An eGPU is a great accessory to a laptop with Thunderbolt 3, but in many cases, you'll be leaving that box of graphics power at home or in the office. You don't necessarily have to though, since not all eGPUs are hefty boxes that must be desk-bound. Here are some great choices for the more mobile user.
The Node Pro is as close as you can get to the best of all worlds from a portable eGPU. It's fairly compact, has a retractable handle for easy carrying, a powerful PSU capable of handling the most demanding modern graphics cards, and it comes at an attractive price. It supports full length, full height, double slot graphics cards, and also supplies 60W to charge your laptop.
If your requirements from a portable eGPU swing towards high-end gaming with high frame rates and details in the latest titles, then this is the one for you. Not only is it small enough to carry around with you, but it also houses an NVIDIA RTX 2070 inside. It's an embedded GPU, so you lose out on upgrades but it helps keep the form factor so small.
The Sonnet is a perfect choice for those hunting for the absolute smallest portable eGPU around. This thing is seriously small, and comes with an embedded Radeon GPU in the form of an RX 560 or RX 570. Both are capable enough for professional applications and 1080p gaming, and you can still hook up four external displays as well — all while stashing it in your regular laptop bag.
PowerColor is most well known for its Radeon GPU lineup and in the Mini they've combined a highly compact and portable eGPU chassis with a Radeon RX 560 4GB, which is handy for both 1080p gaming and professional applications. Unusually it opts for a power brick with a 6-pin connector to keep it juiced up, but it helps keep the noise and the size down. There's also a built-in Ethernet port, which is always handy.
Smart choices for graphics power on the go
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Ultimately when you're looking for a portable eGPU, the size and how you're going to transport it are key considerations. The Node Pro is the best all-rounder thanks to its sturdy handle for easy carrying and fairly compact form factor, and it still allows you to use whichever desktop graphics card you wish. Need a new GPU? Browse our collection of the best graphics card options available.
It is possible to go smaller, though, and if the ultimate in portability is what you're going for, the Sonnet Puck is impossible to ignore. It's absolutely tiny, while still housing capable AMD Radeon graphics power and enough external display outputs for any occasion. It's pretty crazy something this small can be this powerful!
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine