How to Connect an External GPU to a Laptop The Right Guide

Do you know How to connect an external GPU to a laptop? You’re probably running out of a good graphics processor. Don’t worry, you may not have to change your PC entirely. Simply adding an external graphics card could do the job for you.

Best External Graphics Card or External GPU provides an upgrade to your PC graphics settings. It helps a lot to watch high-resolution videos and play games that need high-end graphics cards.

There are so many external graphics cards available all over the market. Choosing the best of them takes a little time. To help you with this, we have put together a list of the best external graphics cards and external GPUs below.

How to Connect an External Graphics Card to a Laptop?

Is your notebook PC no longer holding up in terms of graphics? Interested in playing the latest video games? Or maybe use a video editing software, a bit ambitious for your setup in terms of graphics resources? Have you ever heard of external graphics cards?

While it is difficult to change the GPU of a laptop (as opposed to a fixed PC). This process, although still unknown in France, allows, as its name suggests, to connect a third-party graphics card. In one of the input ports of a laptop. In this article, we discuss a wide range of existing solutions for connecting an external graphics card to a laptop.

What is an eGPU?

An external GPU (or eGPU for short) is a dedicated box that combines an open PCIe slot, a desktop power supply, and a full-size graphics card that connects to your laptop. When it does, you have gaming desktop power and connectivity without sacrificing those slim, modern laptop designs.

This kind of thing has been tried before, but recently there has been a rise in these products. High data and video bandwidth over single-cable connections like USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 have finally enabled the kind of ultra-fast connections needed to offload GPU processing to external hardware, while still relying on the internal motherboard. laptop for standard computing.

Many external GPUs come with additional USB ports, Ethernet, and more, which means it’s easy to plug in and play with a ton of additional hardware, like multiple monitors or gaming keyboards and mice. At the moment, the de facto standard for this high-bandwidth operation is Thunderbolt 3.

With a 40 Gbps connection, it can handle video, audio, data, and an Internet connection simultaneously, plus up to 100 watts of hardware power compatible, it’s a single cable that can do it all.

And since it uses the standardized USB-C port (the one found on the new Macbook, later revisions of the XPS 13, and more and more laptops every day), it’s getting more adaptable from a pure hardware perspective.

That said, the software is another problem. Right now, most external GPU systems rely on quite complex and specific drivers, allowing laptops to transfer the load from their integrated graphics chip to the dedicated NVIDIA or AMD graphics card.

This is somewhat complex, so universal solutions are rare, and companies like Dell and Razer only support external graphics on specific laptop models. Some more general options, as well as older standards like USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2, offer more options but poorer graphics performance.

How to Connect an eGPU to a Laptop?

The first step in plugging in is to align and connect the PCIe interface pins of your external graphics card to the PCIe module; the second step: connect the power supply. It is not very complicated to connect the power cables of the graphics card to the pins of our power module.

We thought about turning the power module to OFF thanks to the ON / OFF selector, to guarantee a smooth assembly. Before you begin to disassemble the computer cover, remove the battery from the computer, touch a nearby metal surface (a fork, a metal shelf, etc.) to discharge any excess static electricity.

Once the back cover of the computer is removed, we look for the WiFi card. We will replace the Wifi card with a PCIe card in the same format (remember to check the format of your Wifi card before buying the PCIe card).

Don’t forget to have an Ethernet cable and/or USB WiFi dongle to download the drivers for the card after mounting is complete. Then we connect our PCIe card with the appropriate cable to the PCIe module previously connected to the graphics card.

Choose your External Graphics Card Connection System

Like choosing any component in a computer. Choosing an eGPU (short for an external graphics card) is your responsibility to take into account your expectations. If you are new (or not) to eGPUs, we recommend that you read our review of the best external graphics cards.

This will allow you to approach the rest of this page with a greater understanding of the different products and components available to you.

DIY Solution to Connect an eGPU

This is not the simplest solution, but it does have the merit of being the least expensive to install. We do not recommend it to everyone. Since you will have to disassemble the PC and remove the integrated WiFi card. Please note that the PC cannot be shut down while the graphics card is plugged in.

And the Internet connection will be through a USB or Ethernet key. Hardware prerequisites for connecting an external graphics processor In a DIY setup, you will need to get some hardware components.

A graphics card can be found in the desktop graphics card. A power supply for this card. Which can be a usual PC power supply, such as a 5V power supply that can be battery operated.

PCIe Connector for Graphics Card

A connection interface that allows transmission between the graphics card and the PC. An ExpressCard adapter if your PC has this port (the simplest method) or a PCIe card. A PCIe cable is used to make the connection between the graphics card and the adapter connected to your laptop.

The first step in plugging in is to align and connect the PCIe interface pins of your external graphics card to the PCIe module; the second step: connect the power supply. It is not very complicated to connect the power cables of the graphics card to the pins of our power module.

We thought about turning the power module to OFF thanks to the ON / OFF selector, to guarantee a smooth assembly. Before you begin to disassemble the computer cover, remove the battery from the computer, touch a nearby metal surface (a fork, a metal shelf, etc.) to discharge any excess static electricity.

Once the back cover of the computer is removed, we look for the WiFi card. We will replace the Wifi card with a PCIe card in the same format (remember to check the format of your Wifi card before buying the PCIe card).

Don’t forget to have an Ethernet cable and/or USB WiFi dongle to download the drivers for the card after mounting is complete. Then we connect our PCIe card with the appropriate cable to the PCIe module previously connected to the graphics card.

How do I Choose an eGPU?

Here is no secret that many gamers today are struggling to run the newer PC games optimally on laptops and will need a plug-in like an external graphics processing unit (eGPU). Rather than resort to buying a new high-end laptop to avoid performance issues, gamers can purchase an eGPU.

One important thing to know is that eGPUs are not one-size-fits-all products and many different factors make each eGPU what it is. An eGPU is ideal for gamers who want to play graphics-demanding games on their laptops.

A laptop’s built-in GPU can have trouble running a modern PC game that could affect the player experience as well as the life of the laptop. Today’s PC games will automatically lower graphics, frame rate, and other settings to accommodate laptop hardware.

For games that don’t or don’t do this, it can result in the laptop overheating, where the game would be wearing out components within the hardware due to how hard it has to work to deliver optimal gaming performance.

The way an eGPU alleviates these problems is by providing hardware with more processing power when needed to play modern PC games.

Not only will the laptop be able to function more easily, but the game will also look and play significantly better.

How An EGPU Can Turn Your Laptop Into A Powerful Gaming Machine?

There are a couple of things to consider before purchasing an eGPU. First of all, most eGPUs require the laptop to have a Thunderbolt 3 port. Thunderbolt 3 can transfer data up to 40Gbps, which is extremely necessary for processing graphics and performance from an external device.

If an eGPU is not compatible with Thunderbolt 3, it is likely proprietary, which means that both the laptop and the eGPU must be of the same brand to be compatible. Alienware is the best example of this. As most eGPUs have an impressive degree of power, the type of eGPU can determine its full potential.

The two main types are pre-installed and interchangeable. The pre-installed eGPUs come with a built-in graphics card. Interchangeable eGPUs may or may not come with a graphics card, but they often include a list of compatible cards that can be added at any time.

If one considers a swappable eGPU, there is a power limit on how much power it can take from a graphics card. GPUs with 300 to 500 watts maximum will provide decent performance, but those of up to 800 or more can make a laptop more “future-proof” in the next generation of games.

Another priority consumers should have when purchasing an eGPU is noise. Quiet units will have one or more cooling fans that will prevent the enclosure from burning out.

Lastly, eGPUs can come with other attractive features to give customers a reason to choose them, including USB ports, additional card slots, or even laptop storage or battery life.

There is plenty of great laptop eGPUs to consider. For suggestions, Razer’s Core X Chroma eGPU with a capacity of 700W and three slots for graphics cards.

AORUS develops its Gaming Box line of eGPUs that vary in power and price, but each offers a lot of compatibilities.

Lastly, BlackMagic’s eGPU Pro has HDMI and DisplayPort adapters, and gamers will enjoy how tame it sounds during gameplay.

Depending on hardware, budget, and PC gaming library, it can be easy to identify the perfect eGPU.

Which is the Best eGPU Right Now?

Unfortunately, external GPUs are still an emerging segment and, several years after the first models were introduced, they are still in short supply. Here are the current options from the major PC manufacturers. Here are our top picks for the best eGPUs right now.

AORUS Gigabyte Gaming Box

One of the Best External GPU with a Graphics Card is AORUS Gigabyte Gaming Box. The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is a solid eGPU that includes a graphics card and Includes GPU (RTX 2080 Ti) with Ray-Tracing support It is available in different versions, including a beastly RTX 2080 Ti variant.

The AORUS RTX 2080 Ti eGPu features one of the best graphics cards for gaming and excellent connectivity. Onboard, you will find Large I / O: 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x Ethernet two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, and an Ethernet connector.

There is a power supply for laptop charging and the entire external GPU enclosure is water-cooled. With your RTX 2080 Ti, you can max out most AAA titles and even use ray tracing. Unfortunately, the Gigabyte AORUS RTX 2080 Ti eGPU doesn’t come cheap. For the price, you can get a decent desktop and laptop.

Of course, that’s to be expected, as external graphics card enclosures generally come at a premium cost, and the RTX 2080 Ti itself comes at a steep price. You can go for the less expensive GTX 1070 version. However, if you demand a ton of power, the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box packs a punch.

AORUS Gigabyte

Sonnet EGFX Breakaway Box Gaming EGPU

Best eGPU for MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Sonnet EGFX Breakaway Box. Apple makes great devices, and while macOS is playable, many of its desktops and laptops lack dedicated GPUs. However, one solution for compatible MacBook Pro and Mac Mini PCs is an eGPU.

The Sonnet EGFX Breakaway Box is the best eGPU for MacBook Pro and Mac Mini computers. It is available in two variants, a 550W version, and a 650W option. The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is designed for cool and quiet operation. For laptop charging, Sonnet packs 87W of upstream power.

Both AMD and NVIDIA cards work fine. Although the Sonnet eGFX is officially licensed by Apple, it is fully functional with Windows as well. Outside of the external Sonnet eGFX GPU, several eGPUs, including Razer Core X Chroma, HP Omen Accelerator, and PowerColor Game Station, work with macOS devices. Sadly, the eGFX Breakaway Box lacks a GPU.

However, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck packs the AMD Radeon RX 560-S in a small form factor. Still, with its fantastic macOS compatibility, great expandability, and modest pricing, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is the best external GPU for MacBook Pro laptops and Mac Mini desktops.

Sonnet EGFX Breakaway Box

PowerColor Mini Pro eGPU

The best budget external GPU is PowerColor Mini Pro eGPU. The PowerColor Mini Pro is an incredibly cheap external graphics card solution. An AMD RX 6700 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM (video RAM) comes standard. Compatibility with Windows and macOS makes this an inexpensive purchase.

Aside from Thunderbolt 3, you’ll find dual USB-A 3.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port. As the name suggests, the PowerColor Mini comes in a compact size with a small form factor. While this makes it incredibly desktop-friendly, that somewhat limits the expandability and upgrade options.

You can also consider the PowerColor PlayStation that comes without a GPU. However, at roughly the same price as a non-GPU eGPU, the PowerColor Mini Pro with its included AMD RX 6700 GPU is easily the best cheap external graphics card case money can buy.

PowerColor Mini Pro

Razer Core External Graphic Card

One of the impressive is Razer Core. This is probably the best-known external graphics setup, if only because of Razer’s mere presence in the desktop gaming accessory space. The Razer Core is a small black box that manages to remain attractive, thanks to a robust 500-watt power supply for the biggest and worst graphics cards, built-in USB 3.0 connections for external drives and accessories, and dedicated Ethernet for a fast online connection.

It has room for the largest AMD and NVIDIA GPUs on the market, supporting dual-slot cards up to 12.2 inches (310mm) long. It’s also the fanciest option on this list, with support for Razer’s open Chroma RGB lighting API. But at $ 500, without the graphics card itself, it’s one of the most expensive.

Razer says it doesn’t limit the functionality of connecting Thunderbolt 3 graphics to its machines, but the only laptops certified to work with the Core are the Razer’s Blade and Blade Stealth, which are more expensive and offer fewer customization options than many competitors.

Testing the Core with more generic systems has had mixed results, so buying it without a companion Razer laptop is a bit of a game of chance.

Razer Core

Alienware Graphics Amplifier

One of the best Alienware is on board with the eGPU revolution and, as you might suspect, their offering is one of the cheapest on the market. What the graphics amp lacks in style it makes up for in its $ 200 price point (minus the GPU and laptop, of course).

It’s also the only eGPU option from a major brand to use the old USB 3.0 standard, which unfortunately means that support for AMD XConnect, AMD’s semi-proprietary set of drivers for easily handling eGPUs, is no more.

It has a variety of compatible laptop options, from the relatively small Alienware 13 to the monstrous Alienware 17 … which probably doesn’t need an external GPU for most games.

But that lower price comes with a few sacrifices. The amp is limited to 10.5-inch long graphics cards, making some of the most bombastic models from NVIDIA and AMD incompatible.

While the graphics amplifier has four USB 3.0 ports for expansion, there is no Ethernet port, which means you have an extra cable to connect to your laptop if you want the fastest gaming connection.

It’s also a real bummer that Dell only supports Alienware laptops, rather than including its more utilitarian XPS lineup, which would be a fantastic combination.

Alienware Graphics

Aorus RTX 3080 Gaming Case

If you want a GPU case with the graphics card included, the Gaming Box Aorus RTX 3080 is the perfect option. Aorus has several models available, including ones that include the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 Ti. However, the case is more than just a graphics card in a box.

It comes with the all-in-one Waterforce water cooling system to keep the card cool and quiet even under the most demanding loads. The copper motherboard connects to a 240mm aluminum radiator, which dissipates heat with the help of two 120mm fans. In short, you shouldn’t have to worry about noise with the Gaming Box.

However, thanks to the continuing shortage of GPUs, finding a Gaming Box is difficult, no matter what card you want. You won’t be able to find a new one at retailers like Newegg and Amazon, though you can still pick up a unit on eBay for a relatively low markup. Given the GPU price crisis, this is one of the best ways to buy a graphics card.

Aorus RTX 3080

Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II

The Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II is an external GPU case with all the bells and whistles at a reasonable price. For $330, it comes with external connectivity in the form of five USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and an SD card reader (features that even our top picks charge more for). It still manages to pack a 750W 80+ Gold PSU inside, offering plenty of juice for even the hungriest of GPUs.

It’s capable of delivering up to 550W to the graphics card alone, along with 97W to your laptop while it’s connected. Like the Gaming Box, it’s only compatible with dual-slot graphics cards, though Mantiz includes a bit of extra space for certain water-cooled cards.

Inside, you’ll also find an area to store a SATA hard drive to expand your storage a bit. While not as flexible as our top picks, the Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II has features where they count and is reasonably priced.

Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II

Cooler Master MasterCase EG200

Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 is an external GPU with some cool features. It loses top billing thanks to a slightly lower 550W power supply but makes up for it with a dedicated hard drive bracket and laptop dock that creates a single small unit. It’s also very small, with a volume of just 9.7 liters, making it the perfect space-saving option.

Additionally, the case comes with three USB ports for external connectivity. Inside, you’ll find a single 92mm fan to keep things cool, but Cooler Master includes room for another 92mm fan if you want to add a little more cooling potential to the case.

The problem with the MasterCase EG200 is the price. At $440, it’s one of the most expensive GPU cases available. However, the extra features make up for that price, so don’t discount the EG200.

Cooler Master MasterCase EG200

MSI Gaming Dock

One of the best for gamers the MSI Gaming Dock, available only in an expensive bundle with the company’s gaming-branded Shadow GS30 laptop, is the least versatile option on this list. That said, it’s not really for the same market – the Gaming Dock is a companion device, including extras like a 2.1 speaker setup, microphone and headphone ports, a full-size 3.5 ″ SATA slot, and a Killer branding. network card.

It is designed to sit just below the laptop as an elaborate stand, as the proprietary connector connects directly to the bottom of the laptop. The slightly newer Gaming Dock Mini is sleeker and more angular, but skips the speakers and adds vents for passive cooling.

The Gaming Dock is only an option if you’re sure you want the Shadow GS30 in particular … and since neither this nor the Dock has been significantly updated in quite some time, it’s probably not a great idea unless you find it. at a massive discount.

MSI Gaming Dock

People also asked

Can you Have an External Graphics Card?

The concept of having an external GPU or eGPU is relatively new to the market. However, it is an amazing device that helps achieve desktop-quality graphics on any compatible PC.

External graphics cards come with a compatible hardware interface that is easy to configure and use. You may need to watch a 4K video or play games that require high graphics. The eGPU will do the job.

Is an External GPU Worth it?

The main purpose of having an external GPU is to improve the graphics performance of your PC or laptop. You may not have the correct specifications for all the computing devices you are using.

The external GPU provides the additional graphics support you need. It works quite similar to what all gaming laptops would offer. In short, yes, an external GPU is always worth it.

Can I install an External Graphics Card on my Laptop?

The external graphics card is made to work with your laptop. It connects to your laptop using a compatible hardware interface. Allows you to get a powerful graphic display.

Most laptops now support external graphics cards with the help of various ports. It can be a Bluetooth, VGA, or even Thunderbolt 3 port. Therefore, installing the external graphics card for the laptop is not a problem.

Why are eGPU Cabinets so Expensive?

The cost of any eGPU depends on factors compatibility mode and the performance it offers. The eGPU is designed to deliver the same graphics performance as a professional gaming laptop. Since the eGPU comes with high graphics processors and PCIe support, it is also expensive.

Can I use eGPU without Thunderbolt?

It is not important that you need to have a Thunderbolt 3 input every time you use an eGPU. If your laptop doesn’t support such a hardware interface, you can try going for an eGPU that supports USB-C.

Other connectivity options include Bluetooth and VGA cable. Setting up your eGPU with these wired and wireless options is easy. They also take very little time to set up.

Also, read.

What are the Specifications of a Good Laptop The Right Guide

How can I Know What RAM is Compatible with my Motherboard?

Everything you Need to Know about Graphics Card, RAM, Core

How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Smart TV

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