The Wolfe is a new tech product that recently achieved its funding target on Kickstarter. Find out everything you need to know about The Wolfe today in our review.
What Is The Wolfe?
The Wolfe is a tech device that claims to supercharge your laptop, allowing it to perform various tasks that may be beyond its normal capabilities. If you want high-performance gaming, virtual reality, graphic design, and video-editing on your laptop at high speeds, for example, then The Wolfe may be the right solution.
Basically, you plug The Wolfe into your laptop to give it extra processing power. Your laptop leans on The Wolfe when performing arduous tasks, and you get a more powerful laptop without actually having to buy a new laptop. The Wolfe claims to work particularly well on MacBooks. In fact, it only works on devices with a Thunderbolt port (which includes most Macs and some PCs).
The Wolfe recently surpassed $210,000 in funding on Kickstarter. That’s pretty good considering that the makers of the device (Wolfepack, Inc.) set a funding target of $50,000.
In any case, The Wolfe is priced between $400 and $600 (depending on your early bird special). The company plans to start shipping in February 2017.
How does this device work? Let’s take a close look at the technology behind The Wolfe.
How Does The Wolfe Work?
The Wolfe promises to be an affordable, easy-to-use device that “gives you the power to do all the gaming, design, and more…on the laptop you already own.” Thanks to The Wolfe, you’ll never have to buy a desktop – or a new laptop – again.
There are two versions of The Wolfe, including the original version and the Wolfe Pro.
Basically, The Wolfe is a laptop accessory that sits beside your laptop on your desk. It’s a sizable device, somewhere between the size of a shoebox and a carton of eggs.
The Wolfe works by providing backup graphic processing unit (GPU) support to your laptop when needed. The creators of the device explain that “any application that can benefit from GPU acceleration will receive a performance increase from the Wolfe.”
Some of the particular tasks where you can benefit from The Wolfe include CryptoCurrency mining, hardware accelerated programming, machine learning, AI, simulation, and more. The creators of The Wolfe actually link you to an Nvidia page where you can view a list of hundreds of applications that rely on GPU processing power.
Inside The Wolfe is a powerful Nvidia GPU. The specific GPU varies depending on your version:
-The Wolfe: Contains an Nvidia GTX 950 GPU with 768 cores operating at 1024MHz, providing a peak compute power of 1.57 teraflops
-The Wolfe Pro: Contains an Nvidia GTX 970 GPU with 1664 cores operating at 1050MHz, providing a peak compute power of 3.49 teraflops (may be upgraded to the new 1060 at launch)
The creators of The Wolfe are aware of the 10-series of Nvidia GPUs now on the market – which provide famously fast performance. they claim that Wolfe Pro-level backers on Kickstarter will be able to opt-in to receive the GTX 1060 before manufacturing begins.
Benefits of The Wolfe
The Wolfe will increase performance on any applications that rely on your GPU for support (assuming your laptop is bottlenecked by slow GPU speeds). Unless you specifically purchased a gaming laptop or high-end laptop, your laptop probably doesn’t have a great video card inside. The Wolfe works by solving this bottleneck, allowing you to increase speeds and enjoy faster overall performance.
Some of the specific stated benefits of The Wolfe include:
-Improved frame rates (up to 10 times performance increases on a MacBook)
-Faster GPU rendering
-Up to 5 times the GPU memory
-Thunderbolt-equipped, so you can supercharge old and new Macbooks (The Wolfe is compatible with Thunderbolt 1, 2, and 3)
-Daisy chain “Wolves” to get “insane boosts” in performance (your only restriction is the number of Thunderbolt ports you have)
-Easy to use and install (just connect it to your computer and run the installer, then plug it in and power it on any time you want to use it)
-Wolfe Manager software lets you choose which applications will rely on the Wolfe when running, and switch between internal and external GPUs to choose how your computer manages different resources
Will The Wolfe Work with Any Laptop?
Your laptop needs Thunderbolt to use The Wolfe. Otherwise, it won’t work. The creators of the device have published a compatibility list at their official website here.
Basically, The Wolfe will work with almost any MacBook (including pretty much every MacBook sold after 2010). It also will work on any Windows laptop that is Thunderbolt-enabled.
The Wolfe relies on Thunderbolt because the port combines two types of data into one cable (DisplayPort data for your screen and PCIe data for your graphics card). With this port, the Wolfe can process data more efficiently and send it back to your laptop in a timely manner.
The Wolfe Pricing
Here’s how pricing breaks down on the Wolfe’s Kickstarter page, where a number of packages have already been sold out:
-$5: Thank you note on the official website (October 2016)
-$10: Wolfepack Decal designed to be placed on your laptop along with a thank you note from the Wolfepack team (November 2016)
-$25: Wolfepack Shirt (Limited edition Wolfepack t-shirt with your preferred color and slogan) along with a thank you note (November 2016)
-$269: The Wolfe DIY, which lets you build your own GPU using a Wolfe Enclosure, PCB (Thunderbolt to PCIe), 220W Mobile PSU, and Thunderbolt Cable (this is designed for hardware enthusiasts who know what they’re doing) (February 2017)
-$399: The Wolfe (Early Bird), which gives you the Wolfe at the same rate at what it costs to produce (February 2017)
-$449: The Wolfe Kickstarter Special, which gives you the Wolfe from the main production run (March 2017)
-$549: The Wolfe Pro, which uses the GTX 970 instead of the GTX 950 (February 2017)
-$599: The Wolfe Pro Kickstarter Special, which gives you The Wolfe Pro from the main production run (March 2017)
-$2799: The Pack for Enterprise and Education, which gives you 5 Wolfe Pros
When you buy the Wolfe, you can choose whether you want the Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 3 connector.
Additionally, backers of the Wolfe Pro will “likely” have the option of upgrading to the 1060 instead of the 970, although it’s unclear how much extra this would cost (if anything).
About The Wolfe
The Wolfe was created after founder Dino was unpleasantly surprised that his MacBook couldn’t play any of the latest games. Dino and his friends hacked together a prototype in their Harvard dorm room, then continued tweaking the hardware and software over the next year. The Wolfe was born.
The team behind the Wolfe consists of Dino Rodriguez, Christian Ondaatje, and Chase Davis.
You can contact the creators of the Wolfe using the email form here: Thewolfe.io/contact/
Should You Use the Wolfe to Upgrade your Laptop?
The Wolfe is a supplementary GPU that attaches to your Macbook or PC through your Thunderbolt port. You can use the Wolfe to complement your laptop’s existing GPU, which allows you to play new games or access virtual reality technology (which isn’t currently available for Mac OS, but you can run VR on Macs with Bootcamp).
Macs have never been known for their strong video processing performance. The Wolfe aims to fix that problem by boosting video processing capabilities using a GTX 970 (on the Pro version) or a GTX 950 (on the standard version). The 970 may be upgraded to the GTX 1060 before manufacturing begins (backers will be contacted for confirmation).
Ultimately, the Wolfe is cheaper than buying a brand new Macbook or laptop, and it gives you faster performance. It might not be ultra-portable or slim, but the Wolfe will help you avoid using a clunky desktop in your own home while still enjoying desktop-grade performance.