eGPUs have been around for a while but haven't really taken off yet. Is eGPU really worth buying in 2020? Or is it still too early to invest one?
Let's explore the state of eGPUs in 2021 and whether or not they're worth your money.
An eGPU stands for “External Graphics Processing Unit”. You've probably heard of a GPU before:it's the graphics cards that help render games and movies on our PC. An external GPU therefore works outside the system to render the media.
eGPUs shine the brightest on systems that can't accept a regular graphics card. Many low-end PCs and laptops sell without a graphics card inside. For a PC, you can buy one to fit in. For a laptop, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to mount a GPU on it. As such, you can grab an eGPU and plug it into the laptop instead.
If you look at GPUs right now, you'll find that they're usually sold as "cases." These are boxes with a connection cable and a dedicated power supply but no graphics card.
If you want a GPU inside the case when you buy it, things get a bit more expensive. For example, at the time of writing, the Gigabyte RTX 2080 Ti comes in at four figures.
eGPUs do a very good job of filling their niche. The problem is that the niche is much smaller than you first think. If a laptop is having trouble playing the latest games, an eGPU may be able to fix that problem. However, so will a new computer.
As such, anyone considering getting an eGPU must also balance the idea of simply buying new hardware. However, there are a few slots that fit the bill. For example, if a friend gives you their old GPU, you can hook it up to a laptop using an eGPU enclosure without having to buy all the rest of the hardware.
You can also use an eGPU to protect your graphics card when you're on the go. For example, you can unplug it to take it to the cafe to do your work. When you get home to game, plug in the eGPU and load up your games. That way, if your laptop is lost or stolen, you don't need to buy back the beefy GPU.
As we said earlier, however, these are very specific cases. It's not about whether an eGPU does its job well, it's about whether the eGPU is best suited for the job. If the eGPU is the only way for you to achieve your goals, the investment is worth it. However, very often there is a better and cheaper alternative that you can use instead.
For those looking for an eGPU, the current lineup lets you mix and match graphics cards for your system. However, before buying one, it is worth considering whether it would be better to buy a new system. After all, they are not cheap!
If you already have a graphics card in your computer, you can use AIO cooling to improve its performance.
ContentsWhat is an eGPU?What do eGPUs look like in 2021?How much does an eGPU cost?Is an eGPU worth buying in 2021?Is an eGPU right for you?