Question Laptop for [Home] Gaming and the Road

Jan 30, 2021
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Greetings,

Have a question for the experts here. I'm about to take a new military assignment, in another part of the U.S., and my family will remain where they are now. I have a good desktop computer,, between the travel to and from home, as well as the travel for the assignment, I'm in the market for a good laptop.

I like to do some good gaming when home (and that will keep me out of trouble too, away from the family), but I don't necessarily need a lot of horsepower when i'm traveling, or at home visiting (2X times a month, or so).

Therefore, I was thinking about a gaming laptop with an eGPU (and Thunderbolt dock) so that I have power (hooked up to a large monitor) at the home, and a good enough system for the road.

What are people's thoughts on this? What is the minimum I'd want in a system (CPU, graphics card, memory. SSD) knowing that I can add to the hard drive space with an external attached to a good eGPU?

I was looking at the Razer systems, with the Core Choma eGPU, but am open to suggestons for other systems. With the Razer, am I OK getting a system from last year (cheaper), or should I get one of the new ones, and with which internal GPU (knowing I can add on with the eGPU card too).

I've also looked at Alienware and Asus.

My budget is about $3K, without another graphics card (which I can add later on) - I need to get the computer by mid-March as I'll be traveling for 6 weeks in April and May, and need something for the road now, before I actually move.

Appreciate the input.
 
Don't get an e-gpu right now.

Most e-gpus are using thunderbolt 3 (4 is the same sadly), meaning pci-e gen 3x4
which is actually quite a bottleneck for any modern mid/high-end card.
The strongest card that might not get bottlenecked by it would be a gtx 1080ti/rtx 2060 super.
It's almost certain that in a generation or 2 we will have thunderbolt 5, or atleast a way to get pcie gen 4 on thunderbolt, but that is not today, so get a laptop with a good gpu in it.

If you really want just an all round good machine, a zephyrus G-14 from asus is very good, but actually has more cpu than gpu muscle, so for gaming you might want to pick something like the Aorus(gigabyte) Aero 15 with the new rtx 3070 or Aero 15G with the 3080.
Razer also has lot of laptops with the rtx 30 series, but be ready to pay a premium for those puppies.
 
Jan 30, 2021
2
0
10
0
Don't get an e-gpu right now.

Most e-gpus are using thunderbolt 3 (4 is the same sadly), meaning pci-e gen 3x4
which is actually quite a bottleneck for any modern mid/high-end card.
The strongest card that might not get bottlenecked by it would be a gtx 1080ti/rtx 2060 super.
It's almost certain that in a generation or 2 we will have thunderbolt 5, or atleast a way to get pcie gen 4 on thunderbolt, but that is not today, so get a laptop with a good gpu in it.

If you really want just an all round good machine, a zephyrus G-14 from asus is very good, but actually has more cpu than gpu muscle, so for gaming you might want to pick something like the Aorus(gigabyte) Aero 15 with the new rtx 3070 or Aero 15G with the 3080.
Razer also has lot of laptops with the rtx 30 series, but be ready to pay a premium for those puppies.
Thanks for the information - that makes a lot of sense.

Follow on question - if/when a new eGPU comes out, that still won't be a solution because the Thunderbolt port on the actual laptop will be limited still, right?

I guess that my solution would be to just get a good 15" (no bigger for me, as I have a good external monitor) laptop and a regular Thunderbolt dock.

I see that the Zephyrus has a G115 as well, with the 3080 series cards. Do you recommend ASUS over Razer?

Understand the price is high for these, but it will be daily use at home and on the road, so I guess going for something high end that will last me without upgrade for 3ish years is the way to go.
 
Thanks for the information - that makes a lot of sense.

Follow on question - if/when a new eGPU comes out, that still won't be a solution because the Thunderbolt port on the actual laptop will be limited still, right?

I guess that my solution would be to just get a good 15" (no bigger for me, as I have a good external monitor) laptop and a regular Thunderbolt dock.

I see that the Zephyrus has a G115 as well, with the 3080 series cards. Do you recommend ASUS over Razer?

Understand the price is high for these, but it will be daily use at home and on the road, so I guess going for something high end that will last me without upgrade for 3ish years is the way to go.
I personally don't have much experience with laptops, especially not razer (not for sale where I live.) But from reviews, razer's laptop are nice to use with a good keyboard and trackpad, but still very expensive and probably not that much better.
 
I constantly read about heat issues with gaming laptops.
Of necessity, laptop coolers are small and light, but not very efficient.
Under gaming loads a strong gpu and cpu will heat up causing throttling.
There is no solution but to lower performance.

My suggestion would be to buy a less than top of the line unit.
An excellent unit is the thinkpad x1 extreme 15" unit.
It comes with a GTX1650 maxQ discrete graphics.
You can customize it and select many different 10th gen processors which are relatively efficient.
I would not select one with a zillion threads that you likely do not need.
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-x1/ThinkPad-X1-Extreme-Gen-3/p/22TP2X1X1E3
 

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