Pulling the trigger. Buying an eGPU among these... which one is better for my use case?
Hi all and many thanks for your time on this!
What I have now is a 1080ti inside a desktop size PC in the living room which I use for VR. On another room, I have a Dell 5501 laptop used for daily work. Specs are
- Living room VR system: i7-4790 (bit underspec already), 16GB RAM, 1080ti. The board doesn't have Thunderbolt port hence I would need to add a TB3 card, is that correct or missing something? would the BIOS have issues?. This machine will continue being used for VR and also for casual gaming. Its real use is roughly once each two months
- Working laptop: Dell 5501 custom build with i7-9850H, 32GB, MX150 and TB3 over USBC. Checked with HWinfo using a youtube video and looks to be x4 lanes. This machine will continue being used for office work but want also to use it for gaming and for 4k video editing via Davinci Resolve and Premiere
Idea would be then moving the 1080ti to an eGPU and the use it either with the laptop or desktop depending on which one I have to fire up. In essence this eGPU would even be down plenty of time as I will be using the laptop for normal office work on its internal GPU most time. What I want to ensure is that this eGPU will be able to hold not only the 1080ti now but a 3080/3090 in the near future (size/watts,etc). Will always work with external screen
Problem I find is... how do I really choose one? The ones I've been seen are pretty similar. Have even found incredible prices for second hand units locally or Amazon returned ones. Examples I have spotted are:
1) Asus ROG XG Station 2: looks old in time and too big but possible being still a good option nowadays? (220USD used)
2) Razer Core X: 150USD
3) Razer Core X Chroma: 320USD used, 500USD new
4) Akitio Node Pro: 220USD used
5) Mantiz Venus Mz-02: 250USD used
On those, anything I should be aware of on the good or bad? OUT of those, which other could be best breed or better option for my use case scenario?
Many thanks guys in advance for you help!!!
@javier_otero, Razer Core X @ $150 used is the best value. It has plenty of space for larger cards later on too. AKiTiO Node Pro @ $220 is the best choice imo but the PSU might not be able to handle the RTX 3090. I'd recommend reading our buyer's guide and each eGPU enclosure review to get more information on them.
@itsage, thanks for your fast answer
Per your comments, it looks like you prefer the Akitio Node Pro over the Core X, Core X Chroma or the Asus ROG 2? what is the exact reason for that please? During the last two days I've read the guide twice, read 2 forums and saw several youtube videos and man.... it's not easy to decide among those :D. The only reason I was inclined for the the Razer enclosures was mainly due to being able to hold a potential future 3-slot card (Akitio can hold only 2 or 2.5 slot?) and per having a more powerful PSU.
Why then the Akitio Node Pro among those I listed above? I'm not fully decided on any in special so willing to hear from you guys who are the experts on this
Some further questions if I may.
1) The firmware version I see in the buying guide is quite different depending on the brand and model. It this a purchasing showstopper? some have very old versions
2) My desktop computer mobo is an Asus Z97-A / USB3.1 model. It doesn't have the USB-C port but has support for it and integrates the TB header. The problem I see is that it may only support TB2 instead of TB3? Clearly I have to buy a Thunderbolt PCIExpress card for it but.... should I buy a TB3 or a TB2? For this I haven't found information. Don't know if a TB3 card will work as TB3 in that mobo, as TB2..., or won't even be compatible.
@javier_otero, It is my personal preference to go with AKiTiO Node Pro at $220. It's a very unique eGPU enclosure (two Thunderbolt 3 ports, nice aluminum construction and a retractable carrying handle. Razer Core X/Chroma are much bulkier in comparison. The Node Pro can easily fit a 2.5 slot wide GPU. I recall it has plenty of clearance so most cards should fit. Side panels can be removed if needed.
Gigabyte GC-TITAN-RIDGE is the Thunderbolt 3 AIC I would recommend. It works with many motherboards including AMD. You don't even need to have the TBT header for it to work.
What I'm afraid of is the Akitio Node Pro may have two, not negative, but somehow worse specs compared to the Chroma or X. First being it can accomodate only up to 2.5 slot cards while Razers' can fit 2.75 and 3 slot wide cards. Second is having a smaller PSU which, for a future 3090 could be an issue. On the other hand, I like it more on the finish side.
What about the problem I commented above with my motherboard?
1) Will I be able to plug in that mobo a TB3 PCIexpress card when the motherboard was designed with compatibility for TB2 only? I just know it has the TB header.
2) If the mobo could work with it, will it work as TB3 or TB2? I mean talking about speed