An external graphics card, aka eGPU, allows you to house a desktop graphics card and connect it to your laptop, allowing it to run apps or connect it to an external monitor with the desktop graphics card.

Currently, it’s possible to embrace the full power of desktop-grade GPUs on an eGPU thanks to the latest technologies such as Thunderbolt 3 that provides bandwidth up to 40Gbps.

All major companies have released their eGPU enclosures to try and create the best external graphics card on the market.

Before the adoption of Thunderbolt connectivity in lots of high-end laptops, eGPUs never got the chance to take off due to the limitations of bandwidth when using USB 2.0 to connect the laptop to the eGPU.

But now, Thunderbolt 3 offers bandwidth that provides four times the speed of USB-C.

How we chose the best eGPU with USB-C ports

Our team of expert testers has made sure to try out all the devices that were worthy of mention to create the results presented in this guide.

The team, with an added experience of more than 15 years in the field of testing hardware, has meticulously chosen the finalists for this list after rigorous testing on a variety of levels.

The testing has been carried out both from the perspective of single-unit capabilities and head to head with similar devices. Thus, the list of the best external GPU for laptops with USB-C has been created.

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In order to ensure that you choose the best GPU for your case, these are some elements you need to take into consideration:

➡ Compatibility to your PC
➡ Processing speed
➡ Number of Thunderbolt ports
➡ Cooling efficiency
➡ Noise production
➡ Design

The resulted list ensures that no matter what choice you make after reading this guide, you will still get one of the best-ranked and most capable USB-C external GPUs, to take your graphics processing power to the next level.

What to consider when choosing the best eGPU?

Compatibility

As in the case of choosing any device for your PC the most important element to consider at first is its compatibility with your system.

This ensures that you’re not going to invest any of your hard earned money into a device that will prove useless.

Our list provides you with information about the compatibility with Windows-based PCs, but the list doesn’t end there. Most notably, a good USB-C GPU dock will work on Mac, and iOS, thus enabling good portability.

Processing speed

What would a GPU be if it wouldn’t offer with an efficient processing speed of the graphics that are required?

The processing speed of your eGPU ensures not only that you won’t experience any sort of lag while working in demanding graphic software, but also that your gaming experience will be as smooth as silk.

Even though it can be annoying to experience lag while working in Photoshop, the impact is a lot bigger if you’re playing online games professionally, and every second can literally mean the difference between the life and death of your character.

Number and type of ports

Even though the processing speed is a very important element, the next in line is the connectivity capabilities. This element is extremely important as well, as this is the bridge that connects the processing unit to your PC.

When it comes to new devices, there are two main ways of connecting them, which are knows as USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. Because of the similarities of these two types of ports, it can get confusing.

To clarify this idea once and for all, let’s first understand what are the similarities and also what are the differences when comparing an eGPU USB-C vs Thunderbolt 3 connection.

eGPU USB-C vs Thunderbolt 3

Even though these two types of ports look almost identical, their capabilities are not the same.

In fact, a USB-C cable can easily connect to a Thunderbolt 3 port and the other way around, but the results of the connection itself will be very different.

Similarities:

➡ Both types of cables/ports allow you to use them both for transferring data, and power through a single cable connection.

➡ Both look exactly the same way, thus causing confusion for users who have devices without proper markings next to the port.

Differences:

➡ USB-C only offers up to 20Gbps data transfer speeds and can muster about 100 watts of power to power/charge your devices.

➡ Thunderbolt 3 enables you to transfer data with speeds closer to 40Gbps, and can power/charge devices with a capability of 100W of bi-directional power.

Key takeaways:

Even though all Thunderbolt 3 cables and ports use USB-C, not all USB-C connections are also Thunderbolt 3.

Because when it comes to efficiently using the capabilties of your eGPU, it is of course recommended that you have Thunderbolt 3 compatiblity rather than the slower USB-C option.

If you don’t have enough Thunderbolt ports available, then the connection will of course be affected, and thus the efficiency of the entire setup will suffer.

Cooling efficiency

If your eGPU gets too hot under extreme graphics processing loads, then both the quality and the smoothness of your gaming experience will be considerably affected.

Some devices employ water-cooling elements to help with this issue, while others use powerful fans to considerably reduce the heat build-up. Not all cooling systems are the same though, and in the next point, you will understand why that is.

Noise production

Even though it is very important to maintain your eGPU’s temperatures under control, the method used to perform this action also affects the level of noise your device will produce.

In the case of water-based cooling systems, the entire process is a lot more silent, and offers the same cooling capacities of other variants.

If your device is equipped with a fan-based cooling system, the sound of the device working at full speed might be considered bothersome in some cases.

Design

Last but not least, the way your device looks can make a huge difference to the overall experience. Because this element depends on your specific preferences, there are no special guidelines to discuss.

That being said, a seamless box for your eGPU makes the device look a lot more stable and feel more sturdy while cooling vents on the sides will promote the efficiency of the built-in cooling system.

At the same time, the cooling vents and their design also allow you a peek into the inner workings of your eGPU.

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➡ To ensure the biggest chances of your system being compatible with the chosen eGPU, the Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750, and the Razer Core X Thunderbolt 3 stand out from this list.

These options provide a wide range of compatibility both for macOS and Windows-based systems, and also a wide array of GPUs.

➡ The entire list of devices presented here has very good graphics processing speeds, so choosing any one of them will provide you with enough speed to have a seamless gaming/ graphics software experience.

➡ When it comes to choosing an eGPU based on the cooling system, this choice comes bundled with your acceptance of the noise the device produces.

The devices that made the list all have very capable cooling systems, but the most powerful and efficient will clearly be the system used on the Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750, even though it might produce too much noise for your liking.

To avoid this problem entirely, we also presented you with the Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080, which uses a state-of-the-art water-based cooling system that reduces the noise entirely.

All these elements considered, let’s explore what our experts concluded after rigorously testing a variety of devices available at this point in time on the market.

Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Box 750

  • High frame rates
  • Ideal for enabling graphics-intensive gaming
  • Special effects, rendering and editing
  • Variable speed and a temperature-controlled fan
  • Oversized unit

Sonnet’s eGPU Breakaway Box 750 brings the power of a dedicated GPU to your system and does this without you needing to buy any extra GPU slots for your PC.

Because this amazing external GPU works with any sort of PC, the times in which you had to upgrade your motherboard just to get a better GPU installed are long gone.

You simply have to add your compatible video card, connect your Thunderbolt 3 system with the included Thunderbolt 3 cable and enjoy some desktop-class level gaming performance and video acceleration.

Sonnet’s eGPU Breakaway Box 750 is one of the quietest and coolest eGFX boxes on the market with a significant variable speed and a temperature-controlled fan.

Fully compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, this slick-looking GPU covers a wide range of models for both hardware types.

This amazing eGPU supports AMD Radeon VII, RX, RX Vega, Pro W, and Pro WX models; and NVIDIA GeForce RTX series, TITAN, and Quadro models.

Besides the amazing capability levels, it also bolsters one of the best configurable cooling systems that enable you to use variable speed and control the temperature of your GPU with extreme accuracy.

This fan also works very silently compared to other models, while not compromising on design and power.

As you can see, no matter what your initial system setup is, with Sonnet’s eGFX Breakaway Box, you can’t go wrong.


Razer Core X Thunderbolt 3

  • Compatibility: Windows and macOS
  • Boosts Thunderbolt 3 laptop performance
  • 700W ATX PSU with 100W laptop charging via Thunderbolt 3
  • GPU max power support up to 500W
  • Loud PSU fan
  • Heavy weight

The Razer Core X Aluminum External GPU Enclosure (eGPU) unit adds external NVIDIA GeForce, NVIDIA Quadro, or AMD Radeon graphics to your Windows or Mac PC with a speed of up to 40Gbps.

Please note that the graphics card is sold separately. This amazing device enables you to use up to 3 full-sized desktop graphic cards, thus enabling you to bolster your PC’s video processing capabilities to the maximum level.

In order to ensure that your Razer Core X GPUs will be able to run at full speed, this amazing device includes a 650W ATX PSU power supply that bolsters a powerful 100W laptop charging port as well.

The Razer Core X is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS devices.

In the case of Windows, you will need to have Thunderbolt 3 eGPU support with RS45 (or later) and, of course, a compatible Nvidia or AMD graphics card.

When it comes to the compatibility requirements for macOS, the Razer Core X works perfectly with High Sierra 10.13.4 or later models that have Thunderbolt 3 compatibility. Added to this, you will need to have a compatible AMD graphics card, but doesn’t support Nvidia.

Besides its great capabilities and stability, the Razer Core X impresses with its CNC aluminum exterior which perfectly wraps around the device without any obvious seams. The iconic Razer’s silver logo can be found on the cooling on the side of the device.

To ensure the effect is fully appreciated, the positioning of the cooling panel allows you to observe the actual GPU working to offer you unparalleled graphic processing capabilities.


PowerColor Gaming Station Box

  • External Graphics
  • 40Gbps Thunderbolt3 interface
  • Pci Express x16 slot
  • USB Power Delivery for charging compatible laptops up to 87W
  • Single slot PCIE
  • Very loud when running at high capacity

The PowerColor Gaming Station Graphic Cards Thunderbolt EGPU Box uses the AMD XConnect Technology and the high-speed Thunderbolt 3 connection to improve the gaming experience.

The 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface ensures that the processing speed is astonishingly high, and never wavers no matter what type of intensive graphics you test it with.

It’s very easy to connect with any of the following graphics chipset: AMD Radeon RX 500/400Series. AMD Radeon R9 Fury/Nano/300/290/290X/285.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080/Ti. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070/60. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X/Xp. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980/Ti. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/60/50.

The wide range of compatibility features on this nice-looking box ensures that your friends will be more than curious to find out what it is, and beyond that, your PC will be capable of processing ultra high-quality graphics without any sort of problem.

Added to this, the PowerColor gaming Station offers you the capability to use many I/O ports that include 5 USB 3 Type-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ–45) connector, and also the Thunderbolt type C slot. This ensures that no matter how you plan on using it, you’ll always have a port for easy connection available.

The power efficiency on this device is out of this world! Offering a whopping 550W power supply ensures that every last drop of power from your GPU will be used efficiently.

To ensure a fast and efficient power transfer, it uses a three-phase thermal control system that can be set to a variety of modes: fanless, silent, and cooling mode, while at the same time looking slick in any environment.


Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080

  • Graphics card included
  • Water-cooled external GPU
  • Dual Thunderbolt 3 controller
  • Unobtrusive cooling System
  • Low portability
  • Limited compatibility
  • Price

The Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080 offers a great experience for real-time ray tracing and graphics-intensive games.

This powerful external GPU box is the world’s best water-cooled device of this sort, making it a must-have for the more custom-devices oriented of you. Even though it is the first of its kind, that doesn’t mean that the capabilities it possesses don’t impress. In fact, the Aorus RTX from Gigabyte offers some of the same capabilities as the more high-end products of this type, and at a more affordable cost.

The Dual Thunderbolt 3 controller provides a faster and better connection than any other Thunderbolt port, which means high performance.

All key components of the graphics card benefit from the quiet WATERFORCE Cooling System, thus making this external GPU one of the most silent on the market at this point in time. In case you’re bothered by extra noise, this device is for you.

Added to this entire setup, the Gigabyte AORUS RTX 3080 is RTX Studio-enabled. This technology combines GPU acceleration technology and state-of-the-art Studio Drivers to enhance all graphic design software.

Some of the most well-known software options that can use this high-end tech are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, etc. If you want to take your creative work to the next level, this external GPU will help you tremendously.

This amazing device not only looks great and is completely silent while cooling your system efficiently, but also contains a built-in network chip that allows you to connect it to a wired network, so your PC won’t need to take that task up either.

To start using this powerful machine, simply install the AORUS engine and the RGB fusion 2.0, and behold the amazing and customizable RGB lighting effects for a full-on gaming experience.


Bottom runners

Besides the eGPU options that made the list after our rigorous testing process, there have been some other devices that proved their capabilities.

Even though not directly comparable with the options we chose for this list, they could still be a good option for some users:

Cooler Master MasterCase EG200

This device has not made the Top 4 list we explored today because of its lack of Thunderbolt support, but that being said, it is still a versatile and useful option.

Offering a 550-Watt PSU, and being cable of charging laptops at 60W is very useful, while at the same time allowing you to use the built-in HDD/SSD drive slots to extend your PC’s capabilities.

PowerColor Mini Pro RX570

This tiny eGPU box, besides its reduced weight and size, has some useful features that might come in handy to a variety of users.

It comes with an embedded AMD Radeon RX570 8GB graphics, and offers plug and play for Mac, Mac Mini, and MacBook’s running Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later.

Unfortunately, it is not compatible with Windows-based devices, so that’s why it scored lower on the compatibility element.

Akitio Node

Even though acceptable when it comes to capabilities, the Akitio Node only offers support for AMD on macOS High Sierra and should work fine on Windows-based systems.

Offering a built-in 400W SFX power supply will surely be enough to power your eGPU without issues while offering support for GPU with only one PCIe (x16) slot.


These are some of the best eGPUs with USB-C ports out there that will definitely be able to unleash your notebook’s true potential for graphics-intensive apps such as rendering but most importantly gaming.

All these eGPUs future-proof your laptop allowing upgradeability of your GPU and they’ll all be able to reduce the chance of you being stuck with an outdated laptop.

Pick your favorite one from Amazon according to your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, they are. Just like external HDDs expand your PC’s storage space, an external GPU can enhance the performance of resource-intensive apps. Check out the best USB-C external GPUs here.

  • If you play games, then not only do you need a powerful GPU, you also need a very powerful CPU as well.  Check out this list of best CPU and GPU deals.

  • In terms of performance, the top brands today are Nvidia and AMD. Check out this list of the best Nvidia GPUs that you can get today.

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