The 5 Best External Graphics Card Reviews (Updated)

eGPU, or external Graphics cards is a relatively new idea that shall permit you to turbo charge the gaming frame rates for computers that can’t take an internal card. It is an exterior enclosure for the desktop-fashion video card that plugs into a laptop or another system to enhance graphical performance. 

Whether it is for editing photos and videos or for playing the newest video games a high-quality graphics card for your laptop is essential to guarantee there are no delays in what on earth you choose to do. Many standard notebooks are built with a low end to mid variety graphic proffering that will meet your requirements for several of the everyday functions that you need.

Best External Graphics Card Reviews

 For individuals searching for that additional performance bit then you necessitate considering upgrading the laptops graphics ability. Ensure that you have the entire power requisite to run the new card. Most cards require a new power supply.

Best External Graphics Card Review

Although it’s theoretically feasible to connect an eGPU to a desktop, it’s with laptops that you’ll see the benefits of the form factor emerge. Laptops are portable devices which mean that they hardly have space for a full-size graphics cards. This often leads to compromises, denoting that laptops with mobile GPUs aren’t as powerful as their desktop counterparts.

Using an external GPU means that one can get the best of both worlds. One can use a laptop throughout the course of the day as a portable device, and then plug it into an external graphics card when you have space, and you need the extra power.

This article will take you through the Best External Graphics Card in the marketplace from a wide selection.

1. Alienware Graphics Amplifier

Alienware Graphics Amplifier (9R7XN)

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Even though Alienware was instituted in 1996 as an autonomous corporation, it only attained its prime after Dell obtained it in the year 2006. For the most substantial part, the name Alienware had developed to be tantamount with (costly) gaming laptops; thus it is simply normal to see a number of external graphics solutions from the company. Currently, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is a GPU case devised to function purposely with Alienware laptops, with the firm’s proprietorship port as an alternative to the standard Thunderbolt 3 port as a way of connection.

The main concern here was to devise an eGPU casing that would house an authoritative full-body graphics card; thus portability isn’t this gadget’s strong suit. Showcasing a sleek black plastic outer surface with an exceedingly meticulous front and an eye-catching Alienware emblem, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier certainly seems like an Alienware product.

As cited above, it is rather large and has a substantial footprint; however, this is not too big of an issue bearing in mind that it was not destined to be a transportable eGPU enclosure, to begin with. The casing does not come with a graphics card, however consistent with Alienware it sustains any full-sized graphics cards that go back as far as the Radeon HD 5000 series and GTX 600 series. In addition, the 460-watt power supply is able to manage cards with a TDP of equal to 375W.

As stated above, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier has a proprietary Alienware port rather than a Thunderbolt 3 port, restricting its agreeableness to the subsequent laptops, as detailed on the authorized product page:

  • Alienware 13 R1, R2, and R3
  • Alienware 15 R1, R2, and R3
  • Alienware 17 R2, R3, and R4
  • Alienware X51 R3
  • Alienware Alpha R2

    Moreover, it has 4 splendid speed USB 3.0 ports that permit for the proper charging and connecting of various peripherals.

    Eventually, the two leading problems with this eGPU casing are its size and the limited compatibility; thus if not you have one of the Alienware described above laptops that have their proprietary connector and do not mind the requirement of portability, you shall perhaps desire to give the Graphics Amplifier a chance.

    When all's said and done, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is an excellent alternative for owners of Alienware laptop who want to offer their gaming machines some added performance. It is somewhat catastrophic that it is just restricted to Alienware laptops, although, as it is comparatively inexpensive contrasted to nearly all eGPU enclosures out there – reasonably strange, as much as Alienware gadgets are concerned. 

2. Akitio Node

Akitio Node - Thunderbolt3 eGPU for Windows (Now Compatible w/ Thunderbolt3 Mac Running MacOS High Sierra Using AMD Cards)

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Akitio is a brand that many are probable to be unfamiliar with. It is a global company with its headquarters in California which deals chiefly in external expansions chassis and storage solutions. Their design viewpoint prioritizes reliability and practicality usually boasting minimal and clean external design, as we shall see with the product in sight.

The Akitio Node is an adaptable and spacious external GPU casing, however from its appearance; it is more suggestive of a full-fledged Mini ITX PC casing, more so than all of the other devices on this listing. In due course, this comes with various merits and demerits.

As one can observe from the features, the Node has a simple and in general unremarkable design, completed mainly of plain sheet metal. And divergent from what its weight may entail, it doesn’t come with an integrated graphics card. On the plus side, with a 400W power supply and a generous interior, it can sustain all graphics card on the market, in so far as the dimension is concerned.

With regard to GPU compatibility, it can support both Radeon and Nvidia GPUs, counting replicas from the series of GTX 900 and onward, in addition to several RX and Radeon R9 cards. In addition to that, it as well supports quite a few Nvidia Quadro GPUs. It is also possible to get the full listing of compatible models of the graphics card.

On the connection facade, the Node keeps things trouble-free. It has only a solitary Thunderbolt 3 port, which is a little bit underwhelming with regard to its cost and size.

Speaking of dimension, the Akitio Node is basically enormous. It has a substantial weight of 15.2 pounds (approximately 7 kg), and that is not including the graphics card that shall ultimately go in it. As expected, it is not an eGPU casing that can be carried around effortlessly, and the designers over at Akitio were evidently alert of that as they added an expedient handle on the casing’s upper back that is clear to make it a bit trouble-free if you ever want to move the Node somewhere else.

Except for its mass and dimension, there aren’t outstanding matters with the Node, though it would be great to have a USB hub put into the mix, chiefly because the casing is on the expensive side.

At the end of it all, the primary benefit of the Akitio Node is as well, debatably, its major drawback: the dimension. It can accommodate any GPU; on the other hand, it is also the least transportable casing on this listing. Apart from that, it is indeed on the pricey side, though if you necessitate an exterior GPU for employment at home, then the Node would unquestionably be a great alternative.

3. ASUS RoG XG Station 2

ASUS ROG-XG-Station-2 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.0 External Graphics Card Dock

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Asus is a corporation that barely requires any introduction. This Taiwanese company has extended into approximately all areas of the hardware diligence in the course of time, wherein time the Republic of Gamers was invented. As its name means, this series of gadgets caters purposely to the gamer’s community.

Amid the gadgets in the RoG assemble is the RoG XG Station 2 which has the aggressive and compelling design which is a basic of RoG devices and uses it flawlessly to an exterior GPU case. However, what does it present in realistic terms?

As earlier mentioned, the Station 2 boasts of an exceedingly insistent design: sharp, stuffed with details, and indeed, outfitted with RGB lighting in the form of a striking ‘plasma tube’ on the frontage of the casing. And regardless of what you may think when you look at the asking price, the typical Station 2 does not have a GPU incorporated, despite the fact that Asus does put forward editions which do.

Looking at its size, it perceptibly supports graphics cards that are full-sized, and it is well-matched with Radeon R9 series cards, GTX 900 series cards in addition to the newer inventions. What's more, it even has quite a few internal fans that aid with its cooling.

At the moment, the RoG XG Station 2 takes it connectivity a little ahead of the majority eGPU cases. Logically, it comes with a typical Thunderbolt 3 port; however, it also embraces 4 USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type B port, on top of an Ethernet port.

Currently, much akin to the Alienware Graphics Amplifier and the Akitio Node, this is a massive casing. It is not easy to carry because it is on the heavy side; however, that is not the primary concern with the RoG XG Station 2. Preferably, the chief crisis that shall be a stumbling block for most individuals is its cost. Specifically, it goes for more than $500 at the moment, and pointless to say, that is more than the majority would be at ease displaying for an enclosure that does not even have a GPU built-in.

Whereas the Asus RoG XG Station 2 is an attention-grabbing casing, at least for individuals who admire this type of design viewpoint, it does not provide anything considerable contrasted to the more reasonably priced eGPU cases sold at half its cost. Per se, this casing shall only be alluring for people who either actually care about looks or individuals who merely have some money to burn. 

4. Razer Core X

Razer Core X: Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Enclosure (eGPU) for Windows 10 and Mac External Graphics Laptops

$299.99
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And at the moment, we have arrived at one more brand name that all gamers are most probably already accustomed to – Razer, a corporation identified for its grand, if excessively costly, gaming devices.

They at present vend two external GPU cases and the initial one we shall be looking at is the latest Razer Core X which has so little to be coveted.

You may not associate the Core X for a Razer device at the very initial glimpse, as its external design is in fact quite clean, without RGB to talk about. Its roomy interior can house even graphics cards with triple-width, which is grand if you are searching a massive model. Moreover, with a power supply of 650-watt, one can rest guaranteed that even the most power-consuming card will not provide it with any nuisance. 

Nowadays, the Razer Core X with authorization supports the Razer Blade Stealth, Razer Blade Pro and Razer Blade laptops although it is compatible with all Thunderbolt 3-outfitted laptops that support exterior graphics cards.

When it comes to graphics cards themselves, it is harmonious with a wide variety of Quadro, Radeon, and GeForce cards, all of which are can found on the authorized product site.

As for the connection, the Razer Core X keeps things straightforward, akin to the Akitio Node – it just has a single Thunderbolt 3 port plus there aren’t additional ports on it, regrettably.

Eventually, there is nothing wrong to speak about the Razer Core X, except the customary need of moveability that comes with a large and weighty eGPU casing and the absence of the USB hub. Astonishingly, it isn’t as costly as the majority of Razer products, at least reasonably speaking.

On the whole, the Razer Core X is a feasible external graphics card case, mainly since it supports a variety of GPUs plus in fact, it is not pricier than most gadgets of this type. Dejectedly, it does not have a USB hub, other than if all one necessitates is a case to house a full-sized graphics card which is not meant to be moved from the workstation, then the Razer Core X would undoubtedly be an excellent purchase. 

5. Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box, Thunderbolt 3-to eGPU PCIe Card Expansion System (GPU-350W-TB3Z)

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Following up, there is an eGPU casing from a comparatively vague corporation known as Sonnet that was in reality instituted back in the year 1986 and deals mostly with expansion cards, Thunderbolt-outfitted devices, and other unnecessary computer accessories and peripherals.

At the moment, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is a rather uncomplicated and somewhat reasonable eGPU enclosure that has numerous versions that vary mostly in regards to their wattage, with the 350W model indeed being one of the cheapest products of this type that one can acquire right at this moment.

On the outer surface, the Breakaway Box is somewhat not unique, with a spotless black exterior plus a LED-lit corporation logo at the frontage. On the interior, it is relatively large and supports lots of graphics cards, although the case itself is in fact moderately compact and light and compared to several others in this listing. 

The case is compatible with a number of GeForce, Quadro, and Radeon cards, and once again, the connectivity options are limited to only the single essential Thunderbolt 3 port, which is understandable considering the low price tag on the base model.

In the end, the eGFX Breakway Box is an excellent, outstanding eGPU case, the only doubt being the high prices on the variants of 550W and 650W.

All in all, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is instead perhaps one of the best exterior graphics card casings to go for if you have a tight financial plan, as the standard 350W edition is quite inexpensive in comparison to many of the cases in the marketplace. 


Buyer's Guide and What to Search for:

  • Licensed Compatibility
    Before purchasing an eGPU, ensure that it is harmonious with your PC/Mac/laptop. Many of the newest eGPUs can only be connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port plus this port is certainly not found in earlier laptops. If you have no idea what the port looks like, ensure to carry out sufficient web research ahead of stepping into a store.

  • Graphics Card Dimension
    Regularly people purchase an eGPU only to discover that the graphics card that they bought is not compatible owing to the size difference. One remarkable case in point is the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box which just goes well with mini-ITX graphics cards. Conversely, eGPUs such as Akitio Node support graphics cards that are typically sized.

  • Power Supply Sufficiency
    An enhanced power supply in eGPU makes it more probable to deliver an outstanding performance. eGPUs such as Akitio Node with PSUs of equal to 400-watts is superb since the superior the power supply, the extra the newest graphics cards can get supported by its exterior GPU.

  • Other Features
    For hardcore gamers, it is highly advised you to search for an eGPU that holds double graphics cards such as the ASUS RoG. That shall not only guarantee that the cost you disburse for the eGPU is reasonable but as well that it lasts long, not in regard to flexibility however instead with respect to future software’ specifications and gamers’.

FAQs

  • Which graphics cards should you purchase?
    A high-quality OpenGL-accommodating graphics card should have no less than 64 MB of texture memory. Many desktop systems are fitted with power graphics cards; however generally, if you are to employ a 3D visualization system, you shall desire to ensure it is a workstation category graphics card.

  • What are chipsets on display cards?
    A chipset is a core processor employed in graphics cards, plus the same processor might be repacked into a range of graphics cards, akin to Intel chips employed in computers from IBM, Dell and so forth. These may be the main factor controlling the performance and capabilities. Graphics cards that employ the same chipset are more probable to have comparable performance and capabilities, irrespective of the brand.

  • What is the display driver?
    The display driver transmits display data from the app to the graphics hardware. A number of 3D cards for display drivers have restricted OpenGL support or none. Confirm an optimized OpenGL driver is obtainable for the cards that are designed to utilize the potential of the hardware completely. A compatibility problem exists between the card, graphics bus, operating system version, and driver. Verify with the vendor of the graphics card for authentication. Additionally, confirm with the graphics card seller for driver updates that come with a card. That can resolve bugs and improve performance. 

Final Words

Besides, try to search for an eGPU which is lightweight and slighter in size. Heavier eGPUs are tremendously hard to deal with and move around with. They shall just make your lifestyle more dejected as they shall appear like a mirror-replica of the CPU.

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