Crank Up Your Laptop’s Gaming Power With An External Dock

Crank Up Your Laptop’s Gaming Power With An External Dock

If your laptop’s integrated graphics just aren’t cutting it for the games you want to play, you can actually connect a desktop graphics card to your ExpressCard slot with an external dock.

We recently discussed how much free PC tweaks can help gaming performance, and we found that if you really want to better your gaming experience, the best thing you can do is upgrade your graphics card. For many laptop users, this isn’t really an option, but if you don’t have the budget for a completely new machine, you can set up an external GPU for only one or two hundred dollars.

Will it perform as well as an internal graphics card of the same type? Heck no. Will it beat the pants off your laptop’s integrated graphics? You better believe it. If you have a bit more money to spare, we highly recommend building a budget desktop instead — you’d be surprised what kind of machine you can get for five or six hundred bucks — but if you’ve only got one or two hundred bucks to spare, this can turn your laptop into a decent enough gaming machine when you’re sitting at your desk. It isn’t too complicated, but it’s definitely a project you’ll want to tackle over the course of a weekend. Hit the link for more information on the project.

DIY eGPU Experiences [Notebook Review Forums via Overclockers Australia Forums and Hack a Day]


  • Its a good, but somewhat messy, after-thought solution, but just spend the $200 on the initial laptop purchase and you can get a decent 1gb video card inboard. But like the article says, you can build a decent PC that’ll get you up and gaming for $500, easy (plus screen, etc which you’d need anyway for the eGPU solution)

    • Not true, using hacked nVidia optimus drivers and internal Intel graphics, it can ‘share the load’ and use an overlay to display it on the internal screen. I’m a bit fuzzy on the specifics, but I know it can be done as stated in the forums. But the rest of your point is valid 🙂

      • The big bottleneck: Expresscard has a max bandwidth of 2.5gb/s, compared to, say, 32gb/s for pci-e 16x. As a result, you wont be able to use the full power of a fancy external card. It’s great for running multiple external screens off a single laptop, but less good for gaming.

        Thunderbolt will fix that for a while (I think it’s currently at 20gb/s), but they’ll have to keep updating the standard to keep up.

  • so its essentially a laptop and almost a desktop pc, but messier and ends up being less useful/effient than just having separate laptop and desktop.

    but ideas are fun.

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