What is an External GPU and How Does It Work?

An External Graphics Processing Unit or GPU is an idea that has been around the World Wide Web for quite a while. It is also one that has been in the Research and Development departments of numerous video card makers for an even longer time. The general concept of an eGPU involves connecting your standard laptop to an external cable using one cable.

Once connected, the eGPU will take over all the load off the internal GPU. In so doing, it will be ensuring that all this load is taken over by the extension that is more powerful than the internal one.

How Does It Work?

Often, you will find the external Graphics Processing Unit being hooked up to a particular dock. The dock where the GPU will be hooked to will normally have a USB-C cord or a Thunderbolt that is used to connect to the laptop. An eGPU dock will also have a PCIe port that is used to connect the graphics card.

The process of using a dock has been immensely simplified. It is as simple as installing a driver, the card, rebooting the machine, and then configuring some software. However, as is the case with any regular workaround, whether the process will be this simple depends on your prowess, and your ability to follow the instructions that have been provided.

Once the setup is complete, the computer will start routing all the requests made by the graphics card to the eGPU, instead of using the internal one. This process is bound to provide you with better performance, especially given the fact that many laptops do not have a lot of graphical processing power.

This setup can also be used for desktops, although it is commonly used with laptops. By employing a bigger, and more powerful graphics card, you get to enjoy a better performance when gaming, or when running other ‘heavy’ programs in your laptop.


External Graphics Processing Units may have some drawbacks, e.g., affordability, but they have in fact been seen to work. Additionally, you get to enjoy a better graphical performance from your machine, making it possible for you to run applications, and play games that would not have worked on your laptop before.

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