Everything You Need To Know About External Graphics Processing Unit Adapters (eGPUs)

eGPU

Every year or so, we see an exponential increase in computer processing power and as a consequence, the need for even beefier graphic performance from these computers.

If you’ve been in the computing space over the past decade, you might have heard about GPUs. Companies like NVIDIA have risen to prominence because of this.

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You might have also heard about external graphics processing unit adapters (eGPUs), but what are they exactly? While GPUs are for gaming devices, for the most part, eGPUs can be used with your laptop computer to get extra performance from a video card, at home, or on the go.

For example, a few major companies, NVIDIA and AMD, have invested in this eGPU market. Let’s look at what these mysterious devices are and how they work.

What are eGPUs?

An eGPU is an external enclosure for a video card that you can plug into a computer to boost graphical performance. It needs a power supply and a cooling system to keep it from overheating.

External graphics processing units are mainly used to transform your computer into a gaming powerhouse. You might not necessarily need to buy a new machine to suit your gaming needs with them.

What is needed for an eGPU to work?

eGPUs are not as straightforward as, for example, flash drives that you insert into the USB port and start using them. You need to have the right computer and system for them to work. Here’s what you need:

  • A computer with Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) connectivity
  • An operating system that is compatible with a particular eGPU. This is because eGPUs have their own criteria for compatible systems. You have to do a lot of research before you buy an eGPU not compatible at all with your operating system.
  • A Solid State Drive is the preferred choice in terms of storage due to the speeds but it is not a necessity. HDDs can also work.

How eGPUs work

An external GPU uses Thunderbolt 3 connectivity to connect to your computer. Once you have connected it to your computer, install the necessary drivers and custom software, then reboot your machine.

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Once set up, your computer will then direct graphics requests to the external GPU instead of the default one installed inside your computer. This process will give you better graphical performance that can enable you to play some graphics-hungry games.

It is worth noting that eGPUs will not give you the same performance as you would have gotten if your computer had a dedicated graphics card mounted on the inside. Therefore, some games will still not work on your laptop because the graphics performance will not be as good as the game requires.


Related Article: Choosing a GPU: What Are CUDA Cores?


What to consider before buying an eGPU

  • The price of the eGPU
  • Whether or not your computer is built to run high-performance applications.
  • Does the computer have the necessary connections?

Examples and prices of external GPUs

  1. Akitio Node – $230
  2. ASUS XG-Station-PRO – $330
  3. Razer Core X Chroma – $400
  4. ASUS ROG XG Station 2 – $550
  5. Gigabyte AORUS RTX 2070 Gaming Box – $650
  6. Gigabyte AORUS RTX 2070 Gaming Box – $650

Note: These are prices based on the Amazon shopping site. They may vary from those at the electronics shop close to you.

Are eGPUs worth it? The answer will depend on how much upgrading your computer will cost. If buying an eGPU is cheaper than upgrading, and your computer is compatible, go for it.

An eGPU alone might not be enough to run certain games on your computer, and this is because some games require more than just graphics. Also, the eGPU’s performance can be hindered your computer’s processor.

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