You’re just not going to get a top of the line video card in a laptop unless you plan to drop a few thousand dollars on a machine. There might not seem like there’s a good way around that; however, you can actually cheap out on a laptop and still get some good graphical performance if you don’t mind purchasing an external graphics card. With an adapter, you can quickly upgrade your laptop’s graphical capabilities with a video card intended for desktops. You’ll be able to easily play games on “High,” if not “Extreme” settings. Not to even mention the upgraded performance in rendering you would see in tasks like video editing and others.
That said, today we’re going to be showing you the best external graphics card for your laptop. Before we get started, make sure you pick up an external video card adapter in order to make these desktop cards work with your laptop. With that out of the way, let’s dive right in, shall we?
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060
The first graphics card that we’re looking at sits in number five position on our countdown — Gigabyte’s very own GeForce GTX 1060 card. If you want a top video card for your laptop, this will be right in your wheelhouse. You’ll have no problem doing some high-end gaming at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Not to mention the performance that you’ll get in video editing and 3D modeling applications. Built on NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture, this is also one of the video cards that comes out of the box as a VR-ready card. This one actually comes in two different memory variants — you have options for 3GB and 6GB, with the latter being most ideal for detailed textures in games.
MSI Radeon RX 470 Gaming
AMD makes some pretty neat cards as well, and in recent years, they’ve gotten a whole lot better than they used to be. That said, MSI’s Radeon RX 470 Gaming card is an excellent choice for gaming and working alike. This one comes with a massive 8GB of on-board vRAM, which makes for better performance and efficiency when delivering high-end textures. This card will have no problem tackling high-end games and software, that’s for sure. Heat stays away pretty well, too. This actually uses MSI’s Twin Frozr VI Cooling System, which actively dissipates heat with two fans. This one comes as Crossfire ready.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
ASUS has their own variant of the GeForce GTX 1060, and boy, is it a powerhouse. So much so that this one actually comes with a triple fan design, which works double time to keep heat far away from the pain points of the video card.
ASUS has actually been able to get more performance out of this card than GIGABYTE was able to in their model, and has even surpassed what NVIDIA was able to do in their reference card. You won’t have any trouble with gaming or work tasks with this card, that’s for sure. On top of that, it comes with two HDMI ports, which supports a dual-monitor setup no problem, though that’s kind of a moot point with a laptop.
MSI GeForce GTX 1060
In second place, we have MSI’s very own GeForce GTX 1060. This one comes equipped with a whole 6GB of GDDDR5 memory, which again, is great to get detailed textures out of games, as well as meet the demanding requirements of intensive software. You’ll have no problem throwing this particular card under a heavy load, as it comes with MSI’s own Torz 2.0 fans for efficient cooling. It also comes with MSI’s proprietary Twin Frozr VI , which works to keep your video card at optimal temp levels during intensive gaming.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060
Finally, and coming up as our number one choice on our list, EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1060 is one that is no slouch. This one is actually one of the more compact cards out there, so it won’t take up too much space on the desktop or in the adapter. It’s neat because it’s versatile in that you could easily switch it over to a Mini-ITX case if you ever wanted to. It does have a single fan design, so you won’t get as much cooling capability.
Here we’ve shown you five of the best video cards that you can use externally for a laptop. Any one of these will not only bring your gaming capabilities to the next level, but will offer you top performance in other video-demanding tasks, such as 3D modeling, video editing, and more. Many of these are able to be overclocked for increased performance as well. You’ll just need to make sure you have that adapter to make one of these video cards work with your laptop!
Do you have a favorite external graphics card? Let us know what it is in the comments section below — we’d love to hear from you!