I’ve noticed that having an ultra portable, ultra light laptop is becoming more popular. Especially among college students and self-employed people that travel for work.
For me, having a computer that has performance has significant advantages. With the recent blooming of crypto currency, there has been an increase in the number of external components available.
This creates the question, is an external graphics card for a laptop worth it?
What it Does and How it Works
The more things that change from one picture to another and the higher the frequency of change the more powerful the GPU needs to be. What you do will determine what you need.
If you want to get one just to surf the web you can do that. I don’t mind, but it isn’t necessary. Typically, video games, multiple displays, and rendering video use the GPU the most. Recently, crypto currencies have also started using the GPU. Most graphics cards, including the integrated ones, can handle two displays.
Watching YouTube, Netflix, or other videos have already been rendered and it doesn’t take a lot to get them displayed.
These external graphics cards take up a USB port and it’s just a box between your computer and your screen. If you plan on using this with a laptop, you’ll either never do anything that requires the GPU away from your house, or you’ll need to pack around a monitor with you.
Like all things, there is a cost involved. I looked at the cost difference between internal graphics cards and there corresponding external card. As much about possible, we want to compare apples to apples.
The external cards are significantly more expensive than getting the same card internally. This makes sense. These external cards aren’t going to be able to pull enough power from a USB port. They will need a small, built in power supply and a fan.
These things aren’t cheap but if you are on a budget Amazon usually has deals going where if you buy something more than $500 on the Amazon credit card they’ll hook you up with no interest for 12 months. If you plan your payments appropriately then you can pay this off in that 12 months. This will get you an awesome graphics card without having to pay for interest on it at it.
Other Things to Consider
The purpose of the laptop is to be portable. The external GPU weighs between 5 and 7 lb. This doesn’t really make the laptop with an external hard drive portable if you got a gaming laptop then it would be less weight than if you got them separate
Even if you got this just to be able to do GPU intensive stuff while at home you’ll find that when you’re out and about you’ll have the sudden desire to use those same functions
I was recently on a business trip to Houston and my normal computer that I have in my house is a desktop but for my work I have a laptop and my desktop has a lot more power than my work laptop but I found that what I wanted to do in my spare time was to use my desktop
I’m not saying that everyone’s going to be like me and don’t want to use the features they can’t use while they’re away but I’m sure there’s a good number of people that are like me and will want to use those same features when they aren’t available to him
I’ve looked through some reviews for some of these external graphics cards and a common theme with them is the fans that come with it are cheap and loud
Typically people these days don’t want to be able to sound like there on a computer next to a jet they like their computer to run quietly so these reviews that I looked at recommended people purchase separate fans and in replace the ones on there
If you already have a laptop and you want to give your graphics a boost, then this will work for you. However, with the cost of your computer, plus the cost of the external graphics card, It makes more sense to just buy a better computer. If you have one of the ultra light laptop, there is a possibility that you have one with a 32 GB hard drive (20 GB goes to Windows). If this is the case, then you’ll need an external hard drive as well.
You can get a mid to high end computer for $800-$1000. This is approximate to the amount that you’ll end up paying for a low end laptop, an external graphics card, and an external card drive. Maybe it’ll be something worth looking into after the graphics cards drop in price.
I understand, it is very appealing to have a computer that only weighs a pound or two. If you have to carry it a long distance, even a 5 pound laptop will start to weigh on you. Like all electronics, you need to consider what you are using it for. If you haven’t purchased a laptop yet and you need a good graphics card then get a laptop with a good integrated card.