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Portable eGPU-solutions
 

Portable eGPU-solutions  

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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

Hey,

I work freelance and have to travel around, but also live a few months here and there to work. ALSO I love to play videogames.

Right now, I'm happy to  at least play some Dota on my Zenbook 3 Deluxe, but I really would love to play Dota 2 on on higher settings and things like Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire or Total Warhammer 2. What is the most portable solution for my low to mid-end gaming demand? Is there something I can easily travel with, if I need to move with my train-safe luggage?
Of course I am not asking for something to use on the go, but just for some lightweight and small enclosure + GPU-solution.

This topic was modified 3 months ago

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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Yukikaze
(@yukikaze)
Prominent Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@astfgl_ - The AORUS Gaming Box by Gigabyte is pretty small and comes with a nifty carry case (about the size of a DSLR camera carry case) that can be used to move it about safely. It comes in RX580, GTX1070, GTX1080 and GTX2070 versions. You can also find an empty shell on ebay and place a different card into it (for example, a R9 Nano, or Vega 56 Nano). As far as easily mobile solution go, it is the most commonly used one because of price, availability and the included carry case.

There are smaller options, but they are either very expensive, very hard to find, entirely un-upgrade-able or all of these at once. The AORUS can be upgraded, but the maximum size of the card it can contain is rather small (half-length, dual-slot), which is the price you pay for relatively easy mobility.

For alternatives, look into the Sonnet Breakaway Puck RX570 (includes a MXM-based RX570), Zotac AMP Box Mini (comes with no card), Lenovo Graphics Dock (built in, soldered on, GTX1050) or an AKiTiO Node Lite or AKiTiO Thunder3 (the last two are pretty much the same thing, and by using an upgraded power brick you can run a card without an additional power plug in them, which is something like a GTX1050Ti or GTX1650. Neither comes with a card. With some modding more powerful cards are also possible).

This post was modified 3 months ago

My eGPU Zoo - Link to my Implementations.
Want to output [email protected] out of an old system on the cheap? Read here.
Give your Node Pro a second Thunderbolt3 controller for reliable peripherals by re-using a TB3 dock (~50$).

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love."


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DrEGPU
(@dregpu)
Trusted Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

Another vote for the AORUS Gaming Boxes, for all the reasons Yukikaze stated. I have 3 of them! If you set it up correctly, you can use it to power the laptop's LCD display, although with some performance hit.

MBP 2018 15 inch + 2X Aorus gaming box 1080 in BootCamp and MacOS 10.13.6
2011 13-inch MacBook Pro + Razer Core X@10Gbps-TB1 (Zotac RTX 2080 Ti Amp) + Ubuntu 18.04


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

I have both the Aorus Gaming Box GTX 1070 and the Akitio Thunder 3 with a Zotac Gtx 1050Ti mini in it (5.7" x 4.38" which easily fits). I also have a Zotac AMP box mini on back order but not sure when or if I will get it. When I get time I can send you photos. I've looked into the Sonnet Breakaway puck which is by far the smallest and lightest but it goes for $400 for an RX 560 and $600 for an RX570. You pay a massive premium for that portability.

Aorus Gaming Box

  • $499 on Amazon but you can probably pick it up For $450 and less for pre-owned as quite a few available on ebay.
  • It just needs a regular power cord (separate PSU not required) and the T3 cable (the one that comes with it is only 0.5 ft. A longer one will run you about $30-50)
  • It comes with a padded carrying pouch and is the lighter of the 2. The GTX 1070 obviously outperforms the GTX 1050TI in my Akitio by quite some margin. I tried to overclock the 1070 but that didn't go well. It performs really well with my Dell XPS 13.
  • There is no on/off button. It's completely plug and play and usually starts up fine with the laptop. If something goes wrong (it did for me once) you have to yank the cord and leave it al off for a while before restarting and have to count on it to restart. You  need to make sure firmware is up to date as I had problems with fans not turning off. I don't use it that often but apart from that one time it's flawless. It really performs well for any game I play.
  • Once you put the Gaming box in its padded bag it takes up quite a bit of room and you would need to carry it as a separate bag or else work out a better way to pad it and take it in your backpack Linus has a video on its portability on youtube.

Akitio Thunder 3 (Akitio Node lite is identical)

  • Bought it off ebay for $160 (included the separate 120 Watt PSU power brick (looks like a regular PC power adapter) which you will need to run a GPU like the GTX 1050TI (and may cost you extra) and a quieter fan already installed (stock one is loud). You should be able to get one sub $200.
  • I bought a Zotac GTX 1050TI mini (EVGA make one identical size) for $91 pre owned on ebay to place it inside. I think GTX 1050TI is the most powerful GPU you can include that doesn't need a dedicated PCI-E 6 pin or more cable to power it. It draws power from the 120W brick and through the PCI expansion slot only. If you want a card that needs to be powered bby  PCI-E cable you need a case mod or leave the cover off.
  • There is no room for an internal power supply and if you want a more powerful GPU that requires external power you will have to mod the case with cutouts and get a more powerful PSU like the Dell DA-2 (220W) which is a super big brick which also requires a special cable (Akitio Thunder 3 6-Pin PCI-E (lay flat) Power Solution Dell DA-2 PSU by Kareon cables). Any solution that requires the Dell DA-2 doesn't make it portable in my opinion which is why I chose to stay with the 1050TI mini. There are many examples of case mods on egpu.io for the Akitio Thunder 3, Node Lite and Thunder 2 which all have the same form factor.
  • If you keep the 1050TI I think the combined weight of the all steel Akitio enclosure (thing is heavy. I'll let you know exactly how much) and the 120W PSU power brick is much more than the Aourus.
  • However, the Akitio solution with a GTX 1050TI is much cheaper and might be worth the additional weight if your gaming requirements aren't so demanding. All up the Akitio + brick is like carrying a 4-5 pound gaming laptop as well as your ultrabook.

Zotac AMP Box mini

  • Its about $220 dollars and is on back order everywhere (will take at least 3 weeks and I'm not sure if I will even get it) and looks like it will be lighter but slightly bigger than the Akitio. However it will have an internal power supply and an eight pin PCI-E cable that can probably be adapted to most of the half size GPUs (GTX 1060 may be max - yet to see) .
  • There isn't much on it on youtube (probably only 3 videos)and they mostly seem to be found overseas (UK ebayers are selling them at ridiculous prices)
  • I will let you know if the order comes in

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@sabrefv where are you based? Amazon UK has the Zotac box atm for 250... tempted grab it myself for either a MITX 2070 or whatever Navi yields...

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

I'm based in germany right now. Zotac Amp Box mini 230W is at ~240USD / 210€, whereas the Gigabyte/Aorus Gaming Boxes are barely available. Only one RX580 on amazon, nowhere else to be seen.

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Good appraisals of the small enclosures btw. I have a secondary eGPU of a Node Lite and rx 560 and have my fingers crossed for a bit more power with Navi. 
Only one correction- the Zotac has an external psu, which I like as it means less heat with the box itself.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

I'm Australian but live in the US. Think I could order on Amazon UK and get it shipped?

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@sabrefv you’ll find it cheaper in the US probably?
if you can’t find it and they don’t post I’d be happy to help out but postage is rarely cheap. Think it cost me £50 to send a Thunder3 to Germany once. 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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odin
 odin
(@odin)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

I have to also throw my hat in the Aorus Gaming Box ring. Those things are super small.

Here's Linus using one in a hotel room a while back with a Blade Stealth. Granted this is the previous generation 1080 version.

LG Gram 17 | Sonnet Breakaway Box 550 | Asus Strix RTX 2070 OC Edition | Win 10 Pro 1903 + Manjaro Deepin Dual Boot
Build Link


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dfphoto
(@dfphoto)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

I also have the gaming box but I'm on Mac osx, it weighs about 6lb about 10"x4x6" sorry no metric system... I don't think the noise is a loud but it is consistent. I have it about 1' away I use the mac TB3 to TB2 adapter since I am on an older machine. with the scripts mac_editor wrote it works well. 

I'm freelance and travel as well but note it is not as strong (the actual box) as the larger units and it has a mesh grill on the sides for air so, it will get banged up if not careful even in the case as those camera bag type of cases are only meant to protect from scratches and minor bumps.... That said, you don't have a lot of options, you can buy on ebay usa today there is one for 216.00 the shipping might be cheaper than normal since ebay has an international shipping program. Negative is, it will take 2 weeks probably to get to you. With my setup I can run usb drives to copy from the box which helps reduce self ejects from the drives if this is of concern to you. Goodluck.... the gaming box works on pc/mac and I think linux

Pending: 2014 macbook pro Nvidia 750 Gigabyte RX580 gaming box OSX 10.13.6 my signature to give context to my posts


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

And now the comparison photos as promised. They both weigh almost the same. The Akitio is maybe a half pound heavier.

Akitio (with 1050Ti connected to Dell Latitude 7275 and my 4k TCU roku TV)

Akitio with hand
Akitio with brick
Akitio Open with finger
Akitio Front

Aorus (connected to my Dell XPS 13 9360 and Dell 27" Freesync 144hz monitor)

Aorus side view 2
Aorus no cable mess
Aorus front
Aorus back view

Both of them side by side for comparison

Aorus and Akitio side by side
Aktio and Aorus side by side side view
Akitio and Aorus top view
Akitio and Aorus side by side with brick

see my previous post here for the merits and disadvantages of each.

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070


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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

Wow, thank you @sabrefv for the photo comparisons!

So far the Aorus/Gigabyte enclosures seem to offer the best portability at the best price point - unfortunately still somehow not available in germany. But I guess, I could get the refurbished enclosures from ebay international and put another gpu inside ...

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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DrEGPU
(@dregpu)
Trusted Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 
Posted by: Astfgl_

Wow, thank you @sabrefv for the photo comparisons!

So far the Aorus/Gigabyte enclosures seem to offer the best portability at the best price point - unfortunately still somehow not available in germany. But I guess, I could get the refurbished enclosures from ebay international and put another gpu inside ...

Just be aware that there could be some slight incompatibility issues due to the quirks of the AORUS gaming box. See here:

https://egpu.io/forums/thunderbolt-enclosures/troubleshooting-rtx-2070-mini-in-aorus-gaming-box/

MBP 2018 15 inch + 2X Aorus gaming box 1080 in BootCamp and MacOS 10.13.6
2011 13-inch MacBook Pro + Razer Core X@10Gbps-TB1 (Zotac RTX 2080 Ti Amp) + Ubuntu 18.04


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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 

Best portable eGPU is naturally Sonnet Breakaway Puck 570.
I got one for 327 EUR and it is one of the most reliable piece of hardware I ever had. No problems, no noise, no issues, it just works and it is very small. (Actually my wife got it, you have to stand up very soon to get such a good price)

This post was modified 3 months ago

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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sabrefv
(@sabrefv)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago
 

Lucky man @OliverB 🙂 No such presents from my wife 🙂 She just complains over my eGPU Zoo 🙂 Cheapest I could find the RX 570 version of the puck in the US is $499 USD. Newgg is a good store and might ship international for @Aftsgl_
PuckatNewegg
I couldn't find any one ebay.

Lenovo Yoga 730, Dell XPS 13
Akitio Node, Gigabyte Aorus 1070
Sapphire Nitro RX 580, Nvidia GE Force GTX 1070


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OliverB
(@oliverb)
Noble Member
Joined: 10 months ago
 
Posted by: sabrefv

Lucky man @OliverB 🙂 No such presents from my wife 🙂 She just complains over my eGPU Zoo 🙂 Cheapest I could find the RX 570 version of the puck in the US is $499 USD. Newgg is a good store and might ship international for @Aftsgl_
PuckatNewegg
I couldn't find any one ebay.

@sabrefv
Actually my wife is using the Puck 570 with MacBook, so it was for herself.
We were quite lucky because it was an ebay action that ended at 7:20am. Naturally many people will miss this so early in the morning. My wife stands up early every day, so I wrote her a letter to bid 333 EUR in the last 5 seconds. And she got it with 327 EUR. That was close :p

Here is our build guide with a 13-inch MBP 2015.
Keep in mind that this may the only setup that works with Bootcamp and internal display out of the box without any patch/hack/trick or the need to hot-plug the eGPU. She can start/boot whenever she wants and it will work flawlessly.

2018 15" MBP & 2015 13" MBP connected to RTX2080Ti GTX1080Ti GTX1080 Vega56 RX580 R9-290 GTX680


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itsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
 

The VisionTek Mini eGFX is another choice for portable eGPU. I'd recommend an eGPU solution that provides Power Delivery, that way you don't have to carry the laptop original power brick. The eGPU can charge the laptop while connected. Your choices are Breakaway Puck [45W], Gaming Box [100W], Mini eGFX [45W], and TB3 Graphics Dock [65W].

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide


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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

I just got a good bargain on a used Gaming Box with a RX 580. Next days (or weekends I presume) will tell, if it finally cures my gaming itch and also, if it will speed up work with Photoshop, inDesign & Illustrator and Premiere & After Effects. Right now, I'm very happy to find this for 300€ in Germany 🙂

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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Astfgl_
(@astfgl_)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

Couldn't try that much, but right now I've called in sick and can tell right of the bat: It sure does its thing, but I have to say that I'm a bit underwhelmed by the setups overall performance - expecially in games as you can see the frame drops - in work it's just a boost you can feel, but not quantify.

So in regards of gaming: Dota 2 on highest settings is playable, but often goes under 30fps - strangely enough it's the same on low settings. Although I guessed I could give Dark Souls 3 a try, but that is not playable on lowest settings at 1080p - again at 720p does not change much. Am I missing something here? I don't know if my CPU is throttling hard, but device manage tells me, that everyting is not at 100%, while I play. Is there some Windows 10 energy options I should check? Also is it okay, to just flash Gigabyte's latest firmware or should I flash everything after another?

Thanks for the heads-up!

Zenbook 3 Deluxe - i5-7200U, 8GB /w eGPU: RX 580 Gaming Box


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chx
 chx
(@chx)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

There's also the Galax SNPR 1060 if you can find one -- won't be easy. Either way, I found it best to keep the eGPU in my hand luggage and put the heavy power brick in the checked in suitcase. This is another reason why the Gigabyte box is less convenient.

This post was modified 2 months ago

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


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