External GPU or eGPU operates the same way as a discrete graphics processing unit but paired outside of the system. Depending upon their usage and enclosure, PC users, specifically gaming enthusiasts, can swap or add GPUs as much as they want. But, if you are a Mac or a laptop guy, then it won’t be accessible at all for you to do any of these things. In such a case, eGPU comes into play. External GPUs enable you to add half-length graphic cards to your machine via thunderbolt 2 or thunderbolt 3. In short, these cards are a better or almost perfect option to pair with laptops.
Modern GPUs can do specific calculations way faster than these were being done in the past by your computer’s CPU and can take away those tasks from the CPU, making your overall machine look more efficient. That’s an oversimplified statement. If your current GPU isn’t supporting a mercury GPU acceleration, now is the time for you to upgrade. In addition, you must know if is eGPU worth it before purchasing a laptop card. Well, if you’re curious to learn more about this query, this post can help you—all you have to do is read this post until the end.
- An eGPU is an external graphics card that can be connected to a laptop or a mini PC via a high-speed port, such as Thunderbolt 3.
- An eGPU can boost the gaming performance, productivity, and creativity of your device, especially if it has a weak or integrated GPU.
- An eGPU can also enable VR gaming, multiple monitor support, and 4K resolution on your device, as well as extend its lifespan and functionality.
- However, an eGPU is not a perfect solution, as it has some drawbacks, such as high cost, compatibility issues, portability limitations, and performance loss.
- An eGPU is worth it if you have a compatible device that can benefit from a GPU upgrade, and if you are willing to invest in a quality eGPU enclosure and GPU.
Why do we need eGPU?
Several years back, high-end gaming level was preferred on performing desktops as they were considered the golden choice for excellent gameplay. High-level GPUs blew all graphic processors out of water. Anyone wishing for superb gameplay would need a desktop setup, and laptops being new and undeveloped technology, were pushed aside. However, the present things have changed everything. The fast pace of advancement has made it more feasible than ever to play graphically intensive games on a laptop.
It created high competition among the evolving technologies, and this is the point in time when the eGPU emerged. Connecting a desktop GPU to a laptop is now possible to boost its performance with advancement. eGPU is an external device capable of holding a desktop’s graphics card and providing power to it. They connect to your laptop and dispense the juice it needs to run some of the highly glossy games. In short, eGPU is a perfect option to get more out of the laptop regarding graphics-related performance.
Is eGPU worth it?
Now moving towards the final and foremost question, Is eGPU worth it? Well, the short answer to this question is yes. Here are some things we need to know to prove the point. The eGPUs provide diversification in their jobs. The problem is that the niche they exist in is much smaller than you may think. Imagine if a laptop is striving to play the latest games, and an eGPU may be an excellent solution to that problem; however, many users will consider buying a new laptop.
As eGPU would provide them with a more satisfactory feeling. Moreover, it would allow them to have more latest updated software applications. As such, anyone willing to buy a newer eGPU has to balance the idea of simply buying new hardware. However, few niches fit the bill of the commoner, but still, the option of new hardware is very much valid. Consider a scenario in which your friend gives you his old eGPU, and then you can quickly get rid of the thought of getting new hardware.
But it is not always the scenario, so it becomes a bit confusing to choose between two scenarios. You can also buy an eGPU only to protect your graphics card while you are out and about. For example, you can unplug it to take it to the café along with you, and on returning home, you can just plug and play. By plug and play, we mean you just have to connect the eGPU, and you are all done loading and playing your intense games.
eGPU enclosure options
The horizon of the eGPu world is touching the highest limits these days as they are continuously evolving. A few contenders in the external GPU enclosure include AKiTiO, with a few different seasoning enclosures. ASUS has also introduced their XG-STATION-PRO or Sonnet tech with the eGFX Breakaway Box. Suppose you are a ready-to-roll type of guy. In that case, you can also go for the AORUS GTX 1080 Gaming Box, which offers its users an embedded Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. Remember, you must choose one after reading the buying guide given below.
Quick Shopping Tips
Form factor: When buying an eGPU, one of the most important things is to check whether the eGPU matches your card properties or not. Does it suit your chosen enclosure? It also becomes more responsible for you to check the card’s dimensions versus the square you will buy. Make sure to consider the size of the eGPU, although it won’t fit into the system. But still, it will define the overall beauty of the aesthetics of your computing machine.
Memory: Spending on something with multiple flavors makes it quite difficult for the buyer to choose. Gamers might disagree, but our team has created a precise comparison among some models. Now we are to give a final verdict about the memory. The more significant the memory of the card, the more suitable the performance is. Whatever you do, buy a card that contains at least 4GB of virtual RAM, as it is the minimum requirement for video work.
Model number: This factor isn’t discussed much in the market, but it is evident that a newer model will offer more features and work better than the senior one. It is on you to do extensive research before pulling the trigger because the last thing you would want is to buy a new GPU right before a new model is released. You can also choose a more recent model card when it’s available or save some dough on the model you’re currently interested in.
CUDA cores: Nvidia CUDA cores are considered one of the most responsible factors when considering an eGPU. A higher number of CUDA cores typically signifies that the video card provides faster, better, and smoother performance under extreme conditions. Nvidia offers a range of cards, offering a variety of cores. In short, if possible, go for a higher number of CUDA cores rather than putting your money into an eGPU with lesser ones.
For those already in the market looking for eGPU, the current range of GPUs allows you to mix and match graphics cards for your old system. Interestingly, many customers were asking whether is eGPU worth it. Well, the short answer to this question is yes. An eGPU solves graphics performance issues for laptop users since they can pair this card externally and utilize the actual graphics experience without any issues. Furthermore, several options are available in the market to give you freedom of choice.
But before you buy a new card, you should consider purchasing a newer system, as this decision would be better overall. After all, they are not cheap. If you are a gaming enthusiast and your laptop is no longer willing to let you enjoy some more intense performing games, and you still don’t want to buy newer hardware, and if it is the only way for you to achieve your goals, it’s worth the investment. Remember, in the quick shopping tips section, you must consider all the crucial aspects of every eGPU that we discussed earlier in this post.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to choose an eGPU?
eGPU can perform excellently if you consider some features, aspects, or technologies. First, start by assessing the correct form factor per your needs. After that, check out the number of CUDA cores the eGPU has and the card’s rated power requirement. An eGPU with 500-700W power capacity is perfect for gaming and content creation.
What is an eGPU used for?
An eGPU operates the same as the other discrete or integrated graphics cards but is different in terms of connectivity. It connects to the PC or laptop externally to boost the graphics enclosure. If we look at its structure, it’s a proper combination of a fan, a power supply, and a few PCIe ports for connectivity purposes.