Is Thunderbolt 3 Fast Enough For eGPU

Is Thunderbolt 3 Fast Enough For eGPU?

Last Updated on July 1, 2021 by paularo

When looking to boost the graphics performance of your computer mostly laptops, the idea of getting an eGPU must be welcomed. All you need for this to be possible is an eGPU enclosure, a thunderbolt 3, and a laptop that supports the use of these devices. With all this available you are sure of getting your desired performance. However, the real question on most minds is, is the thunderbolt 3 fast enough for eGPU? Let’s find out.

Is Thunderbolt 3 fast enough for eGPU? Yes, Thunderbolt 3 is fast enough for eGPU. TB3 made using an eGPU possible because of its 40Gbps transfer speed which is the fastest of them all. With Thunderbolt 3, you get better performance because of its large bandwidth and ability to quickly transfer data from the CPU to eGPU.

The eGPU was designed to quickly receive a tremendous amount of data from the CPU of your laptops so as to quickly translate them to the screen. And to help in boosting the graphics performance of your laptop. So it needs a cable that can quickly transmit the data from the CPU to it. Previous port technologies are not fast enough. As a result of this lack of speed from these cables, most users weren’t able to get the desired performance from their eGPU.

This is where the thunderbolt 3 cables come in. Thunderbolt 3 allows you to transfer data up to 40 Gbits. That a tremendous data speed. This allows the eGPU to quickly receive a huge amount of data in few seconds and quickly transmit them back to your laptop.

That means it transfers data 8X faster than USB 3.0 and has a 4X bandwidth more than HDMI 1.4. which is more than capable for your eGPU. So the games you couldn’t play on your laptop due to slow data transfer can now be run using a thunderbolt 3 cable.

It was this advantage that most manufacturers saw that made them embrace the thunderbolt 3. And quickly start to employ the,m on their latest models. Apple was among the first to adopt Thunderbolt 3. And you can find it on their latest Mac laptops and desktops.

Even Windows PCs are now working with thunderbolt 3 as well as they have also seen what it can do. And how compact it is with the external GPUs. If Thunderbolt 3 isn’t fast enough for eGPUs these manufacturers won’t have embraced it at all.  

How Thunderbolt 3 Makes eGPU Possible.

As we know that external GPU requires high-speed cables to make it transmit huge data files in seconds. Which in turn help boost the graphics performance level of our laptops and most desktops. However, the earlier cables like the thunderbolt 1 and 2 and USB cables weren’t fast enough for eGPUs making it less practical.

The problems with these cables were the limited bandwidth. USB 3.0 for instance transfers data at a speed of 5Gbps which is too slow for any kind of eGPU. This only comes as an option when you are running a low GPU.

Of all the previous cables, the thunderbolt 2 would be more preferable. Still even it at a speed of 20Gbps isn’t fast enough to transmit huge data files in a second. Although you might get an encouraging performance from it. But it still not fast enough. Most 3D game lovers don’t like slagging so they go ahead to spend huge in buying an eGPU. But if such a gamer uses thunderbolt 2 the person might not love the desired outcome despite spending a lot on an eGPU.

So the advent of Thunderbolt 3 virtually made connection to eGPU much more possible. It was designed to be able to handle the bandwidth that needed to connect to an eGPU boosting graphics performance.

As I earlier stated that the thunderbolt 3 runs at a speed of 40Gbps/s making it possible to transfer huge data in seconds. The thunderbolt 3 is 2X faster than the thunderbolt 2 and 8X faster than the USB 3.0. making the thunderbolt 3 the best option in connecting to an external GPU.

The Thunderbolt 3 is the only cable that provides the level of bandwidth needed by any graphics-intensive application which helps hand off billions of bits of data to the external GPU for processing. And in turn, returns the results to your laptop.

In terms of gaming, it helps in ultra high definition 4K. Which means it helps give greater resolution. You now understand the statement why thunderbolt 3 makes eGPU possible for without it needed graphics performance level will not be achieved.

The Downside Of Using A Thunderbolt 3 To eGPU.

Haven known how fast the thunderbolt 3 is, it is good to note the limitations it also brings to the table. One major issue here is that the thunderbolt 3 doesn’t work with any laptop. So if you are still using one of the old Macs or Windows PCs, there is no guarantee that this will work for you. To overcome this you have to lay your hands on one of the latest PCs that supports it.

Secondly the cost. The Thunderbolt 3 also known as the fastest cable is that cheap you know. It has been found that the cable is very expensive due to its high technological advantage. So if you are on a budget this might not be a good time to get one. You might as well stick with the one you already have.

Lastly, is the bandwidth thing again. Bandwith limitations are still are a major issue with the eGPU. Although the Thunderbolt 3 cable provides the eGPU with the level of bandwidth it requires, there is also a drop in the performance level.

Some applications mostly 3D applications have huge data to transfer to the eGPU. Though the Thunderbolt 3 is fast enough to do this, it isn’t that fast compared to the PCI-E in desktops which are faster. But for now, thunderbolt 3 is still what we can consider as fast for eGPUs.

Related Questions

How do I check my eGPU bandwith?

You have constantly seen bandwidths in the article some questions you may have is how to check your bandwidth. That’s simple. I will recommend you use cling. When you are using any of the thunderbolts or USB in transferring a file, cling shows you the amount of bandwidth available on your eGPU.

Is thunderbolt 3 the only option to add an eGPU?

No the Thunderbolt 3 isn’t the only option in adding eGPU to your laptop. There other options to do so. However, the Thunderbolt 3 is the quickest and the cleanest method. Other options include using USB 3.0, using of express card slot, and other lower thunderbolt cables.

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