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Best Thunderbolt eGPU Enclosures

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Laptop users were denied the pleasure of stunning graphics for far too long. Earlier, if one wanted great graphics, one would have to buy a high-end laptop from Alienware. Then came the novel idea of eGPU enclosures and technologies like Thunderbolt. These allowed laptop users to outsource the graphics processing to an external device.

These technologies changed the laptop user’s experience significantly. Thereafter, laptop users were able to enjoy a realistic gaming experience. Their 3D CAD rendering improved. Video editing for higher resolutions became better.

It was simple; all one had to do was assemble the appropriate graphics card in a compatible eGPU enclosure.

An eGPU enclosure allowed laptop users to get a desktop-like graphics experience. Graphics cards require high-speed data channels along. Apart from this they also need comparatively higher power units than a laptop. An eGPU enclosure addresses these very concerns and more.

A suitable eGPU enclosure is capable of delivering anything between 400W to 750W of power. In comparison, a typical laptop uses far less. A laptop’s energy requirement may range between 20W to 100W. Hence, the additional energy is used to power up components like the GPU units.

This article will help you understand the factors you should keep in mind while buying an eGPU enclosure. Further, we will review some of the hottest enclosures available in the market. This will give you a good idea of what features you will get with your purchase.

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Razer Core X Chroma on Amazon
Razer Core X Chroma Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 750W
Max. Power: 500W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: 4
Gigabit Ethernet Port: 1
Price not available
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750 on Amazon
Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750 Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 750W
Max. Power: 475W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: None
Gigabit Ethernet Port: None
$299.99
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
Akitio Node Titan on Amazon
Akitio Node Titan Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 85W Via Thunderbolt 3
PUS: 650W
Max. Power: 500W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: None
Gigabit Ethernet Port: None
$329.75
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
Cool Master MasterCase EG200 on Amazon
Cool Master MasterCase EG200 Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 60W
PSU: 550W
Max. Power: 375W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: 3
Gigabit Ethernet Port: None
USB Micro-B Port: 1
$412.99
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
Asus ROG-XG Station 2 on Amazon
Asus ROG-XG Station 2 Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W
PSU: 600W
Max. Power: 500W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: 4
Gigabit Ethernet Port: Yes
USB-B Port: 1
$1,493.00
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
Gigabyte Aorus RTX 3080 on Amazon
Gigabyte Aorus RTX 3080 Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W
PSU: 550W
Max. Power: 375W
OS: Windows 10
GPU Included: Yes
USB-A Port: 2
Gigabit Ethernet Port: Yes
Display Port: 3 X DisplayPort + 2 X HDMI
Price not available
Buy on Amazon (Price as of 2021-12-07 at 04:49 UTC)
VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX
VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFXConnection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 45W
PSU: 240W
Max. Power: 150W
OS: Windows and macOS
GPU Included: No
USB-A Port: 2
Gigabit Ethernet Port: Yes
Blackmagic eGPU Enclosure
Blackmagic eGPU EnclosureConnection: Thunderbolt 3 (Two Ports)
Laptop Charging: 85W
PSU: 400W
Max. Power: N.A.
OS: macOS only
GPU Included: Yes (Radeon Pro 580)
USB-A Port: 4
Display Port: 1 X HDMI (2.0)

1. Razer Core X Chroma

Razer Core X Chroma Aluminum External GPU Enclosure (eGPU): Compatible with Windows & MacOS Thunderbolt 3 Laptops, NVIDIA /AMD PCIe Support, 700W PSU, 4x USB 3.1, 1x Gbit Ethernet, Chroma RGB, Black

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With a Razer Core X Chroma eGPU enclosure, you get an enclosure that is minimal in design. The body is made with lightweight aluminum. The enclosure is sleek, has no fuss, and focuses on getting the job done. You get a quick-release handle and a pull-out tray. This will make the installation of your GPU quick and convenient.

It offers up to 500W of power to support the eGPU of your choice. There is support for up to 3 slots of the full-sized graphics card.

You also get RGB lighting to get a more holistic visual experience. However, this does not sync with gameplay if you use macOS. To add to the macOS user’s woes, this eGPU enclosure requires Thunderbolt 3 and High Sierra 10.13.4 for graphics cards from AMD. For macOS users who want to use a graphics card from NVIDIA, you will have to look elsewhere.

Moving on, the Thunderbolt 3 cable you get along with this enclosure is only about 27 inches in length. Hence, if you want to keep your workstation free of clutter, you must purchase a longer cable separately.

You get 4 USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 Gigabit Ethernet, and a Thunderbolt 3 port on the ports front. The Thunderbolt 3 port delivers a power output of up to 100W. This is enough to get your laptop charged while you enjoy your gameplay.

Key Features

Thunderbolt 3 with 100W output to charge a laptop
Max. Power of 500W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: Razer Core X Chroma
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 750W
Max. Power: 500W
Operating System: Windows 10 RS4 or later and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later
Compatible GPU: AMD and NVIDIA (no support for NVIDIA with macOS)
Ports: 4 USB 3.1 Type-A, Gigabit Ethernet, and Thunderbolt 3
Material: Aluminum

PROS
  • Minimalistic design
  • 4 USB ports
  • 100W Power for Laptop Charging via Thunderbolt 3
  • Aesthetic RGB lighting
CONS
  • NVIDIA cards not supported on macOS

2. Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750

Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750 - External GPU Chassis - Not Compatible with M1 Macs

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This enclosure from Sonnet is quite basic in its design. There is no fancy RGB lighting. The box has almost no design elements to make it look attractive. There is just an illuminated logo on the front panel.

For the ports, you do not get USB or Ethernet ports. All you get is a Thunderbolt 3 port which gives you 100W of output to charge your laptop. Sonnet has you covered, though. If you want USB and Ethernet ports, you can settle for the Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750ex.

This may sound a bit too basic. However, the enclosure from Sonnet comes into its own when you see the list of compatible GPUs. This enclosure supports most of the latest GPUs from AMD Radeon VII, RX, RX Vega, Pro W, and Pro WX models; and NVIDIA GeForce RTX series, TITAN, and Quadro models.

Further, there is support also available for Windows (both Thunderbolt 3 and 4) and macOS (macOS 10.13.6 and later) as well. However, Macs running on the M1 chip will face compatibility issues with this enclosure.

A special mention must be made concerning its performance. Sonnet offers excellent performance while using Adobe Premiere in terms of export speed. Also, while using DaVinci Resolve, it supports significantly more frames per second when compared to MacBook Pro.

This enclosure from Sonnet pays special attention to cooling. They offer large built-in fans with variable speeds and are specially designed to be extra quiet for use in a sensitive environment.

Therefore, if you want a no-frills enclosure to house your latest GPUs, Sonnet will get the job done. Further, because it does away with the unnecessary fuss, it keeps its price tag reasonable. On the other hand, if you like a bit of visual appeal, you could look at other options on this list.

Key Features

Support for latest GPUs
Max. Power 475W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 750W
Max. Power: 475W
Operating System: Windows and macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later
Compatible GPU: AMD and NVIDIA (*Mac M1 Chip-based computer are incompatible)
Ports: 1 Thunderbolt 3 only
Material: Aluminum and Plastic

PROS
  • Economical
  • Supports latest GPU
  • 100W laptop charging via Thunderbolt 3
  • Lightweight
CONS
  • Not compatible with M1 Macs

3. Akitio Node Titan

AKiTiO Node Titan Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure with 650W PSU

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This eGPU enclosure from Akitio supports almost all graphics cards in the Windows environment. Its dimension is suited to support full-length, full-height, and double-width GPUs without a problem.

Like the enclosure from Sonnet, this enclosure from Akitio does away with all the frills of design. Further, it also does away with the USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports.

So, what do you get?

It gets you support for the AMD Radeon series of graphic cards. You also get support for NVIDIA’s Quadro series and the GeForce series of cards. Mac users may feel a little disappointed. This is because of the lack of support for the NVIDIA cards and only a limited number of AMD Radeon cards.

Additionally, the PSU unit can provide a maximum power output of 500W. This is more than enough to power up any of the latest graphics cards. Further, you also get 85W via the Thunderbolt 3 port to power and charge your laptop.

The fans are effective thanks to the ventilation panels on the side of the box. They are pretty silent too, at 36 dB(A). This wouldn’t cause too much of a disturbance in a noise-sensitive environment.

The Akitio Node Titan can be used with your MacBook Pro for Non-Liner editing with great ease. Hence, you can use tools like DaVinci Resolve without having to worry about compatibility or performance-related issues.

If you are a professional and like to play a game on your laptop, this enclosure offers the functionality you seek.

Key Features

Supports almost all GPUs in the Windows environment
Max Power 500W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: Akitio Node Titan
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 85W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 650W
Max. Power: 500W
Operating System: Windows and macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later
Compatible GPU: AMD and NVIDIA (NVIDIA cards not compatible with macOS)
Ports: One Thunderbolt 3 only
Material: SECC Sheet Metal

PROS
  • 85W power via Thunderbolt 3 for laptop charging
  • Supports full-size graphics cards
  • Ideal for Non-Linear Editing
  • Ultra-lightweight
CONS
  • No USB or Gigabit Ethernet ports

4. Cooler Master MasterCase EG200

Sale Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Card (EGPU) Enclosure with Hard Drive Dock, Laptop Stand and USB hub

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You would have felt the need to have additional storage on your computer if you were a serious gamer. It is the era of SSD storage that is measured in multiple Terabytes. However, all of this becomes useless when you make it a habit to play the latest games. Why?

With the advancement in storage technology, there has also been an advancement in gaming graphics. High-resolution graphics have become commonplace. Hence, storing games on your computers is increasingly demanding more and more resources.

Fortunately, this enclosure from Cooler Master offers a solution. The enclosure gives you a hard drive dock to enhance your storage capacity conveniently. You have the option to include a 3.5 inches or 2.5 inches SATA drive.

The enclosure gives you 3 USB ports on the rear panel along with a Thunderbolt 3 and USB Micro-B Gen 1 port. However, the RJ45 port for the network connection is missing.

The enclosure is capable of 375W of max. power delivery. This would take care of most graphics cards. You can charge your laptop with the 60W power delivery on the Thunderbolt 3 port.

The power cables included in the box are; one 24 pin, Two 6+2 pin PCIe, and One SATA power cable.

The enclosure is 9.7L in volume. This means there is more than adequate space in it to house a graphics card of your choice. Further, the enclosure does not report any compatibility issues with macOS. However, we advise you to check the specifics of your selected graphics card.

Key Features

9.7L volume to house most graphics cards
Max. power of 375W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: Cooler Master MasterCase EG200
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 60W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 550W
Max. Power: 375W
Operating System: Windows and macOS (advisable to check specific GPU card)
Compatible GPU: AMD and NVIDIA
Ports: Three USB 3.2 Type-A, One Thunderbolt 3, and One USB Micro-B 3.2 Gen 1
Material: Steel, plastic, and mesh

PROS
  • 9.7L body can house most graphics cards
  • Dock for additional hard drive
  • Three USB 3.2 Type-A ports
  • 60W power delivery for laptop charging via Thunderbolt 3
CONS
  • No Gigabit Ethernet port

5. ASUS ROG-XG Station 2

Asus VGA ROG XG Station 2 ROG-XG-Station-2, Wired, 90YV09B1-M0NA00 (ROG-XG-Station-2, Wired, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-B, Black, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9/10, AMD Radeon R9/RX, 80)

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The ASUS ROG-XG Station 2 offers an enclosure that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. For starters, the box itself delivers a futuristic look and feel with its all-back angular panel design. The panels have randomly designed air vents that add to the look.

Next, the set of RGB lighting adds another dimension to the look with its colors. You can sync the lighting to the gameplay if you choose an Aura Enable ROG Strix Graphics card.

Finally, the front of the box has an electrifying plasma tube that grabs your attention and refuses to let go.

The 600W PSU delivers a 500W max. output. This will take care of all your current needs and equip you for the future as well. Additionally, you get a 100W on the Thunderbolt 3 post that will take care of your laptop’s charging needs.

The box can support the AMD Radeon and Radeon Pro series of cards. NVIDIA is not left far behind with support for GeForce GTX and Quadro series of graphics cards. These are supported on the Windows and macOS platforms. However, like the EG200 from Cooler Master, ASUS remains silent on the actuals. Hence, it is recommended to check the specifications of the graphics card you choose.

In terms of connectivity, Asus offers you four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and one USB Type B connector. These will help in case you want to hook up your keyboard, mouse, or VR sets.

Key Features

Futuristic design
Max. Power of 500W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: Asus ROG-XG Station 2
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
PSU: 600W
Max. Power: 500W
Operating System: Windows and macOS (advisable to check specific GPU card)
Compatible GPU: AMD Radeon/Radeon Pro and NVIDIA GeForce GTX/Quadro
Ports: Four USB 3.0 Type-A, One Thunderbolt 3, One USB Type-B, and Gigabit Ethernet
Material: Metal and Plastic

PROS
  • Aesthetic Design Element
  • Four USB 3.2 Type-A ports and USB Type-B Port
  • Lightweight
  • 100W power delivery for laptop charging via Thunderbolt 3
CONS
  • Price

6. Gigabyte Aorus RTX 3080 – Best Enclosure with GPU

AORUS RTX 3080 Gaming Box External Graphics Card, WATERFORCE All-in-one Cooling System, Thunderbolt 3, GV-N3080IXEB-10GD

Last update on 2021-12-07 at 16:57 UTC / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It can be intimidating to choose the right graphics card from the endless list of GPUs out there. Further, in a market where not including a GPU is the norm, the Aorus RTX 3080 decides for you. It is a good decision too.

The Aorus RTX 3080 enclosure comes with a GeForce RTX 3080 graphic card. The card gives you a GDDR6X 10G memory. The GPU clocks in at 1710MHz, and the memory clocks at 19000MHz. All of this together delivers a 760GB/s. This amount of firepower is enough to deliver an incredible graphics experience.

In addition to the GPU, the Aorus gaming box gives you three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 port delivers a power output of 100W, which is enough to charge your laptop. You also get two HDMI ports and three DisplayPort to hook up your high-resolution display screen.

There are no restrictions if you are using a Windows-based environment. However, macOS users are bound to feel left out as there is no support for Mac-based environments.

Despite the firepower and the utility offered by the box, the box itself is not the sleekest looking out there. It is a plain jane black box. To add a little pizzazz, the Aorus gives you the option of RGB fusion 2.0. This allows you to sync lighting on other Aorus devices.

For cooling, the Aorus uses a sophisticated water-based cooling mechanism. This mechanism can put any industrial cooling system to shame. How?

It uses the Aorus WATERFORCE cooling system. This system uses large lead plates, a 240mm Aluminum radiator, and two 120mm fans. In addition to this, it uses a pump to regulate the flow of water. All of this ensures that you get optimal cooling without adding to the decibel levels.

Key Features

WATERFORCE Cooling System
GeForce RTX 3080 Card
Support for Windows Only

Specifications

Model: Gigabyte Aorus RTX 3080
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 100W Via Thunderbolt 3
Max. Power: 375W
Operating System: Windows Only
Compatible GPU: N.A. as GeForce RTX 3080 comes installed
Ports: Three USB 3.0 Type-A, One Thunderbolt 3, One Gigabit Ethernet, Two HDMI, and three DisplayPort.
Material: Metal and Plastic
GPU Included: GeForce RTX 3080

PROS
  • GPU Included
  • WATERFORCE Cooling System
  • 100W Thunderbolt 3 power delivery for laptop charging
  • Max. Power 375W
CONS
  • No Mac support

7. VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX

If you are relatively new to gaming or visual editing on your laptop, this VisionTek enclosure is a great starting point. The box is minimal in design and focuses on getting on with the job. It supports up to 2 slot graphics cards.

The Thunderbolt port supports v3 and v4. Hence, this has you covered for the future. The power delivery may seem a little low with 45W. However, this will cover most modern laptops. And finally, the PSU unit delivers a Max. The power output of 150W will not cover most high-end graphics cards.

You will get two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and one Gigabit Ethernet port on the ports front for the network interface.

The box is compatible with both Windows and macOS. For this, the macOS needs to be High Sierra 10.13.4 or later. The macOS will not support cards from NVIDIA. Hence, we recommend that you go through the list of supported cards before buying one.

A word of caution, the Thunderbolt 3 cord included in the box measures a little over one foot only. Hence, if you expect to place the box away from your laptop, you will have to purchase an additional cable.

The entire body of the box is centred around keeping it well ventilated to avoid overheating. The body itself is made of aluminum and mesh to keep it lightweight and portable.

Key Features

Lightweight
Max. Power of 240W
Compatible with Windows and macOS

Specifications

Model: VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 45W Via Thunderbolt 3
Max. Power: 150W
Operating System: Windows and macOS (macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later)
Compatible GPU: AMD and NVIDIA (*all users advised to check because of limited power delivery)
Ports: Teo USB 3.0 Type-A, One Thunderbolt 3 and One Gigabit Ethernet,
Material: Aluminum

PROS
  • Lightweight
  • Support for two slot graphic card
  • Windows and macOS compatible
  • Support for Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4
CONS
  • Low powered PSU

8. Blackmagic eGPU enclosure

This eGPU enclosure from Blackmagic facilitates users on the Mac environment from the get-go. It includes the Radeon 580 Graphics processor with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. The GPU compliments the box effortlessly, and the users can focus on their games or graphics editing.

The Blackmagic box remains silent on the Max. Power it is capable of delivering. Considering that the GPU card comes inclusive, this should not be too much of a concern. Additionally, the box delivers 85W via the Thunderbolt 3 ports; this is enough to charge your laptop comfortably.

The Blackmagic box comes with four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. What you do not get is a Gigabit Ethernet port. However, this is an over-rated feature. This is because there are adapters available in the market to convert a USB into an Ethernet port. These are very reasonably priced, but you trade off a USB port in the bargain.

The body of the Blackmagic box has a very sleek design. It perfectly complements your Mac peripherals. When placed alongside your apple devices, it does not stick out like an eye-sore.

As seen with a couple of other boxes before, the Blackmagic box also offers a relatively short Thunderbolt 3 cable. A little over 1.5 feet in length, the cable will not allow you to place the box too far from the laptop.

To summarize, the Blackmagic Box is a natural choice if you are a Mac user. It uses the Radeon 580 processor, thus negating the NVIDIA compatibility issues. This is done without compromising on the user’s expectations or experience.

Key Features

Uses Radeon 580 GPU
Customised for macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later
85W power delivery on Thunderbolt 3 for laptop charging

Specifications

Model: Blackmagic eGPU
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Laptop Charging: 85W Via Thunderbolt 3
Max. Power: N.A.
Operating System: macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later
Compatible GPU: N.A. as Radeon 580 comes installed
Ports: Four USB 3.0 Type-A, Two Thunderbolt 3, and One HDMI.
Material: Metal and Plastic
GPU Included: Radeon 580 with 8GB GDDR5 Memory

PROS
  • Support of macOS
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • GPU Included
  • 85W power delivery for laptop charging
CONS
  • No Gigabit Ethernet

Choosing the Best Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosure – Our buying Guide

There is no dearth of eGPU enclosures in the market to choose from. Some center their use among the Windows environment, while others exclusively focus on the macOS. Not all of these enclosures are versatile enough to support the never-ending list of GPU cards.

One is spoilt for choice. This can make it a daunting task to select a suitable eGPU enclosure for your needs.

With this buying guide, we attempt to narrow down the option. These recommendations are made based on careful analysis of a host of real-world user requirements.

Therefore, after you have read the buying guide, you will be wiser about what you need to check before buying. This buying guide will help you select the Best Thunderbolt 3 eGPU enclosures to suit your needs.

There are several factors one must consider before making a purchase. The essential one being:

1. Connection Type

There ought to be no doubt in your mind that the Thunderbolt technology is here to stay. It is only a matter of time that this will be accepted across all vendor and product ranges.

Therefore, first and foremost, you need to ensure that the eGPU enclosure you select provides you with a connection using the Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Presently, most enclosures in the market offer Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 is capable of delivering speeds up to 40 Gbps.

2. Max. Power

Graphic cards use a large amount of energy to do what they do. This energy is measured in Watts.

While reading the article, you would have come across terms like PSU, Max. Power and Wattage for laptop charging. Do not worry; we will explain the significance of PSU and Max. Power. Later, we will explain the importance of Wattage for Laptop charging.

PSU: Think of PSU as the total power that is required to run the specific enclosure. The PSU or the Power Supply Unit is the nerve centre where the enclosure receives its power. Further, it is at this PSU that the power is distributed for various functions.

Max. Power: This refers to the maximum amount of energy supplied to the GPU for its functioning.

GPUs do not function at full power at all times. There are times when the GPU has very little processing to do; at such a time, its power consumption is minimal. On the other hand, let us say you are playing one of the latest games. During gameplay, the GPU’s need for power will peak. This is so that it can provide you with a constant stream of stunning graphics.

It is the peak that we refer to as the Max. Power. Different GPUs have different power needs at their peak.

Hence, it becomes imperative that you select an enclosure that is capable of delivering this power.

3. Laptop Charging

If you would have noticed, we have mentioned the Wattage that each enclosure provides via its Thunderbolt 3 port. What is this? And, why is it important?

Remember when we used our cell phones as portable modems to get the internet on the go? Remember that it used the USB port to connect to your phone? This USB was also used to simultaneously charge your phone while you browsed the internet.

Similarly, the Thunderbolt connection is used to charge your laptop while you are engrossed in your game or work.

Therefore, you must look at the Wattage provided by the enclosure. Typically, enclosures provide 100W through the Thunderbolt 3 port. This should be more than enough to cover your needs. However, budget laptops are known to do with a lot less. Hence, check what your laptop requires before you buy.

4.GPU Compatibility

GPUs from NVIDIA are known to have compatibility issues with the macOS. On the other hand, Windows has little problem concerning compatibility.

You will find in most cases that the enclosure specifies these in detail. Read them carefully, as you do not want to end up with an enclosure that presents you with avoidable heartache.

We recommend the Blackmagic eGPU for users on the Mac environment and the Aorus RTX 3080 for Windows users. Both enclosures come with the GPU installed.

5. Ports offered

The ports offered by the enclosure are a vital consideration. These ports allow you to hook up all your peripherals to make sure you get the desired computing experience.

We recommend that you settle for an enclosure that offers you at least 3 USB 3.X Type-A ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and one Thunderbolt 3 port. Anything, over and above this should be considered to be a bonus.

Hence, the ASUS ROG-XG Station 2 enclosure outshines its competition.

6. Dimensions

Graphics cards come in a variety of sizes. From full length to double width, it can be tricky to accommodate your GPU in the enclosure of your choice.

Hence, you must specifically check the dimensions of the graphics card viz-a-viz the dimensions of the enclosure.

Additionally, you may also like to check whether the enclosure allows more than one GPU installation in the enclosure.

7. Price

There is a wide range of eGPUs enclosures out there to suit any budget and use. For instance, the VisionTek Mini eGFX enclosure is a great place to start looking for a good entry-level enclosure. Conversely, if you are looking for a mean machine that looks awesome when it does what it does, the Asus ROG-XG Station 2 offers excellent visual appeal but comes at a significantly higher price.

8. Aesthetics

Some of the better enclosures out there offer some stunning aesthetics. These are often enhanced with the use of RGB lighting and sleek-looking boxes.

Again, the enclosure from Asus offers great visual appeal with its futuristic-looking box coupled with RGB lighting that you can synchronize to gameplay.

Remember, these are just some of the critical considerations we feel that you must keep in mind before purchasing.

Having said that, each user is different and hence may have a different set of needs or criteria. However, if you are a novice, you will not go wrong if you keep these factors in mind.

Best Thunderbolt eGPU Enclosures – Frequently Asked Question

What is an eGPU enclosure?

An eGPU enclosure allows you to hook up a GPU to your laptop. Traditionally, GPUs have been designed and are still being designed for desktop users. Hence, laptop users who wanted to be part of the gaming pop culture were left out. These enclosures allow GPUs installation within them and then get hooked up to your laptop.

What is Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt, like USB, is a versatile communication channel. It allows the high-speed transfer of data and power between computer peripherals and/or display units. USB also was able to facilitate pretty much the same set of tasks. Thunderbolt is a newer technology that works at significantly higher data transfer rates than USB.

Are all GPUs compatible with all GPU enclosures?

Enclosures come in all dimensions and sizes. Further, GPU cards also have no standard sizes. Hence, you must check the size compatibility of the GPU with the enclosure you wish to purchase.

Do Windows and macOS support all enclosures?

Most enclosures do not pose compatibility issues with Windows. However, macOS does throw up some limitations. For instance, Macs using the M1 chip are not compatible with most enclosures. Further, the Macs using Intel chips often restrict macOS versions. Most require you to have macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later to be compatible.

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