Why would you need a GPU expander for your new Macbook Pro, which already cost you thousands of dollars? Most people—even filmmakers—don't.

However, there are certain situations where you need more graphics power, and a Thunderbolt expansion chassis with a strong graphics card can be a great addition to your system. If you work regularly with video and find yourself waiting on the progress bar more than you would like—either hours-long outputs of a feature in your NLE or days-long renders from programs like Da Vinci Resolve, After Effects, or Maya—adding more graphics horsepower can be a very cost-effective way to speed up the render. While it is expensive, it saves you hours of your life.

In you are on the hunt for "moar PWR" for your new Macbook Pro, you should consider the BizonBOX 3.

Why Thunderbolt 3? Aside from the obvious limitation that the new MBP doesn't use Thunderbolt 2 and only offers Thunderbolt 3 connections, you could use a dongle to attach a Thunderbolt 2 expansion box if you wanted, but it wouldn't take full advantage of the new standard. Thunderbolt 3 has a speed limit of 40gb/s, as opposed to the 20gb/s limit of Thunderbolt 2, and while most devices won't use all the available bandwidth, graphics bandwidth is an area where it will likely be put to use.  

Img-box3-lgCredit: BizonBox

This box offers an x16 PCIe Version 3 slot with a maximum bandwidth of 15.75 GB/s. Theoretically, it fits within the Thunderbolt 2 standard; in reality, it's at least somewhat limited by it, since protocol overhead takes up some space in the signal and leaves the average throughput at around 11GB/s.

It's surprising that there hasn't been more activity from competitors.

What's most surprising here is that not only is BizonBOX 3 the first Mac compatible GPU expansion box for the new MBP, but, so far, it appears to be the only one released. Thunderbolt 3 isn't a surprise—hard drive manufacturers like Lacie came out with Thunderbolt 3-enabled storage devices almost immediately to support the new laptop. Especially considering the graphics limitations of the new computer (and the Razer Stealth gaming laptop already showing the power of the combination), it's surprising that there hasn't been more activity from competitors such as mLink, Magma, or Sonnet.

Screen_shot_2016-11-02_at_1BizonBOX 3Credit: Bizon

Bizon has caught some flak in the past for simply reselling Akitio products with a new label and a hefty markup. With that in consideration, the fact that the company uses the older Thunderbolt 2 Macbook Pro next to the BizonBOX 3 in the marketing materials is not a good sign. However, rebranding is one method that many popular companies use to get their start, and Bizon has recently moved into designing its own hardware. The company has developed a good reputation for very involved, responsive customer service after purchase. In you are on the hunt for "moar PWR" for your new Macbook Pro, you should consider the BizonBOX 3.

Available now, with optional graphics cards options.

Tech specs

  • Supports full-length, full-height and double-width cards
  • Aluminum + SECC sheet metal case
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port, 1 x internal PCIe (x16) slot with 4 lane PCI Express 3.0 interface
  • 1-year limited warranty with 2-year extended option
  • 4.4 Lbs / 2 Kg case
  • 14.17 inches x 3.5 inches x 8.07 inches, 36 cm x 8 cm x 20.5 cm
  • 200W power included, 400W power (for cards like the Titan) optional
  • 6-pin + 8-pin PCI–E power connectors for graphics card, 8-pin + 8-pin with 400W supply