eGPU – Connecting an external video card to a notebook (DIY implementation)

Having all those wires on the desk is by no means something pretty for the rest of the family, so we may want to place the whole eGPU setup into a case, a box or something. Because DIY means creativity, people used shoes boxes, cardboards, small computer ITX enclosures, custom 3D Printed enclosures, and so on. I personally went for a SFF (Small Form Factor) mini ITX box from Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced.

I had to find a way to install the MSI Lightning card as the card doesn’t seem to fit properly, but in the end I managed to mount it in a secure way. I also discovered that the slot from the riser card won’t fit, because of its height added to the board connector. After a little bit of masking tape and a Dremel tool later I had the space required to properly route the soldered connector protruding outside the case and then back in.



For the Thunderbolt PCI Express Expansion Board decided to use a piece of soft plastic to make a base for it and taped it with some velcro fastening tape on the metal case.








Added the ATX PSU, connected everything, and now everything looks much better.




7 comments la: eGPU – Connecting an external video card to a notebook (DIY implementation)

    1. So you left out the most important information, the penalty of thunderbolt/usb3 and the memory buffering. The most important reasons you see few/no such implementations in the wild.

    2. Compared to desktop, yes. Compared to the dGPU in the laptop…you can see the graphs…

    3. Awesome stuff Monstru! Like it 🙂 Now I want to attach this to my MacBook Pro Retina and do some 3k gaming on it 😀

    4. Glad you like it, I hope it helps a lot of users 😀

    5. Great work!!! Would it be possible to run the pcie with a powered riser? The Sonnet Board needs still be powered, right? Possible to power it through PSU? Thanks

    6. Joseph wrote on:

      I don’t know whether or not I should be posting this here, but I’m having a problem with an egpu unit, when ever I attatch it to my laptop and boot up (either with or without the drivers) my laptop screen on boot up goes to a GPU fail screen (multicoloured and pixelated). I’ve yet to find anyone else with the same problem and from my testing I’ve yet to find a solution :'( .

      If anybody could help me solve this problem I would be over the moon 🙂

    7. What a great explanation. Thanks! From the moment I saw the bandwidth of thunderbolt I knew this would be possible and I am sure there is a commercial market for it. Meanwhile, hopefully more and more enclosures come out with boards which can help make this easier still.

      …and sure, it won’t beat a desktop with the same GPU, but it gives you the chance to have an ultra portable with desktop class graphics which is also upgradable! Brilliant!


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