[Sticky] TB3, TB2 or TB1 eGPU candidate notebook list
► eGPU laptop candidate list (Only Thunderbolt 3 and faster) ◄
Started by Nathan Brown. Publicly edittable.
Apple TB2/TB1 notebooks can use TB3 enclosures
Avoid these: their Thunderbolt ports run at half their rated speed
There is no Thunderbolt 3 version for the V13 Nitro. Whoever added it to the list, added it falsely or even Acer themselves aren't mentioning it on purpose, which would be stupid. They are mentioning Thunderbolt for the V15 Nitro models for example -> https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.G6TAA.001
There is the Acer Travelmate though which also has Thunderbolt 3 and is near the cost of the V13, it's just not that fancy looking. For example this one -> https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/professional-model/NX.VCSAA.001 . There are lower specced models than the linked one for about 700€ which also have Thunderbolt 3.
Thinkpad W541 - i7 4910MQ - 28 GB RAM - K2100M - GTX 970 Akitio Thunder2 eGPU
There is a nice compatibility list for Kanex Thunderbolt 3 adapter which can be used as a guide when choosing TB3 product.
This list also includes non laptop host.
Current: Thinkpad W540 - i7 4900MQ - 32 GB DDR3L - Quadro K2100M - Akitio Thunder2 - GTX 660 OEM
Retired: Thinkpad W520 - i7 2860QM - 32 GB DDR3L - Quadro 1000M - EXP GDC Beast - GTX 560 Ti - GTX 660 OEM
I just had this discussion somewhere else regarding how thunderbolt controller connects into motherboard: PCH or CPU, and some information may be useful to other people. The information below are found on internet, and reasoning is come up by myself, so they could be wrong, and I would appreciate any correction.
the significance of this is that the DMI link between PCH and CPU has limited bandwidth: basically 32GT/s for DMI 3.0 (Skylake and new ) and 20GT/s for DMI 2.0 (SandyBridge to Skylake), meanwhile other PCH-connected device are sharing this link. In some cases, this could be Thunderbolt, M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD(s), SATA Drive(s), WLAN, WWAN and Ethernet all connected to PCH and sharing the DMI bus, so congestions and/or latency could be introduced.
For Skylake HQ/HK, if a dGPU has x16 link to CPU, then TB can only be connected to PCH as the all available PCIe lanes are taken by dGPU already. If dGPU uses x8 link (or fewer), then it is possible (but not guaranteed) that TB controller is connected to CPU.
Reviews from notebookcheck.net (or .com) generally include GPU-Z screenshots, however I am not certain whether they do it with load or not. (GPU may use a reduced number of lanes in idle for power saving??) With notebookcheck reviews, these laptops have GPU-Z screenshot showing x8 dGPU link: MBPr 15 2016, Alienware 17 R4, Alienware 15 R3 and Alienware 13 R3
For some other models, using "model number + GPU-Z" and/or "model number + HWINFO64" in Google may give some useful information. I do think the question of PCH or CPU connected is worth noting for choosing eGPU system.
Below is copied and pasted, and it may be helpful to certain individuals.
- Alienware 17 R4: Confirmed
HWINFO64 shows that the TB controller has a x4 link that connects to CPU directly without PCH. 
The JHL6340 controller is under "Intel Skylake - PCI Express x4 Controller [R0]" (, no PCH in its name), whereas certain other devices are under "Intel Skylake PCH-H - PCI Express Root Port #<x>".
(Meanwhile, HWINFO64 shows that the dGPU has a x8 link, and this is a necessary but insufficient condition. How does this help? Because Intel ARK  shows that current Skylake HQ/HK CPUs have at most 16 PCIe lanes, so x8 link to dGPU would make room for TB3. )
(Also, as you asked about the steps for testing, I believe this could be a method)
- MacBook Pro 15-inch 2016: Suspicion
I do NOT have directly evidence or screenshot showing it having a direct connection, but I have reasons to believe at least one of the 2 sets of TB3 is CPU connected, otherwise it won't be able to drive two 5k monitors. Below is the reasoning. It would be great if a owner of this model can upload a screenshot of HWINFO64.
Let me start with listing all the small pieces
- Apple support page claims that MBPr 15 2016 can use two 5k monitor at the same time, and the connection has to be one for each side. 
- In reduced black timing, 5k@60Hz 24 bit per pixel content has a payload of 22.5 Gbps; two 5k monitors at such setting would have 45 Gbps of data flow. 
- iFixit teardown shows that MBPr 15 2016 uses JHL 6540 Thunderbolt 3 controllers, one for each set. (TB ports on the same side, left/right, are in the same set and powered by the same controller) 
- Intel ARK shows that JHL 6540 has DisplayPort version of 1.2 
- Wikipedia says that DisplayPort 1.2 (4-lane) has 17.28 Gbps of bandwidth 
- Wikipedia says that PCIe 3.0 x4 has a bandwidth of 32 GT/s, which is 31.5 Gbps with 128/130b encoding factored in . DMI 3.0 has the same bandwidth for CPU-PCH connection  
OK, so here comes the reasoning: TB controller can only take video signal from either DisplayPort or PCI-Express. Since DP here is not sufficient to transmit even a single 5k signal (b,d,e), the 5k video has to go through PCIe 3.0 x4 link (b,f). If two 5k monitors work simultaneously (a, c), then the DMI 3.0 is not sufficient to transmit this signal (b,f). Therefore, the 2 TB controllers cannot be both connected to PCH.
 with "xserver-xorg-core" package on ubuntu, "cvt --reduced 5120 2880 60" gives a pixel clock of 938 million pixels per second; multiple by 24 bit per pixel gives the payload