How do you transport your eGPU when on the go?
 
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How do you transport your eGPU when on the go?  

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FourteenMonkeys
(@fourteenmonkeys)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: chinsteig
Posted by: FourteenMonkeys

What's the use case for a portable eGPU as opposed to an actual gaming laptop (or workstation, etc.)?

I don't want to bother with multiple computers and extra drives or other methods for transferring data. I use my MacBook Pro for school/travel and when I get home it gets docked and becomes a desktop with a little more oomph for gaming. I'm not using a gaming laptop because I prefer macOS to windows for everything but gaming.

I get the use case for eGPU generally, I was more asking about the portability aspect.  In my case, my recently-built eGPU is connected to two monitors and about five peripherals so it's not portable nor intended to be.  What I'm wondering about is why someone would want a portable eGPU solution as opposed to just getting a portable computer with the required GPU power.  The prior poster said, basically, that he's on a MacBook Pro in the middle of its useful life so moving to a Windows laptop with top-tier dGPU isn't an option.  But that seems to limit the usefulness of eGPU portability to the Mac world only, no?  Other than wanting to prolong the usefulness of current hardware, is there a good reason to prefer a portable eGPU over a laptop with powerful dGPU if you need portability?

2016 13" HP Spectre X360 [7th,2C,U] + GTX 1070 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (PowerColor Devil Box) + Win10 [build link]  

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chinsteig
(@chinsteig)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: FourteenMonkeys

I get the use case for eGPU generally, I was more asking about the portability aspect.  

Other than wanting to prolong the usefulness of current hardware, is there a good reason to prefer a portable eGPU over a laptop with powerful dGPU if you need portability?

For newer laptops that can charge through an eGPU, if you have to lug a power brick around anyway why not get a portable eGPU to use instead? In my ideal world eGPU's would be ubiquitous and everyone would have an ultrabook-like laptop ready to dock. Everyone could mix and match at the office/home. You could go over to a friends house and it would be plug&play. Honestly, I don't know the answer to your last question.

Mid 2017 15" MacBook Pro > ASUS XG Station Pro > RX 5700 XT > 34" 2560x1080 Ultrawide


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chx
 chx
(@chx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: FourteenMonkeys

What's the use case for a portable eGPU as opposed to an actual gaming laptop (or workstation, etc.)?

I can name two, pretty close ones:

  1. I have a ThinkPad 25. It's unique in its keyboard.
  2. In general, gaming laptops are rarely as sturdy, easy to upgrade, warranty covered workhorses as ThinkPad X/T. And the ThinkPad P is big and heavy.

Basically: I am working here but I might want to game when I am taking a break. I want to be able to move around with a great business laptop and have it miraculously transform into a gaming platform whenever I need that.

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 -- GALAX SNPR TB3 1060 -- Lenovo Graphics Dock -- Benq BL2411PT - - two PackedPixels - Dasung not-eReader backer


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4chip4
(@4chip4)
Estimable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: FourteenMonkeys

I get the use case for eGPU generally, I was more asking about the portability aspect.  In my case, my recently-built eGPU is connected to two monitors and about five peripherals so it's not portable nor intended to be.  What I'm wondering about is why someone would want a portable eGPU solution as opposed to just getting a portable computer with the required GPU power.   Other than wanting to prolong the usefulness of current hardware, is there a good reason to prefer a portable eGPU over a laptop with powerful dGPU if you need portability?

In no particular order, my takes after a few months of road-warrior use:

- After-market GPU expansion. You bough a laptop without a dGPU and decided you need one. You would still use it on-the-go and not as a dock, which means these eGPUs would be as small/light as possible.

- Flexibility - typically your choice of dGPUs is quite limited, often your ideal ultrabook doesn't come with your ideal GPU choice, or simply want a "small eGPU puck" on the go + "big muscle eGPU dock" at work combo

I think that today it's more wishful thinking than real need - most (non-Mac) users would certainly better off with "prosumer" laptop that has a 1030-1060 (ie the Spectres, XPS-es and MS Book 2s of the world), as they tend to underestimate the weight/bulk of even the lightest eGPUs and just how messy the setup/cabling gets with these. The train of thought is more "it would be nice if we had" whereas reality is "if it's a must, this is what you need to do". The typical example is people saying they want portable eGPUs because gaming laptops are "too heavy", not realizing they are just moving (and increasing!) the weight outside of the laptop, not to mention the added cables and setup complexity. I just don't see it being a casual coffee shop thing people seem to present it as, today.

I would hope the portable eGPU line to evolve more towards integrated power bricks rather than the oversize docks and dongles we see today. Adding an extra brick is just not helping portability, whereas IMHO a slightly larger power brick would be a far better compromise.

2017 HP Spectre x360 15 i7-8550U GTX150 + GTX970@16Gbps-TB3 (HP Omen Accelerator) + Oculus Rift + Win10 (no guide)
HP Omen Accelerator Thunderbolt 3 enclosure legs stand removal walkthrough
Employed by HP, but my posts and opinions expressed on this forum are my own.


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Fuze911
(@fuze911)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Ok all, here is my solution!

The Case Logic 15.6-Inch Laptop Backpack ( http://amzn.to/2qLqFak)

Here's my current eGPU EDC:

Only thing not pictured is an HDMI cable I forgot inside one of the zip pockets. This is perfect for what I need!

I bring this bag with me to work, plug in my eGPU and laptop, and I'm all set at the office with my Apple Cinema Display I have on my desk. Then, I bring it all home and after the wife and kid are in bed I boot into Windows and I can get a game in on the same machine with just two extra cables; the eGPU power adapter and thunder2 cable. I can even use the HDMI cable to plug right into my tv, sit back on the couch with my xbox controller and play some Forza. 

If I had more funds I'd spring for a 1070 but I absolutely adore this setup with the 1050ti and the tiny Akitio thunder2. It really makes this "old" laptop extremely versatile. 

Current Build:
15" MacBook Pro (mid 2014) + MSI AERO GTX1060 6GB+ Akitio Thunder2 (Case Mod) + Dell DA-2 + EFI Hybrid v1.0.3. + OSX 10.13.6 + Win 10

☞ Build Thread
☞ 3D Printed High Air Flow front cover for Akitio Thunder 2/3 Enclosure

 
2014 15" MacBook Pro (GT750M) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1060 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.3 & Win10 [build link]  


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usafballer
(@usafballer)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: FourteenMonkeys

What's the use case for a portable eGPU as opposed to an actual gaming laptop (or workstation, etc.)?

I can list a few potential reasons - although I'm not settled on this setup either.  I previously owned an XPS15 from 2016, and Alienware 13r3 OLED through 2017, and just picked up a Macbook Pro 13.  I've also played with other configs (Surface Book 2, Dell 7577).  Might reconsider when the new XPS15 2-in-1 comes out, although I think eGPUs are here to stay.  They are the natural evolution of simple thunderbolt docks.  I see you can get the OWC TB3 dock for 300 bucks, or a Lenovo eGPU dock for $399.

1) Thermals and fan noise - by separating two power hungry components (CPU and GPU), you considerably reduce the amount of heat "on your lap" (or on the keyboard deck if you are sitting at a desk).  This allows fan noise to be in most cases, halved, if not moreso.  My current MBP plus Aorus Gaming Box runs at 46-47 dB if I have the AGB directly behind the laptop itself.  This is about half of total sound output of my "old" Alienware 13r3 which would often run at 49-50dB (all measured just in front of the keyboard deck about 6 inches above).  Comments aside on the "irritable" sound of the AGB (it's not a smooth fan whooshing) - the overall sound output is less.  Additionally, I bought a 2M TB3 cable and can put the eGPU in a more tucked away location to considerably cut sound output even more.  I also might venture to do the "silencing project" on the AGB per other guides here on the forums.

2) Flexibility and weight - when you own, even the "small" gaming notebooks, there is no option when traveling to remove components and travel as light as possible.  Similar idea to #1, you can separate the weight and have less in your travel backup (put the eGPU in your roll on).  Compare this to the always "connected" weight of the gaming notebooks and that weight in your backpack or over the shoulder bag adds up (as someone who has hiked around many airports through the years).  Considering these 2018 ultrabooks coming in under 2.5 lbs, and products like the new Lenovo eGPU (weighing < 3lbs WITH PSU) you can have a total setup of less than 6lbs, and the overall weight is considerably less than most gaming laptops.  My Alienware 13 plus adapter was over 7lbs and usually all that weight was on the back.

3) Freedom of Choice - Unlocks more options for your laptop of preference.  As long as it has TB3 port - you can select whatever laptop you want.  For example, I loved my Alienware 13, but disliked it's 16:9 display for anything other than games/media - I also find most gaming laptop trackpads to be terrible.  Hell, even the new Surface Pro clones out there can be gaming "tablets" - hella awesome.

I could go on, and list more pros, and of course cons (most of which are based on nascent software/firmware that will get better in time), but those would be my top 3.

2018 15" Dell XPS 15 9575 (VegaMGL) [8th,4C,G] + GTX 1070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 [build link]  

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James Knight
(@james_knight)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

@fuze911

I know that this is an old thread however as it might still be relevant if not to you still but to others. So I thought I would post.

I think the best thing that would align would be if you searched for Projector Carry Case. It will ensure that the bag has padding. cable storage, and as such micro projectors now exist the bags come in all different sizes. Some also come with hardened outer shells to project the internal device from being crushed.

As this is now so far down the road. I wonder if you solved your own question?

Regards,

 

Setup: Dell Latitude 7400 | i7-8665U | 32GB DDR4 | M2.sata 512GB |
iGPU: UHD 620 | eGPU: Nvidia RTX 3070 FE | Asus XG Station Pro | Thunderbolt 3 (15D9) : NVM 44.00


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