How to Set Up an External GPU for your Laptop

How to Set Up an External GPU for your Laptop

I’m sure you’ve seen the new, sleek laptops on the market that are now more powerful than ever. You might be wondering how to get your laptop to run even faster? Setting up an external GPU is one way of doing this for many different PC configurations. This blog post will teach you how to setup an external GPU for your laptop!

But before that let me give you some information about GPUs.

Related Blog Post: Best RAM For i7 8700K

What is an external GPU

An external GPU is a graphics processing unit on an external card. This allows you to run software that requires high-performance graphics through your laptop on a separate, dedicated GPU.

There are two different types of GPUs: PCI and eGPUs (External Graphic Processing Unit).

The first type is a physical port inside the PC computer itself whereas the second type plugs into the USB port of the computer with a cord.

While the second type is what people usually mean when they say ‘external GPU’. Not only does it provide more power, but also allows you to use this extra power for other tasks as well such as video editing or playing games that aren’t supported by your default system.

Why would you need an external GPU

Extending the Laptop’s Functionality

Having an external GPU allows you to do more than just speed up your laptop. It also allows you to use multiple monitors, which is great for people who like multitasking or playing games.

This can be especially useful if you like working on multiple different things at one time. With this new technology, it is possible to play high graphic games on your computer with the full support of all key features including anti-aliasing and extended resolutions.

Advantages for Gamers

Let’s face it; most gamers want everything they can get their hands on when it comes to upgrading their gaming experience.

There are many components that go into a powerful gaming PC such as a top of the line graphics card, CPU, and RAM. The one thing that ties all of these great pieces together is the motherboard.

An external GPU can help you boost your overall system performance without having to purchase a new computer or upgrade any other components, which is why it’s so attractive to gamers.

Adding an external GPU to your laptop will give it a major power boost and provide the capability of running high-resolution games.

Although this is not possible with all modern laptops, for those that support it, it can be quite the experience.

How to find the right external GPU for your laptop

Not all external GPUs work for all laptops, so it’s important to find one that will be compatible. First, take your laptop model number and search the Nvidia website for a full list of mobile GPUs.

If you can’t find yours on their site, try searching online or even in stores such as Best Buy or Walmart; you might be surprised at the variety!

After narrowing down your choices, make sure to check out any reviews available and ask questions if necessary before purchasing one.

If you have a newer laptop, chances are it is eGPU compatible since most laptops nowadays support this technology.

Make sure the external GPU you buy has a USB port or PCI express slot so it can be connected. It’s also important to make sure that your laptop supports outside GPUs before purchasing one, otherwise there’s no point!

Some people don’t realize this and end up wasting money on an external processor that won’t work for their computer. Although some motherboards support both types of plug-in cards, not all do.

In fact, many older laptops only offer a PCI Express slot which is why it’s very important to know what type of card your specific system requires before purchasing one online or in a store.

Not all GPUs are made the same. Some models specialize in different tasks, such as rendering or overclocking. When it comes to external graphics cards, you’ll find that some offer better performance than others.

This means they can support more demanding software and advanced games with ease without any lag. However, the best external video card is one that’s specifically catered to your laptop model number.

The most popular type of GPU is Nvidia because it supports multiple brands and models of laptops. Other types include ATI and Intel which only work with certain computers and laptops so take this into consideration when buying one!

For example, ATI Radeon cards will work on HP systems but not Dell while Nvidia works just about everywhere including Apple products. It’s important to understand your options and what you will get from it before purchasing!

Requirements For Setting External GPU

in order to setup an external GPU with your laptop you will need:

  • A laptop which has Thunderbolt 3.
  • A desktop PC with a thunderbolt 3 port.
  • An External GPU enclosure(eGPU Box) .
  • The right type of Nvidia or AMD graphics card depending on your preference. I would recommend Nvidia cards for best compatibility and more powerful performance. Read on the box of eGPU box to make sure you are getting the right type of card.
  • A 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable ( 2m 2m 5m cables will work).
  • An external thunderbolt dock(optional but recommended for easier usage).

Note:  Make sure the laptop has a built-in GPU that makes use of the intel VGA chipset(Check with laptop manufacturer research).

Steps to set up the external GPU on your laptop

Follow these steps to set up an external GPU on your laptop:

  1. Make sure everything is plugged in properly.
  2. Turn on your laptop and plug the monitor into the external GPU. Some models can take a little while to turn on so be patient if this happens!
  3. Plug the USB or PCI Express cord coming from your laptop into the appropriate slot on your GPU. If you’re not sure which one needs to go where it’s best to do some research before purchasing an external video card because they are very different depending on what type of technology your system uses. You don’t want to purchase one that won’t work for your computer after all!
  4. If you have Internet access, installing software should automatically start by now but if it doesn’t simply run the software found on your external GPU. This is normally located on a disc that came with the product so just pop it into your built-in optical drive or an attached USB or SD card reader if you don’t have one.
  5. If there are any drivers you need to install, do so by following the instructions provided in your graphical card’s manual . Next, adjust any settings through the “settings” menu within the game itself after it has finished installing. Sweet! You’re ready to play some games now!

Best External GPUs For Laptop

If you want us to share a list of some of the best external GPUs for your laptop, you can check the list given below, all of them are well working, and our top picks.

The Razer Core V2

One of the best external GPUs for your laptop is the Razer Core V2 which offers superior performance. It has four USB ports, an Ethernet jack, a mini-Display Port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port which can be used to connect a laptop via USB-C.

Not only will this external processor boost your graphic performance but it also adds more functionality to your machine.

Plus, the Razer Core V2 is very sleek looking so you don’t have to hide it under your desk! It’s a good choice for gamers and graphic designers who need a more powerful laptop.

Alienware Graphics Amplifier

The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is compatible with several different Dell laptops although it only works on gaming models so you’ll have to check your specifications before purchasing one.

For example, an Alienware 15 R3 cannot connect to this graphics processor but an Alienware 17 R4 can. It’s a great option for gamers who are looking to upgrade their existing laptop or for those who want the best of both worlds, portability, and power!

BizonBOX 3 Thunderbolt 2

Another great choice is the BizonBOX 3 Thunderbolt 2 which comes in two size options: 2.0TB and 3.0TB. While you pay more for the larger size, it’s definitely worth it as it has a faster processor possible up to 20Gbps so you can play even more demanding games such as Witcher 3 with ease!

Plus, this external GPU looks pretty sleek and fits in well with your other hardware.


Another great external GPU for your laptop is the ASUS ROG XG Station 2 which delivers exceptional graphics power to your machine via Thunderbolt 3. Besides plugging it directly into your laptop, you can also use an included USB-C to Display Port adapter if needed.

PowerColor Devil Box

The PowerColor Devil Box is another powerful external GPU that can boost the performance of your laptop. With four USB 3.0 ports, USB-C, Display Port and HDMI connections it’s very versatile especially if you need to connect multiple peripherals at once like an Xbox controller for example!

Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box

The Gigabyte AORUS Gaming Box is an external video card that’s incredibly thin and lightweight which makes it perfect for travel. Besides the laptop, you can also use this with a desktop PC so it has a good range of compatibility!

PROS & CONS of External GPUs For Laptops


  • Gives you much more power than your integrated graphics card (Intel, AMD) alone. This allows the laptop to handle high-end gaming and other demanding programs with ease.
  • Easily upgradeable; all you need is another GPU with an appropriate interface if your current one gets outdated.
  • Significantly reduces heat since there’s a lot less going on inside your computer.


  • Expensive compared to something like a desktop replacement laptop that has built-in GPUs that are just as powerful or more so depending on what you pick of course. These typically run for a few thousand dollars but they’re worth it if you can afford them! If not, buy one online from eBay or similar stores because they have a lot of great deals going on all the time!
  • Some laptops may have compatibility issues with certain brands and models of GPUs.

FAQs about using an external graphics card with a laptop

Can I disconnect the external video card?

Yes. Just unplug the cord coming from your laptop and you’re good to go! Remember, if there are any drivers associated with it you will need to reinstall them when you plug in your GPU again. This is done through the software that came with the product which you should have received when buying it online or in a store.

Will this work on all laptops no matter what kind of graphics card we have?

No, not at all. Different types of GPUs are designed for different purposes so some won’t function well or at all depending on what type of system you have. For example, Intel Integrated cards may only support 2D to 3D while AMD cards will be able to do it all.

Does the external GPU have a fan?

Some models may but not all of them run hot enough for one to be necessary so they aren’t normally included in the box. However, some laptops have limited airflow which results in your laptop running hotter than normal so it’s probably best to get a model with one if this is the case.

Do I need an Internet connection to set everything up?

No, you don’t. In fact, most people prefer using their computer without being connected to the web since constant connections wear down the hardware much faster and can result in lower grades/performance to lag caused by network traffic.

Do I need to install the software that came with it?

For some models, especially ones that use AMD or Intel GPUs you may have to. This is done through the “settings” menu within a game once you’ve plugged in your GPU. If there is no option for installing it then chances are that it doesn’t require additional software and you’re good to go!

Is this going to significantly improve my laptop’s performance?

Of course! In fact, most games won’t even launch without an external video card as they require much more power than what a typical integrated GPU can provide alone.


I hope you would have liked our article, on setting up the right GPU for your laptop. Plus we have also shared a list of some of the best GPUs which you can try. If you have any queries you can ask in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment