Before the introduction of External Graphics Cards, aka eGPUs, the gaming on laptops was just a pipe dream. As soon as the laptop gamers got an easy access to the best external GPUs they are now better equipped to get the finest quality graphics, and they don’t need to upgrade the whole of the gaming setup.
In this guide for the best external GPU enclosures, we will discuss about the premium quality eGPUs available in 2021 which deliver the highest performance, improve the graphics quality to an appreciable level and are most economical, too. Besides, at the end of the article we have answered some of the frequently asked questions that will help you to easily evaluate the most important features, price and performance comparisons and related terms.
List of Best External GPU Enclosures
1: Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box
Gigabyte is one of the best brand names in gaming industry for graphical solutions. Whether these are the RTX graphics cards like the best RTX 2080 Ti, 2080 Super or the eGPU enclusures, Gigabyte has proved its worth by developing the outstanding products in its extensive range. The coming of recently released Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 eGPU is one of those products, which are setting new precedents in gaming revolutions.
After the release of Aorus GTX 1070, most of the power hungry gamers were still demanding the advanced graphics card that could offer more than that of the previously released version. This is what the Aorus GTX 1080 gaming box offers. Instead of buying a premium gaming laptop, you can now get the same graphical performance by this external graphics card.
Equipped with Thunderbolt 3 technology, the models offers the higher performance and allows data transfer of up-to 40Gbps. Other connectivity options include 1 DVI-D port, an HDMI port, 3 DisplayPorts. Besides, you get the three USB ports to connect the headset, keyboard and USB storage. This is actually a gaming box with maximum connectivity options and, other than best gaming laptops, it also allows you to set-up multiple monitors using.
In terms of performance the gaming box comes with latest built-in GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card from Nvidia. The card lets you run the 1080p, 2160p as well as VR games on your flat as well as curved gaming monitor. Though the built-in card is excellent in performance and you don’t need to spend money for an additional graphics card, gaming box is limited in graphical cards option. You can’t use graphics card other than the built-in card.
This external graphic card is amazing as it comes with a quick charge (QC) 3.0 port. Unlike other charging ports, the quick charge port recharges the device four times faster. The convenience is what you will get in bonus.
2: Razer Core X
The next Gaming Box is from none other than the most popular and highly appreciated gaming brand: Razer. The Razer is already known for its excellent, albeit expensive, gaming products, the products which deliver efficiency, performance and compatibility. This is what the Razer Core X offers as a powerful external GPU box we’ve ever reviewed.
Currently, Razer offers two of its eGPUs: the first one in our list is Core X, and the second one is Razer Core V2, which we will discuss later in this article.
In its first glance, the Razer Core X looks like a simple external GPU lacking any trademark beauty of RGB by Razer. Yet, unlike Gigabyte Aorus, this isn’t what every gaming box should offer. Instead, the Razer Core X is built for performance oriented gamers who want to convert their mini PC or laptop into a monster gaming PC which delivers everything a gamer needs.
Talking about its design, the Core X is spacious enough to support triple-width graphics card. For power hungry gamers, this is the best choice they can made as the box features 650-wannt power supply.
The gaming box is compatible and supports some of the laptops manufactured by Razer, such as Razer Blade, Blade Pro and Blade Stealth. As it comes with Thunderbolt 3 port, the Core X is equally compatible with all the Laptops having Thunderbolt 3 feature.
In terms of compatibility, the Core X is compatible with a full range of Quardo, GeForce and Radeon graphics cards. Further details about compatible cards can be confirmed from the Razer’s official website. Just like Akitio Node, the only downside of Core X is the limited ports as it lacks any USB ports or any other ports for more connectivity options.
Overall, the Razer Core X is relatively affordable external graphics card enclosure with best features to support small as well as heavy graphics card. The box, although lacks USB ports, supports the best graphics cards available in the market.
3: Akitio Node
Admittedly the Akitio is the unfamiliar brand to most of the gamers. Based in California, the Akitio is an international brand, which offers its services ranging from external chassis to storage solutions. Prioritizing the performance, the company has produced some of the finest products available in the market; and the Akitio Node is one of them.
The Akitio Node is one of the best eGFX boxes we have ever reviewed. In the first impression the design looks like a full-sized Mini ITX computer chassis, that is to say, you will have to sacrifice a lot of space for this monster. The large size built with sheet metal also means the Akitio Node comes with a whopping weight of 14.7 pounds (almost 7kg). The size is actually a plus point; you can plug in any type and size of graphics card in this external GPU. Besides the handle over it lets you move the casing anywhere you want.
While the Node consumes 400W power supply, it supports Radeon RX and R9 graphics cards as well as GTX 900 to onward series, thus making it the most compatible eGPU for all of the graphics cards. For a complete list of compatible graphics cards you may visit Akitio Node’s website here.
The Node comes with a single Thunderbolt 3 port, which lets you easily upgrade your laptop or a mini PC to a high-end gaming PC or a professional workstation. The port offers lightning fast speed up to 40GBps. The casing’s interior is spacious and offers enough space to insert any graphics card you want.
The good thing about the Node is that the dedicated GPU inside it makes the video editing and rendering powerful enough the support a VR headset and makes the system a VR ready. As the Node comes with one built-in PCIe x16 slot, and the back panel is removable that enables you to insert even the full-length, full-height double-width card.
Overall, the Akitio Node is a giant external GPU that supports almost all types of graphics card. The size comes at both advantage as well as disadvantage. On advantage side it can house any size of GPU; on the other side its size and weight make it difficult to move, although the casing has a handle over it.
4: Alienware Graphics Amplifier
Founded in 1996, the Alienware soon became the notable company in laptops and external graphics solution. Within a span of ten years, the company, however, was acquired by the Dell in 2006. The real success and glory of the brand was then acknowledged with some of its best products, especially gaming laptops. However, keeping in view the company’s trust score and dedication, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is one of the notable eGPUs worth buying.
Actually, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is a GPU designed specifically for Alienware Laptops. The reason that it works only for Alienware laptops is that, rather than using Thunderbolt 3 port, the GPU features Alienware’s proprietary port. In designing this GPU, the company has prioritized its laptops to use an external GPU that could skyrocket the graphics performance of its laptops. So, forget the portability options in this gaming box.
Wrapped in black colored plastic material with an Alienware’s logo on the front side, the exterior looks something more appealing than other eGPUs. Weighing around 7.7 pounds, the product, just like Akitio Node, is too heavy to be used as a portable eGPU enclosure.
The box, sadly, lacks built-in graphics card, but it does support a full-sized graphics card. The addition of 460-watt power supply, in the case, can handle most of the graphics cards requirements, but not the premium power hungry graphics cards, whose average PSU requirement is 500-watt or above.
As mentioned earlier, it lacks Thunderbolt 3 port, which means this is an eGPU enclosure dedicated for Alienware due to the proprietary Alienware port. However, the case includes four USB ports to be used for different purposes. The compatible list of laptops for this model can be seen from the official product page.
Overall, this is a nicely built GPU enclosure that can handle most of the graphics cards. The only downside, however, is its limited compatibility. But, those who own Alienware laptop, and want something more than extra in terms of performance, the Alienware, Graphics Amplifier is the best choice for them.
5: Mantiz Venus MZ-02 eGPU
Before the release of Mantiz Venus MZ-02 eGPU the gaming on Mac OS seemed quite difficult. People who want to get an impressive external GPU with all the required features might need this model, as it is easy to setup and doesn’t require any hard work to install the graphics card in it.
The MZ-02 features most needed 550W power supply option, which is best for power hungry gamers who simply want to use high power graphics cards. Now just pick this box and go for whatever you want to do on your Mac laptop or Mini PC.
In terms of connectivity options the MZ-02 has an additional 87W power delivery option is also available to chare the laptops. What’s more, you will also get five USB ports, one Gigabit Lan, and one SATA port to connect other devices.
The only downside about this box is the noise; even in some cases it might produce so much noise to make you wake up from sleep. The best thing you could do to minimize the noise level is to keeping it a bit away from your bed.
As already discussed, this is the only eGPU compatible with MacBook. Now gaming on MacBook is as easy and as comfortable as it is on high-end PCs. What you need to do is to check the setup details from the manufacturer’s official website. However, as per company’s claims, the 2019 MacBook Pro and latest macOS are fully compatible with this model. Not only it is perfect for Mac, it delivers simply the excellent performance on the PCs, too.
Overall, this is one of excellent external graphics card boxes which deliver impressive performance, come with all in one connectivity option and equip with durable material.
6: Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box – GTX 1070
For every gamer, the Gigabyte is not a new name in gaming industry. Founded in 1986, the brand is popular among gamers for manufacturing outstanding hardware, especially graphics cards for gaming enthusiasts. Gigabyte is a registered company licensed to manufacture AMD and Nvidia cards as we can see the best graphics cards available today. The AORUS Gaming Box GTX 1070 is one of these external GPUs developed by Gigabyte.
The good thing about AORUS Gaming Box is that the box features Gigabyte’s dedicated Mini ITX GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. The box is shrouded in compact metal box and a transparent mesh on the front side to monitor the interior of the box with the help of LED lighting inside it.
Though the GPU box comes with built-in GTX 1070 Mini ITX graphics card that is capable of running all titles without a problem, the card get louder and possesses limited overclocking potential under high performance. Yet, it is still capable of running VR as well as 4K titles on the best 4K gaming TVs, provided that you can bear the noise.
In its interior, the box is minimal in size and equipped with beautiful RGB lighting pattern that can be seen from the front side only. The RGB lighting pattern can be customized by the AuraSync utility software, which allows you to produce multiple lighting effects ranging from breathing and flashing to static and color cycling.
The Gigabyte Aorus Gaming box comes with all options for connectivity. The box features; a Thunderbolt 3.0 port for connecting it with PC or laptop, a DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, and two Dual-Link DVI-D ports. Besides, there are three USB 3.0 ports and one quick charge USB port. (If your device doesn’t support HDMI, you might need to get the best HDMI Switch for 4K gaming.
Unlike Akitio Node, the Gigabyte’s AURUS Gaming box weighs only 4.4 pounds (almost 2kg). This is three times less weight than Akitio Node (weighing around 7kg), making AURUS the most portable eGPU case that can be easily transported and managed on a gaming desk. The portability is even more affordable in this box as it comes with a small carry bag to cover this baby.
The only downside we experienced with AORUS is its limited upgradability. No doubt the graphics card it includes it capable of handling 1080p and 2160p games, yet it must have options to upgrade the card according to one’s personal choice. The Aorus, however, allows inserting other Mini ITX graphics cards only if you have removed the previously installed Mini ITX 1070. The other upgrading options are restricted in this box.
Overall, the Gigabyte Aorus Gaming is the best eGPU box that delivers amazingly small design, impressive performance and myriad of connectivity options. Yet all these features in this box come at higher price.
7: ASUS RoG XG Station 2
Asus is already a most reputable name in gaming industry. The Taiwan based company has earned its name in gaming hardware. The company’s real change came when it started introducing high-end gaming accessories under the umbrella of Republic of gamers aka ROG. The ASUS ROG-XG Station 2 external graphics card dock is a clear manifestation of the company’s fame and commitment to its dedication for perfection.
The eGPU is one of the most appealing external graphics enclosures, and allures every gamer who is looking an attention grabbing enclosure. In its design the enclosure comes in black color with nice texture styled stripes and holes on its exterior. The casing when running illuminates from the RGB lighting fitted on its front side. The design, whatsoever beast and pricey may be, doesn’t include GPU with it and this is where ROG-XG Station 2 disappoints seriously.
In terms of sizing and space side, the box won’t let you down in any case. It supports a full size graphics card, and the good thing is that the casing is compatible with all new as well as old graphics cards especially Radeon R9/RX series, and GTX 9/10 series. Did I mention that the box comes with multiple fans inside it to provide extra cooling to the cards while they are running?
Unlike other good eGPUs the ROG XG Station 2 comes with better and improved connectivity options. Other than a standard Thunderbolt 3 port, the case also comes with USB type-B port, four USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet port. The case requires 600W power supply for proper functioning.
Though the case is a bit heavy and overpriced like Akitio Node, it offers good cooling, better design and more connectivity options than a standard GPU enclosure. Despite its heavy weight, it is still a portable GPU enclosure and easy to move. The case is compatible with Asus’s AURA software for RGB customization.
Yes, it is an attention grabbing external GPU enclosure which offers dynamic connectivity and compatibility options. The only downside is that the price doesn’t suit it due to the lack of a graphics card. Remember, this is not an affordable eGPU which you can buy, yet this is an expensive one which you can buy for long term use.
8: Sonnet eGFX Thunderbolt 3-to eGPU
Sonnet eGFX Thunderbol 3-to-eGPU is the most appealing eGPU for intensive gaming experience. This is actually a full-fledged external GPU that can delivers everything in a little small.
Sometimes the good things come at an affordable price. In a reasonable price tag the box is compatible with almost all of the major GPU brands especially most demanding Nvidia and AMD. The company recommends using the Nvidia GeForce, Titan X, AMD Radeon, Radeon Pro and Quadro graphics cards.
The enclosure is a better alternative if you don’t own a decent gaming laptop as you can upgrade graphics quality with such eGPU boxes. The box is portable and easy to manage due to its lightweight as compared to its competitors.
Unlike other GPU enclosures, this model comes with an impressive cooling system due to a cooling fan inside the box. To deliver extra cooling it also comes with a liquid cooling system which is best if you want to use the eGPU for overclocking.
The presence of standard Thunderbolt 3 cable delivers excellent data transfer of up to 40Gbps. As the box is spacious from inside, you can easily install a full-length x16 PCIe graphics cards, especially from AVID HDX and Red Rocket-X, without a problem. Not only the box offers 300W to the graphics card (with its 8-pin + 6-pin power connectors) it also has a 15W of power option to charge a laptop.
All in all, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box, Thunderbolt 3-to eGPU is the modern eGPU enclosure that delivers everything a high-end gamer would be looking to modernize its gaming laptop.
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