Ever since seeing the first commercial for the Nintendo Switch in late 2016, I knew I had to have one. In the US market, the Nintendo Switch was released in early March. Due to high demand at launch, I could not get my hands on this modular portable gaming console. Until now.
First of all, the whole concept of gaming anywhere, anytime is an awesome idea. Most would agree we’re tired of turning on the Playstation or XBox only to wait for large updates to download and install. In the Nintendo Switch, you can pick it up and start playing immediately. Anywhere. Anytime.
Sure, a majority of smartphones can do mobile gaming. What distinguishes the Switch from smartphones is its dockability. You can dock the Switch to a big screen, and it becomes a proper gaming console as well as entertainment hub.
Another key feature is the USB-C port this Nintendo Switch utilizes as its primary I/O. It’s funny how accurate Intel’s slogan for Thunderbolt 3/USB-C “one port that does it all” describes the implementation of this port in the Switch. Through a single cable, you can charge the device, output audio and video signal to an external display, connect to USB peripherals, etc.
Perhaps the most important question is whether the Nintendo Switch works with an eGPU. This picture says it all.
I was able to successfully pair the Mantiz Venus + R9 Fury eGPU to the Nintendo Switch. On first attempt, plugging in the cable activated the power supply but the graphics card did not turn on. After playing around with different connecting methods, I found a procedure to make the eGPU work with the Switch. Here’s the step by step how-to:
- Power off both the Nintendo Switch and eGPU enclosure.
- Connect the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C between the two devices.
- Power the Nintendo Switch on first and wait for the Switch logo.
- Power the eGPU enclosure on as soon as you see the Switch logo at boot.
This boot-up method has helped reliably connect the Nintendo Switch to the Mantiz Venus +R9 Fury eGPU. On some Mac eGPU pairings, this is a similar boot procedure I’ve used to get external GPU working in macOS. It possibly means there’s eGPU support for the Switch in development. At the moment it’s not hot-pluggable.
Nintendo once again steals the spotlight with its clever use of modular hardware to build the ultimate gaming console. This Switch is truly the one gaming device that does it all. It’s built as a portable gaming device to take with you on the road. The docking station switches it into a proper gaming console at home. And soon, eGPU will transform the Nintendo Switch into the ultimate gaming console.