Best External Graphics CardWe have all heard of external HDDs and SSDs, but have you ever heard of external Graphic cards or eGPUs? Well, if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Most people don’t even know they exist. And yes, external graphics cards are a real thing, and there are several reasons you should buy one. But which is the best external graphics card?
Gaming on a laptop has never been easier!
An external graphics card is just an external box holding a power supply and graphics card. Note that you need to buy the card separately in most cases, even though it sometimes can be included. You connect the box to your PC through the Thunderbolt port.
The external GPU is an excellent option if you want to play games on your laptop or run out of space on your motherboard and can’t fit a powerful card. Our five external graphic cards will change your life forever!
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect external graphics card for you…
- 1 Top 5 Best External Graphics Card In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Alienware Graphics Amplifier – Best Budget External Graphics Card
- 1.2 2 Akitio Node – Thunderbolt3 eGPU for Windows – Best Mid Range External Graphics Card
- 1.3 3 Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box Graphics Cards – Best Premium External Graphics Card
- 1.4 4 Razer Core X – Best Value External Graphics Card for the Money
- 1.5 5 HP OMEN Accelerator – Best Rated External Graphics Card
- 2 Best External Graphics Card Buying Guide
- 3 Looking For More Superb Gaming Tech?
- 4 So, What Is The Best External Graphics Card?
Top 5 Best External Graphics Card In 2021 Review
1 Alienware Graphics Amplifier – Best Budget External Graphics Card
Alienware has been around for some time and is no stranger to making the best gaming gear. They have proven it once again with the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. The goal of the Amplifier is to help you get a better gaming experience and save space by providing a top external graphics card.
The Alienware Amplifier is a great option to use with laptops or desktops when you don’t want to build a gaming rig from scratch.
It looks like a toaster…
Many people have given their thoughts about the Amplifiers’ size and shape. And yes, it might not have the most intriguing design. It’s basically just a box that looks like the external batteries you can buy today, or like a toaster. Alienware made the Amplifier big, and for a good reason too. A larger box makes it easier for you to add your favorite card without worrying about space.
Good power and extra ports…
Opening the Amplifier is easy. Just use the switch, and it opens up. After opening it, you can start adding all the components and hardware that you want. The power supply is powerful enough to run any graphics card on the market.
Four USB ports on the back let you connect your laptop and adds an extra boost. The Amplifier uses the somewhat controversial PCIe 3.0 x4 cable, and you can experience some issues while using it with the graphics card.
Adequate ventilation for cooling the GPU
Alienware added a lot of vents, which improves ventilation. Adding the extra vents helps cool the GPU efficiently, and a cool card enhances the performance. It’s straightforward to set up. You open the box, add the components you want, and that’s it. Both AMD and Nvidia graphic cards work excellent with the Amplifier.
The most common cards used with the Amplifier is the Raedon RX 470 or the GTX 1070. But, if you have the cash to spare, you can buy a more powerful card since the Amplifier is pretty expensive.
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is a good option when it comes to eGPUs. It has good connectivity. A USB hub lets you connect your laptop or other peripherals. Its compatibility with most graphic cards makes it the right choice for anyone with their eyes on high-end cards.
It feels solid, and the build quality is outstanding. The only downside is that it works best with Alienware’s laptops. It works with other brands, too, but you just don’t get the same performance boost.
- Compatible with different graphics cards.
- Quality build.
- Many ports.
- Works best with Alienware gaming laptops.
2 Akitio Node – Thunderbolt3 eGPU for Windows – Best Mid Range External Graphics Card
With the same price as the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, the Akitio Node Thunderbolt3 is another good option when you want to boost your gaming experience. Akitio equipped the Thunderbolt3 eGPU with a 400w power supply. And just like the Amplifier, it can run almost any graphics card available.
Connect your laptop or Mac…
The Thunderbolt3 eGPU is compatible with either AMD or Nvidia graphic cards, making it a great option. If you want to enjoy your gaming at all times, you should buy a powerful card, but this will add to the cost. If you connect your PC laptop to the eGPU, you can use the USB ports, and MAC owners use the Thunderbolt 3 port.
The Thunderbolt3 eGPU operates smoothly. It‘s a lot smoother than many other models within the same price range. Just make sure that you installed the latest drivers for your graphic cards to make it work properly.
Impressive speeds with the Thunderbolt 3 port…
The speed the Thunderbolt 3 port produces makes it ideal for gamers. You can reach transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps. If you are a Macbook owner, the only downside is that it only supports AMD graphic cards. It isn’t a downside per se, but it limits your choices.
If you have a comprehensive graphics card, you can easily remove the back panel to fit the card. Removing the rear panel allows for more space, making this eGPU a good option if you have more prominent components. The carry handle is also a great addition and makes the eGPU somewhat portable. But because of the weight, you might not want to carry it around anyhow.
The Akitio Node is suitable if you want to improve your gameplay. The only downside is the lack of ports. It only has a single Thunderbolt 3 port. It’s also massive and heavy, so you won’t be carrying it around unless you spend as much time in the gym as you do gaming. Otherwise, it’s a good eGPU that provides good performance. It supports all cards except if you are a Mac user.
- Easy to carry.
- Removable back panel.
- Impressive PSU.
- Works with most graphic cards.
- Big and bulky.
- No extra ports.
3 Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box Graphics Cards – Best Premium External Graphics Card
The Aorus Gaming Box is the latest installation from the giant Gigabyte. Coming from one of the top brands, you are sure to get a high-end product. Gaming on your laptop just became easier. The price of the Aorus Gaming Box is pretty steep, but on the other hand, it saves you from buying a new laptop if you want improved performance.
Equipped with the Thunderbolt 3 port, you can reach speeds up to 40Gbps, which is essential for performance boosting.
Several video outputs…
The Aorus has several choices for video output. It includes one HDMI, three DisplayPorts, and one DVI-D port. Setting up multiple displays won’t be an issue. The performance is also outstanding. You can connect the headset, keyboard, and even USB drivers. If you need an Ethernet connection, you can simply use the Ethernet LAN adaptor.
Charging the Aorus is easy with the quick charge option. The box supports QC 3.0, which is four times faster than conventional charging. As we mentioned earlier, the price is very steep, but it includes the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. So, all you have to do is turn it on and start gaming. The GTX 1080 card is one of the top cards from Nvidia. Since you don’t have to buy a separate card, this saves time and the hassle of installment.
The Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box has an outstanding performance, and it comes with an embedded graphics card. It’s also small enough to be portable. Even though it may not be the easiest thing to carry around, it’s still doable. The quick charge and the multiple display ports add a lot of value to this quite costly eGPU. All in all, one of the best eGPUs and perfect if you want to start gaming immediately.
- Embedded with GeForce GTX 1080.
- Plug and Play.
- Quick charging.
- Multiple ports for displays.
- Setting up for Mac users can be challenging.
4 Razer Core X – Best Value External Graphics Card for the Money
Razer is a brand that every gamer most likely has heard of and knows. They are known for their tremendous and overly expensive gaming gear. Razer currently has two external GPUs, but we will only be reviewing the Razer Core X. This is the latest of the two models, and honestly, it outclasses the first model.
Is it really from Razer?
At first glance, it’s hard to tell that the Core X is a Razer product. The exterior design is immaculate, and there is no RGBs insight. The spacious interior fits a triple-width graphic card, which suits those who want to buy a bulkier card. The 650w power supply can support multiple cards.
You can use the Core X with many laptops, including the Razer Blade, Razer Blade Stealth, and Razer Blade Pro. Even though Razer’s laptops give you an extra boost, it works with any computer that has a Thunderbolt 3 port.
Is it right for you?
Well, it’s compatible with almost every GeForce, Quadro, and Radeon card. If you’re uncertain that your card is compatible, you can check Razers’ official product page.
When it comes to connectivity, the Core X keeps things simple, just like the Akitio Node. They are both equipped with one Thunderbolt 3 port, and that’s it. There are no other ports available, which is very unfortunate.
Hard to say anything bad except…
It’s cumbersome. The reason it’s so heavy is that it’s so spacious. And while we are talking of negative things, the lack of a USB hub is strange and annoying. Surprisingly, the Core X price is not as high as we are used to seeing on Razer’s products, at least relativity speaking.
In our opinion, Razer Core X is a good eGPU and well worth your time. It supports an extensive range of GPUs and is priced in the same ballpark as its competitors, making it very desirable.
Unfortunately, there is no USB hub, but if you are satisfied with a case that only holds a full-sized graphics card and you don’t intend to move it, Razer Core X is a good option.
- It supports a wide range of GPUs.
- Can house triple-width graphics cards.
- Clean and neutral exterior design.
- Good value for money.
- Quite pricey.
- Limited portability.
- No extra ports.
5 HP OMEN Accelerator – Best Rated External Graphics Card
Next up, in our Best External Graphics Card review, if you love to play games on your laptop, you want all the help you can get to improve your laptops’ performance. The HP Omen accelerator makes this possible. HP is known for its quality and is a safe way of knowing that you are getting a high-end external graphics card.
The Omen accelerator works with a wide range of graphic cards, and, like Alienware and Akitio, it supports both AMD and Nvidia cards. If you want to know which cards fit best, you can check out the manufacturer’s website.
HP prides itself on helping you with a better gaming experience without buying a new PC. So, they put a lot of effort into the design and functionality of the Omen accelerator. They implemented a large door on the box. The door allows you to easily slide in the graphic card, giving you enough space to maneuver around.
The power supply is always an essential factor, and it’s powerful enough to power any graphics card you might have in mind. It works great with the RTX 2080Ti, which requires more power than most cards. There is room for an 11.42-inch triple-slot card, so don’t worry about space.
Since the Omen offers hard-drive expansion possibilities, it’s easy to add more storage using either the 2.5” SATA connection or the SSD that comes with the box.
Software for enhanced gameplay…
The included software is all about boosting performance for enhanced gameplay. It provides you with an option to tweak your graphic card to work at its best. You can even switch between the laptop’s GPU and the external GPU with a single click. Since this is an accelerator, it eliminates lag by giving games an extra boost.
You don’t have to worry about connectivity since there are numerous ports on the back of the accelerator. One difference between Omen and other similar eGPUs is that Omen comes with a Gigabit Ethernet. Ethernet is usually removed from external graphics cards, but HP chose to keep it. HDMI, DisplayPort, and other ports are also available.
We think it might be. Multiple ports, a fantastic design, and excellent performance make the HP Omen Accelerator one of our top picks. The only downside is the price, but keep in mind that you pay for quality. The easy setup makes it ideal for “noobs” as well as for more experienced tech-freaks.
The software is good with an easy enough interface. All in all, it’s a great choice if you want to enhance your gaming experience from a laptop.
- Multiple ports.
- Nice design.
- Added stability with the included stand.
- Easy to setup.
Best External Graphics Card Buying Guide
Do Your Research
Since not all graphic cards are the same, the compatibility will vary. Some are very compatible, while others are quite selective. The trick is to choose a card that can deliver high performance without any compatibility issues. Sounds easy? It’s not. At least not if you don’t do your research.
Look at the connectivity options of the card. Some cards like the Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box make it easy to set up multiple displays. Even if you don’t use numerous monitors daily, it’s nice to know you have the option.
Usually, the standard hardware issues arise when you want to connect your MacBook. It may lead to problems that only a pro or support can sort out. So, it’s quite reassuring that most manufacturers are setting up guidelines for connecting eGPUs with Macs.
Choosing The Best Graphics Card
Without the graphics card, all you have is an empty box. It’s worth mentioning that some eGPUs come with embedded cards, while some don’t. In our best external graphics card reviews, the Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box is the only eGPU with an embedded card. So, if you buy a model that doesn’t have an embedded card and don’t have one lying around, you need to choose one.
When it comes to graphic cards, the two giants are Nvidia and AMD. No matter which manufacturer you choose, you will get quality cards with exceptional performance. They might be more expensive compared to other models, but you pay for what you get.
However, many people don’t realize that it’s not always the most expensive card that gives the best performance. Both brands have cheap cards with excellent performance.
If Nvidia or AMD cards are out of your budget range, there are other manufactures you can look at, but remember to choose a graphics card that suits your needs and is compatible with the eGPU you want.
The power supply
This is essential because it will determine to what extent you can use your external graphics card. It will also tell you which card you can buy since the power needed will differ for each card. A fundamental rule is that if your card needs 300w, you should get a power supply supporting 500w, which gives you room to operate without any strain.
If you choose a power supply that is rated lower than the power needed to support the card, it won’t heat up.
Another vital factor to look at when buying an external graphics card is the setup process. This will always be important for any user, no matter how experienced they are. Not everyone is confident or good at setting up components. Some manufactures make the setup process easy, so keep the following in mind.
Opening the box should be easy. Some models come with a latch or a switch. No matter what the process is, it should be easy to open. Once you have opened it, it should be easy to connect the card. It needs to be spacious enough so you can easily move around inside. You don’t want to have to push the card into position. The card should slide in.
Your budget is crucial when picking the right external graphic card. We all want to buy high-end products for thousands of dollars, but the reality is everyone can’t.
Take your time and do your research to find the best eGPU without breaking your account. It will help you make the best choice. If you choose a model that doesn’t deliver, you will waste your money. If you spend a few dollars extra and get a better product, it could be worth it in the end.
Looking For More Superb Gaming Tech?
Then check out our comprehensive Best RX 580 Graphics Card Review, our Best GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card Review, our Best RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Card Review, our Best LGA 1155 Motherboard Reviews, and our Best DDR4 SODIMM Laptop RAM Review.
So, What Is The Best External Graphics Card?
Buying an external graphics card can save money and time. You don’t have to buy a new laptop to improve your gaming experience. Looking at our list of the top external graphics cards, we chose as our winner the…Razer Core X
It has support for a wide range of GPUs and can house triple-width graphics cards; we also love the clean and neutral exterior design.
It is also the best value for the money external graphics card in our review; it’s still a little expensive, but what you get by paying a little more is well worth the extra expense. It’s the best choice if you can afford it and having the best quality hardware is an essential factor for enjoying your gaming.