eGPU? Are you using one? Do they make sense? Are they for you?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by B0B, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. B0B

    B0B Notebook Evangelist

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    With the "popularity" of Thunderbolt 3, I often get asked if the port on a particular laptop I may be covering is getting 2 or 4 lanes of pci-e.

    Are people actually using this eGPU solution? I do not see them flying off the shelves and it's hardly talked about in social media.

    I understand where they would be used, but most people who I have conversations with on this topic tend to just go a different route. Not because I talked them out of it, far from that in fact. I think the idea is cool, but extremely niche in function right now.

    So coming back full circle, why is having TB3 with 4 lanes such a deal breaker or highly recommended while simultaneously stating the reason is because you can add the eGPU once the dedicated GPU is getting long in the tooth?
     
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Prophet

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  3. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    You are correct that an eGPU is a niche.

    Right now, it doesn't make sense for most people who want better gaming performance, because the barrier to entry is so high. You have to:
    • Own a laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port
    • Want to play games on that laptop
    • Find the current GPU on the laptop to be insufficient for gaming.
    • Are comfortable with the 10%-20% performance drop of your video card when running eGPU
    • Buy an eGPU enclosure ($300-$500)
    • Buy a video card to put in the enclosure ($300-$800)
    • Hope that it all works with your specific combination of laptop BIOS, eGPU enclosure hardware, eGPU firmware revision, video drivers.

    In an ideal world, eGPU enclosures would be much cheaper, and provide universal compatibility between laptops, eGPUs, and drivers. But we are not quite there yet today.

    It's often easier and cheaper to just build a gaming desktop, and buy a non-gaming laptop while moving around for school, work, etc. There aren't too many practical use cases where you must have a single laptop for both productivity and gaming. Often, it's a nice-to-have for people that like to tinker with new cutting-edge toys.
     
    slimmolG likes this.
  4. BeastsForever.TheDragon

    BeastsForever.TheDragon Notebook Evangelist

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    1 most laptops have TB3
    2 eGPU is to future proof ur laptop, laets say after 3 years your cpu is good to play 2021 games but your gpu aint, you could use that year's nvidia gpu via egpu!
    3 you dont need an enclosure!
    Just need a m.2 to pxcie x16 or a tb3 to pciex16(30-40$) and a psu(150$)
    4 each and every card is supported by any laptops' bios! You just need a gpu driver.
    TaaDaa!!!!!!
     
  5. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    I'm not much into games, but if I was I'd definitely be using an eGPU enclosure with power delivery & USB ports for additional accessories, in a docking station manner. On the other hand, I strongly prefer thin&light business convertibles - which traditionally come with iGPU only - anything less being a major step backwards in usability for me; pretty much sure most consider eGPU a gimmick and would rather buy a dGPU laptop.
     
  6. Darker01

    Darker01 Notebook Geek

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    For eGPU in general, the number of documented TB3 eGPU implementations have risen significantly more than others recently as shown here. Clearly eGPU has gotten more mainstream with the introduction of TB3 starting with the Razer Core (well granted that it was much more obscure beforehand). I think eGPU is rarely talked about in mainstream media in the same way that you rarely find people who know what Clevo is or that desktop CPU in laptop is a thing. This is in addition to the hurdles kent1146 mentioned.
     
    B0B likes this.
  7. Support.2@XOTIC PC

    Support.2@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Even the hybrid laptops that were purpose built for an external weren't terribly popular (That 13" MSI comes to mind). It's a confusing field because proponents try to make it sound insanely more practical and simple than it actually is. I keep catching people saying USB 3.1c and TB3 are equivalent, or that TB3 is on more machines than it actually is, further muddying the waters on the issue. End of the day, it's a complicated solution to a problem not a lot of people actually have.
     
    B0B likes this.
  8. sicily428

    sicily428 Donuts!! :)

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    egpus are a good options for having an ultrabook IMO
     
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