Can you use an eGPU with Surface Pro 8?

Surface Pro 8 Hero
Surface Pro 8 Hero (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Can you use an eGPU with Surface Pro 8?

Best answer: Yes. Microsoft has finally added Thunderbolt 4 to their Surface Pro 8, which allows you to connect an eGPU.

The Surface Pro 8 supports Thunderbolt 4

Surface Pro 8 Studio Mode

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

It's been way too long for Microsoft to add Thunderbolt 4 support for Surface Pro devices. For whatever reason, the company skipped Thunderbolt 3 and left a lot of people without a proper way to connect an eGPU to devices. With the Surface Pro 8, you finally can make use of that Thunderbolt 4 port and increase the power of your tablet.

Thunderbolt 4 combines USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2, and PCIe into a single cable. PCIe is the key interface type you'll care about if you plan on plugging in an eGPU to your Surface Pro 8. Thunderbolt 3, the previous iteration of the cable, supports eGPUs too, but no Surface Pro has that technology. So, if you want the capability to use an eGPU, you'll have to pick up the latest Surface Pro 8.

Why should you use an eGPU?

Surface Pro 8 Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Optional eGPUs exist to allow you to add graphics horsepower to devices that otherwise don't have it, or have aging GPUs inside of them. eGPUs are for the people that want to play modern games or perform intensive 3D or video rendering and editing on devices not particularly built for that. It's also a way to lengthen the lifespan of your laptop or tablet if it begins to drag in graphics-related tasks.

For the Surface Pro 8 specifically, you'll want an eGPU if you plan on playing anything more than playing games from several years ago or are doing intensive rendering work. For gaming specifically, trying to play a recent release on the Surface Pro 8's 2880x1920 screen at a consistent 30 FPS will be tricky. And it's probably not even worth thinking about trying to hit 60 FPS with anything that came out in the last few years either.

What you need to connect an eGPU to your Surface Pro 8

Razer blade

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The setup process for connecting an eGPU to your Surface Pro 8 is pretty easy. You'll need an eGPU connected to power and a Thunderbolt 4 cable. Then, all you need to do is connect the cable to the Surface Pro 8 and it'll work. It's not any harder than that! The only thing to keep in mind is that using an external monitor can help reduce stress on the Thunderbolt 4 cable and actually reduce the lag between the GPU and the display.

Once it's connected, you'll be able to run more powerful programs and games according to whatever GPU you have in your eGPU enclosure. Even something modest can improve the Surface Pro 8's capabilities a lot, considering its internal Intel Iris Xe graphics aren't going to top a dedicated graphics card. From there, you might think about picking up a stand and connecting a keyboard, and you'll barely know the difference between a gaming PC and your Surface Pro 8.

Tyler Colp

Tyler Colp is a freelance writer for Windows Central. He's written about tech, games, and the culture around them across the internet. Ask him anything about Dark Souls or just follow him on Twitter.