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Desktops might be known as powerhouses that are perfect for gaming because of how easily you can switch and upgrade components for it, but there is still a way in which you can get the most out of your laptop, the answer is external GPUs. GPUs are independent enclosures that contain a power supply, cooling system and a desktop version of a graphics card.
This ensures that you will need only one computer to meet your portability and high-level gaming needs. You will be able to get desktop-quality graphics on your laptop as well by investing in an external GPU.
How do they work?
An external GPU is hooked up to a dock, the dock will have a PCIe port for the graphics card and either a Thunderbolt or USB-C cable to connect to your computer.
You have to install your card, the drivers, reboot and install any custom software and you're good to go. Once you're done with this, the computer will route all graphics requests to the external GPU instead of the default one supplied with your computer.
Where do they fall short?
Using an external GPU won't give you the same performance that you will get if the GPU was mounted internally. You will still lose about 10 to 15 percent of your performance when you opt for something of this nature. When you take the performance capabilities of high-end graphics cards, this isn't that much of a big deal.
The data rate speed, even when you're using a PCIe port for the transfer will not match up to the speeds that you will be able to achieve when the GPU is mounted internally.
How expensive are they?
Although an external GPU is only a small motherboard with a PCIe port and a connector cord, you still might have to spend a lot of money on them. This is an addition to the money that has been spent on the graphics card and the laptop.
Some docks are only compatible with certain brands of laptops and this means that you will not be able to transfer them if you get a new one.
How extensive should the research be?
There are a wide variety of compatibilities and features you should be conscious of when you hook up your GPU to a laptop, the OWC Mercury Helios 3 will only take cards up to 75″.
The Akitio Node takes "half-length" cards. Alienware's Graphics Amplifier doesn't have any USB or Thunderbolt ports; it uses a proprietary connector instead. The HP Accelerator Omen has a SATA port for connecting an additional HDD or SSD.
Long story short, you need to devote a lot of time researching the GPU that you are going to use before you zero in on the GPU that you wish to use.
How good are they?
It is guaranteed that you will be able to play games and apps that may not have run on your laptop before if you make use of a GPU. This is because of the huge boost that external GPUs provide to your laptop
Will they get better?
The trajectory of External GPU hardware and software is pointed upwards and the quality is unlikely to go down. Hardware manufacturers are also keen on improving their technology to make sure that their products reach the hands of more consumers.
Which one should you go for?
Three of the best external GPUs are as follows:
a) Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box
b) AORUS Gaming Box comes with an 8GB GTX 1070 Mini ITX
c) Akitio Node Pro