 3 Type-A ports. Both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives are supported, and the RAID hardware handles RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD/independent, or span.

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is priced from $299.99 sans drives to $1,299.99 with two 14TB hard drives.

Mercury Helios 3S

Mercury Helios 3S is a PCIe enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3 and accomodates a half-length, full-height, single or double-width PCIe 3.0 card at x4 bandwidth (“with x16 physical slot”). Features include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 85W power delivery, plus DisplayPort 1.4, and an external power supply.

Mercury Helios 3S is priced at $229.99 for Thunderbolt-equipped computers running macOS 10.13 and later or Windows 10 and later. The company’s product specifications note some limitations for the new enclosure:

  • PCIe cards that utilize a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. PCIe cards that require a minimum of 8 or more PCIe lanes are not supported.
  • GPUs not supported
  • Cards that require more than 75W are not supported.
  • The DisplayPort does not support DP++
  • Full DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities including 8K resolution depends on host computer support of DisplayPort 1.4 specification through its Thunderbolt 3 connection, host computer GPU capabilities, and connecting cable capabilities.
  • You can use the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple to connect this device to a Thunderbolt 2 computer. Power Delivery is not supported in this configuration and bandwidth will be limited to ~ 1375 MB/s.

Blackmagic eGPU

Blackmagic eGPU is an external graphics accelerator from Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd. for Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs, available in either a standard or “pro” version. Features include a stylish aluminum enclosure, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, 85W Power Delivery, a 4K HDMI port, four USB 3.1 connectors, and a quiet, variable-speed fan. The standard version includes an AMD Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8 GB of memory, while the Pro version adds a DisplayPort 1.4 connector (supporting up to 5K at 60Hz) and upgrades to a Radeon RX Vega 56 with 8 GB of high-speed HBM2 RAM.

Blackmagic eGPU is priced at $699, sold via Apple, for Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports running macOS 10.14 and later, while the Blackmagic eGPU Pro sells for $1,199. The latest update even supports Apple’s high-end Pro Display XDR at 6K resolution:

Set up and use Apple Pro Display XDR
… Pro Display XDR requires a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and macOS Catalina 10.15.2. … Pro Display XDR supports a resolution of 6016 x 3384 with 10bpc on these Mac models:

  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2019
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later
  • iMac introduced in 2019
  • Mac computers with Thunderbolt 3 ports connected to Blackmagic eGPU or Blackmagic eGPU Pro

Mercury Helios FX 650

Mercury Helios FX 650 is a large Thunderbolt 3 graphics card enclosure from Other World Computing, Inc., featuring a 650-watt power supply to accomodate modern, power-hungry graphics cards, such as the Radeon Pro WX 7100, Radeon RX Vega 56, Radeon RX 580 Gaming 8G, etc. (or cards for Windows systems, e.g. from Nvidia). Features include “a large variable speed, temperature-controlled fan” and “up to 100W of power to a connected notebook computer.”

Mercury Helios FX 650 is priced at $378.75 (not including the price of a graphics card) for Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs and Windows computers.

eGFX Breakaway Boxes

eGFX Breakaway is a set of “eGPU” (external GPU) boxes from Sonnet Technologies Inc. that host high-powered graphics cards and connect via Thunderbolt 3 to Macs (or PCs) equipped with that high-speed connector. Features include a built-in, variable-speed, temperature-controlled (“quiet”) fan, support for liquid coolers, a choice of power supplies and Power Delivery capabilities, and compatibility with “the latest CPU cards”, including AMD Radeon R9, RX, RX Vega, and Pro WX models, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9 and 10 series, TITAN X, Xp, V, and Quadro models, as well as supporting other PCIe cards – full-length, full-height, single- or double-width – such as the Avid Pro Tools|HDX(4) and Red Rocket-X.  (See compatibility info.)

  • eGFX Breakaway Box 550 is priced at $249.99 with a 550W power supply and 87 Watts of laptop power delivery.
  • eGFX Breakaway Box 650 is priced at $348.99 with a 650W power supply and 87 Watts of laptop power delivery, approved for “air-cooled editions of the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, Vega Frontier Edition, and Radeon Pro WX 9100” and “overclocked NVIDIA cards with high peak power requirements.”
  • eGFX Breakaway Puck RX 560, priced at $399, is a compact version with Radeon RX 560 GPU built in, 45W Power Delivery, three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port.
  • eGFX Breakaway Puck RX 570 is priced at $499 with more powerful Radeon RX 570 graphics.
  • PuckCuff” is an optional VESA mounting bracket kit for the Breakaway Pucks, priced at $49.99.

Akitio Node eGPUs/PCIe boxes

Akitio Node is a Thunderbolt 3 expansion box that accomodates graphics cards for eGPU (external GPU) configurations, as well as other types of PCIe cards. Features include a 4-lane, x16 PCI Express 3.0 slot with 75W power, a 400W power supply with additional 6+2-pin power connectors, and space for full-length, full-height, double-width cards.

Akitio Node is list-priced at $299.99 (sold via Amazon and other resellers) for a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a compatible graphics card (or other PCIe card).

Akitio Node Pro adds additional features to the enclosure: a second Thunderbolt 3 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, and 60W Power Delivery for laptop charging, with a built-in 500W power supply, with separate fans for enclosure and power supply.
Akitio Node Pro is list-priced at $369.99 (sold via Amazon and other resellers) for a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a compatible graphics/other PCIe card.

Akitio Node Lite is a smaller Thunderbolt 3 expansion box that accomodates a half-length PCIe card – not a graphics card, but various storage and networking cards, for example. This version also offers a DisplayPort 1.2 monitor connection (up to 4K at 60 Hz) and a second Thunderbolt 3 port.
Akitio Node Lite is list-priced at $219.99 (sold via Amazon and other resellers) for a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a compatible PCIe card.

Akitio Node Duo is a Thunderbolt 3 expansion box that holds two half-length PCIe cards (2 PCI lanes each), while also providing 60W power delivery for laptop charging, a DisplayPort 1.2 monitor connection, and a second Thunderbolt 3 port.
Akitio Node Duo is list-priced at $429.99 (sold via Amazon and other resellers) for a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a compatible PCIe card.

CalDigit Thunderbolt docks

TS3 Plus (Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus) is a Thunderbolt 3 dock from CalDigit Inc. that features dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in, audio out, USB 3 ports, a 10Gbps USB-C port, a 5Gbps USB-C port, and S/PDIF digital audio output, along with an SD card reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II) and a bundled Thunderbolt 3 cable, with up to 85W power delivery.
  Display support includes 5K at 60 Hz (via the Thunderbolt 3 port) or dual 4K monitor capability (plus support for HDMI and DVI via optional adapter cables).
  CalDigit TS3 Plus is priced at $279.99 [Amazon] with a 0.7m 40Gbps Thunderbolt cable.

Thunderbolt 3 mini Docks are CalDigit’s bus-powered devices with a built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable and either dual HDMI 2.0 or dual DisplayPort 1.2 connectors (supporting 4K 60Hz displays) plus Gigabit Ethernet, and a USB 3.0 port (plus USB 2.0 on the HDMI version).
  Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock Dual DisplayPort is priced at $129.99 ($119.99 at Amazon when checked).
  Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock Dual HDMI is priced at $139.99 ($129.99 at Amazon when checked).

BenQ PD2720U

DesignVue PD2720U is a 27-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS display from BenQ America that connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C with 65W power delivery. Other features include color coverage of 96% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB, and 99% Adobe RGB with factory calibration, 350-nit brightness, HDR10 support, several “curated” display modes (Darkroom, CAD/CAM, Animation), “zero-flicker” and “low blue light” technologies, a “hotkey puck” controller, plus a KVM switch function, an adjustable stand, a 3.5mm audio jack, weak 2W speakers, a DisplayPort 1.4 input and two HDMI ports (plus two USB 3.1 downstream ports).

BenQ PD2720U is list-priced at $1,099.99 ($999.99 at Amazon when checked).

LG 2020 “Ultra” displays preview

LG 2020 Ultra displays were pre-announced by the company for release next month at the CES show in Las Vegas in three models (prices were not listed):

UltraGear (27GN950): 27-inch, IPS, 4K UHD, 98% DCI-P3, 450 nits, 144Hz, VESA DisplayHDR 600, DisplayPort, HDMI

UltraFine Ergo (32UN880): 31.5-inch, IPS, 4K UHD, 95% DCI-P3, 350 nits, HDR10, USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI, and “Extend / Retract, Pivot, Swivel, Height,Tilt Adjustable with C-Clamp & Grommet

UltraWide (38WN95C): 37.5-inch, Nano IPS, UltraWide QHD+ (3840 x 1600), 98% DCI-P3, 450 nits, 144Hz, VESA DisplayHDR 600, Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI

Asus ProArt PA32UCX, PA32UC and PA27UCX

ProArt Display PA32UCX is a new, high-end professional display from Asustek Computer Inc. that rivals Apple’s upcoming 6K display, though it puts only 4K UHD on its 32-inch panel. Connections include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports (with 60W power delivery), three HDMI 2.0b connections and DisplayPort 1.2, plus three USB 3.0 Type A “downstream” connectors. Unlike Apple’s display, the ProArt PA32UCG includes a fully adjustable stand (plus VESA compatibility). Its 10-bit IPS panel features mini-LED backlighting with 1000+ zones of local dimming, 1200 nits peak brightness, 1000:1 contrast (1,000,000:1 HDR), and “smart” HDR for multiple HDR formats and PQ curves. Color features include pre-calibration (Delta E < 1) and hardware calibrator compatibility, with profile saving, a 14-bit lookup table (LUT), and colorspace coverage of 99% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709 and 89% Rec.2020, plus a plethora of color modes and adjustments.

ProArt Display PA32UCX [Amazon] recently began shipping, list-priced at $3999.

ProArt PA32UC [Amazon] is a less expensive model with similar features, including Thunderbolt 3, list-priced at $1599.

ProArt PA27UCX is an unreleased 27-inch version with HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB Type-C ports, but no Thunderbolt 3 support.

Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor

UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor (UP2720Q) is an upcoming 27-inch, 4K display from Dell Inc. with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. The monitor features a built-in colorimeter, 100% Adobe RGB and 98% DCI-P3 color coverage (≤ 2 Delta E), 90W charging power, HDMI 2.0a, USB-C/DisplayPort 1.4, and USB-A ports, 10-bit IPS display, 1300:1 contrast, 178°/178° viewing angles, and a fully adjustable stand. The Dell UP2720Q is due in January at $1999.99.

BenQ DesignVue PD3220U, PhotoVue SW271

DesignVue PD3220U is a 32-inch 4K UHD display from BenQ America that connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3 with 85W power delivery and a second Thunderbolt 3 port for daisy chaining (plus DisplayPort 1.4 and dual HDMI 2.0 ports). Features include a 10-bit IPS panel with HDR 10 support and 95% Display P3 and DCI-P3 color coverage, factory calibration (with a report), 300 nit brightness with 1000:1 native contrast (20 million to 1 dynamic contrast), several picture modes, a KVM switch function (with upstream and downstream USB ports), Hotkey Puck controller, ZeroFlicker technology, and an adjustable stand, as well as VESA support.
  DesignVue PD3220U [Amazon link] is priced at $1199.99.

PhotoVue SW271 is a 27-inch 4K UHD display from BenQ America that offers a 10-bit IPS panel with USB-C connection, dual HDMI 2.0 connections, plus DisplayPort 1.4, along with an SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC card reader (plus USB 3.0 upstream and downstream ports). Features include 99% Adobe RGB, 100% SRGB, 93% DCI-P3 color coverage with a 14-bit 3D lookup table (LUT), factory calibration for Delta E ≤ 2, hardware calibration support, several color modes, and HDR 10 support, while “GamutDuo enables you to view content simultaneously in different color spaces side-by-side for comparison.” Other features include a “HotKey Puck” controller, a detachable shading hood, an adjustable stand, and VESA support.
  PhotoVue SW271 [Amazon link] is priced at $1099.