Using an external graphics card is a great way to boost your laptop's graphics power for gaming or professional 3D work, but buying the best eGPU enclosure is only half the battle. You need to buy the graphics card, too, and it's not as straightforward as just buying the best graphics card you can afford. As powerful as Thunderbolt 3 and 4 are, they're not fast enough for the fastest of cards.
But that doesn't mean you can't have a great experience using external graphics. Here are the best graphics cards to use as eGPUs.
AMD Radeon RX 7600
Best eGPU for most gamers
- Solid 1080p gaming performance
- Aggressive pricing
- Only a single 8-pin power connector
- Compact design
- Memory interface limits higher resolutions
- Ray tracing performance is lacking
Why should you buy this: It offers great performance for playing games at 1080p, at a great price.
Who’s it for: eGPU gamers who want a modern, capable GPU for 1080p gaming.
What we thought of the AMD Radeon RX 7600:
The AMD RX 7600 is a great entry-level graphics card from AMD's latest RDNA 3 generation. That gives it excellent performance for 1080p gaming, and makes it a great candidate for eGPU gaming. It has a low 165-watt TDP and a compact size, so it will fit in with just about any external graphics enclosure.
This card is low-power enough that you'll be able to use it to its full potential without the USB/Thunderbolt interface bottlenecking it, and with optimized FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) support, in compatible games it will deliver really impressive performance. It's not powerful enough for 1440p, but you'll be able to play most games on medium or high settings at a steady 60 frames per second (fps) with this card.
If you want to save a little, you could opt for the last-generation RX 6600, but it's around a third slower for not much money off.
Nvidia RTX 4060
Best Nvidia GPU for eGPUs
- DLSS 3
- Excellent efficiency
- Price reduction compared to last-gen
- Strong ray tracing performance
- Beaten by cards that are only $30 more
- Limited memory interface
- Weak at higher resolutions
Why should you buy this: It's a great alternative to the RX 7600.
Who’s it for: Nvidia fans who want DLSS support.
What we thought of the Nvidia RTX 4060:
The Nvidia RTX 4060 is a good current-generation graphics card with solid performance, great ray tracing performance for the money, and full support for Nvidia's DLSS upscaling algorithm. This combination makes it a great alternative to the RX 7600 we recommend up top, but it does come in with a much higher tag.
You get the DLSS support for that, and CUDA support in a range of professional applications, so this would be a great choice for an eGPU user who wants to work and play with their new external graphics card. It's also relatively compact and power efficient, so sit hould work in just about any eGPU enclosure.
It lacks the kind of performance necessary for higher resolution play, but you shouldn't have any major bottlenecks with this card.
AMD RX 6750 XT
Best graphics card for 1440p
- Powerful 1440p performance
- Very affordable price
- Reasonable power draw
- Has 12GB of VRAM
- Last-generation architecture
- Poor ray tracing performance
Why should you buy this: It's a powerful graphics card at a great price.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want to play at 1440p without spending too much.
What we thought of the AMD RX 6750 XT:
The RX 6750 XT might have been a late-generation refresh, but it's proved to be one of the most enduring graphics cards of its generation. It offers excellent performance that competes with much more modern cards, and has 12GB of VRAM, which means it avoids all the problems faced by some 8GB cards as demands of modern games increase. It should still be fast many years into the future, where cards with 8GB or less may suffer.
It's a last-generation design, so its ray tracing performance isn't great, but it is incredibly affordable due to its elder status. It lacks support for DLSS, but supports FSR, so in compatible games, you can get a big boost in performance.
You'll likely see some bottlenecking with this card due to the constraints of the USB/Thunderbolt interface you're connecting it with, but it won't be so egregious that you'll feel you've wasted your money.
Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti
Best high-end graphics card for eGPU
- DLSS 3
- Excellent thermal performance
- Solid value at 1440p and 1080p
- Poor performance at 4K
- Will likely sell above list price
Why should you buy this: It's a powerful graphics card with DLSS and CUDA core support.
Who’s it for: Gamers and workers who want to max out their eGPU performance.
What we thought of the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti
There are better bang-for-the-buck graphics cards than the RTX 4070 Ti, but it is about as powerful as you can go with an eGPU without experiencing extreme bottlenecking. It's capable of 1080p, 1440p, and even a little 4K gameplay when paired with a powerful CPU and memory, although it's more designed with 1440p in mind.
Its ray tracing performance, thanks to the new-generation RT cores, is stellar, opening up higher detail settings in a range of games. The real kicker as an eGPU, though, is its DLSS support. This gives it much greater performance in compatible games, while cutting down on the bandwidth demands of native rendering.
It's fitted with a great quantity of CUDA cores, too, making this an excellent GPU for accelerating professional and creative tasks in compatible software. It's expensive, and you won't be able to use its full power, but it's a great all-around eGPU for top-tier performance.
This is also just about the fastest graphics card Nvidia makes that can actually fit in most eGPU enclosures. The RTX 4080 and 4090 are more powerful, but they're gigantic and have monstrous power requirements.
AMD RX 7800 XT
Best high-end graphics card for eGPU gaming
- Reasonably priced
- 100-plus fps at 1440p
- Solid ray tracing performance
- Plenty of VRAM
- Standard 8-pin power
- No DLSS
- Still weaker than Nvidia with ray tracing
Why should you buy this: It's a powerful graphics card for 1440p and 4K gameplay.
Who’s it for: Gamers who want as much power as they can get for their eGPU.
What we thought of the AMD RX 7800 XT:
The AMD RX 7800 XT is one of the best of the latest generations of graphics cards, offering impressive performance at a very affordable price. It uses AMD's latest RDNA 3 architecture, giving it not only great general rasterization performance, but also impressive ray tracing performance for an AMD GPU.
There's 16GB of VRAM, so you're future-proofed against the next generation of games with their higher RAM requirements, and it's optimized for FSR, so you can really boost your performance in compatible games. It also supports FSR 3, so you can use AI to enhance your frame rate further.
This GPU will be bottlenecked by the eGPU interface, so don't expect desktop-grade performance. However, it's not so egregious that you're losing half the card's power like you would with the very top GPUs. And it's more than capable of playing any game you throw at it at any setting.
If you don't care about the bottleneck -- or are hoping Thunderbolt 5 saves you from it -- then check out our list of the best graphics cards overall. There are some even more powerful options on that list.
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