How to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse with an external … – PCWorld

I haven’t been much of a gamer in recent years, but I’ve always liked the idea of being one. That feeling intensified when I got my first glimpse of the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. Then when I saw the Fallout 4 trailer, I knew I had to start gaming again.

But I quickly stumbled across a major problem: The only PC I have is a 2011 ThinkPad X220 with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. That just wasn’t going to cut it for proper PC gaming.

Sure, I could make it work for titles like Diablo III with only small moments of stuttering on my laptop’s 12.5-inch, 1366×728-resolution display, but forget about more graphics-intensive games on an external 1080p display.

That’s when it hit me: “Hey, you can have an external hard drive, why not an external graphics card? Surely somebody’s done that.”

Many people have. There are even a few companies building their own external graphics card (eGPU) enclosures such as Alienware, MSI, and ViDock. But these eGPU kits tend to be overpriced or use proprietary connection technology.

Further reading: Alienware Amplifier review: This external graphics card box turbo-boosted a laptop with Titan X graphics

That’s why the bulk of the eGPU gaming world is all about DIY set-ups.

The good news is that many people who go the DIY route end up with a plug-and-play experience requiring little to no modification—but to get to the plug-and-play part, you’ve got to do your research.

When that’s done, however, you’ll be left with a killer console-toppling PC gaming setup—all for a cheaper price than a new Xbox One, depending on which graphics card you choose.


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