I admit this is a wild attempt to see how far one could go with an external graphics card setup. There’s an ASUS G20AJ gaming desktop in my household with a GTX 1070 so I thought let’s find a Thunderbolt 3 and GTX 1070 equipped laptop to get this show on the road.
A quick search showed my local Best Buy store had an open-box Alienware 17 R4 in stock. It has the all right specs (Nvidia GTX 1070 and Thunderbolt 3) I was looking for. After a quick swap of GPUs, I was up and running with an AKiTiO Node GTX 1070 eGPU hooked up to the Alienware 17 R4 with another GTX 1070 inside.
The Thunderbolt 3 Controller in this Alienware 17 R4 has a Device Hardware ID of 15D9. Intel Thunderbolt Software shows it has support for external GPUs right off the bat. Therefore, my task was simply plugging a Thunderbolt 3 cable in for this setup to initiate.
Based on my past experience connecting different Thunderbolt 3 computers to this AKiTiO Node, I was anxious to find out how the Alienware 17 R4 would handle it. Within seconds, the second GTX 1070 showed up in Device Manager. No errors or complaints from Intel Thunderbolt Software.
Thunderbolt 3 eGPU just works when every component in your setup is blessed by the mighty eGPU god, Intel.
I ran HWiNFO64 to see additional information on Thunderbolt 3 port arrangement on this Alienware 17 R4. My struggle now is to figure out how I could set SLI in Nvidia Control Panel (missing this SLI option currently). In theory, if this GTX 1070 eGPU setup was successfully paired, it would be one of the most powerful laptops available.
If you have insights or recommendations, drop us a note in either the comment section or in our eGPU – PC Setup forum.