Skip to benchmark if you don't care about why I picked up blade15.
After five years and two battery bulging, I think it's time to update my laptop. I struggled between thin-and-light and gaming laptops. I recently moved, and my desk is very small. It can hardly house a 13-14" laptop and Core X. I will need to buy a longer TB3 cable to put Core X on the floor. So basically I have three choices (1) buy a competent RTX gaming laptop. (2) buy an Ultrabook and a graphic card to put in Core X (3) buy an older model of GTX laptop and use Core X if I need ray tracing.
Then again, I am uncertain that I will satisfy with 4c i7+ eGPU. I read many reviews and benchmarks, including the TUF dash F15 review on this forum. I decided that even intel H35 series is not powerful enough. The skyrocketing price of GPU means I won't get a new GPU anytime soon. If I buy an Ultrabook, I can't play games on it for a long time. TUF dash F15 and Triton 300 SE might be good alternative, but I feel they are too pricy . I might as well buy a gaming laptop.
I was trying to find a gaming laptop around 1500. I have considered Aorus 15G, Predator Helios 300, ROG G15, ROG Strix 15, and Lenovo 5 pro. I found that 3000 series laptops weren't cheap, and they were hard to get. AMD machines won't be in stock until May. As I wait for G15 and legion 5 pro, I also search for older models, but there were few gaming laptops with TB3. The only one on the market is Aorus 15G 2020, but I don't need the mechanic keyboard. Most of manufacturer dropped TB3 in 2020. I kept waiting. As I almost made my mind to get a RTX2060 Helios 300, I found blade 15 base was on sale for 1250. I told myself. It's cheap enough I would still have the chance to use Core X to boost graphic power. And the blade 15 base plus a normal priced 3070 is just as much as a 3070 ROG G15. So, I decided to pick up Razer...again. I didn't expect this at all.
I use dGPU to play games. As I mentioned, no space for a 15" laptop and Core X. But I would like to show some benchmark result for your reference. The 2070 is my desktop GPU. I put it in Core X for testing purpose only.
System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system which eGPU is being used)
- Razer 15 base 1660ti 6GB 16G 10750H 256G+1T 230W power
- I need to keep the power cable plugged-in. Core X cannot provide enough power through TB3.
- Elevated to increase air flow, max fan, performance mode (suppose to boost GPU performance, but review says no much difference. I share the same view).
- I haven't had a gaming laptop for ten years. OMG gaming laptops nowadays are loud!
eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable , any custom mods)
See how little space I have in the opening picture? Razer puts TB3 on the right hand side. This really baffles me.
Installation steps (what did you do to get it all going?)
plug in Core X. The system recognize 2070 within 20 seconds. Nvidia software automatically deactivate dGPU. The eGPU is working fine. A quick reminder: do not put video cards prior to 900 series into Core X. I tried a 750ti, it caused all kinds of problems.
internal display only 1080P
dGPU 1660ti 6G
Unigine Superposition 1080P (Extreme preset) 3055
Unigine Superposition 1080P (medium preset) 10741
Time Spy Score 5610
- SOTTR default benchmark tool
- DX12 highest setting 67fps
- DX11 highest setting 58fps
- DX12 high setting 78fps
- Doom Eternal high setting 95-110 fps
- cyberpunk 2077 high RT tool off 45-50fps
eGPU 2070 8G
- Unigine Superposition 1080P (Extreme preset) 4358
- Unigine Superposition 1080P (medium preset) 10707
- Time Spy Score 6939
- SOTTR default benchmark tool DX11, can't open the game with DX12, apparently it's due to eGPU
- DX11 highest setting 40fps
- DX11 high setting 44fps
- Doom Eternal nightmare setting 80-100fps
- Doom Eternal high setting 95-110 fps
- cyberpunk 2077 high, RT off 45-50fps
- cyberpunk 2077 high, RT on, DLSS quality 42-48 fps
- set to "RT: medium" will drop 10fps, open "RTX reflection and shadow" using "high setting" yields similar result
the computer failed to activate 1660ti after disconnecting eGPU. This is most likely a bug of NVIDIA Optimus. I clicked "reconnect" in "NVIDIA GPU ACTIVITY". Nothing happened. I restarted the laptop, still no good. The dGPU operated again after reinstall the graphic driver.
Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)
Almost a year of eGPU experience:
Razer products and eGPU accommodate each other nicely. There is certainly performance drop. Upgrading from 1060 to 2070, I found that the punishment is indeed greater for high-end GPU cards. I think bandwidth limitation will make high-end GPU much less useful. If CPU bottleneck is not the main issue, I think only some GPU will give you balance between performance and price. My guess is 2070super, 3060Ti, 3070. I welcome any thoughts.
I still prefer eGPU setup. I love the idea from the first time I saw it in 2016. Although I just recently purchased Core X. I found it a convenient solution to take care portability and gaming needs. EGPU setup is clean, minimalist, and practical. It diverts noise and heat into two different places. I think we need a higher wattage CPU to pair with eGPU. 15W CPU can easily bottleneck the eGPU and the cooling solution is usually bad. I tried Acer Swift 5. The performance is not as it should be. And I found 11370H is just another 1165G7.
So far as it seems, it makes little sense to plug in an eGPU if one has 1660ti dGPU or above. 2070 does not make too much difference. I really hope next year AMD laptop will support TB4 and eGPU. I hope Apple's M1 & M2 will support eGPU as well. Right now, I will use 1660ti for a while and let the Core X sit there until I get another graphic card. I might also sell the enclosure to get another AMD gaming laptop
Thank this forum for teaching me so much. Thank you for sharing your builds. It really helped me during my search for a new laptop.