The Best External Graphics Cards (eGPU) (2021 Reviews)

An external graphics card enclosure (eGPU) is a must-have if you have a laptop or Macbook. Here are the best external graphics cards right now.

best overall

Razer Core X

Razer Core X eGPU
  • Compatible with most GPUs
  • Powerful PSU
  • Clean and effective design
budget pick

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box

Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box
  • Very affordable
  • Clean and simple design
  • Lightweight
premium pick

Razer Core X Chroma

Razer Core X Chroma
  • Compatible with most GPUs
  • Beautiful RGB lighting
  • USB hub

You’ve undoubtedly heard of external HDDs and external SDDs, but were you aware that external graphics cards exist too?

They are a thing, indeed, and there are several reasons why you might want to get one, but the most common one?

External graphics cards make gaming on a laptop easier than ever before!

In essence, an external GPU is an independent enclosure containing a power supply unit and a regular desktop version of a graphics card that is then connected to a laptop or PC via a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Now, whether you wish to play games on your laptop or just don’t have any motherboard space to spare on a powerful GPU, here’s a list of the best external graphics cards for 2021.

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The Pros:

  • Supports a wide range of GPUs
  • Can house triple-slot graphics cards
  • Clean and neutral exterior design
  • Comes in both black and white
  • Good value

The Cons:

  • Limited portability due to size and weight
  • No extra ports
  • Heavy

The first external GPU enclosure in the list comes from one of the best-known brands in the world of gaming: the Razer Core X.

As you might expect, it leaves little to be desired.

As far as the exterior design is concerned, the Razer Core X boasts a simple clean shell, and it now comes in two colors: the regular black and a new white design that isn’t quite as low-profile but will still appeal to those who like such an aesthetic. Sadly, though, there’s no RGB to be found here, as unbelievable as it may seem for a Razer product.

On the practical side of things, the Razer Core X definitely doesn’t disappoint. It’s quite spacious and can fit triple-slot graphics cards, which is a big plus if you’re aiming at some of the bulkier high-end models. And, speaking of high-end GPUs, it comes with a 650-watt power supply unit, which is more than enough to handle the latest gaming graphics cards.

On the back of the enclosure, you’ll only find a single Thunderbolt 3 port. Sadly, it doesn’t have any extra ports, but it is compatible with every laptop that supports external graphics.

The biggest downside we can highlight is the size and weight of the enclosure, which doesn’t make it as portable as some others. It’s also a bit pricey overall but still far from the most expensive eGPU case currently on the market.

All in all, the Razer Core X is more than worth the money, considering that you wouldn’t have to worry about compatibility issues and since the design is quite appealing too, especially if you prefer your components and peripherals clean and minimalistic.

The Pros:

  • Supports a wide range of GPUs
  • Can house triple-slot graphics cards
  • Design complemented by RGB lighting
  • USB hub on the back

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Dubious value
  • Fairly heavy

The second eGPU enclosure on the list also comes from Razer, and it’s a different version of the Razer Core X – The Razer X Chroma. For the most part, it is virtually identical to the regular Core X, but with some notable differences.

As the name suggests, the Core X Chroma comes with Razer’s excellent Chroma RGB lighting, which is bound to make it more appealing for RGB enthusiasts. Other than that, it is pretty much indistinguishable from the regular black Razer Core X design-wise.

However, the Core X Chroma comes with a few extra features. Namely, it has four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, meaning that it can also function as a USB hub. Plus, it features an Ethernet port, too. On top of that, the power supply is slightly more powerful, at 700 Watts.

At the end of the day, the Core X Chroma is still a fairly bulky enclosure that’s not exactly the most portable option out there. However, the fairly pricier $100 increase over the regular Razer Core X does make it a bit of a dubious investment.

All in all, while the Razer Core X Chroma is undeniably one of the best eGPU enclosures you can find at the moment, the price jump will make it unappealing to all but those who’d really be in it for the RGB. Personally, we feel that the slightly more powerful PSU and the USB hub don’t really justify the extra cost compared to the regular Razer Core X.

The Pros:

  • Relatively lightweight
  • Highly portable
  • Powerful PSU
  • Sleek design

The Cons:

  • No USB hub
  • Only supports 2.5-slot width cards
  • A bit pricier than the Razer Core X

A successor to the excellent AKiTiO Node, the AKiTiO Node Titan improves upon its predecessor in virtually every way, particularly when it comes to portability.

Similar to the original Node, the Node Titan features a simple, clean metal design, but it looks much sleeker than its predecessor. Where the first node looked like little more than a computer case, the Node Titan is far more inconspicuous.

Add this to the impressively low weight and the built-in handle and you have one of the most portable eGPU enclosures currently available!

The Node Titan is fairly similar to the Razer Core X as far as the feature set is concerned. It, too, comes with a 650W power supply unit and doesn’t have any extra ports apart from the standard Thunderbolt 3 port. However, the Node Titan only has enough room for a 2.5-slot graphics card, so it won’t support any of the bulkier high-end variants.

Basically, the AKiTiO Node Titan is a competent eGPU case with an emphasis on portability.

It makes for some very good competition for the Razer Core X as they’re similarly priced. The main difference between the two, apart from the aesthetics, lies in the fact that the Razer Core X can support 3-slot graphics cards while the Node Titan is simply way more portable.

The Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • Clean and simple design
  • Lightweight

The Cons:

  • No extra ports

Moving on, we get to something a bit more budget-friendly coming from Sonnet: the eGFX Breakaway Box.

Visually, this GPU enclosure doesn’t look like much — it features a simple black plastic exterior with an LED-lit Sonnet logo on the front. It doesn’t look as great as any of Razer’s eGPU cases or the Node Titan, but it’s an effective design nonetheless.

The case is also quite spacious and is actually very lightweight. Granted, it’s not as portable as the Node Titan, but it’s still something worth mentioning. Sadly, it doesn’t have a USB hub, but as mentioned above, its main advantage lies in the pricing — it’s the most affordable eGPU case available at the moment.

Priced at $250, the 550-watt variant of the eGFX Breakaway Box will appeal to those who are looking to save money, although the price still isn’t drastically lower than the Razer Core X or the AKiTiO Node Titan.

The Pros:

  • Standout design
  • Great RGB lighting
  • Plenty of extra ports

The Cons:

  • Highly expensive
  • On the heavy side
  • Design might be a bit too much for some
  • No 3-slot card support

Finally, we have a product coming from Asus’ ROG brand that is known for its aggressive aesthetics and heavy RGB use. And in the case of the Asus ROG XG Station 2, they really didn’t hold back!

The case features an aggressive, detail-heavy, angular exterior that comes complete with extensive RGB lighting and a very conspicuous plasma tube on the front, all of which make it a very high-profile product that simply screams “gaming”.

Inside, you’ll find a high-quality 600-watt power supply; on the back, you’ll find four USB 3.0 Type-A ports and a single USB 3.0 Type-B port, as well as an Ethernet port. That said, it doubles as a USB hub, which is a big plus if you need it.

Sadly, though, the ROG XG Station 2 isn’t without its share of flaws. It’s fairly heavy, very expensive, and the design may be a bit too much for those who prefer their eGPU cases to be more low-profile. On top of that, it only supports 2.5-slot graphics cards, which is a major downside in 2021, now that many high-end cards are wider than that.

Overall, the Asus ROG XG Station 2 is a stunning product that will be great for those who are really into the aggressive gaming aesthetic that this case embodies. However, the limited GPU compatibility makes it a bit of a dubious investment. It definitely feels a bit dated in 2021.

Of course, if you have cash to burn and are digging the design, then it might just be worth the extra cost!

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How To Pick The Best External GPU For Your Needs

Now that we have gone over some of the best currently available eGPU enclosures, we should take a closer look at some of the key features that might make certain models more appealing than others.

The key factors to keep in mind when it comes to eGPU cases are portability and GPU compatibility.

Portability is a fairly simple matter — the lighter the case is, the easier it will be to carry. Some cases, like the AKiTiO Node Titan, have built-in handles that make transportation even easier. However, whether you actually need to care about portability comes down to whether you intend on moving the eGPU case around a lot or if it will be largely confined to a desk.

When it comes to GPU compatibility, it’s crucial to keep both size and power consumption in mind. When it comes to the dimensions, width is the most important factor, as modern GPUs can be anywhere from 2 to 3-slots wide. Power isn’t usually a major issue as the latest eGPU enclosures have powerful enough PSUs to run even the beefiest GPUs.

Conclusion – The Best eGPU Case For 2021

Razer Core X Chroma eGPU

And now, it’s time to crown the winners! As is always the case with computer components and peripherals, no single solution will be ideal for everyone. As such, we’ve picked multiple eGPU cases that will fit different needs and budgets.

If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest eGPU case you can get, the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box is the clear choice, as it is the most affordable option at the moment. While it is not spectacular, the design is clean and simple and the Box will do its job just as well as any other eGPU case.

If you have money to spare, we’d say that the Razer Core X Chroma is the obvious pick. It pretty much has it all: beautiful RGB lighting, a spacious interior that will fit even the largest graphics cards, and a USB hub on the back. So, as long as you don’t mind the extra cost and the extra bulk, it is quite simply the perfect external GPU enclosure.

If you’re looking to get good value for your money, the regular Razer Core X is undoubtedly the one to go with. Granted, it has no RGB or USB hub, but it’s just as spacious as the Chroma variant and a bit cheaper. It’s the clear value pick at the moment.

And that would be it for this article! Keep in mind that we keep our buying guides fresh and up to date, so if you don’t get your new eGPU enclosure now, be sure to check back later in case there are some new picks.

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Samuel Stewart
Samuel Stewart

Samuel is GamingScan's editor-in-chief. He describes himself as a dedicated gamer and programmer. He enjoys helping others discover the joys of gaming. Samuel closely follows the latest trends in the gaming industry in order to keep the visitors in the flow.

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