Best External Graphics Card (eGPU) 2019

If your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port (USB-C port), then it probably supports an eGPU. Attaching any of these top eGPU’s will allow your laptop to benefit from AMD or NVidia graphics cards. In this case, you don’t have to worry about carrying a bulky workstation or gaming laptop everywhere you go. Just about any laptop user can enjoy the benefits of working with an external GPU, thanks to the recent strides in technology.

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Best Alienware

Pros:
  • 460W PSU
  • Easy to use
  • Looks good
Cons:
  • Alienware only
  • Loud fan
  • Dust magnet

The Alien Graphics Amplifiers looks like your standard toasters, with the only difference being the extra flair and grilles. It is a big unit with dimensions of 185.42X408.94X172.72 mm. On the inside, the first component that you’ll see is a 460W power supply, which is enough to run virtually all the available graphics cards in the market. You will also see a full PCIex16 slot, where you can connect your graphics card. Besides this slot, eight-pin and six-pin connectors are available for you to use depending on your graphics card’s power requirements. The enclosure has four USB 3.0 ports at the back that you can use to connect it to your laptop.

The Alienware Graphics Amplifier boasts a full PCIex16 slot and a 460W PSU, powerful enough for any graphics card on the market.

Best Razer eGPU

Razer Core V2

Pros:
  • Chroma lighting
  • Easy to use
  • Good GPU compatibility
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • No GPU included
  • Limited laptop compatibility

If you are familiar with other Razer products (phones and laptops), then you must be familiar with their signature look. The Core V2 maintains the same beautifully, anodized black aluminium body that you will see on all Razer laptops and the previous eGPU generation. Regarding the previous Core, it is identical to the V2, though the latter has some significant changes regarding performance. You will still see the company’s logo on the right side of the eGPU and a large, metallic grille on the left side. It has vents along the bottom, front, and the top to help in managing temperature increases within the unit. Dimensions are 11.8×5.7×1.7 inches, which is slightly larger than the previous generation. Top it off, the V2 features chroma lighting.

The Razer Core V2 does not come with a graphics card out of the box. It does pack a massive 500W power supply, and has Razers standard high build quality.

Best Value

Gigabyte Aorus Gaming Box

Pros:
  • GPU included
  • Powers the laptop
  • Very portable
Cons:
  • Limited GPU upgrades
  • Flakey USB
  • Coil whine

The Aorus Gaming Box has similar features to those of the Razer Core. It is also an external GPU enclosure, which works with laptops through a Thunderbolt 3 connection. Aorus Gaming Box cost 100 dollars more than the Razer Core V2, but it comes with a GTX 1070 graphics card already fitted inside. This unit is compact and relies on Gigabyte’s GTX 1070 GPU and a 450W power supply. Being thin limits upgradeability of the Aorus Gaming Box, but it allows it to remain small and portable. It weighs just five pounds, making it easy to carry it around in your backpack, and it doesn’t take up so much space in a desk setup.

Product 3 Description: Aorus Gaming Box cost 100 dollars more than the Razer Core V2, but it comes with a GTX 1070 graphics card already fitted inside.

Best Cheap eGPU

Akitio Node

Pros:
  • Cheap
  • Easy to use
  • Macbook Pro support
Cons:
  • Short TB3 cable
  • Not portable
  • Loud fan

Akitio Node is one of the eGPU enclosures that support a wide variety of laptops as long as they rock the Thunderbolt 3 port. The manufacturer behind this product stresses reliability and practicality more than anything else. However, the most outstanding feature of the Akitio Node is that it is the largest of all the enclosures mentioned in this roundup. The size is reminiscent of that of an actual computer. For this reason, it is the least portable of all the mentioned products.

An affordable but massive eGPU, that works on the MacBook pro.

Best High-End

ASUS RoG XG Station 2

Pros:
  • 500w PSU
  • Dual GPU
  • Latest GPU support
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Did not max out GPU performance
  • Large cards were harder to remove

Classic ASUS ROG appearance, it is not a cheap eGPU but it does support two cards and has a 500W PSU.

Considerations Before Buying an eGPU

Being a new product in the market, few people are familiar with eGPU enclosures. For this reason, you may not know exactly what to look for when the need to purchase one of these devices arises. Here are some of the things to consider before handing over your money to the seller.

Dimensions

Ensuring that the GPUs fit into an enclosure is the essential aspect of this process. Most enclosures will fit the biggest of graphics cards without any problems, but as technology continues to advance, more compact models should start appearing. Check on the amount of space an enclosure will take up and where you’ll keep it. Ask yourself whether what you find is portable. Go for the lighter models if you are always on the move. Always carry it in a padded container to reduce the risk of damage.

Technical Considerations

Check out the compatibility of ports and whether they have good speeds. You will need a port with higher
bandwidth for the best user experience. Thunderbolt 3 is the most common port for this kind of use. The problem is that only high-end newer laptops have these ports. Do not buy an eGPU before confirming whether your laptop supports Thunderbolt 3.

Another vital thing to check is the list of compatible computers for specific enclosures. Ensure that your laptop is in this list and double-check so that you don’t end up with the wrong product. Also, check whether the power rating can support the graphics cards that you intend to work with.

Purpose

If you are the kind of person who always goes for the latest tech or gadgets, the price might not be a problem for you. However, if you are just out looking for a high end gaming PC, you’d want to build one rather than investing in a high-end laptop plus a graphics card, and an eGPU enclosure. If you want the best performance out of your eGPU, you’d want to connect it to a different display other than the laptop’s, such as a monitor or a TV. That means forking out some extra cash for a display. Remember, it all boils down to your preferences.

The Bottom Line

Laptops do a great job in providing most desktop computing capabilities with portability. However, using laptops comes with the disadvantage of losing the ability to upgrade most internal components. Since not everyone can afford to purchase a new laptop every few years, getting an eGPU seems to be a reliable approach towards keeping up with the seemingly rapid advancements in computer processing. The external graphics card enclosures mentioned above are future proof. They will allow you to upgrade your GPU without ever having to worry about them not being compatible with your laptop. From the detailed descriptions of each eGPU, you should be able to make the right purchasing decision that meets your needs.