As the video gaming industry is becoming more and more realistic and demanding every year, having an external graphic card has become ever so important. An external graphic card allows your laptop/PC to change its default gpu to the one which is externally connected via a USB port. In rare cases, the eGPU (External Graphics Processing Unit) comes with a graphic card already installed inside but most of the times you get to install the graphic card of your choice. This means that you can buy a high speed graphic card and be able to power your same old laptop, as long as it meets the requirements of your external graphic card, and run all the latest games and gpu-demanding softwares. Amazing, isn’t it? Let’s read more about this.
Do I Need An External Graphics Card?
A powerful graphic card is the number one requirement of all the hardcore gamers out there. However, where else is it useful? Well, a strong graphic card can be a valuable necessity for almost any popular modern field. Think about animators, movie makers, intro/outro designers and those who actively work with software like the Cinema 4D and Adobe After-Effects. If your graphics card is not strong enough, you are nowhere near running these programs smoothly and efficiently. A good graphics card is necessary if you wish to have a higher FPS whether while working with animations or while gaming.
So, an external graphics card is the perfect choice for those people whose current laptops are unable to fulfill their needs. In such a case, instead of buying an entirely new computer, it is better to just buy an eGPU and experience the same high-quality performance that you would have on a brand new modern laptop or on a PC (if you are too lazy to build it from scratch).
3 Best External Graphics Cards I Picked in 2018
My number-one pick for the best eGPU of 2018 would be undoubtedly the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box. It comes with Gigabyte’s personalized version of Nvidia GTX 1070 that possesses a memory power of 8 GB. Not only is this eGPU flashy and stylish looking but it also removes the need of buying a separate GPU and installing it inside the gaming box. This means that as soon as you buy it, you need to do nothing extra but just plug it in your laptop/PC and you are ready to go!
As for the remaining best eGPUs, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier and the Akitio Node are on the top of the list. They are expensive, heavy and massive-looking but are totally worth the price.
The Key Players: Choose Your Best External Graphics Card, In-depth Reviews
Choosing the best external graphics card can be a bit tricky as there are many key players in the eGPU industry. Companies like Alienware, Gigabyte and Razer are renowned as the leading producers of gaming products and are the biggest competitors of each other. One example would be that the eGPUs produced by Alienware work the best (perfectly compatible) on their own laptops than on the one of any other brand. However, we have nothing to do with this competition as our main motive is to choose the best external graphics card for our own personal usage. Hence, worry not for I shall be discussing all the best eGPUs of 2018 with a detailed analysis of each of them to help you understand what sets them apart from the others.
Part #1 Choosing the Best External Graphics Card (For Desktop)
The best external graphics card for desktop is by no doubt the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box. This is according to what the world has rated as the #1 eGPU and the editor’s choice on many popular online websites.
Editor’s Choice: Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box Reviews
Quick Tips for this Top Pick
- The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is an all-in-one eGPU. It already has an Nvidia GTX 1070 (8gb memory) installed in it
- Everything is set up, all you need to do is just connect the eGPU to your desktop
- It’s excellently packed and comes around with its own sturdy box which allows you to safely travel with it anywhere you wan
About This External Graphics Card
The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is the latest external graphics processing unit from Gigabyte. Due to its small overall size, it only supports mini-ITX style graphic cards. However, for the ease of its users, Gigabyte has already installed an 8 GB Nvidia GTX 1070 in it. This means that no extra money is needed to buy a separate GPU since everything is already done by the company.
The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box uses a beast graphic card, GTX 1070, with a memory of 8 GB. This eGPU is capable of running any latest game/software on the highest settings and resolution while ensuring a completely lag-free and efficient experience. The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box has been rated as one of the best eGPUs of 2018 and is the editor’s choice of almost every single website.
Features You Might Like
- Comes along with an already installed Nvidia GTX 1070 (8 GB)
- Very easy to handle and take along in travels due to its small size
- Comes with Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion which is nothing but flashy LED lighting to make your gaming experience even more special
- A lot of ports for better connectivity
- Simple and easy to set up (just buy and plug it in)
- Clean and sleek design
Are there any shortcomings?
The small, compact design of Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box only supports graphics cards of mini-ITX size. This limits the freedom of upgradeability and customization. It also does not guarantee that this eGPU will be able to support the graphics cards of future.
In addition, the processor of your laptop/CPU must match the requirements of the graphics card otherwise it won’t be compatible. Having at least a Quad Core processor is a must to be able to handle this eGPU.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Saves extra costs with a pre-installed Nvidia GTX 1070
- Comes along with Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion which is capable of showing a spectrum of 16 million colors in different forms such as flashing, static and breathing
- The Thunderbolt 3.0 USB port which has a transfer speed of 40 GB/s is used to connect the GPU to your laptop/CPU
- The eGPU box consists of 4 USB 3.0 ports one of which can be used for quick charging
- Small in size, easy to travel around with and covers less space
- Lightweight (around 1.9 kg)
- Gigabyte provides a special packing case for the eGPU
- May not be able to support the future generations of graphic cards due to its small size
- Needs a strong processor like a Quad Core to fully maximize the performance potential
Part #2 Choosing the Best External Graphics Card for Laptop
Quick Tips for External Graphics Cards Used For Laptop
- If your laptop’s processor is not good, the external graphics card will not be compatible. Consider having a Quad Core if you want to experience some good performance
- The eGPU that you use for a laptop can also be used for a PC
- If your laptop is outdated, it is better to just buy a new one instead of wasting money on an external graphics card that won’t even be able to connect to it
Alienware Graphics Amplifier
About This External Graphics Card
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier has been developed by the company which is the most renowned in the gaming world for producing one of the best hardware for gamers. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier can support even the best of graphics cards such as the GTX Titan. However, it’s a bit different from the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box since this does not come with a pre-installed gpu. The Amplifier requires you to buy a separate GPU of standard size and attach it in yourself by opening the box. Once the box is connected to your laptop with the cable provided by Alienware, you are all set to go.
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is a beast eGPU. It can support one of the most powerful graphic cards and can bring the performance level of your laptop to its peak. With the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, you can rest assured as not only is it a durable eGPU, it’s also exceptionally affordable.
Features You Might Like
- Easy to set up; just open up the box, plug in the gpu and you are good to go.
- Compatible with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards
- Powerful enough to hold up the strongest of graphics cards such as the GTX Titan
- Strongly built for a longer durability
Are There Any Shortcomings?
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier was originally made for Alienware laptop. Therefore, if you wish to witness the full potential of this eGPU, you need to have the gaming laptops of none other than the Alienware itself.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Affordable price ($199 and $144 when Amazon is offering discounts)
- Compatible with both AMD and Nvidia graphic cards
- Sturdy design
- Lots of port for better connectivity
- Works the best on Alienware gaming laptops
- The building material of the headset is entirely plastics
- The headset looks massive in size, might not be pleasing to some gamers
Part #3 Choosing the Best External Graphics Card for Mac
Quick Tips for the Best Wireless Gaming Headsets for Mac
- Different Mac versions and sizes support different connectivity for Thunderbolt ports. Make sure you have the right one before buying an eGPU
- Thunderbolt 3 has the fastest transfer speed (32 GB/s) for an ideal connectivity. It is found in MacBook Pro, iMac and iMac Pro
- Remember, MacBook only supports AMD graphic cards. Hence, look for an eGPU that is compatible with these
About This External Graphics Card
The Akitio Node was one of the first eGPUs that ever supported a Mac. It is the perfect choice for those who love to game on their Mac since not only does it have an impressive PSU but it is also easy to carry with a big handle. This means that you can use it for PC/laptops too if you want to.
The Akitio Node has received many positive reviews from customers all over the world. Undoubtedly, Akitio Node promises to deliver what it says. It has an excellent performance, works smooth and easy and is very efficient when it comes to gaming.
In addition, since the Akitio Node uses Thunderbolt 3 ports for connectivity, transfer speeds of a minimum of 32 GB/s and a maximum of up to 40 GB/s can be experienced. Simply perfect for any gamer out there!
Features You Might Like
- Easy to carry since it has a handle
- Excellent PSU
- The back panel is removable
Are There Any Shortcomings?
When you first time see an Akitio Node, you might mistake it for a CPU. Yes, it is that big. This is one of the reasons why people are put off when buying this eGPU. It just covers too much space and can be super irritating to manage when you are connecting it with a desktop PC since there is not enough space to easily fit in everything.
In addition, having nearly a size of a CPU, it is quite heavy (3.6 kg).[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Supports almost every latest graphic card
- Brilliant power supply (400-watts)
- The handle helps to easily carry it around
- It’s huge, just like a separate CPU
- It’s a bit heavy
Part #4 Choose the Best eGPU for Your Needs
Top Gigabyte External Graphic Cards
The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is the top rated eGPU of 2018 by millions around the world. This lightweight (2kg) eGPU comes along with a pre-installed Nvidia GTX 1070 card which contains a beast 8 GB memory. The installed gpu is a personalized mini-ITX version of the original graphic card but it gives an equally unparalleled performance. With everything already put in place by Gigabyte, the AORUS Gaming Box is the number one choice for those people who just want to plug-n-play. Indeed, this eGPU just need to be connected to your laptop and you are all good to go.
In addition, the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box comes along with high speed connectivity ports that support Thunderbolt 3, 4 USB 3.0 slots, 1 Display Port, 2 DL DVI-D ports and 1 HDMI port. There is actually nothing that you can’t connect with this eGPU. It has a support for everything!
Is this all? No! Gigabyte has made the experience of possessing the AORUS Gaming Box an immensely memorable one. The eGPU comes with an RGB Fusion that is capable of producing a spectrum of 16 million different colors in static, flashing or breathing form. For anyone who loves LED lights, RGB Fusion is going to be a pleasurable experience for them.
Last but not least, the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is extremely portable. Its lightweight and small size allows its users to easily carry it around and fit it in places without covering up much space. By some, it is considered as one of the most portable eGPUs of 2018.
Top external graphics card dock-ASUS ROG-XG-STATION-2 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.0 External Graphics Card Dock Reviews
Asus is a company which barely needs any introduction. This Taiwanese company has created a brand, “Republic of Gamers (ROG)” which specializes in the creation of high quality gaming hardware. Therefore, the year 2018 brings us with the ASUS RoG XG Station 2 which is capable of holding any latest graphic card from both, AMD and Nvidia. The eGPU doesn’t come with a pre-installed graphics card but customers may choose to order one along with it and in which case the company will send you a fully installed graphic card for you.
The ASUS RoG XG Station 2 takes its connectivity features to an entirely new level. As for the usual’s, the Thunderbolt 3 port and 4 USB 3.0 ports are supported but apart from that, a Gigabit Ethernet port and type B USB port also come along. This makes this eGPU much more versatile and distinct from the others.
Are you ready to be surprised again? This is one of the few eGPUs that can support dual graphic cards. Imagine having a dual GTX 1070 (a total of 16 GB memory) or a dual Titan Z powering up your laptop or desktop PC. I bet you will be able to run any latest game for at least a decade with this much memory and this much beast of a performance.
Last but not least, since the eGPU supports dual graphic cards, it comes along with an extraordinary power supply that, once again, makes sure that the performance is nothing short of excellent.
Top thunderbolt external graphics card: Node Pro rEVIEWS
The Akitio Node was one of the first eGPUs to ever support compatibility for Mac users. Hence, it’s the perfect pick for Mac, PC and laptop gamers as it can work with any of these platforms.
In addition, the Akitio Node has power supply of 400-watts therefore giving it the ability to hold on any of the latest graphic cards. This combined with the fact that the Akitio Node uses the Thunderbolt 3 port for connectivity; it can have a transfer speed of up to 40 GB/s and allow its users to have an exceptionally smooth, efficient and high quality experience.
The Akitio Node, since it’s a massive looking monster, has an embedded handle for easy portability. The carriage of this eGPU hence is ever so easy and comfortable.
The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box comes along with a pre-installed Nvidia GTX 1070 graphic card (8 GB memory). This eliminates the hassle of buying a separate gpu and installing everything by yourself
- The RGB Fusion lighting makes everything look super special. In addition, the lights are LED and can be personalized according to user’s preferences. Different effects can also be added such as continuous flashing, breathing and static position.
- It is very lightweight (2 kg), which can be extremely helpful, especially for me as I travel a lot. Its size is also small in comparison with other eGPUs therefore allowing it to easily fit inside any compact place.
The Ultimate Tips and Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best External Graphics Card
Buying a suitable external graphics card can be a bit tricky especially when trying to figure out whether is it really an eGPU which is needed or an entirely new computer? Either way, this guide will help you out in every single way to find out what you need and whether it is required or not.
eGPUs: The Background
For years, the ability to improve a laptop’s graphic card had stayed a dream. However, whatever we wish gets fulfilled with the advancement of technology a few years later. Such is the case with external graphic cards as well. The good news is that many renowned companies like Alienware, Gigabyte and Razer have stepped into the eGPU production industry. All these organizations are known for their quality gaming hardware and years of positive reviews. With these famous players on the battleground, we can be rest assured that the future of eGPU is bright.
If we look at the year 2018, we’ll find out that an eGPU has been developed for almost every single platform, whether it is any kind of Mac or a laptop and the eGPUs are still continuously being developed with better and even more intense features to provide the best possible performance to their users.
Buying Basics: 4 Things To Look For
- Certified Compatibility
Before buying an eGPU, make sure that it is compatible with your laptop/Mac/PC. Most the of the latest eGPUs can only connect with a Thunderbolt 3 port and this port is definitely not found in the older laptops. If you don’t know what this port looks like, make sure you do an enough amount of internet research before stepping inside a market.
- Graphics Card Sizing
Many times people buy an eGPU only to find out that the graphic card that they want to install in it is not compatible because of size differences. One notable example is the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box which only supports mini-ITX sized graphic cards. On the other hand, eGPUs like Akitio Node support standard sized graphic cards.
- Power Supply Adequacy
The better power supply an eGPU has, the more chances that it will deliver an excellent performance. eGPUs like Akitio Node which have PSUs of up to 400-watts are excellent since the higher the power supply, the more the latest graphic cards can be supported by the external graphic processing unit.
- Other Features
If you are a hardcore gamer, I highly recommend you to look for an eGPU that supports dual graphics cards like the ASUS RoG which was mentioned above in this guide. This will not only ensure that the price you pay for the eGPU is justified but also that it lasts for a very long time, not in terms of flexibility but rather in terms of future gamers’ and software’ specifications.
In addition, try to look for an eGPU which is smaller in size and lightweight. Heavier and big eGPUs are extremely hard to manage and travel around with. They will only make your life even more miserable as they’ll look like a mirror-copy of your CPU.
Tip #1：Are you Gaming on a Laptop or a Desktop?
This can affect many factors. If you are gaming on a laptop, you need to ensure you have the connectivity support for the eGPU you are buying (mostly Thunderbolt 3 port is required).
However, if your laptop is completely outdated then it’s highly recommended to just buy a new one instead of wasting money on an eGPU. Your old laptop will most probably not be able to support the new graphics card. Even though eGPUs are mostly used for laptops, if you are planning to buy one for a desktop then have you considered the option of changing the graphics card from the CPU itself? You already have the option of a replaceable GPU so an eGPU won’t be really necessary.
Tip#2：Do you Prioritize Power or Portability?
In simple words, do you want your eGPU to have more power supply so it can support latest graphic cards (very important if you plan on installing dual graphic cards) or you want it to have more portability so it can is easy to carry around? Obviously, if you wish to have a better gaming or working experience then power will be your best companion. Good portability, by default, can be found in many eGPUs. It’s just about researching.
Tip#3：The Limits of eGPUs You should Know
- × External graphic cards are not meant to replace your primary graphic cards. They are there just to improve the performance while using the existing laptop/desktop
- × Latest and powerful graphic cards are already expensive. Buying an eGPU just adds to that cost.
- × eGPUs are meant for laptops, not Macs or desktops. They can support those platforms too but why waste the money? Gaming cannot be done on Mac and desktops already have the option to replace almost anything inside them
- × Some eGPUs work only good on the company’s own computers. A notable example is the Alienware Graphics Amplifier
As the time is passing by, almost every renowned company is stepping inside the eGPU production industry. Here are some of the most notable organizations that deal with the manufacturing of external graphic cards:
Ready for Our Recommendations?
Don’t want to waste extra money on buying a separate GPU? Well, go with Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box. It comes along with Nvidia GTX 1070 installed in it and the eGPU in general has all the ideal features that any customer would desire. In addition, it’s also price-efficient.
If you are a Mac gamer, then undoubtedly Akitio Node is the ideal choice for you.
If you are a hard-core gamer, ASUS RoG that supports dual graphic cards is your best buddy.
This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive knowledge about external graphic cards and what should you keep in mind when buying them. Use this as a handy guide to help you whenever you are heading out to purchase an eGPU.