External GPUs? Possible? Worth it?

Hi all

I was trying to find out some info about external video cards assembly

Are they worth the investment?
Do they need thonderbolt or can i use it in usb 3 -usb 3-c as well?
I have a 17” hp with GeForce 980 -corei7

Is it possible and worth buying ?

What about macbook pro 13”

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Why do you want an external GPU? What are you planning to do with it that you’re not doing [well] with the internal GPU?

You can hand a lot of processing off to an EGPU

Video rendering, multiple monitor support, all can be handed off if you have a (very) fast connection, and a OS that recognizes the EGPU.

MacBooks with USB C / Lightning ports can use an EGPU as a very powerful hub, accessing external storage, monitors, and handling rendering.


A Mac with Type C ports will use it, not sure about the HP though. I don’t know if Windows supports EGPUs…

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Yes, I understand what they offer… the question is why one is necessary. It’s like buying a fuel guzzling V8 car when a peppy v4 might do (I don’t know what the EV equivalent is for that metaphor.) So I was not asking what it could do in general, but what specifically the OP wanted one to do. (Or how his/her needs weren’t currently be met by what she/he has.)

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Sometimes I do light gaming on my hp
Right now it’s working fine with GeForce 980mx in it but wanted to know if that make sense to pay for it for better gaming performance
As for photoshop it meets my expectations for now
This hp has usb-3-c
And my 2019 MacBook Pro has thunderbolt

I saw a couple of brands with Egpu support

So I’m guessing maybe i should wait till i could have space for buying a pc if I want to improve my experience

My use case for eGPU is for gaming and video editing when I am docked, but not for when I travel.

I would love a Surface-esque device (tablet with 3:2 display, attachable keyboard, dock support, etc) that supported Thunderbolt - so I could perform graphics-heavy tasks when I am in a location (like home), but when traveling - could perform lighter-weight tasks. I am unlikely to be rendering video or playing graphic-intensive games on the road or when I am otherwise in transit.

Another reason is the modular nature of the device. Having external components that can be reused with multiple device makes upgrading and consistency easier.


So, to be clear, you’re wanting to leave the eGPU at home and use the laptop as a desktop while gaming, but won’t be lugging this big brick around with you when you use the laptop portably? This would make sense because then you leave the eGPU plugged into a quality monitor (or monitors).

I have no experience with eGPUs, but I suspect you want high throughput to them because the CPU is going to be pushing data into the GPU to render, and you want the least latency over that path as possible. For this, I would think you’d want Thunderbolt 3 rather than USB-3, but I would like to hear from someone who has actual experience with one.

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Exactly and i want to understand even if that would be possible to use usb 3 / Hdmi etc… to do so,
Then is it gonna be a big notice in performance specially for gaming or is the GeForce 980mx that i have in HP is the margin of use till i switch to PC

I mostly use it at desk and have my MacBook and work laptop as travel device

I thought those were only for Macs. I did not know you could have an external one for a Windows machine.

I believe you can… the issue is that Thunderbolt has been nearly non-existent on Windows hardware for some reason (while USB-3 has been much more common.) One presumes it’s merely a matter of drivers… Windows is not going to care where the hardware is physically, so long as the necessary drivers are able to see it. And the Microsoft based two-in-on (Surface Book) has the GPU in the keyboard, so if you remove it, it disconnects… so clearly Windows is capable of groking the concept of a transient GPU.

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This whole thread is :exploding_head: for me - has me thinking completely different about setting up the Mac Mini I want to get. A Mac Mini with an external GPU? :astonished:

Yep, that’s the way to go I reckon, if you need the extra horsepower for rendering. Shame the external enclosures are expensive and does not have universal compatibility for video cards.

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