Best Laptops for eGPU - June 2020 Thunderbolt 3 Laptop Buyer's Guide
 
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Best Laptops for eGPU - June 2020 Thunderbolt 3 Laptop Buyer's Guide  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@4chip4 and @irev210 Thank you for the insights. I revised "Max TDP" to "Configurable TDP-up" to 25W.

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2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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ondert
(@ondert)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

How about LG Gram? LG has added 4-line Pci-e supported Thunderbolt 3 port on the latest iteration.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@ondert There are a few more laptops that should be good candidates just like the new LG Gram you mentioned. We're waiting for actual implementation and confirmation that these laptops have x4 PCIe over TB3 as well as OPI 4GT/s before adding them onto the list.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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

Are you saying that Intel doesn’t properly design their CPUs or that lifespan will shorten if they are used this way?  I’d love to see any data you have showing that designing Intel CPUs around Intel’s own power/thermal limits will result in shortened design lifespan.

Umm, yes? Intel gives you a warranty, which is based on a statistical model. Silicon ages, and the degradation rate is correlated with both temperature and number of executed cycles even if you operate within the parameters. Intel does not know or has a say what the thermals will be in an OEM device. The 100C max junction temp is not a "99C is perfectly fine under any condition" and "101C is bad". The higher you go, and harsher the thermal shocks, the higher statistical chance of silicon failure. I'm not saying this is a big problem or that many devices will break down - but it certainly doesn't help the device lifetime.

I am also assuming that the majority of people on eGPU.io are looking for CPU performance while attached to a eGPU, so battery isn’t really used nor is it on your lap.

I'm talking about temp-based battery life degradation - batteries degrade faster if heated, even if they are not in active use. Again, how much is dependent on the design, but most designs are focusing on getting the heat out, rather than protecting the battery.

Please note that the new Dell XPS 13 9370 bottom runs much cooler than many of its competitors, despite using more power, so it doesn’t really make for a nice lap warmer vs. its 15w peers

Obviously I was joking about lap-warming - the thermals are far more complex topic than that. Good designs spread the heat around as much as possible to reduce hotspots (which might be a conflicting goal with battery life as said above).

First off, you can’t cook a 8550u, you will temp throttle.  You can have a 15w TDP cpu and a 25W TDP cpu that operate at the exact same temp or have the 25W TDP cpu run even cooler/faster than the 15W TDP cpu

The primary goal of temp throttling is just to prevent  imminent failure - it doesn't help with the log term silicon and thermal wear'n'tear.

I don’t want a HQ chip, look at the smallest form factor you can get a HQ chip… it’s not 2.6 pounds.

Well, this is the part of having the cake and eating it too - there is a reason for that chip size, and it has to do with (drumroll) thermals and silicon Smile It's like trying to get out more horsepower of a small engine in order to fit a small chassis. There is a reason those larger engines exist.

The U is about TDP parameters.  Just because the processor can work well at 25W sustained and not leak power like crazy when you are on battery life doesn’t mean it is a bad choice.  CPUs have evolved and we are seeing some really unique offerings.


 The U in the Intel Chips stands for Ultra-low powerI understand you want to max out performance and TDP, but that's not what the U series was originally meant for.

I get what you are saying but it’s pretty ridiculous to suggest that by an OEM offering a 25W solution in a 13.3″ package will somehow cook the silicon when I clearly just demonstrated that 15W solutions can and do run even hotter.

What I'm saying is that every OEM designs their thermal systems. Yes, you can make a good 25w design, and yes, you can make a bad 15W design. There are plenty of tradeoffs to make (thermal buffer, weight, volume, layout, battery life/size). In the example you've shown the tradeoff was that CPU temps go very high, very quick. I don't like that and think that's on the risky side. For some it's irrelevant.

The key takeaway here is that you can plug it into a power source, get 20% extra performance for “free” without any loss of portability/battery life.

We can agree to disagree on this one Smile TANSTAAFL

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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irev210
(@irev210)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

We can agree to disagree on this one   TANSTAAFL

The double standard is somewhat amusing.  Your HP laptop runs hotter you know; according to your long winded explanation of thermodynamics, your HP laptop probably lasts only 50% as long as the Dell 9370.  All of what you just said basically said the Dell's superior thermal solution and cooler operating temps make it an excellent choice Smile

According to your link, since Dell laptop battery doesn't get as hot as the spectre x360, it will last much longer  Smile

So based on all that, you should probably switch laptops asap!!!!

In all seriousness, I personally don't think that there is any life difference between the spectre x360 and the dell xps 9370... just different design choices that lead to different performance characteristics.  If you disagree, that's fine too.

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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Timur Kristóf
(@timur_kristof)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Out of curiosity, what's that big-ass monitor on the first picture of this article?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@timur_kristof It's a Samsung CHG90 49-inch 32:9 FreeSync 2 monitor.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek mini eGFX) + macOS 11 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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

@irev210 No, I *am* agreement that different design choices lead to different characteristics. What I didn't agree with is that those design limitations are random or largely irrelevant (ie that bumping wattage is "free"). There is a reason why the same chips have different thermal and power limits - and it's not that somebody just forgot to tick a box (regardless of who the manufacturer is).

Here's an example for the specific two devices you mentioned - x360s and XPSes do not have 1:1 the same target markets, it's just that for eGPU uses we need to work backwards due to the TB limits. The x360 is a different form factor and meant for a slightly different target market than a XPS 9370, as it needs to function as a tablet as well, so the thermal design IS bound to be different than a traditional laptop. In tablet mode, you have more limitations on the bottom exhaust, so you need to be able to radiate more heat topside, or the device will be constantly thermally throttled when in tablet mode. TANSTAAFL. If that's an issue, and you don't need x360 functionality... Then why x360? Even within the HP offering, you're better off with a 13t - it's cooler AND sleeker AND has the same TB3 ports.

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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wimpzilla
(@wimpzilla)
Honorable Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Hardware Unboxed compared the TB3 2x/4x pci-e bandwidth difference in game using the same cpu.

2012 13-inch Dell Latitude E6320 + R9 [email protected] (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10
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2012 15" Lenovo Thinkpad T530 [2nd,4C,Q] + R9 270X @ 4Gbps-mPCIe2 (EXP GDC 8.4) + Win10 [build link]  


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genium me
(@genium_me)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Very helpful thank you!
Two questions,
first rather theoretical, TB3 right now supports up to 40GBps but we are only connecting 4PCIe 3rd gen lanes (4x8GBps), now would it be possible - or rather - useful to connect 5 or 6 PCIe lanes to a TB3 port? would that lower the performance drop we currently see on GPUs in cores?
now secondly a very specific question:
Is there a reason the MateBook X pro is not listed as a good device for eGPUs?
Even so mobilTechReview states that the TB3 has 4 lanes there is still controversy about that is that the reason?
Or are there issues in setting up a box with the Xpro? In OneCoolThing they mentioned having issues setting up a razer core X - can anyone confirm or explain why that is ?
Thanks for the article and any answeres i can get to the above

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

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