Best External Graphics Cards for Laptop in 2023

A laptop is a great tool for getting work done when you’re on the go, but what do you do when it can’t handle the task you need to complete? That’s where an external graphics card comes in. External graphics cards can give your laptop the boost it needs to run more powerful applications and games.

Graphics cards are necessary for gaming or using high intensive programs like photoshop. Many different graphics cards have different features and prices, making it hard to decide which one to buy.

When there are numerous choices, some are more expensive than others, and some have better performance in games or render video faster. Research is imperative before making a decision.

If you need help finding the best external graphic card for your laptop, check out this guide!

At A Glance:


Best pick

Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070


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Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070


Amazing build quality


Excellent overclocking software


Good controls over fan and lights

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Staff Pick

Razer Core X


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Razer Core X


Easy to set up


Transfer data at up to 40 Gbps


A large internal hard drive which you can use to store and back up your computer files

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Budget Pick

PowerColor Gaming Station


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PowerColor Gaming Station


Ultra-fast 40Gbps Thunderbolt3 interface


Thunderbolt3 USB-C port supports USB Power


87 W charging port for laptop supply

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Our Recommendations



Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1070


Best pick



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Brand: Gigabyte | Chipset Brand: NVIDIA |Graphics Coprocessor: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 | Graphics RAM Type: GDDR5 | Graphics Ram Size: 8 GB

Turn your Ultrabook into a gaming powerhouse with Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box. This little black box is equipped with a GIGABYTE GTX 1070 overclock edition graphics card for playing the latest games and experiencing immersive virtual reality experiences. Plus, with GIGABYTE’s thermal and overclock technologies, you can expect high performance with minimal noise.

This powerful little device features the WINDFORCE 3X cooling system, ensuring that your graphics card stays cool and performs at its best. Plus, G1 gaming graphics cards are crafted for perfection so that you can enjoy the ultimate gaming experience.

Furthermore, its LED fan indicator provides an instant display of the fan status, so you’ll always know what’s going on with your graphics card.

The Pros


Amazing build quality


Excellent overclocking software


Good controls over fan and lights

The Cons


It can get hot quickly if you’re not careful


The fans get a bit loud but not unbearable.

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Razer Core X


Staff Pick



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Brand: Razer | Color: Classic Black | Motherboard Compatibility: ATX | Material: Aluminum | Item Weight: 14.29 Pounds | Item Dimensions LxWxH: 9.06 x 14.74 x 6.62 inches

Equip your Thunderbolt 3 laptop with desktop-grade performance and power with the Razer Core X. This external graphics card enclosure includes a built-in 650W ATX PSU and supports up to three PCIe desktop graphics cards, giving you screaming-fast gaming or creative processing power wherever you go.

This powerhouse gives you the boost you need to take your gaming and creative endeavors to the next level. With its built-in power supply, you can easily charge your laptop while you’re using it.

Plus, it’s compatible with both Windows and macOS, so you can enjoy great graphics performance no matter what platform you’re using. Transform your Thunderbolt 3 laptop into a total gaming powerhouse with the Razer Core X.

The Pros


Easy to set up


Transfer data at up to 40 Gbps


A large internal hard drive which you can use to store and back up your computer files

The Cons


It is quite expensive


It does not have a built-in graphics card. You need to provide your own.

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PowerColor Gaming Station


Budget Pick



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Brand : PowerColor | Graphics Coprocessor : Radeon RX 480 | Graphics RAM Type : DRAM | Graphics Card Interface : PCI-E

The Max Gen3 x4 speed is based on AMD XConnect Technology, excellent gaming support. This gaming station maintains a high level of performance that is ideal for gaming. Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port compatibility offers a perfect connecting option for your game console and Laptop. The PowerColor Gaming Station is intended for those who desire a more powerful graphics card in their Laptop to achieve desktop-class graphics performance.

Gamers and enthusiasts can enjoy any game on the market with a qualifying graphics card installed in the PowerColor Gaming Station and connected with Thunderbolt 3 specifications without losing the mobility of a thin, light laptop. The Thunderbolt 3/ USB-C connector offers USB Power Delivery (PD), which can charge compatible laptops up to 87W.

The Pros


Ultra-fast 40Gbps Thunderbolt3 interface


Thunderbolt3 USB-C port supports USB Power


87 W charging port for laptop supply

The Cons


‎A bit heavy


Bulky design

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Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box


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Brand: Sonnet Technologies | Hardware Interface: USB | Item Weight: 2.6 Pounds | Item Dimensions LxWxH: 17.01 x 11.46 x 10.83 inches

The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is the perfect solution for gamers and video editors who need desktop-class graphics performance. Simply add your compatible video card, connect to your Thunderbolt 3 computer, and you’re good to go! With performance that rivals dedicated graphics cards, this little box will let you power through your favorite games and videos with ease.

This handy device connects high-performance GPU cards (up to 312mm x 160mm) to your computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port and supports AVID HDX, Red Rocket-X, and other x16 full-length PCIe cards.

It features a blazing fast Thunderbolt 3 interface and compatibility with a wide range of PCIe cards; this system provides you with all the power you need to get the job done. The Breakaway Box delivers unbeatable performance, whether you’re using an AMD or NVIDIA card.

The Pros


Plenty of space for cards and cooling


Easy to setup


Worth the money

The Cons


Too bulky


The provided cable is very cheap.

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Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II


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Brand: Mantiz | Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 12.2 x 10.2 inches | Body : Full aluminum | Item Weight: 10.13 pounds

If you’re searching for a solution to boost your productivity, look no further than the Mantiz MZ-03 Saturn Pro II. This revolutionary Thunderbolt 3 dock allows you to connect two laptops at once, so you can easily switch between devices. Plus, the Internal 750W power supply ensures that your computer stays powered up even when working on intensive tasks.

And with its Fan Start-stop design, it keeps your machine cool without making a lot of noise. This full aluminum body with anodizing treatment is designed to be both beautiful and durable, while the tray opening style makes it easy to install your favorite graphics card.

Plus, it supports full-length/height/width Monster graphic cards, making it ideal for gamers and creative professionals alike. And thanks to its Quiet Beast design, this desktop is whisper-quiet – even when running at full speed.

The Pros


Multi-ports & internal drive capability


Very reliable and quiet


Great eGPU for MacBook

The Cons


Bulky


Weak stock power supply

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ZOTAC GeForce GT 730


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Brand: ZOTAC | Series: FBA_ZT-71115-20L | Graphics Coprocessor: Nvidia GeForce | Video Output Interface: VGA, DVI, HDMI | Chipset Brand: NVIDIA

The ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition is perfect for gamers and multimedia enthusiasts who want unmatched high-definition visuals and performance. It comes with dedicated graphics and memory so that you can enjoy the best gaming experience and stunning stereoscopic high-definition video with compatible displays and playback software.

Additionally, it supports advanced Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio lossless multi-channel HD audio bit streaming for a rich audiophile-class audio experience.

This powerful graphics card packs plenty of NVIDIA CUDA Cores and memory, delivering a noticeable performance boost in all the latest games and applications. Plus, with innovative features like NVIDIA Surround and FXAA Anti Aliasing Mode, you can enjoy an even more immersive gaming experience.

The Pros


Super easy to install and a good fit


Excellent functionality for the price


A good card for multi-purpose PC

The Cons


Does not have SLI capability


Okay, for everyday use. Not good for gaming.

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Akitio Node Thunderbolt 3


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Brand: Akitio | Item Weight: 3.5 Kilograms | Item Dimensions LxWxH: 14.06 x 5.31 x 10.47 inches | Compatible Devices: Laptop, Desktop

The Akitio Node Thunderbolt3 eGPU features Thunderbolt 3 capability, allowing incredible transfer speeds. It features a transmission rate of 40 Gbps, which lowers lag time when gaming. The product is compatible with both AMD and macOS High Sierra. The AKiTiO Node Titan from OWC is an appealing alternative for achieving precisely that, thanks to its reasonable $335 price tag.

The Node TItan is a solid and sturdy device with solid metal construction and a retractable handle, ready for speedy deployment due to a straightforward setup with only two cords.

It’s a low-cost expansion chassis made to host an external graphics card. When connected to the computer through Thunderbolt 3, the increased GPU power rapidly enhances a standard laptop or tiny PC, allowing it to perform tasks that would ordinarily need a high-end workstation or gaming machine. Individuals who want to play games can now run considerably faster frame rates than before.

The Pros


Well-designed structure


Simple to assemble in easy steps


Excellent cooling and TDP

The Cons


Bulky size


Large Retractable PSU Handle

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Sonnet eGPU Breakaway


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Brand: Sonnet Technologies | Hardware Interface: Thunderbolt | Item Dimensions LxWxh: 8.07 x 16.54 x 9.06 inches | Item Weight: 11.3 ounces

The Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon has improved graphics performance and may accelerate during high usage. This package has a graphics-intensive pro application feature to boost PC performance.

The Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Puck Radeon has a slim and portable design. This device is relatively compact, and you can easily transport it from one location to another. The gadget supports 4K, 5K, and 6K Apple Pro Display XDR resolutions.

Moreover, the product has an excellent thunderbolt interface with a powerful battery of 60 Watts that helps to keep the laptop on charge for a long time. The product further is light in weight and has a durable dimension.

The Pros


Supports Thunderbolt displays.


Small and highly portable


Provides 60W power for laptop charging

The Cons


Not good Windows platform


Get too hot immediately.

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Things to Look for in the Best External Graphics Cards for Laptop

Graphics cards are expensive equipment, and you are purchasing a new one. Certain factors must be considered:

Price

The first factor to consider is the cost. You must understand what you can afford and expect in this price range. Another important consideration is whether your Laptop has the processing power to support a powerful graphics card. If you’re stuck with a low-cost processor, there’s no point in investing in an expensive graphics card.

Cooling

Graphic cards are a heat-generating powerhouse. They usually generate a lot of heat. TDP is the unit of measurement for heat output. If a graphics card’s TDP is high, it will require more fans and coolant to distribute it, and more fans mean more power consumption. A good GPU must be capable of dissipating heat and should not overheat easily.

Power

Another factor to consider when purchasing a GPU is its power. It’s a good idea to double-check that the power supply has enough 8-pin or 6-pin connections for your graphics card. Choose a power supply rated at least 80 Plus Bronze to ensure this.

Memory

The GPU memory can range from 2 GB to 12 GB. Many people debate whether the memory of graphic cards matters or not. We considered video card memory essential because it supports anti-aliasing operations, eliminating rough edges on graphics, textures, and other features required to bring your graphics to life. Video memory is crucial in image quality because it lets you play games at higher resolutions.

The optimum memory of a graphics card should be at least half of laptop RAM; if the RAM of a laptop is 16GB, the memory of 8GB would be a decent choice.

Bandwidth

The amount of memory that the GPU can access at any given time is bandwidth. When a GPU has a higher bandwidth, data is delivered to the shader cores more quickly. As a result, games and video visuals run smoothly and clearly. To grasp bandwidth, you must first understand how it works. Bandwidth is calculated by combining memory speed and bus width.

Shader Cores

Shader cores breathe life into images by adding light and dark variations to 3D objects. When a graphics card has more shader cores, it can quickly and accurately render images. However, GPUs with fewer shader cores in some video games outperform GPUs with more shader cores.

Shader cores, bandwidth, memory, power, pricing, space, and cooling should all be considered before purchasing a graphics card. Similarly, it is always good to check online reviews and forms.

Summary

Conclusion

eGPU configurations are a fantastic way to upgrade your old or underpowered Laptop with a GPU capable of rendering, gaming, and any other GPU-intensive activities you have in mind. Nonetheless, they are pretty situational.

When you evaluate the entire cost of an eGPU system, it’s occasionally better to save up and buy a new laptop or desktop.

However, if you have the cash and a process that can benefit from it, an eGPU may significantly increase your productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for an eGPU?

A standard eGPU configuration necessitates the following five components: a laptop, a desktop graphics card, an external display, a PCIe adapter/board or enclosure for the card, and a separate power supply for the graphics card (through Thunderbolt 3 enclosures have built-in power supplies.

Do graphic cards have importance in laptops?

The graphic processing unit has a specific role in all the laptops and computers. These GPUs are so important that there would be no way to display your required image on screens without them.

Do external graphics cards work well with laptops?

With it, you can get a powerful graphics display. Many laptops can now accommodate external graphics cards thanks to multiple ports. So you can install an external graphics card on the laptop with no problem.

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