2

I want to upgrade my laptop to have an external GPU. What's the state of things in late 2019?

I would prefer not to remove my WiFi card.

Does such a thing exist for USB-C as well? My laptop has a USB-C port without support for Thunderbolt 3 and with reduced Bandwidth of around 5 Gbit/s. It also has a free USB 3.0 port. What's the optimal solution for me?

P.S Does this fit me?

Related answer: https://superuser.com/a/1097008/1023037

  • @K7AAY I looked up the hardware manual of my laptop and found out that my WiFi card uses a M.2 slot. There's no extra information I can gain from publishing my model number. – Sir Muffington Nov 22 '19 at 21:49
3

What's the state of things in late 2019?

There are currently two ways to install an external GPU to a laptop.

  • By using an internal PCIe connection and a cable leading to a PCIe GPU enclosure.
    This is often done through the port for the WiFi card. If your laptop is new enough it might have a spare M.2 port that supports PCIe for an SSD or a cellular modem.

  • By using a Thunderbolt 3 port and a cable leading to a PCIe GPU enclosure.

In the near future USB 4.0 will incorporate the Thunderbolt 3 protocol. This will likely cause the current Thunderbolt 3 enclosures to be supported by a large number of laptops with USB 4.0 support.

Does such a thing exist for USB-C as well?

No and yes.

"USB-C" is a specification supporting USB 3.x. There is no support for exposing PCI express through USB-C.

Thunderbolt 3 is an entirely separate specification that supports USB 3.x and PCI express. It also uses the USB-C connector but the port is considered a "Thunderbolt" port, not "USB". Thunderbolt devices usually require a superior quality cable too.

What's the optimal solution for me?

It looks like the adapter you linked might work with the WiFi slot, but it will be significantly slower than a Thunderbolt 3 connection, and may bottleneck the GPU. If your laptop is new enough you might need to use an M.2 version of a kit like that, since many WiFi cards come in an M.2 slot now.

| improve this answer | |
  • My laptop is new, but apparently doesn't contain a M.2 slot.. – Sir Muffington Nov 22 '19 at 18:37
  • @SirMuffington, Still take notice of the WiFi card's slot. It could either be mini PCIe or M.2 these days. – Romen Nov 22 '19 at 18:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.