I'm not a hardcore tester, and pretty new to eGPU world. Won't be able to provide you much numbered details, but I will share with you my personal experience and hopefully it is helpful for you all out there that is considering an eGPU setup for casual gaming.
Intel NUC10 - Intel i7 10th-gen, 6 cores, Core i7-10710U
RAM: 32GB @2666Mhz
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3070
Storage: NVMe 1TB PCIe M.2
2 Monitors used during setup: (1) DELL U2717D (27inch, 1440p 60Hz) (2) G-Story 15.6" 4K HDR Portable display (15inch, 2160p 60Hz)
SETTING UP EXPERIENCE
Pretty straight forward I'd say. If your BIOS has been updated to the latest version, I read around intel has blocked DMA feature something like that and it affect TB3 based eGPU, so after lots of readings & research I need to disable "intel vt-d" feature. Once it is disabled, I reinstall Windows from scratch again, eGPU really just plug and play, install nvidia driver and that's all
1. Previous + Current gen games tested
- Hitman 2
- Metal Gear solid V
- Hitman Absolution (my favorite previous gen since PS3 :p)
- Ghost Recon Future Soldier (my favorite previous gen since PS3 :p)
- Resident Evil 2
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Shadows set to Ultra, Ray Tracing OFF)
- Street Fighter V
- Watch Dogs 2 + HD textures pack
test result: all games above are tested in both 1440p and 4K, all maxed out to highest/ultra graphic settings that is available. And I'm super happy with the performance, again like what I mentioned at the top, I won't be able to give you actual FPS number, I'm just casual gamer and both my monitors are 60Hz anyway, but they are running beautifully, super smooth consistent 60fps with all maxed out settings on both 4K and 1440p. And since I'm new to PC gaming (previously only played games on console), all games above are running super beautiful if I compare with my PS4 Pro console. Hitman2 I can even see the detailed skin texture when I zoom in to the character face, beautiful smooth lighting, color, sharp realistic shadows etc. Is like playing on the next gen console.
2. Next gen games tested
- Watch Dogs Legion
test result: So far I only managed to buy WD Legion for next gen game testing (looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077 tho :P). While with current/prev games testing blown me away with stable 60fps gaming with all maxed out graphics setting at 1440p & 4K resolution, WD Legion result is hard to understand. I set all graphics setting to the highest ultra settings (with Ray Tracing set to OFF) and conclusion below;
WD Legion at 1440p: running at around ~28-30fps.
WD Legion at 4K: running at around ~35-40fps. => This really confused me, why RTX 3070 eGPU can perform better and more fps, smoother gaming experience running at 4K compared to 1440p? In my limited knowledge & logic 1440p should yield a better performance since lesser pixels on screen to be rendered by a GPU. Again, as I'm newbie, can someone rationale this and explain to me why is this ?
DLSS: whatever you set, whether performance, quality, balance or highest performance, it has NO EFFECT AT ALL. at 1440p, when you enable DLSS, it perform even worse/sluggish performance and can experience up to -5 frame drops per second. Again, if someone can explain this is much appreciated as well?
Ray Tracing: turned to OFF, game become unplayable, drop to around 15-20fps once ray tracing is enabled.
Others strange behaviour: if you play WD Legion with eGPU, eGPU RTX 3070 utilization is extremely low, below 5%. But CPU utilization is extremely high, 98%-100% constant all the time. I don't know why as well. At first, I thought it is just the game itself. But then I tried to install the game on my macbook pro 16 (radeon 5300M) and try to run the game, apparently with internal GPU, the behavior is more normal, GPU utilization high beyond 70% and CPU utilization is mild between 30-50%. Appreciate as well if someone more experience here can explain/share why is this
Another strange unexplainable behavior: for WD Legion, playing around with graphics preset, High -> Very High -> Ultra, does not make any difference AT ALL (in term of FPS improvement)!! Logically, dropping down the graphics presets to Very High or drop to High should give me more smoother fps. But that is not the case with this game. Yes when you drop down from Ultra to High, you can notice the graphics become not so polished/not as a nice as ultra off course, but I still get the same around ~30fps. In the settings I've make sure frame rate is uncapped and I only enable V-Sync that should allow me to go up to 60fps like my other games perform. And since they are all the same, I just leave the settings and play in Ultra then.
Again, I'm not here to share with you/compare RTX 3070 vs desktop performance, bottleneck experience etc. I'm not aiming for hundreds of fps kind of performance as well since my monitor doesn't support that anyway.
But in my personal experience if you asked me worth it or not using eGPU with RTX 3070, I will tell you, it definitely very very worth it for me. I've never owned a good GPU before, all these while I was a console gamers (PS4 Pro, Switch etc) , and this is my first time spend some $$$ on a GPU. Previously I intend to buy RTX 3080, but never able to get the stocks, so finally I go for RTX 3070 instead.
And what makes me happy, I don't care about benchmarks here and there, saying eGPU performance drop bottleneck on TB3, blah blah... The fact is that, all my games runs smoothly to max 60fps that is supported by my monitors, 1440p and at 4K, with the highest ultra settings. And they look alot alot alot better than my console which really blows me away and make me so in love with my new PC gaming setup. Previously when i play PC games, I would always set to either low or lowest graphics settings.
Being able to play 2 of my favorite previous gen titles (from PS3 time) Hitman Absolution & Ghost Recon Future Soldier at maxed out graphics settings and super smooth fast 60fps performance is a bliss... Especially on Hitman Absolution, at times, hitting those maxed out settings makes the games, objects, surfaces, reflections, shadows & lighting looks even better than most of my current gen games running on PS4 Pro! and yes, it really makes me happy being able to play those favorite titles in such quality!
Even for WD Legion, eventhough I can't play at 60fps performance, and there is no PS5 out there at the moment, being able to play WD Legion at maxed out Ultra settings at 4K with my intel NUC at ~35-40fps settings, it still makes me a happy and satisfied man But again, unfortunately I don't get to enjoy Ray Tracing, and DLSS seems like no effect as well on my eGPU.
Any questions I will try my best to answer.
Hopefully this sharing is useful for those of you that is curious / having the same use case or just a casual gamers like myself. :p
I appreciate a lot for an extensive sharing of gaming experience. benchmarks usually can’t show the real gaming performance on egpu so your comments really means a lot. thanks again
@fotoroman, thanks for the comment
Glad to hear the experience that I share is useful. But yeah, real life use case, I'm super happy with my eGPU RTX 3070. Especially able to hook it to 4 monitors, Im not only happy gaming, but also working
Hi All, I just bought recently an Intel NUC (NUC10i5FNH) and since It's not meant to gaming I worked with it for general purpose and it's great, but ... It's not a gaming rig of course
Since I'm a big fan of few games I tried to install Fortnite for example and was pretty amazed that the game really loads up but the graphic level or settings is (of course) pretty low with the integrated graphics ...
I'd like to upgrade the NUC with eGPU but not sure how to build/setup it.
Can you guys please recommend what hardware stuff should I buy? what software/drivers will I need?
In order to reduce the cost I'll be happy not to buy a ready eGPU enclosure but Diy it.
Is there any guide to use for DIYing it?
@liron_h, Pairing with a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure + GPU like in the OP is the easiest way. The NUC10i5FNH has a SATA drive carrier so you can also look into installing the OS on a SATA SSD to keep the M.2 slot for an M.2 NVMe eGPU adapter such as ADT-Link R43SG. That option is more affordable but you'd need to run a cable into the motherboard and find an appropriate PSU for the graphics card.