Are eGPUs worth it?

Are eGPUs worth it?

Last Updated on July 16, 2021 by paularo

An eGPU can be compared to a boost without the residual effects as it always provides the power required when used right. Desktops are designed for stationary use and because of the design, they are packed with all the essentials a user needs.

Are eGPUs worth it? Yes, eGPUs are absolutely worth it because they give your laptop the gaming and graphical power it needs to run the latest AAA games, render 4K or 8K files faster, edit videos, animate graphics and write code faster.

Gaming laptops are bulky and heavy, using an eGPU cuts off this stress. This is basically a graphics process unit (GPU) you connect to your system with a cable to take the pressure off your laptop in terms of carrying out activities that require graphics. An eGPU can aid compatibility in terms of providing a better gaming experience on a laptop without affecting your mobile lifestyle.

This device is more of a gamers’ demand.You will usually need to have a monitor, central processing unit and any other additional hardware to give you the best gaming experience. What does this mean for gamers who prefer to use a laptop? Heavier laptops.

This is not always convenient especially if the laptop serves multiple purposes (e.g., game and work). To keep the portability of your laptop but increase its capacity, you need a device. This is the feature of an eGPU.

Although not all laptops support eGPUs, newer models are designing their products to accommodate this feature.  To connect this device to your computing device (desktop or laptop), you need a USB C with thunderbolt 3 connectivity (minimum) or an Express card port.

A thunderbolt speed is usually 40Gbps. This eGPUs sometimes come in enclosures to protect them and a cable to connect them to a PC, if they don’t, it is advisable you purchase one. They must be supported by your operating system as it is not compatible with all OS.

What is an eGPU?

An external graphics processing unit is a detachable processing power unit designed to improve the graphics display of a computing system. It bears the burden that would have been carried only by your computing system. Laptops usually run hot when the application or software requires high processing power and eGPUs help reduce heat.

The enclosures they come in might have a cooling fan, PCIe machines and power supply unit. You need a compatible central processing unit as some games are more dependent on a central processing unit rather than a graphics processing unit. Even if a game is not dependent on a central processing unit, if this hardware is not good enough to accommodate an external GPU, it will not improve display as it should.

It can come with an enclosure that requires you to supply your own graphics card, an enclosure that comes with a replaceable graphics card and an enclosure that comes with a locked graphics card, so you can never make changes.

An eGPU is a good option if you don’t want a dedicated gaming box. Desktops provide the best quality for gaming and are this device is trying to emulate it. Although they are only compatible with some brands of laptops, they can be used for desktops too.

The experience on both platforms is not identical, they perform better with desktops most times. If you want to play new games but don’t want to purchase a new PC to accommodate this upgrade, an eGPU is worth it. It might still be limited if your laptop is not designed for it.

The eGPU requires a power supply unit, the higher the power, the better to fit a gamer with elevated graphics. The range is 100W – 650W, above 400W, is the best for powerful graphics. The power supply location is also important.

An eGPU needs a cooling source. They can be external or internal fan units to cool the device. An internal cooler is minimalist and efficient. You also have to consider how much space can you provide to accommodate this new device. Check if it is compatible with your PC and your graphics card?

External GPUs that are swappable without a graphics card are called enclosures. The swappable ones allow versatility, non-swappable ones are more expensive. Some are portable devices you can carry around, as they are not always hefty.

If you are planning to purchase a replaceable one (swappable), ensure the size of your card fits. There are eGPUs that are preferable for gaming and some for editing, they can both be alternated for these functions but they are features that make them distinct for a particular purpose i.e., portability.

Are eGPUs alone sufficient to boost your graphics display? No, they are not, they need a compatible laptop or desktop, compatible central processing unit and they cannot deliver the same quality as the desktop.

Are eGPUs expensive? They are certainly not budget devices but there are more affordable ones that go for $300. The non-swappable ones are the most expensive going for $1,000 and above. The best eGPU enclosure is the Razer Core X Chroma.

Should I purchase an eGPU? This decision is dependent on a few things;

  1. Do you use a desktop or a laptop? If you use the former, it is easier because your workstation is not mobile. If you want to purchase it for the latter, you have to understand that the portability level of your laptop will be reduced if you want to carry the eGPU everywhere. If you plan to game or edit videos only at home then it is not a problem.
  • What is your budget? If you okay with spending that extra amount for an upgrade instead of getting a device dedicated to gaming. This is more beneficial if the cost of the eGPU and your computing system costs less than a dedicated gaming laptop or desktop. We already pointed out that swappable enclosures are cheaper than non-swappable ones. Asides from being cheaper, the swappable ones require you to purchase parts more often than not including a fan while the non-swappable are easier to use as they are ready to use immediately after purchase.
  • Is portability a priority? There are ultra-notebooks and asides from their sleek design, their very slim frame makes them light this feature presents portability as their most desirable feature or selling point. For gamers who use laptops, gaming laptops have not been able to achieve this extremely light feature. Although some laptops are almost there (e.g. Razer), it is not quite the same. If a gamer values portability especially if the laptop will be used in public spaces for other things asides from gaming and editing then an eGPU is a worthwhile purchase.

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