Best External Graphics Card Buyers Guide & Reviews For 2019

Laptops frequently lag when you play a game with high definition graphics. There have been significant developments in peripheral devices to improve the user experience on a standard quality laptop. External hard disks and Solid State Drives have been introduced in the market to boost the storage capabilities of a computer. To cater for the display of high-quality graphics, the best external graphics card for a laptop is all you need to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse.

The external graphics card for a laptop enhances the gaming experience through enabling your laptop to display superior quality graphics. There is an external graphics card for mac operating system as well. All you need is to acquire an external graphics processing unit. This device is then attached to the laptop with a high-speed cable such as the Thunderbolt 3 cable. This cable is a top pick among many gamers as it has a sufficient bandwidth to process graphics outside the computer and relay them at an extremely high speed in real time.

Also, a Gigabit Ethernet cable or a HDMI cable can be used to connect the unit to a laptop. Other connection modes include Video graphics array cables and digital visual interface.

 

Types of external graphics card

There are numerous types of external graphics cards. Each model is best suited for a specific task related to the processing of graphics. Some of the most common types in the market include; Gaming graphics cards, cloud gaming, workstations, cloud workstations, and artificial intelligence graphic cards. The top three graphics card that is highly rated are; Gigabyte Radeon gaming box, Alienware graphics amplifier, and Akitio Node GPU.
Usually, an external graphics card works well with an external graphics processing unit (GPU) or dock. The card should be inserted in the slots available at the GPU and the GPU to the laptop and a source of power.

 

Tips for choosing an external graphics card

Compatibility with the OS – When purchasing an external graphics card it is crucial to check its compatibility with the operating system that you are currently using to ensure it works efficiently.

The cooling system – some graphics have a cooling system that produce lots of unpleasant noise. For noise-sensitive environments, a water block cooling system is more preferred.

Memory – a graphics card with a higher memory works more efficiently with highly intensive graphics.

Model number – confirm the model number and check if it is compatible for use with your laptop.
Reviews of the top grossing and top-rated external graphics card

A laptop with external graphics card performs better with high intensive graphics and high definition games.

Decision making is crucial when buying an external graphics card for a laptop. This will determine the quality of performance you will get from the card. To help you make a highly informed decision, I will take you through a detailed review the top rated external graphics card for laptop in the market today.

 

Best External Graphics Card Reviews

StarTech.com USB to DVI Adapter

This is a top pick external graphics card for Mac and PC. It is compatible for MAC OS from 10.8 through 13.3 and Windows 7 and 8. It is a convenient device to transform your laptop or computer into a multi-monitor environment. This adapter uses a USB port connection mode which is simplistic and familiar to many laptop users. It delivers superior quality video resolutions of up to 1920×1200 for numerous applications. Also, it has the capability of running up five displays from a single laptop simultaneously.

The adapter is connected to the laptop through the USB 2.0 port. It plays the role of an external video card for extending mirrored laptop displays to other screens. With right drivers in your Windows PC and MAC device, this video graphics card can work correctly for a myriad of display environments including extra-large screens.

Specs

  • 16MB RAM.
  • 1600 MHz memory speed.
  • 512MB Graphics card RAM size.
  • Has a maximum screen resolution of 1920×1200.

Pros

  • Regarding performance, this external graphics card is a legend.
  • It is easy to connect to a DVI monitor.
  • Increases productivity with multiple monitors.
  • Has an external USB-to-DVI video card solution.
  • Allows you to add an extra workspace.
  • Comes with a one year warranty and a lifetime technical support.

Cons

  • Incompatible with latest windows OS such as Windows 10. Other models work ok with Windows but this is a good one for Macs.
  • You need the correct drivers.

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StarTech.com External Video Card Adapter HDMI

This is a high-end external graphics card for laptop. This video card adapter features a USB 3.0 inbuilt module which offers a connection port through the HDMI cable. It is an ideal external graphics for Mac users as well as for Ultrabook users especially if the laptop has limited USB ports. This graphics card provides an efficient way to add display monitors and thus improving productivity.

Based on the high bandwidth connectivity and the super speed USB 3.0 port, the card offers a smooth high definition content to your display screen. This graphics card is compatible with windows 7 and 8, both the 64 and 32 bit operating systems. If you need a high definition audio and video output graphics card for laptop, this is the ideal device.

Specs

  • Super speed USB 3.0, HDMI AND DVD-I ports.
  • Maximum resolution 0f 1920×1200.
  • 16MB RAM.
  • Built with DDR2 SDRAM technology.
  • MCT Trigger 5 T5-302 graphics engine.
  • Intel Core i3 2.8 GHz processor.

Pros

  • Has superior speed of the connection.
  • It is compatible for use on standard and widescreens as well.
  • Provides the best video playback in 720P AND 1080i full display screens.
  • Ideal for adding extra monitors to your display if your laptop has a single HDMI port.
  • The device is self-powered and thus no extra source of power required.

Cons

  • The display screens may not work the same after the laptop goes to sleep mode and then back.

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Wavlink USB 3.0 to 4K HDMI ultra HD Video Graphics Adapter

This is one of the best external graphics cards for gaming. Leveraging the power from this external graphics card for laptop, you can obtain an ultra-high definition display output from your computer system. This enables you to enjoy high-quality Ultra HD video even if your computer system is not designed to support a 4K video output. This allows you to maximize productivity through ultra HD multitasking delivering an astonishing 4K picture quality. This device is used to be easy to use.

To set up the device, you need to install the drivers and then plug the device, and you are good to go. The device is compatible with various versions of Window and Mac operating systems as well as Chromebooks. The video card supports up to 3840×2160/4K @30Hz 4K displays. It is connected via a super speed USB 3.0 port.

Specs

  • DDR 1GB memory.
  • AV HDMI output and USB 3.0 AV input.
  • 2-channel stereo audio output.
  • 4K x 2K @ 30Hz digital resolutions.
  • USB-powered.
  • Miniature compact design for easy set up.

Pros

  • It is an efficient way to connect a 4K display monitor to your laptop.
  • Great picture and graphics display.
  • Can connect to up to 6 monitors.
  • High-quality audio and video output.

Cons

  • Not compatible with mac book 10.13.4 Linux, UNIX, and Windows XP 64 bit.
  • Loses the pixel quality upon resizing on dual screens.
  • Lags a bit when gaming.

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Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box

This is an ultra-high performance external graphics card for gaming. It is typically connected to the PC via the Thunderbolt 3 cable but can also connect through Red Rocket-X, AVID HDX, as well as through other x16 PCIe cards of full length. This is the video card that will take your gaming experience to a more significant level. It is ideal for enhancing special effects, rendering, animation, color grading, and plenty more. This box is specifically designed for the bandwidth-intensive graphics video card for a laptop.

The box enhances the output quality from your computer pertaining to graphics and sound. The box delivers exceptionally higher frame rates for a smooth gaming experience. The card is designed with cutting-edge technology for cooling the card without making unnecessary noise. It is, therefore, ideal for noise-sensitive working environments. The Thunderbolt 3 ensures a blazing-fast performance in every way. The connection provides sufficient bandwidth to cater to the highest performance and the most demanding games in an efficient way. This GPU is compatible with most of the latest Windows and Mac operating systems.

Specs

  • Thunderbolt 3 port.
  • Supports up to 300 W PCIe cards.
  • Supports Windows 10 OS MAC OS 10.12.5 and later.
  • 8-Pin and 6-Pin PCIe Connectors.

Pros

  • Super speed performance of up to 40Gbps.
  • It is the coolest and the quietest video card while on use.
  • Ideal for graphics intensive gaming.
  • It barely lags.

Cons

  • Power intensive.

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Reviews of the top grossing and top-rated external graphics card docks

An external graphics card dock is essentially a Graphics Processing unit. This is an external unit representing a laptops’ internal graphics card. The unit is connected to a power supply and then connected to a laptop via a Thunderbolt port. Whether you want to play graphics-intensive games or increase productivity through multi-display, external graphics card dock will enable you to achieve your mission effectively. This article will take you through the best external graphics card dock s for laptop to help you make an informed decision in the market.

 

Razer Core X Thunderbolt 3 External GPU

This is an external GPU that is sold separately with an external graphics card for a laptop. It is designed to be an ultra-boost to your UltraBook. The Razer Core X is compatible for Mac laptop and windows 10 laptop. It transforms your device to a classic gaming machine. It adds extra graphics properties to your machines such as AMD Radeon graphics, NVIDIA Quadro, or NVIDIA GeForce. This GPU requires a massive power input to power the accelerated graphics. The output quality of external graphics is exceptional.

This GPU is connected to the laptop through the Thunderbolt 3 Port. This ensures super speed transmission of data to eliminate lagging. It allows a quick connection to the computer system as a plug and play device. There is no need to restart your computer after plugging in the device. It is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. The windows 10 OS requires an external graphics support while Mac OS requires High Sierra 10.13.4 or later with compatibility to AMD graphics. The device is sold separately with the external graphics card for Mac and PCs, but it is highly compatible and supports almost all external graphics cards.

Specs

  • Thunderbolt 3 connections for high speeds up to 40Gbps.
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
  • Powerful 650W power supply.
  • Equipped with a highly effective cooling system.

Pros

  • High-end output graphics.
  • Setting up is easy. You plug and play.
  • Excellent performance as per the description.
  • Incredible output quality eliminating lagging in laptops.
  • Has versatile compatibility with operating systems.

Cons

  • Lags a bit on the 2018 MacBook Pro.
  • Power intensive.

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Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 550W

This is a high-performance GPU that connects super speed external graphics card for laptop to a computer through the Thunderbolt 3 port. It also supports other x16 full-length PCIe cards such as Red Rocket-X and AVID HDX. The GPU requires a power supply of 550W and provides 87W to charge laptop while supporting cards of up to 375W. It has a single Thunderbolt 3 port and comes with a 500m Thunderbolt cable that supports up to 40Gbps data transfer speed. The breakaway box is equipped with water block coolers to cool the cards when it is on heavy usage efficiently.

The GPU is compatible with a variety of both Windows and Mac operating systems versions. If you are looking to add an external graphics card for gaming, this is the ideal processing unit to purchase as it is designed in a gaming-oriented nature. It enhances the acceleration of color grading, special effects, animation, and rendering. This makes it perfect for graphics-intensive gaming. The Breakaway Box only supports a standard full length, full height, and double-width cards only.

Specs

  • Thunderbolt 3 connection.
  • Water cooled.
  • 600W power input.
  • Provides laptop charging of up to 87W.
  • Two 8-pin (6+2pin) power connectors.
  • Supports up to a 375W external video card.

Pros

  • It is super cool and quiet even under heavy usage.
  • Supports multiple displays in an efficient way.
  • Thunderbolt 3 compatibility which ensures high performance.
  • Enhances graphics card acceleration.
  • Highly compatible with various operating systems.

Cons

  • Does not support cards with three power connectors.
  • Power intensive.

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OMEN by HP Accelerator Shell GA1-1000

This is a brand new and authentic external card dock developed by HP. A laptop with external graphics card can do a lot of things including improving the gaming experience. OMEN is an ideal external graphics card dock for adding the extra external graphics card for gaming to your ultraportable laptop. It allows you to add an external graphics card of your choice to boost your laptop’s gaming level to a higher potential. The Omen by HP connects to the laptop via a Thunderbolt 3 cable while still charging your laptop through the same USB-C port.

It has room for an extra hard drive or SSD to allow you to increase storage for your games without using up space on your laptop. This dock allows you to easily upgrade the gaming experience through your laptop without needing to buy a new one. This HP Accelerator shell improves your laptop’s performance regarding graphics and gets ready in just a few seconds after plugging in. However, this is not a dock for people looking for sleek premium graphics processing units. It is only compatible with Windows-based computers with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Specs

  • Has internal drives bays.
  • One internal graphics PCIe slot available.
  • 500W power supply.
  • One USB 3.1 Thunderbolt port, 1 RJ-45, and 4 USB 3.0 ports.
  • Supports up to 29 cm maximum graphics card length.

Pros

  • Easy to set up. Plug-and-play.
  • Supports most gaming GPUs.
  • Can install either HDD or SSD.
  • Equipped with a silent fan.

Cons

  • Lacks a workstation GPU support.

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Akitio Node – Thunderbolt3 eGPU

This is an external GPU for adding an extra external graphics card for Mac and Windows-based computers. This is a highly powerful low-cost external GPU designed to house an external graphics card. It connects to the computer through the powerful super speed Thunderbolt 3 port and cable. This GPU upgrades an ordinary computer into a premium high-end gaming computer. It enables you to do things that would otherwise be impossible to do with a regular laptop. For video editing tasks and graphics-intensive gaming, this GPU reduces the rendering rate to make laptop VR ready. It also enables a higher rate frame output.

Specs

  • Thunderbolt 3 port for blazing-fast data relay.
  • PCIe x16 slot for supplying the laptop with up to 75W power.
  • Four-lane PCI Express with compliant 3.0 interface.
  • Has an inbuilt 400W SFX power supply to cater for the extra power needed to run the GPU.
  • Supports Windows 10 and Mac OS 10.13.4 and later.

Pros

  • Additional high-speed connectivity through the Thunderbolt 3 port.
  • Works excellent with full-size graphics cards.
  • Has a built-in power supply.
  • High performance.

Cons

  • The size is a bit big.
  • The front cover is quite soft.

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GIGABYTE Gaming Box RX 580 8G Graphic Card

A laptop with external graphics card upgrades the gaming experience with superior external graphics card for gaming. Leveraging the power from Radeon RX 580 graphics card, this box transforms your Ultrabook laptop into a premium gaming platform. This box delivers super performance, particularly for graphics-intensive games. Embedded with GIGABYTE overclock and numerous thermal technology, the device enhances your gaming experience in a super quiet environment.

The box is designed with a compact and stylish design making it easy to carry around. The video and graphics output from this box is of exceptional quality. Besides, the rate of data relay is exceptionally high that makes it impossible for the eye to note any lagging. The box has several output ports to cater for different speeds. These include; three USB 3.0 ports, quick charge USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3. It also enables you to select and customize the color schemes and lighting effects for your game or any other output.

Specs

  • Supports power delivery and quick charge.
  • Supports up to 3 USB 3.0 peripheral devices.
  • Thunderbolt 3 port plug-and-play.
  • Has GIGABYTE RADEON RX 580 8GB memory.

Pros

  • It is one of the most portable GPUs.
  • Has a USB ports hub at the rear part.
  • Excellent high-end GPU included.
  • Excellent speed of data relay.

Cons

  • It is limited in terms of upgrade options.

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Alienware Graphics Amplifier

This is a classic graphics amplifier that transforms your gaming experience to an entirely new level. Apart from the fantastic specs that come with is graphics amplifier, it also has excellent aesthetics. Traditionally, when you bought a laptop, you were stuck to a particular graphics specs for its lifespan. Alienware graphics amplifier was built to change this aspect. All you need to do is to plug in your laptop and enjoy a premium gaming experience with high clarity 4K graphics, VR experience, and excellent performance as well. Setting up the device and connecting it to your laptop is easy and rather straight forward.

Specs

  • AMD chipset.
  • Embedded with GeForce GTX graphics processor.
  • 16GB ram.
  • 460W internal power supply.
  • Numerous USB 3.0 ports.

Pros

  • It is easy to upgrade.
  • Has four super speed USB 3.0 ports.
  • Supports a great variety of GPUs.
  • The device is fairly cheap.

Cons

  • The device is not very portable.
  • Compatibility is limited to specific Alienware computers.

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Conclusion

With the external graphics card and graphics processing units, you now don’t have to have a super gaming computer to enjoy a great gaming experience. This cards will help you transform your simple laptop into a superpower in gaming. However, you need to select and purchase the right external graphics card for mac and window-based laptop to ensure you enjoy great results. Compatibility factor is the most crucial factor you should consider while selecting an external graphics card.

 

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