Home Buying Guides Best Laptops for eGPU : 2019 Buyer’s Guide!

Best Laptops for eGPU : 2019 Buyer’s Guide!

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Best Laptops for eGPU

External graphics cards (eGPU, external Graphics Processing Unit) are considered the next big thing in the gaming world; and while they might still be a compromise right now, the technology is very promising. An eGPU an amazing solution for those who want a laptop that’s very portable, but still occasionally need a proper dedicated  graphics card for gaming or any other GPU intensive task. Here’s what your setup is going to look like: a laptop, a full-size GPU, and an enclosure the size of a small box. We’ve put together a list of some of the best laptops for eGPU available right now. But first, let’s find out if an eGPU is actually suitable for your needs, and consider some of the advantages and the drawbacks eGPUs.

What are advantages of an eGPU?

As you might have figured, laptops keep getting smaller and thinner by the time. Mobile graphics cards have been optimized more and more to be performing despite their size, but they’re still far from offering the same experience of their desktop counterparts. This is where eGPUs come to help. Picture this: you bring your ultrabook along for commuting, or classes. Then you get back home, you plug the eGPU and play your favorite videogame on high settings. Tempting, isn’t it? Here’s why you should consider a setup with an eGPU.

  • Superior graphic performance: that is, without having to rely on a bulky and stationary desktop computer. If you need an ultrabook for the portability, but you still want some more juice for gaming, or designing, an eGPU might be just what you’ve been looking for.
  • Better laptop lifespan: you might be used to upgrading your laptop’s RAM and storage space, but that’s it. A laptop’s lifespan won’t ever be as long as a desktop’s one. Although if you have a laptop that supports eGPUs, that’ll be another replacement you’ll be able to do without having to buy a new device.

How to choose the best laptop for eGPU?

As we’ve mentioned before, the whole eGPU thing was made possible by the introduction of the Thunderbolt 3 connection, using USB Type-C ports. Thunderbolt 3 is the first interface with a large enough bandwidth (up to 40 Gbps) to support external GPUs, while the enclosure takes care of the power delivery. Not all Thunderbolt 3 laptops, though, are optimized for eGPUs. Besides compatibility lists, some important criteria happen to be hidden specifications, that you might have to look out for.

  • Quad Core ULV (Ultra-Low Voltage) processor: 8th generation Intel processors offer a better performance than predecessors, while running at lower speeds. That means less battery drainage and overheating. The Intel Core i7-8550U is one of the best performing ULV processors.
  • 4 PCIe lanes over Thunderbolt 3: with Thunderbolt 3 being a relatively new installment, most manufacturers dedicated 2 PCIe lanes to connect those ports to the motherboard. Although 4 PCIe lanes are necessary for a decent eGPU setup.
  • OPI 4GT/s: OPI 2GT/s and 4GT/s are two different modes featured on a CPU, with the latter being the high-performing one as it operates at max 40 Gbps. Other than checking online benchmarks, there’s no easy telling if your CPU has OPI 4GT/s mode.

Drawbacks of eGPUs

Despite being a fast connectivity, eGPU over Thunderbolt 3 doesn’t offer the same speed of a graphics card directly plugged into the motherboard. An external GPU will run at 80% at best the performance of a directly wired GPU.

  • Latency issues: data transfer limitations translate into latency issues that could ruin the game for some users, like competitive first-person shooter gamers.
  • Expensive setup: the higher performance might not be worth the 300 bucks minimum that you’ll need to hand over for a graphics card and eGPU enclosure, like the leading Razer Core. That’ll be on top of your mid-to-high budget ultrabook.

Best Laptops for eGPU

So, now that you have an idea about eGPUs and how they might revolutionize your gaming experience; let’s check some of the best laptops for eGPU available right now. If you have any other suggestions or if you’re already using an eGPU, let us know down in the comments below.

Lenovo Yoga 720 

The Lenovo Yoga 720 is a convertible 13.3” Full HD ultrabook, that you can flip all the way up in tablet and tent mode. Of course, it offers a touchscreen display that’s built for Windows Ink. This is exactly the kind of portable and thin laptops that you’d never picture playing games on, unless it was for an eGPU. The Yoga 720 features an 8th generation Quad Core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD.

You name it: 0.6” thin, backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, ultrabook-standard 8 hours battery life. The Yoga 720’s characteristics make it fit for a busy work or lecture schedule. Thunderbolt 3 connectivity on it is just another level of experiences that you could have through this marvelous device.

Processor Intel Core i5-8250U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage  256GB, PCIe SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD 620
Screen 13,3 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C

1- USB 3.0 port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 8 hours battery life

 

Lenovo Yoga 730

Compared to the 720, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is a similarly priced ultrabook that is available in 13.3” size. It comes with a nice Full HD and touchscreen display, that you can use in the mode that’s best for you thanks to the 360 degrees hinge. The Yoga 730 features an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of PCIe SSD.

Premium features of this 2.47 lbs ultrabook are the backlit keyboard, the fingerprint reader and a 300 nits bright display that’ll feel comfortable enough when looked at outdoors. Thunderbolt 3 connectivity compliments its overall value, making it suitable for eGPUs.

Processor Intel Core i5-8265U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage  256GB, PCIe SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C // Thunderbolt 3

1- USB 3.0 port

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 11,5 hours battery life

Dell XPS13 9380 

Unlike previous installments, the newest Dell XPS 13 9380 features a x4 PCIe Thunderbolt 3 port which makes it one of the best laptops for eGPU use. This beautiful piece of technology is a 13.3” 4K ultrabook, with a narrow bezel touchscreen display. It’s packed with a high performing 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB PCIe SSD.

With all USB Type-C connectors, the XPS 13 is a perfect example of how premium laptops are going to look like in the future. 0.46” thin, weighting 2.7 lbs, it’s the archetype of a portable and performing laptop. If only it could offer high graphics performance by itself!

Processor Intel Core i7-8565U Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 1TB, PCie SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840×2160 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 2- Thunderbolt 3 ports

1- USB Type C

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1,

Battery up to 9 hours battery life

HP Spectre x360-13t

The HP Spectre x360-13t is another ultrabook with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, supporting eGPUs. It comes in a 13.3” convertible design, with a Full HD touchscreen display. The Spectre x360 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550u, 16 Gb of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The included HP Active Stylus adds value to an overall premium laptop.

On top of the high performing processor and amount of RAM, the fast SSD it comes with makes the Spectre x360 a futureproof laptop for the years to come. Backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and the Banf&Olufsen sound system are nice features on its stylish, dark grey body with gold finishing touches.

Processor Intel Core i7-8550U Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 13,3 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C // Thunderbolt 3

1- USB 3.1 ports

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 14 hours battery life

Apple MacBook Pro 15

The latest Apple MacBook Pro 15 comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which is another reason why it’s one of the best laptops for eGPU. But with far less videogame titles being released for the MacOS, compared to Windows, professional designers would be the ones to benefit the most from an eGPU setup with the MacBook. The MacBook Pro 15 Is a 15.4” Retina display laptop, with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It’s packed with a 9th generation Octa Core Intel i9 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. Graphics are powered by the Radeon Pro 560x card, with 4 GB of VRAM.

The new model comes with the manufacturer’s Touch Bar and Touch ID. Battery life is up to 10 hours on average use. If you’re a fan of the Mac system, go for it!

Processor Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, Radeon Pro 560x Graphics
Screen 15,4 inch, 2880X1800
Connectivity and Ports 4 – USB Type C // Thunderbolt 3

-Bluetooth 5

Battery up to 10 hours battery life

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a premium 14” Full HD ultrabook designed for professional and business users. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD. It also comes with Thunderbolt 3 to plug your eGPU into, the X1 Carbon holds a compromise between the ultra-portable laptop and the traditional sized one.

Offering a slightly larger build than its competitors, the X1 Carbon has still space for an HDMI port, which we’ll come in handy if you can’t stand upgrading all your cables to Thunderbolt ones. On the other hand, Thunderbolt will come in handy for connecting peripherals and external drives at fast speed. Other features worth mentioning include a backlit ergonomic keyboard and a fingerprint reader, for a safe and secure login into your system.

Processor Intel Core  i7-8565U Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 14 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C // Thunderbolt 3

2- USB 3.0 ports

1- HDMI, Mini RJ-45

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.2

Battery up to 15 hours battery life

 Razer Blade Stealth 13

Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer of the Razer Core eGPU enclosure was among the first to push for laptops supporting eGPUs. And the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is not only beautifully designed, but it’s also one of the best laptops for eGPU you can get. This 13,3 ultrabook  features an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The dedicated graphics card is the entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX150, with 4 GB of VRAM. Thanks to its 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 4 lanes of PCI Express, this thin and lightweight laptop can be used with an eGPU to offer you top notch performance, whether you’re gaming or editing videos.

The Stealth 13 offers a durable and matte black aluminum unibody, which can definitely be a plus to some readers. The keyboard features a single-zone customizable backlighting, with 16.8 color options. Of course, you can get this model in a bundle with the optional Razer Core X, to build up your future setup in just a few clicks.

Processor Intel Core i7-8565U Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, Nvidia GeForce MX150
Screen 13,3 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2- USB Type C // Thunderbolt 3

2- USB 3.1 ports

Bluetooth 4.2

Battery up to 13 hours battery life

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