Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by bit-tech, 23 Nov 2020.
I love the idea of these. Not this locked down box, but the idea of building a eGPU gaming box for a lightweight laptop. It's a shame this market is still considered niche.
Modern CPU are pretty power efficient, with future big.little Intel CPU's, it may even evolve to allow locking off big cores when in laptop battery mode.
Then I can plug the lightweight laptop in to these eGPU docking station and instantly transform it into a full gaming PC. Business in the Front, Party in the Back
Probably due to laptops being generally a pretty shite gaming experience even if you solve the GPU problem.
Once you allocate space for a GPU box, monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse you are well into "might as well use a proper PC" territory, not even to mention that something like this https://silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=953&area=en is isn't all that different in dimensions to a GPU box.
But that’s another computer. What if I only want a single device to do EVERYTHING.
(I also liked the idea of docking mobile phone to use as computer. )
eGPU also provided possibility of selectively having hardware. Because laptop have everything built-in. Want to game elsewhere? Just pack the laptop and eGPU, everything else stays home. You’d need to bring a monitor with a SFX build, if your monitor is ultra wide or 10kg.......
The main appeal of a laptop is the portability, and it makes sense to have it as your only computer if you're gonna need one, and can also use it as a desktop, and can also use it as a gaming PC. Set the power profile to stay on with the screen closed, slide it out of sight somewhere with peripherals attached, bam, desktop PC; need to go on the road for 2 days, yank it out, bam, your exact same computer is going with you.
It eliminates the headache of coordinating installed apps, software licensing, credentials, config, file storage, etc. across multiple machines, which is why most offices switched to laptop-per-employee+docking-station model. Gaming laptops, with their good-for-8-years CPUs and good-until-you-get-it-home GPUs, have never made sense, less so than ever now that CPU performance has plateau'd and GPU performance is on the rampage. This solution actually solves that problem.
And they do a perfectly adequate job with portable light office work.
Without the powerful external GPU + decent size monitor + speakers that produce something resembling sound + proper input devices gaming on a laptop is 100% unrefined misery... so installing games on a laptop is a waste of time anyway as the portability aspect of gaming is imaginary.
You can put 10Gbps USB SSD's on the eGPU for your Steam library.
The point is, one machine to manage and do it all. As 'elephant eloquently put it: "eliminates the headache of coordinating installed apps, software licensing, credentials, config, file storage, etc. across multiple machines" I don't think anyone is saying you can do portable gaming with solely the laptop.
You got to remember a computer can do more than gaming, and lightweight laptops nowadays can do everything apart from gaming with high resolution and graphics. Most of the time you are GPU constrained anyway.
Currently, I have situation of needing a docking station for my portable laptop to do everything other than gaming. Then having another computer with another software configuration for gaming. Having everything sync'ed using mess of many "cloud" providers and my NAS. The ideal approach would be everything connected to eGPU and 1 cable to the laptop and laptop has everything in one place (game installs can be external).
problem with eGPUs right now is thunderbolt is not quick enough, it needs a doubling of bandwidth, surprised it hasn't happened yet.
Isn't Thunderbolt 3 just PCIe 3.0 4x?
You said your 1080 Ti is running at 4x and it still performs very well, in the other thread.
Speaking of which, how many laptops have Thunderbolt? This product is kinda betting on the future market presence of that connector. If the connector scene changes (as it often does), this becomes a paperweight.
Thunderbolt 3 doesn't quite make the bandwidth of 4x due to overheads and the unreliability of what has been implemented by laptop maker, you could only have 16Gb/s, it has been improved in the latest intel chips with TB4 where min bandwidth is definitely 32Gb/s but still not amazing, particularly if you want to use it to daisy chain devices like SSDs etc, as mentioned.
4 lanes of PCI express is quicker due to being dedicated to one thing and direct to CPU.
If it is you only option of course, go for it, it'll works well enough, I can understand the need for one machine just do your research on the laptop you are buying to ensure it has the appropriate bandwidth, there is a site about egpus where you can get all the infos
It is not always the case that expensive laptops have all the bandwidth, some older XPS were only wired for 2 lanes.
I had some experience with TB3 and eGPU's when playing around with travel rigs using Nuc's.
As Sandys indicates TB3 does not mean 4 lanes, you have to really carefully read the motherboard / laptop description as sometime only 2 lanes are assigned (so half speed).
Unfortunately even if the bandwidth is there in theory that doesn't mean there isn't a performance drop from external GPUs via TB:
Its still respectable though and better than some lame iGPU
Thank you guys. I didn't realise 4x PCIe is not actually 4x PCIe, there is more overhead on top.
I believe Thunderbolt is only available on a small number of Intel laptops?
Nuc's, some motherboards have them too.
I took this from the intel spec page, the key thing to look for is a TB3 connection that states its 40 Gbps.
Same here on some gigabyte motherboards:
Now I have found this:
I'm tempted to make a APU based system with the ability to plug a eGPU when a bit more grunt is needed.....
Intel does sell the TB controller chips separately also, so nothing really stops mainboard manufacturers from putting it everywhere.
However, Asus and MSI so far haven't bothered, so if you want integrated TB on a mobo your selection basically shrinks to a small number of Gigabyte and AsRock boards (or faffing about with pci-e add in cards).
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