External GPUs – How do they work? – DIY in 5 Ep 73

eGPU, or external Graphics cards is a relatively new concept that will let you turbocharge your gaming framerates for computers that cannot take an internal card. It’s an external enclosure for a desktop-style video card that can plug into a laptop or other system to boost graphical performance. This is serious hardware that needs to house the card itself, a power supply, maybe some type of cooling, and possibly a PCI Express slot to accept your video card of choosing. Some, like the Gigabyte Aorus, are even pre-installed with a graphics card.

Why would you want one? Maybe you want to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse. In the past you’d be out of luck or that would mean you’d need to get a new laptop. But now, the idea of upgrading via an external solution is actually here – mostly. They’re not quite as plug and play as other externals, like external storage drives. You need to have the right laptop or system and a fair amount of money to make it work.

You will need a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 or USB C Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Thunderbolt 3 boasts throughput of twice USB 3.1 Gen 2, which is like two 4k video streams!

The current eGPUs on the market each have their own criteria for which systems they’re compatible with. For example, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier works with specific newer Alienware machines that have a special port and a super chunky cable capable of running the crazy amount of data necessary to make this magic happen. Other, non-proprietary boxes like Razer’s eGPU or PowerColor’s Devil Box have their own list of certified compatible laptops.

Be aware – boosting your graphics alone may not be enough to run certain games that require a certain number of processing cores, for example. In this situation, your graphics performance increase could be limited by the processor’s ability to keep up. Another thing to be aware of is frame-rate penalty, or overhead, due to the connection itself and depending on your combo of video card, eGPU enclosure, system and display type, this can affect the performance you might see.

Are you using an external GPU? Let us know in the comments!

Learn more about eGPUs: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2984716/laptop-computers/how-to-transform-your-laptop-into-a-gaming-powerhouse-with-an-external-graphics-card.html

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