What is an eGPU?

28th April 2020
EGPU with devices showing - laptop, displays, sonnet egpu, AMD, GTX

As technology improves and consumer expectations rise, the idea of an external graphics card (eGPU) is becoming more of a mainstream possibility. Of course, a fully kitted out desktop computer will offer you the most flexibility when it comes to personalising your experience, however, you can now add the power you would expect from a full-tower computer to your laptop.  

Whether you use your laptop for gaming, work or design, you may feel like you need that extra boost of power that integrated graphics just can’t provide. This is where an eGPU comes in.  

What is an eGPU?

Short for ‘external graphics processing unit’, an eGPU is essentially an external graphics card that connects to your laptop through a single cable. This will then take the power load off your laptop’s internal GPU and put it on the external graphics card instead.  

A GPU is the part of your laptop that generates the images on your screen. With recent upgrades to laptop connections, such as the Thunderbold 3 and USB-C connection, you can now have your graphics card sit outside of the case and connect up to the motherboard with a single cable.  

Do I need an eGPU?

You can connect an eGPU to both a laptop and a desktop, but it is with a laptop it really improves the form of the device. Generally, laptops don’t have the space for a full-size, quality graphics card, meaning they’re not as powerful as their desktop competitors. However, with an eGPU, you can use your laptop as a portable device whenever you need to, while also having the flexibility of plugging it into an external graphics card when you need the extra power. This will also take up less space than a traditional desktop setup.  

If you want to use your laptop for graphic intensive gaming, an eGPU is perfect. You can use your laptop as a portable device during the day rather than carrying around a heavy laptop specifically made for gaming. The eGPU will deliver higher frame rates and make for smoother game play.  

An eGPU is also ideal if you work with special effects, colour grading, editing and rendering or animation. It can help to improve workflows, whilst also displaying higher quality graphics.  

As well as offering a great power increase to laptops, an eGPU can take the stress out of upgrading tech. They can even improve the performance of all-in-one desktops, such as the iMac.

What do I need to do to get started with an eGPU?

At the moment, not all laptops or computers are equipped with the hardware needed to support an eGPU, so you will need to check the model of your device, or the device you’re going to purchase. There are an increasing number of Windows laptops that support eGPUs, and the MacBook Pros released since 2016 are also compatible.

Sonnet eGPU

A Sonnet eGPU box can enhance the graphical power of limited machines and can be completely customised for anyone needing high spec software. Supporting gaming, editing, animation and rendering needs, the Sonnet eGFX box offers large variable-speed, is quiet enough to use in noise-sensitive environments and has a temperature-controlled fan that quietly cools the installed card. 

Apple Blackmagic eGPU Pro

Apple’s offering helps to run graphic-intensive workloads on any Thunderbold 3-enabled Mac, that was previously only possible on an iMac Pro. However, the Apple eGPU is fixed, offering less flexibility than the Sonnet option.  

Front view of the Sonnet Box with Radeon Vega graphics

Here at Hardsoft, we offer the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 alongside your choice of software for an affordable weekly cost. Perfect for creative professionals looking to upgrade their hardware externally, this eGPU comes pre-configured and ready to use, so you can get instant graphical power that is not limited by the capability of your machine.  

If you would like to find out more about eGPUs and how they can help you or your business, or would like to find out anything else about leasing technology, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.