Travel Questions: What's the optimal way to air travel with eGPUs?
Hello fellow forum members, I wanted some advice on how to travel with my eGPU gear:
What I don't have:
- Anti-static bags - My plan is to use ziploc's + bubble wrap for the PCB, but not sure this is adequate for GPU
- Original GPU box - Sadly cannot find it
- Assume I may not be able to find cardboard boxes for the components
- How do I pack the GPU? PSU should be fine I'm guessing. It is in it's own pouch (Corsair ones if you're familiar).
- Should I put stuff like this in carry-on or check-in? In my opinion, carry-on is safer, but a hassle to explain, while check-in is usually hassle-free but then handling is at the mercy of the staff.
- Across 3 flights with eGPU, 2/3 times my GPU has been damaged/failed already. The one time it did do ok was when I just put the full enclosure (assembled with GPU) in-between my clothes. Should I do this for the Aorus and the extra GPU with the bag in check-in or play it safe and go for carry-on (Aorus and GPU are priority)?
- In the future, if I need to travel with a very large enclosure such as the Node, what would the best way to go about it be?
I saw this post when you first posted it and seeing how no-one has posted yet i'll be the first one.
I've recently bought the aorus 1070 gaming box for my 2016 13" Tb macbook for its portability and small size. But after seeing how you broke yours 2/3 times on a plane, I'm scared to carry it on a plane, which is the sole reason I got it instead of a PC : portability. What do you think is the safest way to bring your Egpu setup with you? And if i decide to carry it with me as "carry-on" luggage, would i have to explain to them what it is (should i say it's a computer?)? What if they think it's a bomb and take it?
@jjchan9 I'm planning to travel in the following manner:
Option #1 - Checking eGPU In
- Aorus would be in it's carrying case, between a set of clothes on all sides
- Stick a note on the Aorus case saying what it is and request that it be cushioned between clothes for safety if checked
- GPU and PCB wrapped in newspaper + bubble wraps
- PSU same as above
Option #2 - eGPU In Carry-On
- Aorus would be in it's carrying case - will put some cushioning such as bubble wrap as well
- GPU and PCB wrapped in newspaper + bubble wraps - these will be checked-in
- PSU same as above
For option #2, would likely remove it from the bag and place it in the tray - mostly should be ok though the scan - if they ask I'm planning to say its a peripheral for laptops for speed (can show them Apple's eGPU support page). If I feel I can pack well with Option #1, I'll go with that. The only time my stuff survived was when it was in-between clothes - so I'm going to be mad careful. I'll keep you posted on how it goes :p
That seems awfully inconvenient and troublesome to pack an item meant for portability! Anyway, I thought the only time your egpu survived was when the GPU was in the enclosure and the enclosure protected with clothes. Why would you suggest me taking it apart? If I ever decide to travel with it I think I'm gonna put the enclosure in its carrying pouch and carry it with me but I don't really know. FYI it's from Australia to hong kong and back so it's probably less strict than in the US. Now that I think of it, I don't think it's gonna break so easily if I put in in my luggage with padding. The case is metal, the GPU is supported with screws with a huge ass heatsink as structural support.
Other than that, please do update me on how it goes and hope it goes well!
@jjchan9 You may have misunderstood - please read what I'm carrying above in the main post. Besides the eGPU (the entire Aorus Box with the GPU inside), I have a GPU, PCB and PSU extra from another build.
Edit: Fixed tone of sentence.
Oh sorry, my mistake. You were talking about how you were gonna take it, not how you suggest me taking it. On that note, how did the other 2 gpus fail? PCB bending? pcie gold contacts damage? components breaking/falling off the pcb? If it was in the Aorus enclosure it probably shouldn't break right?
@jjchan9 Apologies for being unclear before haha - just reading my subpost above gives the impression I suggested disassembly.
Anyway, my story is like this:
I have an Akitio+RX480 build with a custom Corsair PSU - let's call in B1, and Aorus Box B2.
US -> IND flight -> checked in B1, all ok.
IND -> US flight -> checked in B1, kept crashing under load. Investigated. PSU at fault, likely damaged in flight. Replaced it (cost some real $$$ for a student haha). A while later, I nudged the eGPU enclosure while in use by error - GPU went down this time. MSI replaced it for free.
US -> IND flight -> checked in B1 and B2, B1 crashes on use. Currently broken. PSU likely not at fault this time because no issue with load, etc. - just crashes the system as soon as driver loads. B2 fine - no issues at all, though it's grill bent a bit - fixed with a bit of glue.
So hopefully I'll RMA again with MSI who were nice last time.
@jjchan9 So my suggestions for checked-in would be:
- Keep the Aorus box assembled.
- Use the carrying case it came with.
- Have padding on all sides around the case especially if you are planning to keep it on one side of your suitcase (also would be better to keep it on top rather than near the wheels).
- Have a note on it indicating what it is, and mention that it's fragile and needs padding (also mark bag as fragile).
Carry-on is ok because it would be in your care - no idea how security would handle it, but should be fine nonetheless. Though it just becomes another thing to deal with when going through it.
Last year I did your option #2 with a 24" monitor, Xbox and Mac mini and worked out fine. What I did different was to use some cardboard around the edges of the equipment for extra protection before the double layer of bubble wrap.
My suggestion is to cushion the bottom with a soft layer (bed sheets work great for that), then spread your equipament and cover with another layer of clothes or sheets. If your bag has cinching straps, use them to keep everything from moving too much.
I have some experience of traveling with EGPU. I fly almost every week, for 2-3 days. My setup is as follows:
1. Suitcase on wheels, which corresponds to the norms of luggage for the cabin of the aircraft. Here I store the EGPU, along with personal things.
2. A backpack where I store my laptop.
The main problem is security control: when I put hand luggage on the scanner tape, almost every time I get a question about EGPU - "What is this?". I honestly answer that this device with an external video card. To which I am again asked "WHAT-WHAT ???".
In general, it's difficult to explain what I'm carrying in hand luggage 🙂
Usually I say that this is "a computer" and problems usually do not arise.
But it all depends on the person who checks you in the pre-flight inspection. if he has a good mood, then problems usually do not happen 🙂
Will provide an update soon on how my travel experience was. They did hand-check my checked-in baggage that contained a PSU, GPU, and eGFX set haha - but I had my note there - surprisingly was somewhat well-packed even though they checked. Guess note helped. Let's hope they are in good condition. All were bubble wrapped.
I'm a pilot and researching this myself but if you're keeping the gpu inside the case I wouldn't worry about any static bags or anything there's capacitors in the circuitry that can handle any static charges.