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Last updated on September 1st, 2020 at 03:41 pm

The Very Best Laptops For eGPU Setups in 2020 [Complete List]

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Last updated on October 27th, 2020 at 03:25 pm

External GPUs are pretty becoming popular nowadays because they allow you to turn a normal laptop into a gaming laptop. All you have to do is connect a graphics card and you are good to go.

In this article, we list the best laptops for eGPU setups. External GPU (eGPU) supported laptops that don’t bottleneck the eGPU.


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6" Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Silver
Lenovo - Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive - Abyss Blue
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Dell XPS 15 has a powerful processor which makes it almost perfect for pairing it up with an eGPU.

Plenty of Thunderbolt ports and solid performance.

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is the best budget laptop for eGPU setups.

Prime
-
-
Rating
-
-
Position
First Place
Snapshot
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6" Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Dell XPS 15 has a powerful processor which makes it almost perfect for pairing it up with an eGPU.

Prime
Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Silver
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

Plenty of Thunderbolt ports and solid performance.

Prime
-
Rating
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
Lenovo - Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive - Abyss Blue
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is the best budget laptop for eGPU setups.

Prime
-
Rating
-

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 21:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Processor, GPU & RAM
 
2019 Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6' Intel i7-9750H NVIDIA GTX 1650 512GB SSD 16GB RAM FHD 1920x1080 500-Nits Windows 10 PRO (Renewed)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650, 16GB
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Silver

Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M, 16GB
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Laptop, 15.6in FHD (1920 x 1080), 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 512 GB Solid State Drive, Windows 10 Home (Renewed)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti, 16GB
Newest HP Spectre x360 13t (Intel 10th Gen i7-1065G7, 16GB, 512GB SSD NVMe, Pen, Sleeve, 3 Years McAfee Internet Key, Windows 10 Professional, HP Warranty, 13.3' 2-in-1) Natural Silver

Intel Core i7, Intel HD Graphics, 16GB
Razer Blade Stealth 13.3in Thin and Light Laptop - Slim Bezel 4K Touchscreen - NVIDIA GeForce MX150 - Intel Core i7-8565U - 16GB RAM - 512GB SSD - Windows 10 - CNC Aluminum (Renewed)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA MX150, 16GB
Lenovo - Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6' Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive - Abyss Blue

Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics, 12GB
Razer Core X Aluminum External GPU Enclosure (eGPU): Compatible with Windows & Mac Thunderbolt 3 Laptops - NVIDIA /AMD PCIe Support - 650W PSU

Featured eGPU in this article
Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W (GPU-550W-TB3)

Featured eGPU in this article

Here’s Our List Of The Best eGPU Compatible Laptops For EGPUs Setups


Where To Buy

$1,499.66

Buy on Amazon

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Great performance
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Runs hot

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The Dell XPS series is one of the best-recommended laptops for eGPU setups because they offer performance, great battery life and full bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 ports, especially the Dell XPS 15.

A high-performance processor Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and a Thunderbolt 3 port makes the Dell XPS 15 a solid eGPU laptop.

The processor won’t bottleneck high-performance graphics cards. This ensures that the performance is smooth. Also, it has plenty of RAM for gaming.

The Dell XPS 15 has a 15.6-inch Full HD display. A beautiful display that is gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately, it is not a great panel for gaming because it is capped at 60Hz. Screen tearingghosting and stuttering are going to be common in fast-paced games.

To avoid this, you have to play on the highest settings to keep it under 60FPS or very demanding game. However, this doesn’t work for all games because some games are not demanding and will go over 60 FPS.

Battery life is about 9-10 hours under normal workloads. 

One downside of the Dell XPS 15 is that it runs hot. If you use the eGPU, you don’t have any problems, but using the GTX 1650 will cause the laptop to run very hotUndervolting and applying thermal paste is highly recommended in this case.

Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is one of the best eGPU compatible laptops. A solid workstation that you can use with an eGPU for gaming. There is also the option of using its GTX 1650 for gaming.


Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great battery life
  • Great performance

Cons

  • No Type-A USB ports
  • Pricey

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 16″ Retina (3072×1920) Display | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro has everything you need to support an external GPU. A high-performance processor, four Thunderbolt 3 ports and 16GB RAM. The perfect laptop hardware combination for supporting high-performance graphics card.

In addition to that, the MacBook Pro has solid built quality, so you can expect it to last a long time.

It has a 16-inch Retina display (3072×1920). It is not a fast display for gaming. But, it will still get the job done. When it comes to other areas – brightness, colour accuracy, viewing angles, etc., the display scores high points in them.

Battery life is also amazing. Under normal workloads, the battery easily lasts 9-10 hours.

Overall, the Apple MacBook Pro delivers a lot of value and you can easily connect an eGPU without any performance issues. It is one of the best laptops for eGPU. However, it is a pricey laptop and there are no USB Type-A ports.


Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Great keyboard

Cons

  • Below average battery life

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6 FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The Lenovo ThinkPads are known to be the pinnacle of business-class laptops. In addition to that, their easy upgradeability makes them last a long time.

Performance-wise the X1 Extreme is more powerful than the X1 Carbon. The X1 Extreme has a high-performance Intel i7 six-core processor whilst the X1 Carbon has a low power Intel Core i7 quad-core processor.

·       Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Vs X1 Extreme

Both are good but you will get for better performance from the X1 Extreme. It also allows you to connect to the higher-end graphics card without suffering from bottlenecking.

The X1 Extreme has an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti which is a decent graphics card. Even if you don’t have you external GPU close by, you can rely on it.

As with all ThinkPads, their battery life is unmatched. However, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme fails in this department. The X1 Extreme is able to last 6-7 hours whilst the X1 Carbon is between 10-11 hours.

The display is great. A full HD screen with plenty of brightness, colour accuracy and great viewing angles. 

Build quality is top-notch because it is made from magnesium and carbon fibre materials. This doesn’t only make it durable but also lightweight too. 

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme has plenty of performance and a Thunderbolt 3 port for eGPU connection. A solid option if you want a business class laptop and game at the same time. Easily the best eGPU laptop. 


Where To Buy

$1,529.95

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • 2 x Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • Superb battery life
  • Thin and light
  • Solid performance

Cons

  • RAM cannot be upgraded
  • Sharp edges make it difficult to use in tablet mode

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The HP Spectre x360 is a beautiful convertible laptop with the added benefit of having 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports. Both are able to transfer data of up to 40GB/s. A solid 2-in-1 laptop that supports external eGPU.

The HP Spectre is also thin about half an inch thick and weighs 2.8 pounds. HP also did a complete turn concerning the build quality. The whole laptop is made from aluminum with sharply defined edges. This makes the convertible laptop have top-notch performance. 

Performance-wise, it is solid and doesn’t bottleneck mid-range GPUs. The Intel i7 quad-core allows you to pair it with a mid-performance graphics card, but mid-range graphics will give you a better bang for gaming performance.

It has 16GB RAM which has been soldered to the motherboard. You won’t be able to upgrade it. The good news is that 16GB RAM is more than enough. The storage is a 512GB PCIe NVME M.2 SSD.

Battery life is really impressive, able to last about half a day before running out. This makes it perfect for long trips or uses without requiring a charge.

The display’s colour accuracy and reproduction are above average. It is more colourful and vibrant than the majority of the laptops out there. And it is protected by a Corning Gorilla glass. 

The HP Spectre is a solid choice because of its two thunderbolt bolts and solid performance. You can connect it to an eGPU and a high refresh rate display, so you are able to take advantage of the eGPU and fast display at the same time.

Overall, one of the best eGPU laptops.


Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful and bright 4K display
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Low storage space

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA MX150 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD 

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the best ultrabook for eGPU setups. It offers far better performance than the Dell XPS 13 with the added benefit of having a dedicated GPU (black version).

Moreover, it is highly compatible with the Razer Core X making it the best ultrabook and eGPU combo.

The ultrabook is powered by an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and NVIDIA MX150 Graphics. The black version comes with a GTX 1650 Max-Q card. The hardware provides substantial performance when combined with an eGPU.

It doesn’t bottleneck, so you enjoy a great gaming experience.

When it comes to the display, it has a 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) capped at 60Hz. The colour accuracy and reproduction are above average. Overall, it is a great display.

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the best ultrabook for eGPUs because the Razer Blade Stealth solves two problems – portability and being able to game when you come home to your eGPU set-up. Easily the best ultrabook with eGPU support.


Pros

  • Affordable
  • Solid performance
  • Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Shallow keyboard
  • Not the best battery life
  • Low storage space

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 12GB | Screen: 15.6 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD 

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is one of the affordable 15.6-inch convertible/2-in-1 laptops with a Thunderbolt 3 port. This makes it perfect for those looking for a cheap laptop with Thunderbolt 3.

However, the battery life on this laptop is below average. It is able to last about 6-7 hours of normal usage. You would be able to squeeze a little more out of it when you turn on battery saver.

The performance is decent. Enough power for everyday use and demanding tasks to a certain extent. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 12GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.

The processor is a low power processor, so you should be careful not to pair this processor with a powerful GPU e.g. RTX 2070.

The display is a Full HD (1920 x 1080) touchscreen with multi-touch support. A beautiful screen with thin bezels.

Build quality is also good, thanks to its aluminum construction. To sum it all up, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is the best cheap laptop for eGPU setups. Just make sure you don’t pair this with very powerful graphics cards. 

Overall, a solid affordable eGPU laptop if you don’t want to break the bank.


Best External GPUs


Plug and Play. That’s how the Razer Core X works. A powerful eGPU is also silent. It is able to give your thin and light laptop the power close to that of a gaming desktop.

And compatible with a lot of NVIDIA and AMD cards. This makes the Razer Core X a solid choice for anything graphics related.


The Sonnet eGFX is another great eGPU. It also supports a lot of NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards. No need to worry about compatibility here.

What’s cool about the Sonnet eGFX is the fact that it is very silent under heavy workloads. It’s also the recommended eGPU for MacBooks.


Are eGPUs (External eGPUs) Worth it?

Let’s start with the negatives on why you shouldn’t use an external GPU.

First of all, not every laptop can be connected to an external GPU. You need to own a laptop that has a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Thunderbolt ports have high-speed data transfers which are a must when you need to hook up a laptop to an external GPU.

Secondly, you can’t game everywhere with an external GPU. Most people like to game in certain places. Places like hospitals, libraries, and aeroplanes etc. You can’t use an external GPUs in those places.

Unless you are planning to hook-up the external GPU to your laptop at home or school dorm. Then it is better to get a gaming laptop.

On the plus side, you can get a cheap laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port, instead of purchasing an expensive gaming laptop.

You can also easily upgrade the GPU if the current one becomes obsolete. Gaming laptops…laptops, in general, are not easily upgradeable even more so when it comes to the CPU and GPU.

Gaming laptops are able to provide you with consistent performance depending on the GPU for 3-5 years at most. This requires you to buy a new gaming laptop when the hardware becomes obsolete.

External GPUs need only the GPU replaced and it will be almost on par with current gaming laptops. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace your laptop when it gets laggy in everyday tasks. 

What You Should Know About Using An External GPU (eGPU)

Just like how the GPUs in gaming laptops become obsolete in 3-5 years, the same applies to CPUs because with each passing year, games and applications become more demanding and your current CPU will not be able to keep up.

In addition to that, Intel U processors are much weaker than Intel H processors. Read our guide on understanding Intel’s naming scheme to better understand the difference in processors.

If possible always go with an Intel H processor. You will save yourself from a lot of performance issues.

Couple a U processor with a very powerful GPU. Let’s say the NVIDIA RTX series and you will run the risk of bottlenecking the GPU.

The U processor basically holds the RTX card back. Picking the right graphics card to be used in the external GPU is important.

Finally, eGPUs do not give you desktop or gaming laptop performance. At most, it will perform somewhere between 80%-90% of a desktop.

The reason why it is so popular is that you can easily change the GPU without buying a new laptop. Also, it makes it possible to game on normal laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.

2 Lane Vs 4 Lane PCIe Thunderbolt 3 Ports In EGPU

The difference in performance between a 2 lane and a 4 lane PCIe Thunderbolt 3 when it comes to gaming is 5-10%. Yes, it is that small of a difference. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 lane or 4 lanes so far as your USB-C port is Thunderbolt 3 or newer you are fine to go.

Also, when using a 2 lane PCIe Thunderbolt 3 port for best results connect an external monitor and turn off the laptop display.

Final Thoughts

External GPUs (eGPUs) make it possible to game without the need of a laptop’s graphics card. The catch is that your laptop should have a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Fortunately, the laptops listed in this article all have Thunderbolt 3 ports and quite the performance for gaming.

That’s it for the best laptops for eGPUs. 

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