Gaming on a Laptop using an External GPU

July 31, 2019 posted by

So got in touch recently and
asked me whether I’d like to try out a product they sell. When I saw what it was I thought
that many of you would find it interesting, as it certainly was for me. The product in question is a PCI-E to laptop
adapter. This is great for gaming, obviously, because it means that you can use a full sized
desktop graphics card on a laptop. Video editing should also be much smoother thanks to hardware
acceleration. I’ll be using my now ancient Dell D420 for
this experiment. It wasn’t even powerful back in its day with its measly 1.2ghz processor,
so it remains to be seen how well it will perform at gaming, assuming that the adapter
even works. Unfortunately it didn’t come with a manual,
but it seems pretty straight forward to set up. So I’m going to plug the adapter’s data cable
into the spare mPCI-E slot on the laptop. Most laptops only have one slot, meaning that
in most situations the wireless card has to be removed to use the adapter. The other end of the data cable strangely
uses an HDMI connector, but I’m guessing it would be a bad idea to plug it directly into
a TV… Now it’s time to plug in a graphics card. It’s a bit wobbly without a case, but it seems
secure enough. A powerful graphics card like this needs plenty
of juice in order to run. The adapter has a 12v dc jack for less powerful cards, but
for more powerful ones it has an 8-pin socket so it can be hooked up to a standard ATX power
supply using the included cable. This cable plugs into the 20 pin motherboard
connector, and the 4-pin cpu connector. As with most cards it needs additional power
through the PSU’s PCI-Express power connector. So now it’s time to boot it up. Sure enough, in device manager the card appears
to be detected, and whilst installing the nvidia drivers the screen suddenly switches
to my main display on the graphics card’s output. With everything appearing to be working it’s
time to try a game. I’m going try an old favourite of mine. As the laptop doesn’t have its own optical
drive I used an external one. Interestingly plugging it in caused the display to go blank
for a few seconds, recovering soon afterwards. The same thing happened when I plugged in
my external hard drive, but other devices that don’t need external power like USB sticks
work fine. I’m assuming this has something to do with power grounding, but it’s not too
much of an issue. So now the moment of truth. It’s worth noting
that this game doesn’t even launch when using the laptop’s in-built graphics card, so anything
more than that is a success. And we’re in! The game runs smoothly and looks
grapically splendid, which is one of the reasons I chose to try it. At first I was a bit concervative with the
resolution, but surprisingly bumping it up from 720p to 1440 did not affect the framerate,
indicating that the laptop’s 1.2Ghz processor is indeed a bottleneck here. I confirmed this later when I ran Unigine’s
Heaven benchmark where the score actually improved with more graphically demanding settings.
The average framerate was 34% lower than when the gtx660 was my desktop pc, which isn’t
too bad considering the laptop’s measly specs. Even more modern games like Skyrim and Grid
2 were playable at 1080p. Remember this is all on an ultra-portable business class laptop
that’s nearly 9 years old. So overall I was suprised that the adapter
works as well as it does. It’s certainly a neich product but it does have its uses, and
for me it makes laptops a viable option to have as a desktop replacement. I’d like to revisit this in the future to
see how much of a performance hit there is running a card through this adapter, but for
that I’ll need a more powerful laptop. Big thanks to for sending me
this adapter, as this video wouldn’t have happend otherwise. I’ve included a link in
the description if any of you want to buy one, but make sure your laptop is compatible
beforehand, as many aren’t. On the topic of graphics cards, do you remember
how I tried mounting a CPU cooler to one a while ago? Well, I’ve built it into a custom
case, and I’ll be uploading a video about it soon, so stay tuned.


100 Replies to “Gaming on a Laptop using an External GPU”

  1. Mahdi says:

    can I Use a usb adapter to connect mini pci e to usb rather than having to open the laptop?

  2. Ben White says:

    and so it was possible?

  3. Vishal Sheel Ace says:

    I have no 2nd Display so what can I do?? plZzz help and i have Graphics Card without 6 pin Connector so what can I do??

  4. Kheino West says:

    i plugged 1070 ti to my gaming laptop its now beast

  5. Ayush Bhushan says:

    cant we boost up ram with a alternative?

  6. Samuelu2135 says:

    Put it in a case to make it look nicer

  7. Faceless Idiot says:

    So I've did this to my old alienware 14 laptop hooking it up with a gtx 770, it runs relatively well besides when it comes to recording. No matter the game, even an old hl2 mod, the frames drop massively. Does anyone know this problem? How do I resolve it? (Massively as in 60 to 14 fps and yes i have tried adjusting my recording settings from highest to lowest)

  8. kingoffish236 says:

    Hello, I'm buying a Radeon RX 550 AERO ITX 2G OC
    do i need a 400W power supply or just the 12V dc power adapter ?
    Thank you

  9. Koi says:

    I wonder how this would preform for me. Hmmmm. might invest in this instead of a whole new computer. I have a laptop w/ an i5 currently, but shitty integrated graphics.

  10. P arjacpar says:

    few days a go i watched a video about bitcoining mining and it got me wondering if what you done in your video was possible thats to your great video you have proved that I am right . . No i wont be bit coin mining after watching that video turned out it work take the guy 3 years to get his money back

  11. ZideYT2 says:

    So in the meantime, like with my gaming laptop, M2 slots are becoming more and more popular, even mine does not have a mini pci-e port. Im just wondering: Is there perhaps a variant of this GPU dock that outputs to M2 instead of PCI-e?

  12. GT4tube says:

    Bad an idea that make no sense, if you love gaming then a desktop..

  13. NordicJord says:

    Will this work on

  14. AngryZombie808 says:

    what power supply do you use? can I use the standard desktop psu 500 watt on the adapter?

  15. TheCalisto1994 says:

    Sadly, the availability of this adapter isn't provided on Amazon and other platforms anymore + most notebooks don't have ExpressCard so the mPCIe-version would be needed… but many modern laptops have soldered WiFi and stuff so you couldn't even use such an adapter when opening the device up :/

  16. Misguided Youth says:

    …so a pc without a case?

  17. Sajad Ghamari says:

    cant you just use the usb port of laptop for that purpose?

  18. IridiumAxle says:

    I don't understand why people dislike this. It is not that you would buy a laptop to do this. It's more so to revive an old laptop that has an okay processor. Only $40 if you have the gpu and stuch

  19. Juski says:

    ok, someone i need help. i have a nvga geforce gtx 970, that has TWO additional 6-pin PCI-E power slots. how/where can i get a cord to run power to these slots! this is preventing me from gaming on my ASUS laptop with an i7 core. i was extremely looking forward to this and now i am completely bummed out because my gpu doesnt have enough power to turn on. im using a 350w power supply from my old dell desktop.

  20. The Nooby Noodle says:

    Will it work with a graphics card that powers off the mother board alone like a radon rx560

  21. Lamenthion official says:

    can i have screen on lapton no on monitor ???????

  22. Karthik Gowda says:

    can we use this idea for new mid range laptop with i3 5th gen and with its HDMI slot?

  23. LunchBox says:

    here are my laptop specs. will i be able to use this?
    AMD A4-6210 APU with AMD Radeon R3 Graphics 1.80GHz
    4.00 installed RAM

  24. Bober Fairburn says:

    Would this work on an Alienware Alpha?
    pls hurry

  25. Eiji Ganbayar says:

    Will it work on any laptops?
    my laptop: Asus x552vl

  26. Ludovic Bondon says:

    Anyone tried with an alienware 14 (got the 2014 edition with i7 4810MQ) and a GTX 980 Ti card ?

  27. InvetorXD says:

    Watching this video in 2018.

  28. Super Sami says:

    at 2:36 his laptop is booting up damn it -_-

  29. phanindra musinada says:

    Can I use this product to my hp laptop ?? Rather than that I have an amd 2gb graphics card in my laptop … So how can I disable that amd graphics card and how to enable this external graphics card ?

  30. Bailey Hughes says:

    To make sure in understanding correctly, if my laptop has an hdmi input, i dont need a seperate monitor to use this gpu?

  31. Jimboss99 says:

    does this work on laptops which already have a dedicated gpu?

  32. Mikke Mus says:

    Anyone else see in the bench mark the cpu's are different?

  33. _Bob McCoy says:

    This guy stole your video:

  34. David Granville says:

    have you ever tried to make a case for this laptop with the external pc making it a Desktop pc?

  35. Maddogjez says:

    Whats the game, with the shark, Tomb Raider? Nice setup for sure!

  36. Carl Johnson says:

    That is not atx psu though?

  37. M. R. A. says:

    I have a risk laptop cause vga and just can boot into bios. Can this thing be a solution for my problem?

  38. MrShadowZerro says:

    good question for you, does the adapter work for macbook pro? 2014 Mid 15inches???

  39. Forseliz says:

    Does the adapter that you use come with all the required wires/power supply etc? Also, just to check, it makes no difference if I use a laptop screen instead of an actual desktop?

  40. Matthew Richmond says:

    might i ask where you got that psu? I have been looking for one and cant seem to find one with a 20/24 pin.

  41. Foxmilan says:

    i have a asus laptop with
    8gb ram
    what card should i buy to improve so i can play games like pubg or rust on medium settings..i am also a bit on a budget..

  42. Rangel Costes says:

    You should make a case for this

  43. angel me says:

    I got a question. Are all the video outputs on the GPU work when the GPU is mounted on the device? Can you use multi monitors? (not for gaming, I want to connect 2 extra screen other than my laptop). Thank you in advance.

  44. Rusty Shackleford says:

    This is the perfect thing for my DiY project. My laptop is falling apart and i am gonna make it into a super pc. I will see if i can capture the whole process and post it. It will be amazing. I just know it

  45. Blank says:

    can i ask? what kind of power supply did you use to power up a Graphics card?

  46. Ryan Chen says:

    Is there some way I can do this without taking apart my computer, in other words, line them up to a thunderbolt 2 or hdmi input on my computer. I want to do this so I don't need to spend 200 dollars on a graphics card box.

  47. guru gara says:

    my laptop specs
    nvidia 820m 2gb
    i7 5th gen 2.4ghz
    8gb RAM

    if i want to play high end games i need this external for gaming since my problem is only my GPU
    thanks brotha!!

  48. Gary says:

    hello, can I still use WIFI if I remove the wifi device?

  49. Abhilash prince says:

    And what was that laptop screen showing win 7 logo and tomb rider is loaded ? in other screen?????

  50. Rogue says:

    I love the old Tomb Raider. Lara with short is the best :))

  51. Eric Trenkel says:

    Banggood link is dead.

  52. bismark5566 says:

    @DIY perks
    Good morning sir I have 8years old laptop powered by i3 core.
    Will this external gpu work for me?

    And i dont understand why when im running simple games my device shotdown. Fan sound so loud and then itvwill die.
    Thank you to anyone that will answer.

  53. Kaizerr9311 Poos4eva says:

    Please answer ASAP can you use the laptop graphic card and the pc graphic card together to play games

    And if the graphic card is not the same can you still use both

  54. BEST OF says:

    His laptop was booting and he is playing games on which pc see on 2:42 his laptop was booting , is he manupulating us. Chutia bana ra hai bc

  55. Brian W says:

    Humm, I watched your other video turning old laptops into a media PC and I'm thinking about doing it. I wonder if I make or get a big enough case if I could use this to upgrade the gpu? Making it a light gaming rig and media server.

  56. Davit Vardanyan says:

    Who else is watching in 2018, when Type C Thunderbolt 3 does it all?

  57. Menma XP says:

    U can play online game???

  58. Jaime Reusche says:

    Used this on an old Acer Aspire V3-571G with an Nvidia GTX970, worked well for one week, last night it went dead; the GPU felt hot but the fans had been running. Won't turn on again, don't know if it is the hub that was defective or the GPU, but it was not the power unit (650M Gold certified). Reached out to Nvidia and the merchant for the hub, still waiting for replies. Anyone had anything like this happen?? Thanks

  59. Smattless says:

    This was back when you were a noob and thought it was a good idea to have loud, intrusive BG music. It's a pleague on youtube, and I don't understand how it came about. Thank god it died down and is seen as amateurish and/or douchy now.

  60. Lil Shagster says:


  61. Angel LaHash says:

    How far can you push this, ie can you use two Graphics card with SLI/Crossover Link

  62. Ze Xm says:

    Wat power supply should I use with a gtx 1050 or gt 1030 plz reply anyone??

  63. Dylan Enricho Le Roux says:

    I have kind of a long question. Lol. I have a Dell XPS 17-L702X laptop that has a i7-2nd gen cpu, GeForce GTX 555M gpu and 16gb of ram running windows 10 pro. It's a great machine but it's struggling with modern gaming. My question is if I do add a gpu to my motherboard via the pci-express riser card adapter, would the gigs of the gpu be added to my 3gb dedicated onboard gpu or would it be a stand alone figure? Also would the work together as one unit or will the GB of the external Gpu only be picked up by games? I would like to know because Im interested in doing one of your DIY builds turning my laptop into a desktop but I'd like to add the gpu.. Looking forward to your reply or anyone that can answer my questions. Id appreciate

  64. Nasr Koba says:

    can i ask u a favour? will this gpu(i7 7700hq) will handle gtx 1080ti? in laptop

  65. DJ Ustan says:

    I see windows loading while game is on. Is this a fake video?

  66. SMART TECH & MUSIC says:

    Can I connect This graphics card to my dell vostro 2520 laptop please response

  67. Kartik Abhyankar says:

    Is it compatible with Dell Inspiron 3521

  68. ocaiera says: ??? err….

  69. Ayatulloh Ahad Robanie says:

    what motherboard or BIOS supported with external GPU? thanks your answer

  70. Cooper Bailey says:

    What kind of graphics card is it

  71. Motgy says:

    1:23 '"product of china"

  72. Jakob says:

    very limited info on the items in the video not even spec on the card… you can do better Matt.

  73. Waleed Salem says:

    it's good for strong CPU like i7 4th gen or higher but if your CPU is too old it's not working fine

  74. Red Sanic says:

    The wifi is removed but you can still use a ethernet cable right?

  75. AvoidingZombies says:

    bahaha im using a old desktop with same chipset as your laptop

  76. Boodooa Mahendraduth says:

    Can we use pc motherboard as pci slot then connect laptop to the gpu via hdmi?.. Will it work?

  77. Ctb 1981 says:

    why is this the 1st time seeing this

  78. AznJungleFever says:


  79. The gravedigger's cave says:

    Just for fun I love to see the performance of this in a 1gen Atom netbook

  80. Ernest Fenstermaker says:

    Diy Perks, I think the concept of an external GPU is really cool, but as I've seen you build cases and remakes of laptops, I was wondering if it would be possible to build a mount/ new case for the laptop that included the GPU to be attached and therefore more portable. If I could throw my 8th gen intel i3 1inch thick computer in my bag with an eGPU attached to the bottom of it, I totally would. It would make gaming while travelling more accessible and minimalistic.

  81. Abbas Raza Nasir says:

    DIY GPU AMP Project?

  82. Aj mgd says:

    Loving it! Anyone asking any variation of "why?" is really not getting the point…

  83. Gaming Beast says:

    will this work in dell inspiron 3521

  84. V i d e o s #2 says:

    How does your laptop cpu withstand the gpu?

  85. MUKUL ROHILLA says:

    Can you make an external case for this?

  86. oday jbara says:

    Where i can find the piece that the card sit on ? Can any one tell me the name of the piece?

  87. Parapa Satrapa says:

    You should make a second laptop to pc conversion build video with this intergrated

  88. George I says:

    Very impressive given the laptop is most likely using a PCIe x1 2.0 link. Your pushing a very large about of data over a straw and somehow getting away with it.

  89. Cody Choules says:

    do they have one of these things for usb 3?

  90. The Punisher says:

    It’s really. Not worth it. Just buy a PC

  91. kitty purry says:

    any solution for BSOD (video tdr failure nvldksmym.)

  92. Reynaldo Torres says:

    I will be the innovator of future desktops

  93. Vinayak ‍ says:

    Are you keen on doing a follow up video about this with newer hardware?

  94. bigboy says:

    Will this work on a HP Notebook 15 -ac117ni?

  95. British Dylan says:


  96. THDS says:

    NVIDIA drivers for an MSI card 😅😅😅

  97. mr santh says:

    can i use this in dell vostro 2420 3rd gen laptop

  98. Ned Smith says:

    that screen goes out caused by nvidia driver is pretty common as ya need to put in the registry fixes to tell the tdr to stop conflicting with nvidia drivers by adding dword in this location ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlGraphicsDrivers along with ''TdrDelay'' value 60, ''TdrLevel'' value 0 and ''TdrDdiDelay'' value 60 all set to decimal which will show TdrLevel=0x00000000, TdrDelay=0x0000003c and TdrDdiDelay=0x0000003c as this will fix the driver crashing as i had this problem on the asus p5q premium nonstop and i did the registry fix no more crashing since. only crashing i get is from cpu and ram overclocking happy days

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