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I've got a low-end laptop (a Dell Inspiron, running Ubuntu) which satisfies 95% of my needs perfectly. It's not just that I like and it happens to be low-end; I like it because it's low-end. I like that it's light and thin, and that I don't have to be too paranoid about spilling tea over it.

However, now and then I like to play video games; in particular, I really like Crusader King II. I tried installing this on my laptop, but it runs like ice-cold molasses, unplayably slow.

So my question is, Is there any kind of hardware that I can plug into my current laptop, as you would a removable hard drive, that will allow me run to CK2 at a reasonable speed? Or would I have to get a whole new computer?

I'm more than happy to be told this is a stupid question. I suspect it might be. But I thought I'd check before spending money.

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Generally a laptop can only have one CPU. So unfortunately there is nothing that can be done on that side.

For the graphics card it may be possible to upgrade to a desktop GPU using a Thunderbolt GPU Enclosure. This type of device requires a Thunderbolt connection on the laptop. The GPU will only output video to its own connectors so a separate monitor is almost always required. Lastly, these devices don't normally specify Linux support so you may need to figure it out on your own.

Other bits of info that may be relevant:

  • In theory some USB Type-C ports can work with a GPU enclosure. I'm not sure if the product exists.
  • Older laptops with ExpressCard ports or the even older PCMCIA may also support GPU enclosures. But these adapters will be really hard to find.

In my opinion, you are better off buying a new laptop to avoid the headaches and the expense of these adapters and a monitor.

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  • Chances that an eGPU works on a machine that can barely run CK2 is almost zero. System requirements are a Pentium IV, 4GB RAM, and a GeForce 8800 or Radeon X1900. These are really potato-level specs; I literally don't think it's possible to find a new laptop which doesn't meet these specifications. Even a decade-old MacBook, which isn't even certified to run the latest version of macOS, crushes these specs. So does a $70 X220. And this literal potato PC. – JMY1000 Jun 25 '19 at 7:35
  • Please, upgrade your laptop. We're happy to help; if you can give a budget, we'll find you something cheap (is a few hundred okay?), hopefully thin and light, and ideally with good battery life, a nice screen, and a nice keyboard. – JMY1000 Jun 25 '19 at 7:37

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