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Opinion | External graphics docks or eGPUs will inevitably be a growing threat to gaming laptops

External graphics docks or eGPUs will be a growing threat to gaming laptops (Image source: Razer)
External graphics docks or eGPUs will be a growing threat to gaming laptops (Image source: Razer)
The current chip shortage is preventing eGPUs from becoming mainstream. Once it's over, however, we suspect that many gamers will opt for an affordable eGPU over paying 2x to 3x the price for a full-fledged gaming laptop of similar graphics performance.
Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.
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External graphics cards for laptops and mini PCs aren't a new idea. The 2015 13.3-inch MSI GS30 Shadow was notable for its external graphics dock that would connect via a proprietary connector. Thunderbolt 3 was not yet widely available at the time and so the MSI dock can be seen a precursor to the universal Thunderbolt-based eGPUs of today.

Following the GS30 Shadow, more and more OEMs would begin offering Thunderbolt-enabled laptops and universal eGPU solutions including HP, Razer, Gigabyte, and even accessory makers like StarTech. One would expect eGPUs to start taking off, but the notorious ongoing shortage of desktop graphics cards have been preventing prices from falling to more affordable levels.

The shortage will inevitably come to an end at some point in the future and the prices of both eGPUs and the desktop graphics cards that power them will subsequently fall. Once that happens, we strongly believe that many gamers will forego large dedicated gaming laptops in favor of Thunderbolt laptops or Ultrabooks powered by modular eGPUs. We've already proven that even an ULV Core i7 CPU can run games at 4K 60 FPS when paired with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti which will arguably be more than enough for a lot of gamers. When considering that a GeForce RTX 2080 laptop can cost 3x more than the suggested retail price of the desktop graphics card itself, the large price savings will surely have people thinking twice about buying a full-on gaming laptop once the supply and demand for chips have normalized.

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Opinion by Allen Ngo
Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - Lead Editor U.S. - 4707 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2011
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.
contact me via: @AllenNgoNBC
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > External graphics docks or eGPUs will inevitably be a growing threat to gaming laptops
Allen Ngo, 2021-05-10 (Update: 2021-05-11)