We're living in strange times when it comes to building your own PC. Excessive demand from cryptominers means video card prices have risen to such high levels that buying a pre-built computer is now often cheaper than building your own. But there could be a way around the problem: external graphics enclosures.
Tom's Hardware reports that these external docks---the kind that come with video cards pre-installed---won't get you a GPU close to its MSRP, but they still offer savings over current retail prices.
Enclosures such as Razer's Core V2 are primarily aimed at lower-end laptops and AIO PCs with integrated graphics. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, these boxes can boost graphical performance while offering a range of extra connectivity options. Most of them come without an included GPU, but Gigabyte has one for sale that can get you a top Nvidia card for less than what you'd currently pay if bought individually.
The publication found that Gigabyte's Aorus GeForce Box with either a GTX 1080 or 1070 are selling on Newegg for $700 and $600, respectively. While that might not be pre-mining craze levels, it's certainly better than the cheapest 1070 card on the site, which is almost $700. A single GTX 1080 on Newegg, meanwhile, will set you back around $780, meaning you'll still save about $80 when buying the enclosure.
Both of Gigabyte's external docks come with smaller versions of Nvidia's GPUs pre-installed. It's easy to remove these cards and put them to use inside your own desktop system, leaving you with an empty external graphics enclosure that can be sold on---assuming you're able to find a buyer.
According to Newegg, the Aorus GeForce Box is still in stock. And much like what Nvidia promised to do with its GPUs, the retail site is limiting sales---in this instance, it's one per customer---to stop miners buying up all the stock in bulk.