The perfect alternative to desktop performance for your laptop. Take a look at this external graphics card designed specifically for the eGPU. The only alternative to enjoying desktop-like performance with a high-performance and lightweight laptop is to use an external GPU enclosure.
The eGPU provides additional graphics processing power as well as an external hard drive for data storage. The eGPU doesn’t have to come with a GPU installed. Instead, this is only the case with the interface required for the graphics card’s direct loop.
Whether an eGPU is right for your needs depends only on its intended purpose. eGPUs are a great option for saving space and turning your laptop into a gaming and editing center. I will review the Best External Graphics Card For Laptop.
Are eGPUs worth it?
The eGPU is a boon for people who need a gaming system but don’t have enough room for a large game tower. The benefits of using a graphic cover are mainly due to two main variables.
A full-sized play tower takes up a lot of space that others don’t have. Then there is the budget section. However, using an eGPU provides the flexibility to turn a regular laptop into a gaming laptop. You can further upgrade your case with the latest graphics card, just as you would on a gaming PC. This kind of flexibility is not available for gaming laptops because the GPU is integrated into the motherboard.
Consider a gaming laptop like the Acer Predator Helios 300 with an RTX 2060 graphics card. It weighs 5.1 pounds, while a Macbook Pro of similar specs, excluding the graphics card, weighs just 3.1 pounds.
An office worker or traveler is more likely to think of a lightweight portable laptop that is more functional and easier to carry. Meanwhile, once they get home, they can plug in an external graphics card to the laptop to enjoy desktop-class performance.
However, the graphics card in the eGPU requires a dedicated power supply in addition to the PCIe interface, which is required to operate the laptop.
Therefore, the device is available in two form factors.
Integrated Power Source
eGPUs with internal power supplies are larger because the power adapter is built into the eGPU case. The device also generates more heat, which is not recommended if you’re looking for a lot of catch in Warzone Battle Royale.
External Power Source
eGPU with external charger-type power adapter makes the original GPU much lighter and more compact. The adapter can also be placed on the ground to save space. However, you still have to take it with you. For portability, an eGPU with a built-in power supply can easily fit into a regular laptop bag.
How to Use an External Graphics Card to a Laptop?
Despite the many available ways to connect an external video card to a laptop, the process itself is quite lengthy and complicated. In addition to the eGPU, you can use the graphics card dock to use the graphics card with your laptop. This docking station comes with a power adapter, PCI Express slot, USB cable and HDMI port.
Using this unconventional connection method requires manually establishing a connection to the internal port using a mini PCIe cable, NGFF cable, or m.2 cable. You must open the access door and remove the WiFi-LAN card or remove the SSD from the M.2 slot to connect the card.
Most of these connections require that you punch holes in the removable panels for the cables to pass through. Or you should remove the access bar completely and move on. You will also need an external power supply to run the graphics card, preferably 20-30% more power than the GPU. Even so, your desktop will be a mess full of tangled wires and open circuits.
Once the connection is complete, you will have to manually disable some BIOS settings and install the latest graphics drivers to enjoy games on a budget. Worst of all, there’s no documentation or plug-ins with a graphical dock, making it very user-unfriendly. This puts the whole process of connecting GPU to laptop at risk, as a single short circuit can burn the entire laptop or damage internal devices.
These are just the basics of using an eGPU with a laptop for gaming or editing. Deeper knowledge is required to optimize performance and strike a balance between maximum performance and low wear.
How to Choose an eGPU? Buyer’s Guide
There are a wide variety of graphics cards/eGPUs available in the market. While basic connectivity includes both power and USB Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, power output is the deciding factor of any eGPU-configured graphics card. Most eGPUs come with a minimum PSU of 300-400W, which is enough to power a low to mid-range GPU. Therefore, the eGPU you choose will limit the compatibility of your graphics card.
7 Best External Graphics Card for Laptops
1. Razer Core X Chroma
Choosing an eGPU that’s powerful enough to run a powerful laptop graphics card really limits the options. But if you’re looking to spend a little more on the best external GPU cover for a laptop, look no further than the Razer Core X Chroma.
his eGPU is also compatible with Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards and AMD Radeon XII GPU graphics cards. Since the device supports Thunderbolt 3, it is also easily compatible with MacBooks and other Apple laptops. Connectivity with just one Thunderbolt 3 port provides desktop peripheral control, Gigabit Ethernet, Chroma RGB lighting. Its 650W internal PSU leaves plenty of room for future, more powerful cards.
You can freely overclock the best external graphics cards for laptops today, such as NVIDIA RTX 2080 or AMD RX 5600 XT, without crashing or overheating. Razer was originally redesigned to use Core X Chroma for one very specific graphics card – the NVIDIA GeForce Titan V, which is currently considered the most powerful graphics card in the world.
This eGPU is compatible with Mac devices running High Sierra 10.13.4 or later, and laptops running Windows 10 RS5 or later.
Product Dimensions: 14.7 inches x 9.1 inches x 6.6 inches | Weight: 15.23 pounds | Hardware Interface: PCI Express x8 | Wattage: 650 watts
2. ASUS ROG XG Station 2 Thunderbolt 3
ASUS ROG XG Station 2 is the latest version of its big brother with a huge power boost of up to 500 watts. You get one USB Type-C cable to connect to your laptop. It is also capable of charging your laptop with up to 100W of power.
There are more:
This EGPU can change your laptop with several connection ports, namely 4 USB ports to connect keyboard, mouse, VR headset, monitor, and internet.
The XG Station 2 is one of the few eGPUs that can be used as a full-fledged gaming hub, and that’s the beauty of it.
It also comes with ASUS RGB support called Aura Sync, offering up to a million colors and five different effects.
ROG XG Station 2 can handle a full-size graphics card with adequate cooling. Add the best laptop graphics card without worry – this eGPU case can even work with NVIDIA RTX 2080 while keeping you cool
Product Dimensions: 18 inches x 10.9 inches x 6.2 inches | Weight: 8.56 pounds | Wattage: 600 watts
3. Alienware Graphics Amplifier (9R7XN)
Designed by DELL Game Attaché, this Alienware amplifier supports graphics cards less than 9.8 inches long. It is seen as a piece and is one of the most popular laptop eGPUs. This alienware requires a PCI Express slot and a thunderbolt USB connection. Once you finish that part, the device is ready to release higher frames and beautiful graphics.
This graphics case comes with a pre-installed GeForce GTX GPU, so we recommend using an NVIDIA GTX series card. This device is enough to help your laptop run the most modern games on medium to high settings.
Product Dimensions: 16.1 inches x 7.3 inches x 6.8 inches | Weight: 7.7 pounds | Hardware Interface: PCI – Express x16 | Wattage: | PSU – 460 watts Graphics Coprocessor: GeForce GTX
4. Akitio T3N2AA0002Y00U Node Duo
Akitio Node Duo is a simplified graphic with several control options thanks to its retaining socket design. Akitio comes with a pre-installed GPU, enough to tackle minor and new issues. Equipped with AMD FirePro 2270 and two PCIe slots that support mini OC and non-OC cards.The wire mesh construction ensures that heat can be easily dissipated without damaging the device itself. This expansion unit is quite powerful and can easily turn your old laptop into a gaming laptop.
Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 11.5 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 10.63 pounds | Hardware Interface: 2 x PCIe slot | Wattage: 150 watts | Graphics Coprocessor: AMD FirePro 2270
5. Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W
The Sonnet Breakaway Box is a dark horse in the eGPU segment. With a scalable 550W PSU, this eGPU is most compatible with laptops with Thunderbolt 3.0 connectivity. While Windows and Mac users can use this Breakaway Box, Mac users get a better deal as you can run two Breakaway Boxes with one MacBook at the same time. However, Windows users can opt for eGPU acceleration, which Mac users don’t. The Sonnet Breakaway Box has a Thunderbolt 3 port in addition to plenty of power.
Product Dimensions: 17.01 inches x 11.46 inches x 10.83 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Wattage: 550 watts
6. Razer Core X eGPU Enclosure
The Razer Core X comes in two versions, RGB and non-RGB. This eGPU is equipped with a 650W internal power supply. Of these, 100W is reserved for laptop charging. It can support any graphics card with rated power consumption up to 500W.
This device is compatible with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later and RS5 or later Windows 10. The best part is that the Razer Core X can support up to 3 graphics cards in each available PCIe slot. The Core X comes with a USB Type-C port for easy plug and play.
Keep in mind that this is the best that Razer has to offer when it comes to laptop GPU enclosures. This could be the best external graphics case for a laptop if it has a Thunderbolt 3 connection.
Product Dimensions: 14.74 inches x 9.06 inches x 6.62 inches | Weight: 14.29 pounds | Hardware Interface: PCI – Express x8 | Wattage: 650 watts
7. Mantiz MZ – 03 Saturn Pro II EGPU
Mantix MZ-03 is ideal for larger graphics cards with overclocking capabilities. It is compatible with laptops running Windows 10 2016 or Mac OS Catalina 10.15.3. This eGPU has several outstanding design features: the fan only operates at temperature spikes above 55°C.
It is also compatible with liquid-cooled graphics cards – users only need to replace the fan with a heatsink. This EGPU is capable of handling the higher demands of OC cards like the latest NVIDIA RTX 3090 due to its 750W internal power size and it is one of the few eGPUs that can!
It has the best ray tracing on any graphics card and more. Run any game at ultra settings and extreme resolutions without worrying about using the 3090 inside the Mantiz MZ-03.
Product Dimensions: 17.5 inches x 12.2 inches x 10.2 inches | Weight: 10.13 pounds | Hardware Interface: PCI – Express x8 | Wattage: 750 watts