Question Advice on External GPU for a Gaming Laptop ?


Mar 29, 2022
Hi. I have an Alienware M17 R1 (2019 OLED Edition) with current specs:
i7 8750H (with Intel UHD 630)
RTX 2070MQ (90w)
16GB (2x8GB) 2667mhz RAM -[Plan to upgrade to max supported which is: 2x 16GB 3200mhz]
Samsung 970 Evo Plus (250GB + 1TB) SSD [Not sure of max Supported storage - could share motherboard detail if it will help]
Killer AC 1550 Wireless (with Wired Ethernet support)

Generally Idle performance averages around:
CPU: 3.9Ghz - 4.1Ghz at around 50 - 55 degrees
GPU (2070): 0% - 20% usage at around 40 - 50 degrees

Gaming/Under load:
CPU: 3.7Ghz - 2.9Ghz (really depends on what's running) at around 80 - 95 degrees
GPU (2070): (usage depends on what is used so Minecraft might use about 50% - 100% usage but Forza Horizon 4 normally uses 40% - 70% usage - Ultra Settings Quality) at around 55 - 65 degrees

There isn't much it can't run but a lot of games that demand 3D performance or are very CPU intensive for games more often cause CPU bottlenecks however I've also found that sometimes I've had to cut back on GPU quality settings on some games (normally no lower than the Medium Preset on games like Wreckfest). However, I have heard that Laptop hardware is generally "weaker" than a similarly specced desktop PC so if I got an External GPU (like a 3060ti or similar) for around the £300 - £500 price range would this benefit my laptops performance enough to be considered "worth it" ?
[Do note I do intend to buy a desktop PC soon - Parts list for desktop build below:]
Laptop hardware is weaker yes due to the power and thermal constraints, the PC market has also moved on a lot since you bought your machine.

My two cents would be it's probably not worth it on the basis the CPU will limit what you will get out of it and in my mind the 2070 Max Q is already fairly decent.
Depends on how fast your Thunderbolt port is, some halve the bandwidth if you use the inbuilt monitor.
I believe the OP's laptop has Alienware's proprietary graphics port which if I remmber correctly is 30 Gbit/s wired directly to the CPU.

Given the bandwidth and CPU limitations and the fact it's not a weak internal GPU I can't see it being worth the expense.
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