A dear, but transformative eGPU for Asus laptops- Know-how Information, Novi Reporter
Anirudh RegidiJul 09, 2021 12:40:17 IST
Exterior GPU packing containers have been round for some time now, however barring a quick surge in reputation 3-4 years in the past, they’ve principally died down.
A conventional eGPU entails a full-size desktop-class GPU positioned in an enclosure and related to a laptop computer or PC (in some instances) by way of a Thunderbolt 3 interface. On paper, that is nice, however the efficiency penalty is extreme.
A GPU usually connects to your PC by way of an interface known as PCIe, and it wants 16 PCIe information lanes to carry out at its greatest. Relying on the GPU you’re utilizing, 8 lanes may even do, with the efficiency hit on medium to high-end GPUs being restricted to some share factors.
The Thunderbolt interface utilized by eGPUs, however, solely presents 4x PCIe lanes at greatest, and half that quantity in case your eGPU is driving your laptop computer’s inner show.
Whilst you may by no means get desktop-class efficiency from these enclosures, they appeared like a good way to enhance your current laptop computer’s efficiency.
Personally, I used to be by no means a fan of this design. Certain, you can remodel your Ultrabook right into a gaming pocket book, however eGPUs are costly, aren’t transportable, and are clunky to arrange. If I have to dedicate a everlasting house for a chunky eGPU field and exterior monitor, pay a premium for the enclosure and desktop-class GPU, and be ready to compromise on efficiency, why wouldn’t I simply purchase a barely bigger, extra highly effective gaming laptop computer? Or higher but, why not construct a PC?
With the ROG XG Cell, Asus has tried to handle these points, and I believe Asus has succeeded, after a trend.
What’s XG Cell?
In contrast to most eGPU choices, XG Cell is a self-contained eGPU and USB hub combo that homes both an RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 GPU. The catch is that these are the cell variants of the 3070 and 3080 and are usually not user-replaceable. The 3080 can function at as much as 150 W whereas the 3070 can function between 125 W and 140 W relying on thermal headroom.
Utilizing a cell GPU permits Asus to trim sufficient fats to ship an eGPU that’s about as thick as a laptop computer energy brick and maybe 3 times as large. It’s nonetheless massive, however now it’s sufficiently small (and light-weight sufficient) to toss right into a bag.
One other change is the interface, which makes use of a proprietary Asus connector — discovered solely on the ROG Movement X13 laptop computer for now — to ship 8x PCIe 3.0 lanes to the eGPU, eliminating the largest bottleneck.
Moreover, you get a bunch of I/O on the eGPU field, together with: HDMI 2.0b, DP1.4 with G-Sync, RJ45 LAN, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Sort-A, and an SD card reader rated at UHS-II speeds.
The dock comes with its personal 280 W energy brick that’s ample for the RTX 3080 (in my evaluate unit) in addition to the Movement X13 laptop computer. A devoted fan retains the GPU cool.
Efficiency: Is it price it?
I examined the XG Cell and Movement X13 laptop computer combo in 3 modes:
- Movement X13 with inner GPU (GTX 1650 Max-Q)
- Movement X13 + XG Cell driving the inner show
- Movement X13 + XG Cell driving an exterior show
As may be seen from the charts beneath, the efficiency uplift is large. We’re 2-3x the efficiency in video games and a 10-15x efficiency enchancment in duties like 3D rendering, and that is when driving the inner show. When powering an exterior show, efficiency improves by about 10 % on common. Apparently, video transcoding by way of the inner GPU was quicker than when utilizing the extra highly effective exterior one. My guess is that the extra processing overhead sapped some efficiency from the system on this process.
Based mostly on these numbers alone, the XG Cell looks as if it’s price it. You get to hold a featherweight Ultrabook for gentle work, and whenever you wish to sport, you whip out the tiny XG Cell unit and plug it in. Win-win, proper? Perhaps.
Verdict: It’s priced excessive, however I believe it’s nonetheless price it
There are two variants of the XG Cell, and so they’re priced as follows:
- XG Cell GC31R: RTX 3070 8 GB – Rs 69,990
- XG Cell GC31S: RTX 3080 16 GB – Rs 1,39,990
I haven’t examined the 3070-powered variant of the XG Cell, however from my expertise testing laptops geared up with the 3070 and 3080, I can let you know proper now that there’s no means the 3080 is twice nearly as good because the 3070. At a excessive, I’d count on the efficiency distinction between the 2 to prime out at 20 %. In the event you’re shopping for, ignore the 3080 mannequin.
In the event you’re somebody in search of precisely the type of expertise the Movement X13 + XG Cell combo presents, I believe it’s price it. Personally, I’d relatively simply spend Rs 1.4 lakhs on the bulkier Zephyrus G15 than take care of the effort of an eGPU dock and requisite desk setup, however that’s simply me.
So far as eGPU options go, I believe Asus’ XG Cell is without doubt one of the less complicated, no-compromises, gamer-focused designs on the market.
I like what Asus is doing right here, and whereas I’m nonetheless not a fan of eGPUs on the whole, I can respect the design and engineering effort that went into making a system like XG Cell, and I hope to see extra such designs sooner or later.
Word: XG Cell is presently appropriate with the Movement X13 laptop computer solely. Asus tells me that they’re trying into increasing help for the interface within the close to future.
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