Can I Use eGPU Without Thunderbolt?

Last Updated on June 18, 2021 by paularo

The great thing about using an external GPU is the fact that its whole operation is based on flexibility, not in the sense that you can take it anywhere because you can’t. This flexibility is in the sense that there’s not just one limited option when it comes to the usage or connection of an eGPU.

Can I Use eGPU Without Thunderbolt? Yes, an eGPU could be used without a thunderbolt connection. What you essentially need is a motherboard PCIe port or anyone their device might have and a compatible eGPU dock to go along with it, there is a whole process and list of steps that go into using the eGPU without thunderbolt, but it is possible and with enough help and great direction, it is relatively doable.

The eGPU basically functions as a powerhouse for providing graphics to your computer or laptop. In this day and age, all it needs is a thunderbolt 3 connection; a simple cable that requires a connection from the eGPU to your laptop and it’s good to go.

But before the advent of these thunderbolt3 cables and ports, people had to basically connect their external GPU in a solid DIY fashion, and as it stands, not all laptops even have the thunderbolt 3 port to use.

The whole usage of an external GPU doesn’t necessarily revolve around thunderbolt, it is relatively new, trendy and easier to use but there are still other options that have been around even before the new trend came to be.

There are propriety connections for eGPUs that make use of a certain Alienware, the proprietary connectors are being used by a lot of eGPU manufacturers and it isn’t as new as the thunderbolt but it is also a good way of connecting the eGPU, and then there are eGPU docks that could be connected to the laptop with the help of a power supply, a port and the graphics card as well.

Building a PCIe external GPU isn’t the easiest thing to do, but without the thunderbolt connection, it is one option you might have to consider, the only downside is the possibility of causing damage if you don’t know what you are doing.

Without a thunderbolt connection, what you would be opting for is a DIY eGPU option that is known to be quite strenuous and tough, but with the right tutorials and instructional videos, you might just be able to do it. This option requires you to open up your laptop, remove your WLAN card and then you would have to build your own eGPU with an eGPU dock, a graphics card, a power supply and maybe a few cables as well.

The great thing about the DIY eGPU is that even with the great trend and ease that comes with using a thunderbolt connection, there are still a number of people out there that still build their own eGPUs, and without a thunderbolt connection, you might have to do the same.

How To Use An eGPU Without Thunderbolt

With just the right cables, it is possible to make your own eGPU, a PCIe port will be connected to the motherboard and you must have a power supply as well as a graphics card. This isn’t exactly the most standard way to connect your eGPU and it might give you a tough time, but it doesn’t require the thunderbolt connection.

This method could still be used as there are a few communities that still make use of the DIY method; there are also a lot of YouTube videos to watch if you want to get the hang of it. There are different types of PCIe connectors and even other connectors that can help you achieve the use of an eGPU without a thunderbolt connection.

In order to use an eGPU without a thunderbolt, you would need more than just an enclosure and a thunderbolt cable. You will need an eGPU dock, the graphics card that will be mounted on the dock and a power supply. This connection might not be as fancy as the other connection options and it may not even have a box to house the dock, but it still works all the same.

Step By Step DIY eGPU

You will have to open up your laptop for this, find out what WLAN card your laptop has, it could a PCIe card, an express card, or an M.2 slot. The eGPU dock will also have a power connector and a mini PCIe to HDMI cable, the eGPU cable will be needed to make all the connections happen.

Get a dock that matches the card type and a cable to go with it, buy a graphics card that is compatible with your laptop, a power supply as well.

Find the PCIe slot of your laptop and take out the WLAN card, and then plug the eGPU cable with the dock. Connect the power supply to the power connector of the dock and connect the eGPU cable to the dock as well.

Insert the graphics card on the dock and if the GPU needs more power, you could connect it to the power supply unit’s 6 or 8 pin connector. Finally, connect the power supply unit to an electric supply and plug in the laptop’s charger and put it on the laptop.

Because you’re installing the eGPU instead of the WLAN card, you will have to enter the BIOS to disarm the built-in display, if you don’t do that, the graphic card will be detected but it will not work. All this should be done before the laptop is even booted.

Using the eGPU doesn’t have to be limited to just one option ,you would have a substitute option just in case you don’t have a thunderbolt connection ,and you could make just about any other option work with the right components and the best guide.

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