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AMD Ryzen 6000 processors might finally support external GPUs via USB 4

AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors are definitely among the best CPUs currently available, but one thing they lack is support for external graphics cards through the Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 ports. However, it seems that AMD is planning to include USB 4 with eGPU support on its upcoming Ryzen 6000 processors.

The evidence for this lies in drivers submitted by AMD engineers. A new Linux kernel driver patch has been submitted for Penguin OS. This patch includes USB 4 DisplayPort 1.4 tunneling, which is a necessary feature of USB 4. As the patch is intended for Yellow Carp, it’s likely that it’s intended for AMD Ryzen 6000 processors, as that is the code name used for the AMD Ryzen 6000 Rembrandt processor on Linux.

Render of an AMD Ryzen chip.

It’s important to note that eGPUs are connected through the Thunderbolt 3 port, and this technology is currently only available on Intel-based systems. AMD CPUs support USB 3.1, but that doesn’t work with most, if not all, of the best external graphics cards. Although some users may have found workarounds, they are not recommended, as the bandwidth and latency provided by that technology just won’t suffice.

Fortunately, Thunderbolt 3 is no longer exclusive to Intel users. USB 4 includes support for TB3, opening the technology to a wider audience. On the other hand, as AMD processors are not yet compatible with USB 4, Ryzen users were still left with no way to use an external GPU. It seems that things may soon change for AMD fans if the new evidence proves to be true.

The option to use external graphics cards is a welcome feature for notebook users, bringing the gaming capabilities of a laptop to the next level. As graphics cards are often bulky, they are difficult to fit inside the thin, portable laptops that are common on the market these days. This leads the manufacturers to compromise on graphics quality, leaving gamers frustrated with low frame rates.

Although AMD Ryzen processors have taken the processor market by storm in recent years, Intel continues to hold the majority of CPU sales. That is unlikely to change in 2021, as Intel is also beating AMD in launching the next generation of processors. Intel Alder Lake is rumored to release in early November 2021.

The next generation of AMD processors, Zen 4, is confirmed for release in 2022. Although no official date has been revealed, speculation points toward AMD dropping the new CPUs early in the year.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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