The arrival of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards has left many consumers overwhelmed with the quality and power the processor exhibits or PC gamers. However, laptops and other lightweight devices compromise these high-end graphic processors with such high-power requirements in order to achieve portability.
Such devices need an external dedicated graphic processor for gaming and graphical purposes. An external GPU or eGPU combines a power supply and a dedicated graphic card and provides graphic processing services for laptops and lightweight devices. eGPU is a great way to give your gaming laptop a boost with a powerful graphic source and enhance your gaming capabilities.
Using a dock is as a simple as installing the card, installing the drivers, rebooting, and installing any custom software. Once you have it set up, your computer routes graphics requests to the external GPU instead of the default one supplied with your computer. In theory, this process will get you better graphics performance as, by and large, laptops don’t have much graphical processing power.
How much can you boost up your system?
A gaming laptop, much like the Alienware series from Dell is capable of providing good gaming experience yet somehow does not match with the quality and power of PC or console gaming. The reason being that laptops are subject to a variety of sacrifices to compensate portability. With external graphic card you can get desktop-quality graphics on a laptop, which means you only need one computer for portability and high-level gaming.
In modern day gaming, it is all about frame rates, resolutions and graphical quality. eGPU would boost up your system to a major extent. It may not be as powerful as the internal GPUs for PCs, yet, powerful enough to play AAA games to some extent. The overall graphical performance gain in an ordinary system is expected up to 200% which is highly promising for laptop gamers.
Most of the high-end eGPUs are powered with a Thunderbolt 3 connection with the laptops which can be a huge boost to your eGPU performance. Thunderbolt 3 is a multi-purpose transfer standard that can send up to 40 gigabits per second of data and 100 watts of power through a single USB Type-C port. That’s more than enough bandwidth to push video to multiple 4K displays while still carrying enough juice to keep your notebook brimming with power.
All is not perfect in the world of Thunderbolt 3-powered graphics, however. These enclosed graphic cards are still a pricey proposition and you would definitely have to incline towards a relatively new laptop equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 compatible port. These days most Thunderbolt 3 laptops and graphics card enclosures play nicely together thanks to Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 external graphics compatibility technology.
Which are the best eGPU for laptops?
External GPU hardware and software continue to improve and more likely that external video cards also continue to improve. There are several excellent external GPU options available, depending on your budget and requirements.
Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box – The best eGPU in the market
Aorus is well-known for cramming as much power as possible in the smallest form factors and the $700 USD Gaming Box is no different. The eGPU promises to turbocharge any Thunderbolt 3 PC to be a gaming monster. Simply called the Gaming Box, the unit is currently shipping with a GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 for $600 and $700, respectively. Unlike the larger Alienware or Razer solutions, the Aorus Gaming Box utilizes mini versions (16.9 cm) of the GTX 1070 and 1080 for a lighter more portable form factor.
The Gaming Box is intended for Windows 10 laptops with Thunderbolt 3. With such magnitude bandwidth connection to the system, the Gaming Box provide exceptional gaming performances like regular GTX 1080 graphic card on high resolutions like FHD and 4K for your gaming laptops. The Aorus Gaming Box is one of the smallest and most powerful eGPU docking stations currently available. A good portion of the software, however, is still very buggy. When considering the bandwidth available for Thunderbolt 3, the GTX 1070 Gaming Box SKU may be the better and more balanced option.
Razer Core X – the best eGPU for its Value
When it comes to its laptops and external graphics cards, Razer has become known for creating products with undeniable beauty and sometimes unattainable prices. That changes with the Razer Core X, the company’s new $299 eGPU, which maintains the quality build materials that you’ve come to associate with the brand and puts them in a larger chassis to support bigger cards and a larger power supply.
Similar to the Core V2, the Core X supports a multitude of GPUs, including workstation-grade cards like those in Nvidia’s Quadro line and AMD’s Radeon Pro series of cards. And thanks to the Core X’s bigger dimensions, it can also house ridiculously powerful graphics cards like the GeForce Titan V or the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. Razer Core X is definitely the best eGPU power house for gaming laptops especially at this price.
HP Omen Accelerator – the budget eGPU
HP is serving up a big heaping serving of performance and value with the Omen Accelerator. Regarding design, it’s one of the biggest eGPUs in the showdown and definitely the most imposing. But inside that hulking exterior, there’s room for a GPU and either a hard drive or an SSD. That means that you can reserve your laptop’s storage for business and other purposes and store all your games in the eGPU.
Despite its size, it’s one of the quietest systems and at $250, one of the most budget-friendly. The HP Omen Accelerator works with systems with dual and quad-lane Thunderbolt 3 ports which provide ample bandwidth for higher resolutions.
The market is flooding with many other benchmark external GPUs like Alienware Graphics Amplifier, Akitio Node and Asus ROG XG Station2 with various features and cost management. However, the above-mentioned GPUs are the best in the market for their respective categories.