Best Laptops for eGPU - June 2020 Thunderbolt 3 Laptop Buyer's Guide
Very nice guide! I'm wondering if it is ok for me to translate this guide to Chinese and post it on chinese forums? Information of eGPU is very rare in Chinese community, and they could really use this well written guide. Of course I'll leave the link to this page, give you the whole credit, and will not use it for business purposes.
One important thing to mention is that the CPUs on Macbook Pro are rated at 28W, compared to the 15W on other Windows PCs. This means a significant performance difference. Just go to CPU benchmark by PassMark and search for i7-8550U and i7-8559U and see what I mean.
I have been on this site quite a bit as I plan to buy a new laptop soon. I have a few questions about this post's content I'm hoping you can answer:
1) are the laptops listed above for the model year 2018 or 2019?
2) I'm sure there are an infinite number of possible eGPU configs, do you know if there is a cost estimation tool to compare buying a laptop with a powerful GPU vs. an ultrabook + eGPU? For example: the MSI GS65 Stealth with RTX 2060 - 6Gb is $2300 vs. putting that money towards a different ultrabook combo.
Any and all help is very much appreciated! I think your website has opened my mind up to a whole new world of portable gaming possibilities!
Hello, could you tell me if the new Dell XPS 13 is compatible, model number 9380? Also could you provide model numbers for the rest of the laptops, the amazon links are not clear as to the editions and newer versions. Thanks!
Great article, and I keep coming back to it when considering ultrabook/eGPU builds. However, it's a little outdated, as the newest Whiskey Lake-U chips (i5-8265U/i7-8565U) actually have 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, and should be able tohandle a full TB3 @ x4 and dGPU @ x4 at the same time. It would also be good to update the page to mention the model #/years/size on the recommended laptop list above. For example, the Lenovo Yoga 730 that this page suggests is the 13.3" (730-15IKB), but that isn't obvious from just reading it. There's also the 730-15IKB w/ GTX 1050 doesn't have full 4-lane TB3, whereas the 730-15IWL (Whiskey Lake) should, since the CPU supports 4 more PCIe lanes. Personally, I think it would be a helpful edit to include more specifics (e.g. Spectre x360 13.3" vs. 15.6" vs. 2018 or 2019) so people don't go out and invest in a laptop with sub-par specs for an eGPU config. Hope this helps the article stay up to date and even more useful!
Thanks for the article. Hoping to get feedback from anyone with experience with 8th Gen Intel Amberlake "Y" series processors and if there is any success using an eGPU. After trying to get my hands on a lot of information about the potential (and limitations) of utilizing an eGPU with my very niche and ultra-portable HP Spectre Folio 13 (Quad i7 8500y @ 1.5 Ghz each; 8GB DDR4-SDRAM; and currently with the admittedly uninspired integrated Intel UHD 615 Graphics).
(Link to product, for my specific configuration reference):
Based on what I can tell, my Thunderbolt setup is similar to the more traditional HP Spectre 13 mentioned in this article. I think it meets the Thunderbolt 3, 4-lanes (x4 PCIe) suggestion above (no matter how I toggle my Win 10 device manager window settings, my view does not get as specific as the screenshots in this article to get the level of detail to show the "x2" or "x4" details).
Because of this devices goal of being an ultra-low-power-consumer for mobility (rated by Intel/HP at Max TDP: 5 Watts), I am wondering what effect/relationship this has with its compatibility or ability to be augmented successfully by an eGPU. Specifically, after a lot of reading, to support my goals, I am looking at coupling the following:
- Razer Core X Chroma
- Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti OR possibly a GTX1660 for value
Goal: play current AAA games with modest but not crazy frame-rate (30-ish fps) in medium game settings i.e. Witcher 3 with a decent 30 fps would be as demanding as I'd likely get.
Some would argue just to buy a gaming laptop or build a gaming PC - but I prefer the most modular/minimalist approach possible, and keep modest/tempered expectations.
This laptop has been perfect for my needs as a low-power, connected laptop. Gaming was NOT on my list when I bought it. Now that I have been turned on to gaming again, I am trying to find a creative solution without having to buy a ton of extra hardware, including another laptop to play an occasional AAA game (I'm def not going to ever approach "hard-gore-gamer" realm.
Any insight from anyone who has experimented/used ePGUs with ultra-low-power mobile laptops using the Amberlake processors - I would be appreciative to know if this is a bottleneck that negates option of successfully using an eGPU.
@Ryan I tested a 2018 MacBook Air which had i5-8210Y. There are definitely performance disadvantages with the 5W Y-CPU. While the RX 580 eGPU benchmarks seemed fairly normal, the GTX 1080 Ti eGPU saw a huge loss. I'd recommend going with the GTX 1660/Ti.
@itsage - after I posted this, I discovered your reference/build on 8thgen/2/y macbook air - thank you for testing and for the feedback here. My HP Spectre Folio is 8th gen/4 core/Y, so after further reading and research, I was hesitant to shell out the money on an Core X AND a GTX 1080ti. I did confirm with HP today that the PCIe on this device is 4 lane with respect to the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. I very much appreciate the feedback and the quick response to my long post! I'll consider the cost and the nature of my very mobile/Y powered device as the bottleneck in my purchase and implementation. If I pull the trigger, I'll post the build on the site. Thanks!