Some of you may know them as ‘eGPU’s, and some as external graphics cards, but they are some of the most important components to turbocharge gaming on your laptop.
External graphics cards are cases that contain a desktop-style video card that can be connected to a PC (tends to be a laptop). These eGPUs can speed up graphics processing whilst gaming, so you can reach your optimum fps!
I’m gonna show the latest and best eGPUs around, and guide you to the one best for your setup!
Do I Need An External Graphics Card?
To really pinpoint whether you actually need an external graphics card, we need to understand the difference between integrated GPUs and dedicated GPUs
Pretty much every motherboard in the modern era has a GPU integrated inside it or even in the CPU. Integrated GPUs tend to be very power efficient, which is great if you’re doing a marathon, but with every positive – there’s a negative.
Integrated GPUs are very weak. They help you read emails and draft documents perfectly, but if you’re a hard core gamer, then the integrated GPUs are likely not enough. If we look at the other side of the spectrum, we find our external graphics cards. These cards have one job only – and that is to exclusively handle all graphics processing on your PC.
With an eGPU, you will see drastic improvements in performance whilst gaming. If you’ve struggled with fps issues whilst gaming, then look no further! Our guide on all the best eGPUs
should fix your problems forever.
Choose Your Best External Graphics Card, In-depth Reviews
We’ve carefully selected 5 of the best graphics cards around and we’re going to run them down for you.Whether you have a desktop or a laptop, we’ll find the best graphics card that tends for your needs.
We’ll also go over products that go nicely with these external graphics cards, to enhance your gaming experience.
Choose Best External Graphics Card (For Desktop)
Most eGPUs are designed for the laptop, and it can be quite tricky to find good, reliable desktop eGPUs – but don’t worry, we’ll sort that issue out. A note you should take – a lot of people think that having a multi-monitor setup requires a separate eGPU for every monitor, and this is simply not the case! Later on in the article we’ll tell you what to do if you’re looking to have multiple monitors.
Fortunately for us, AORUS has designed a spectacular external graphics cards that can work with desktops, to provide that extra turbocharge that you need
Editor’s Choice: Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box Reviews
AORUS is a very popular brand in the modern day gaming industry that produces high-quality, reliable products for its users at a reasonable price.
This eGPU is designed to handle graphics intensive games – whilst also supporting moder VR technology. It’s graphics coprocessor is the GeForce GTX 1070 and it has 8GB of RAM. It provides a memory clock speed of 8,008 MHz, so this graphics card is pretty powerful!
Can Support VR Gaming: As we move deeper and deeper into the modern era, VR technology is on the rise. AORUS has created this eGPU to be able to handle the hardware intensive VR technology, This allows you to watch movies and game without any VR crashes!
Supports Quick Charge and Power delivery: AORUS has designed this gaming box to be able to support quick charge. Quick charge is a technology that maximizes charging efficiency, providing a 40% speed increase in charging.
GIGABYTE numerous thermal and overclock: AORUS has implemented this technology to completely eradicate the noise produced by this little gaming box. With this technology, you can finally game without your hardware making a racket!
GeForce GTX 1070: This is one of the most powerful graphics cards out there. It delivers the incredible speed and power of NVIDIA Pascal. It can run pretty much anything thrown at it at amazing speeds.
- Has 8 GB of RAM
- Uses the coprocessor GeForce GTX 1070
- Supports VR
- Supports Quick Charge (QC 3.0)
- Has a small design
- Produces no noise
- Not the best quality cooling system
The AORUS gaming box is definitely a solid device. It’s big advantage over other gaming boxes is that it provides for VR technology, and while that’s a great thing, it obviously doesn’t necessarily tend for everyone’s’ needs. I’d recommend this if you want a small gaming box that doesn’t ruin your setup,yet still provides a powerful and quick service.
Choose Best External Graphics Card For Laptop
There are many eGPUs in the market that cater for laptops, yet a lot of them are simply mediocre at best, or have issues working with the operating system that the laptop uses. We’ve pinpointed the best eGPU that we feel works with most laptops and operating systems, that also provides a high quality gaming service.
Editor’s Choice: Alienware Graphics Amplifier (9R7XN)
This Alienware Graphics Amplifier does what it says on the tin. It amplifies your graphics cards performance and makes you get the most out of your eGPU. The Alienware Amplifier supports a graphics card, full length, double-wide that doesn’t exceed 10.5 inches in length.
In essence, this is an eGPU, just without the GPU. This Alienware Amplifier requires you to have the graphics card for it to play its role. This is one of the best and most cost efficient methods out there if you don’t want to invest over $200 worth on an eGPU.
It is primarily for Alienware laptops, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it with other laptops and different operating systems. It is compatible with many GPUs, supporting graphics cards of up to 375 Watts or up to NVIDIA GeFroce GTX 600 – as well as the AMD Radeon HD 5000 series and newer models.
Though it sounds great, it doesn’t provide for all different types of GPUs. Even though it is certainly long, it is not that tall. A GTX 970 for example might not fit in well with the Alienware Amplifier, and f that’s what you have, then you’re not going to get your money’s worth out of the Amplifier.
Includes a 460 Watt power supply: because of this reliable power supply, Alienware gives you the ability to run most graphics cards confidently without any problems. This hopefully reduces any worries you had – placing an expensive GPU into another device, putting it out of your hands.
Customization: With the light up alien head logo, as well as it supporting AlienFX possibilities, you can fully control the experience at home. You can set triggers and morph lights from one color to the next at will, providing a very scenic space for you at home.
Provides a good power supply
Doesn’t provide a GPU
Doesn’t cater to all GPUs (height issues)
Whilst this is a good GPU amplifies, the Alienware Amplifier does require its buyer to know what they are buying. You need to do your own research before buying this item, like knowing your GPU height and length, seeing whether it’s compatible with the Alienware Amplifier, and if it is all worth it in the end. It is definitely worth the money, but sadly, all things that come at a light price require something in return, and in this case, it is the extra research that you need to do.
Choose Best external graphics card for mac
Macs have always been in an awkward position in the gaming world. With different operating systems and apps, it can be quite difficult for you to find that eGPU that you need to boost performance. Thankfully for mac users (including myself), Akitio has designed an eGPU specifically for mac, so let’s go celebrate!
Editor’s choice: Akitio Node – Thunderbolt3 eGPU
The Akitio Node – Thunderbolt 3 for mac is one of the best eGPUs currently around for mac. It has lightening fast transfer speeds that can go up to 40 Gbs, with an internal power supply that gives that extra tug of power for that GPU.
This is similar to Alienware, as it is a GPU amplifier, you need a graphics card to place inside the Akitio Node, and the Thunderbolt 3 does the rest.
Thunderbolt 3: The Thunderbolt 3 provides incredibly fast transfer speeds that can go up to 40 Gbs. This means that even if you’re not a gamer, but a video editor, this eGPU is still a worthwhile investment, as rendering videos won’t take as long anymore.
Very spacious: Unlike the Alienware Amplifier, the Akitio Node can contain graphics cards that are double-width, double height and long all at the same time. This means you have the ability to easily put in a large graphics cards such as the GTX 970 without risking damaging the product.
Lightweight and easy to transport: The design of the Akitio Node, even though being larger than most eGPUs, still allows it to be easily transportable without too much difficulty.
PCIe x16 slot: This helps supply 75 Watts of power to boost the GPU, this isn’t as respectable as the Watt power that Alienware provides, but it still gives a power boost that can easily be noticed.
Built-in 400W SFX power supply: To add to the PCIe x16 slot, Akitio has included this power supply to provide even more wattage to the GPU. This means that Akitio will still manage to get the optimum performance from your GPU without too much of a problem.
- Easy to handle
- Has a respectable watt input
- Compatible with most GPUs
More expensive relative to other amplifiers
Doesn’t have the best cooling system
Akitio Node has definitely provided a favor to all mac users without a doubt. The Akitio Node is a great eGPU that will cater to you needs. It is certainly the best eGPU for all-round users, who edit videos, work on photoshop and game all together. If however, you want an eGPU for the sole purpose of gaming, the Akitio Node is great, but there are certainly other options out there.
Choose Great External Graphics Cards For Your Needs
We’ve gone over external graphics cards that work with laptops, desktops and macs, but there are some other honourable mentions that we need to tell you about before you make a decision on what to get.
Top Nvidia External Graphics Cards For Laptops
The Aorus GTX 1080 gaming box is very similar to the first eGPU we mentioned, but at the same time, it has different hardware that you might want to take attention to.Aorus has made this eGPU for those gamers who want to have the best hardware in town, for quite a bit of money. This gaming box is costly for gamers who aren’t going to be spending enough time gaming, and I’d only recommend this to tech geeks like me or gamers that game a lot.
GTX 1080: The Nvidia GTX 1080 is one of the best graphics cards out there, managing to out compete every other graphics card out there. The performance boost that this graphics card will provide will be insanely magical, and you will see optimum frames in all your games.
Easy to carry: Similar to it’s other brother, it has a small and unique design that makes it incredibly easy to transport from one area of your setup to another, with minimum complications.
RGB Fusion: It has customisable lighting, allowing you to vary your setup depending on the time of day, or your mood, or your character.
Quick Charge: It supports quick charge, which provides that extra power boost you need to get the most out of your eGPU, whilst maintaining power efficiency.
Easy to handle
Best graphics coprocessor
Excellent and efficient cooling system
Limited to laptops and some desktops
Even though the price may be daunting (with price ranges over $800), you’re essentially buying the best modern day external graphics card around, which is arguably worth it. It is certainly for those who want to game all the time, as that’s one of the only ways you truly get your money’s worth for this amazing eGPU.
Best Card Dock : ASUS ROG-XG-STATION-2 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.0 External Graphics Card Dock
ASUS is one of the most famous companies when it comes to the manufacture of gaming products. Whether it’s from their amazing 240HZ monitors or to their graphics card docks, they always provide the highest quality goods, but at an expensive price.
The ASUS eGPU dock is no exception, it has a sleek, angular and attractive look for an eGPU, that provides some of the most efficient power and cooling systems around.It has an incredibly powerful internal Watt supply, which sets it apart from most other eGPUs, whilst also maintaining amazing transfer speeds.
VR Gaming: Just like Aorus, ASUS looks into the future, and has created this eGPU to cater to the needs of VR gaming. This means that even in a couple of years, this eGPU will be completely viable, seeing as it will be just as useful in the future as VR gaming expands.
Thunderbolt 3: The Thunderbolt transfers data at astronomical rates, with speeds up to 40 Gbs. If you’re a web content developer, who needs quick rendering times, this eGPU is definitely a reasonable choice.
Plug and Play: This means that you can connect and disconnect this eGPU to play whenever and wherever you wish. This is a quick and easy way to game, and just requires a first time installation onto your laptop for it to work.
Power: This eGPU provides an internal watt supply of 500 Watts. This provides a massive boost to the performance of your graphics card, and this is perfect for those of you who want to enjoy perfect performance on your monitor.
Customisation: You can choose what colours go best with your setup, as ASUS provides a fully customisable card dock.
Great Power and efficiency
Plug and Play
Excellent transfer speeds
Doesn’t come with a graphics card, you must buy it yourself
Probably the best card docks in the business, ASUS has outshone all the competition by providing us with this amazing eGPU. This is quite a costly venture however. Not only is the card dock incredibly expensive, but the addition of having to buy a graphics card can be quite harsh on your bank account, so make sure you save up well for this one, as it is arguably worth your money.
Top thunderbolt external graphics card
The Thunderbolt 3 is a new and impressive technology that provides amazing transfer speeds for a good price. This has revolutionised not only the gaming industry, but the youtube world as well, as now data can be sent up to 3 times faster than USB 3.0
Akitio has created the Node Pro, one of the best external graphics cards, just for you. This is excellent for aspiring youtubers and gamers who want to see their games run at amazing fps rates.
Thunderbolt 3: Mentioned several times in this article, and for a very good reason, the Thunderbolt 3 is an excellent tool providing amazing data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbs.
Dedicated Displayport: The Akitio Node Pro has a dedicated display port that gives you the opportunity to add an additional monitor, so you can expand your workplace.
USB Power Delivery: With USB Power Delivery, the eGPU provides 60W of power to recharge your laptop in times where you’re unable to charge it. Not only this, but the Akitio Node Pro has a very power efficient system, so very little energy/power will be wasted.
Cooling system: The cooling system of the Akitio Node Pro is excellent. It has a wire mesh panel to dissipate the heat from the graphics card with additional on-board fans that are working nonstop, whilst also using very little power.
Built in SFX Power supply: This extra source of power can provide up to 500 Watts of Power! This will enhance your gaming experience drastically, giving you an amazing boost in performance.
- Good cooling system
- Great power supply
- Thunderbolt 3
- No customisation
- Not very attractive
- Doesn’t provide a graphics processor.
A very solid creation by Akitio puts the Akitio Node Pro at the top of our list for one of the best eGPUs around. It has excellent ratings and one of the most power efficient systems out of all the eGPUs reviewed so far. A solid product for any of you who want a simplistic docker that provides good performance.
Buying Guide Time:How to choose The Best External Graphics Card
eGPUs: The Background
The eGPU has been around in the technological world for quite some time, but throughout their existence, eGPUs have always been, how do we say it, ‘iffy.’ eGPUs might only work optimally with certain laptops for example, and operating systems can reduce the impact of the eGPU on the laptop.
Nevertheless, if you look at technology the same way I do, you should definitely get excited by the potential that these eGPUs have on the future of gaming, and PC technology as a whole. Some of the biggest companies in the world, including the big 4: Alienware, Gigabyte, PowerColor and Razor, have created very powerful eGPUs that will blow your mind today. The Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus and the Asus eGPUs are all example of modern day innovation, the best external graphics cards around.
A lot of speculation has gone into whether eGPUs really are worth the high investment required. However, with new technologies such as the Thunderbolt 3, God’s light has finally shone on the eGPU market.
The Thunderbolt 3 is a way of connecting an eGPU to a laptop, to allow the eGPU accelerate the graphics processor to provide optimal performance. The thunderbolt can transfer data up to 8 times faster than the USB 3.0, and provides up to 2 times the bandwidth as well. This means it has the best data transfer speeds around the world, making it an incredibly important asset in a gamers arsenal. Not only that, but the Thunderbolt 3 can also carry power, giving it the capability to charge your laptop whilst gaming, which is a fantastic feature that the Thunderbolt services.
Buying Basics:4 Things To Look For:
Our heading might be slightly misleading, as I’m sure you don’t think ‘Basic’ fits into an eGPU, and I’ll give you that point. These are, in their essence, complex products that don’t necessarily work all the time, or on every laptop, and for that reason it’s crucial that you know these 4 things to look out for.
Certified Compatibility: If you’re looking to connect an eGPU to your desktop or laptop, be sure that your laptop/desktop is on the box marker’s certified list. For example, if you have an Alienware PC, make sure you have an Alienware PC at the right generation that works with an Alienware Amplifier, otherwise the amplifier won’t be as effective (or not work at all!). Make sure you look out on the manufacturer’s products page to see their certified list.
Graphics Card-Sizing: Perhaps one of the most unfortunate things about all of this, is the fact that some graphics cards simply don’t fit into the chassis or some eGPUs. Every single eGPU manufacture provides the dimensions that the eGPU can service for, meaning that you have plenty of opportunity to find the right graphics card and right eGPU for you.
Power Supply Adequacy: Before buying an eGPU, make sure you have a look at the eGPUs spec list for the list of supported cards. A Razer Core for example has a 500 W power supply, yet at the same time, it’s only designed for a max card power draw of 375 W. The Max Power Draw of an eGPU is a very important feature when looking at which eGPU you want to buy.
Other Features: Pretty much every single eGPU box can act as a dock. If you have an external monitor, you can connect it to the back panel of most eGPUs. Some even have ethernet ports, giving you the opportunity to use the boxes as external hard drives.
Tip#1：Are you Gaming on a Laptop or a Desktop?
When it comes to laptops, they often don’t have enough power, or graphics processing capabilities to run games as smoothly as you’d want, so an eGPU would be an understandable step to finding an answer to that dilemma. But there are also many plausible reasons why you might want to get an eGPU for your desktop.
Do you Lack Space?
Sometimes it just happens that the graphics card you have doesn’t fit into your case, and for that reason an eGPU might just be your solution.
Do You Have A Weak Power Supply?
Sometimes you won’t have enough power to supply the wattage for the GPU that you
Is your Motherboard Incompatible?
A technology advances, more modern GPUs require a PCle 3.0 as the means of connection. If your motherboard lacks the slots, or has the slots being defective, then a reasonable solution to that is to get an eGPU.
Personally, I don’t see the points above being the greatest reasons for getting an eGPU, as surely you could just upgrade your gaming rig anyway – and for a similar price. I can only really think of one reason why you’d want to get an eGPU, and that’s if you have both, a laptop and a desktop. If you want to have the flexibility of gaming on a desktop and a laptop, then an eGPU is the best choice out there. If you get a plug and play eGPU, then you can game wherever, whenever, and whatever you want!
Do you Prioritize Power or Portability?
Something that’s fairly obvious, you cannot sell the cow and drink the milk, you can’t have something incredibly powerful, without it being quite heavy and large, and vice versa.
It truly depends on what your type of lifestyle is based on. If your a gamer who has a nice, steady lifestyle, where you game at home, then a heavy, powerful eGPU will be just right for you. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t always want to stay at home and game, and would rather go out and game with a friend etc, then a portable eGPU naturally makes a lot more sense.
If you want both power and portability, then I can’t help you there, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.
The Limits of eGPU You should Know
Sadly for us, eGPUs aren’t Gods. They are limited by themselves or the PCs they are connected to.
Chances are, you most likely want an eGPU since your laptop is focused on CPU graphics-based acceleration. However, if the requirements that an eGPU demands, aren’t met, your eGPU will have a hard time reaching its potential. If your bandwidth isn’t up to scratch, chances are, the nature of the connection will limit you eGPU. Your CPU itself might be very powerful, but you might still see a penalty in fps because of poor connectivity.
The Alienware Amplifier uses a x4 pathway as its connection, requiring high bandwidth. The Thunderbolt 3 will also have very similar issues, which would heavily impact fps in-game.
Ready for Our Recommendations?
Since we don’t know the specifics of your laptop, these recommendations might not be right for you, but we’re gonna give it our best shot. The Razer Core is definitely on our recommendation list, let alone the Aorus GTX 1080. Both these products will enhance your gaming experience spectacularly. If you want to look at portability, any of the Aorus makes are right for you, as they are small and still relatively light.
Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know when it comes to buying your eGPU. Now it’s time to throw the ball in your court. It’s time for you to look for the External Graphics Card right for you, and give you that gaming experience you’ve always wanted.