eGPUs are becoming really popular lately since they can dramatically boost the performance of a laptop’s GPU by quite the margin. A laptop with a subpar GPU can be on the level of a gaming laptop when it’s hooked to an eGPU. If you’re interested in looking for the best laptops for eGPU use in 2020 then you need to know what to look for.
But in order to determine the best from the rest, we need to know the different criteria, specs, and factors to look for in a laptop that makes it compatible and ideal for eGPU use. This article will be exploring this topic to help you decide the best laptops for your eGPU use.
Recommendations for January 2021
Best Laptops for eGPU In 2021
Razer Blade Stealth 13
Razer Blade Stealth 13 is already a powerful laptop on its own right with a 10th gen i7 processor, 116 GB of RAM, and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. WIth these specs you can play most AAA with ease and without problems.
But if you really want to play on the highest setting of resource intensive AAA titles, then you might want to consider using an external GPU for your laptop Now you can enjoy lifelike graphics and a powerful laptop performance with ease.
An external GPU works really well with a faster connection and thankfully the laptop has a thunderbolt 3 port which can be connected to your external GPU allowing for real time rendering and acceleration of your graphics.
Recommended Configuration for Razer Blade Stealth 13
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 13.3 inches FHD Matte 1920 X 1080 pixels (GTX 120Hz Model) 4K 3840 × 2160 pixels (GTX 4K Model) | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home| Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 3.2 lbs
The thing about external GPUs is that they work best with portable laptops that don’t have dedicated graphics cards. In this case, one of the most portable laptops on this list, the LG gram can benefit from this since it lag behind in graphical performance.
However this doesn’t mean that the LG gram isn’t a powerful computer, it had to sacrifice its graphics card in order to achieve its light weight of 2.98 pounds and its thin and portable design.
Its still powered by a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor which can handle a lot of games and resource intensive programs, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. The only thing missing to make this a powerful gaming laptop is a dedicated graphics card.
Thankfully an external graphics card can solve this problem. It may not have multiple thunderbolt 3 ports making it very compatible with external gpus.
Recommended Configuration for LG GRAM
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7 1065G7 processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 17″ IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600)| Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD (512GB x2) | Operating System: Windows 10 home | Battery Life: 17 hours | Weight: 2.98 pounds
Lenovo Yoga 730
The Lenovo Yoga 730 is a portable and easy to carry laptop that has amazing connectivity thanks to its thunderbolt 3 port. This laptop might not be the most powerful but it does feature decently reliable specs for daily use.
It has a reliable Intel UHD graphics card and although it is reliable you might need some extra power to run some resource intensive programs. Thankfully its 6 core Intel core i5 CPU is above the minimum quad core requirements to use eGPUs. It also has a thunderbolt 3 port which also shows it is compatible connection wise to an eGPU.
Overall, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is a cheap and reliable laptop that is eGPU compatible. You can play AAA video games and run advanced video editing software with this computer if you attach it to an eGPU which makes it a good investment if you’re planning to use a cheap laptop for powerful and resource intensive work.
Recommended Configuration For Lenovo Yoga 730
CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 FHD Touch display | Storage: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: up to 11.5 hours | Weight: 2.5 lbs
Apple MacBook Pro
The latest Apple MacBook Pro is no joke. It has remarkable specs with its powerful Intel Core i7, 16B of RAM, a large SSD storage and spectacular 1920 x 3072 FHD display.
It also has a powerful AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card which makes it able to run a lot of resource and graphics heavy programs. However if you really need a boost in graphics, then using a eGPU can double or even triple the rendering speed of the Macbook Pro.
This laptop has a large battery life of over 11 hours which makes it very convenient to use while on the move as well.
Lastly, It’s very compatible for eGPU use as well since it has multiple thunderbolt 3 ports allowing for the use of multiple external eGPUs if you really want to.
But that would be overkill at this point since the extra graphical boost won’t do much if you’re using multiple eGPU plus you can use those thunderbolt 3 ports for other things as well.
Recommended Configuration For Apple MacBook Pro
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7| Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M (4GB) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 16-inch 1920 x 3072 FHD IPS Retina display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Mac OS | Battery Life: up to 11 hours | Weight: 4.3 lbs
Apple MacBook Air
The Apple MacBook Air is a wonderfully crafted laptop that offers reliable performance despite its price. It has two thunderbolt 3 ports which give it good connectivity as well as making it compatible for effective eGPU use.
It has a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor that more than meets the quad core requirement of an external GPU and it has an amazing resolution display for a 13 inch laptop giving you 2560 x 1600 pixels of True tone innovation.
The extra boost from the eGPu would make up for its integrated graphics card and just like with the Macbook Pro, the Macbook Air has a long battery life as well lasting up to 12 hours of use.
Recommended Configuration For Apple MacBook Air
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 2560×1600 FHD IPS Retina display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Mac OS | Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.8 lbs
MSI GS66 Stealth
The MSI GS66 Stealth is a portable gaming laptop that has the most powerful specs on this list. Featuring not an intel Core i7 but a 10th gen Intel COre i9 processor, this laptop can run most programs with ease.
Its 32 Gb of RAM can easily help you multitask resource intensive programs at once like video games, video editing software, and even antivirus apps. It also sports one of the most powerful GPUs on the market, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super.
It also has a thunderbolt 3 port which allows for amazing connectivity and compatibility with an eGPU. The external GPU will already boost its monstrous graphics card allowing you to render super heavy graphics with ease.
Recommended Configuration for MSI GS66 Stealth
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980 HK | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU| RAM: 32 GB RAM | Screen: 15. 6″ FHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 300Hz | Storage: 1 TB SSD | Operating System: Win 10 PRO| Battery Life: 2 hours | Weight: 4.63 lbs
Dell XPS 13 7390
The Dell XPS 13 7390 is one of Dell’s most famous laptops because of its amazing design, vivid display, and multiple connectivity options with its USB ports and thunderbolt 3 port.
For a small 13 inch laptop, it sure has powerful specs since it’s powered by a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a remarkable battery life of over 12 hours.
Dell hasn’t done much to change the design from other XPS laptops. However, a change is not necessary. Aesthetically, the design is sleek and modern looking as it is made of aluminum silver and rose gold.
You are not lacking in ports when it comes to this XPS 13. You get USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, a Noble lock slot along with a thunderbolt 3 port,The ports on this system are just what you would want.
Sadly, the The Dell XPS 13 7390 i is powered by Intel UHD Graphics card which greatly limits the programs it can run. Thankfully this is were an eGPU comes in to save the day allowing the laptop to run graphic intensive programs with ease.
This laptop is definitely one of the best laptops for eGPU use on our list especially when used with a powerful eGPU with outstanding performance like the Razer Core X.
Recommended Configuration for Dell XPS 13 7390
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics| RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Touch Display | Storage: 256 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight: 5.69 pounds lbs
HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 is a high quality piece of hardware that is very lightweight and portable. Its portability is only beaten with the LG gram which is designed to be the most portable laptop on the market.
This laptop has superb specs with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor delivering quality performance. It only uses an Intel Iris Plus Graphics GPU which may be powerful but its not enough for high end graphical apps and programs.
Using an eGPU to boost its graphics card is a wise choice especially if you’re using the laptop for work. And considering the laptop has multiple thunderbolt 3 ports, one can be used for your eGPU while the other for business which makes it really convenient to have.
Overall, the HP Spectre x360 deserves to be on the list for the best laptops for eGPU and its a good choice to consider buying this wonderful laptop.
Recommended Configuration for HP Spectre x360
CPU:10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 13.3″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS BrightView WLED Multi Touch Screen | Storage: 512 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 2.87 lbs
Picking The Best eGPU Compatible Laptop In 2021
One of the most important factors that determine how well your laptop will run with an eGPU is its processor. It doesn’t matter how good the GPU is if the processor can’t keep up with it.
Generally speaking, your processor should at least be a quad core processor to keep up with today’s eGPU. And of course the better the CPU, the better the overall performance will be so you don’t have to settle for a quad core CPU.
We advise getting at least an i5 processor or an i7 processor or better if you want the best possible results. Thankfully there are tons of laptops with powerful processors but weak GPUs that can take advantage of an eGPU.
A good example of this would be the LG Gram, the HP Spectre 360, and the Dell XPS 13.
Another important criteria to consider is the connectivity. A laptop needs to have thunderbolt 3 ports in order to use an eGPU correctly. This is because rendering files with an eGPU requires a good real time connection in order for it to function properly and give you the best performance.
Sadly this means that laptops that don’t have thunderbolt 3 ports are incompatible for eGPU use. And although there are methods to connect without using thunderbolt 3 ports, it’s very risky and it involves opening your laptop which never recommend that people without technical knowledge do.
Performance doesn’t matter if you can’t connect in the first place, so it’s important to check for thunderbolt 3 ports when looking for a laptop that can use a eGPU.
Last but not the least we have compatibility. Connecting to an eGPU port isn’t as simple as plugging it to thunderbolt 3 ports. Although most of the time it will work some laptops and some eGPU models just aren’t compatible.
So make sure to search online for compatibility issues with the laptop you plan to buy with the eGPU model that you plan to use. It’s better safe than to be sorry with this one since both of them do cost a lot of money.