eGPU support?

I’m thinking about putting down a preorder, but I just have a question relating to the USB 4 ports. My current setup involved a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU dock, and I’d like to keep using it with the Framework Laptop. I know that thunderbolt branding can’t be used without certification, but USB 4 does include optional support for the Thunderbolt protocol. Does the Framework Laptop’s USB modules support the same feature set as Thunderbolt 3, specifically whatever parts allow eGPU use? And will there be any bandwidth restrictions, such as only supporting PCIE x2?

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I also came here to ask if eGPUs are a feasible possibility. It would be a killer feature!

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My Ordering of this laptop is directly dependent on if it will support eGPUs. If yes: here is my money. If No… ping me when it does.

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I don’t recall any updates on this but eGPU support is being looked into:

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I got a response on their Instagram saying that they had tested a few enclosures but that eGPUs in general should work. I didn’t ask about thunderbolt specifically but I would infer that is what they used as I know for sure they have tested a thunderbolt 2 encolusre. Hopefully they can announce soon that they are thunderbolt certified as I know many are waiting to hear that

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+1 for wanting a confirm on eGPU support, and if so what thunderbolt spec is supported (TB3 or TB4)

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the swappable ports are thunderbolt4 on the back end (though they can’t call it that yet because they need to get certified for it) and the usb-c module is just a straight passthrough, so yes thunderbolt egpu enclosures should work just fine. Its a major part of my use case as well so I had to do some research before I put my pre-order in, glad I still got in the first batch though!

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Is there any update on this? I’d like to order this laptop and use it for work/gaming. I need to know if it supports egpu usage.

@Matt_C @Shawn_Lewis Yes, eGPUs have been confirmed to work!

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How much of a performance loss (framerate etc) is incured using an eGpu vs the card in a normal PCIe x16 slot?

According to this post, it seems to be a consistent 20% loss with the use of an external monitor. If you only use the laptop’s internal monitor however, it can climb as high as 30% for stronger cards like the 1080Ti.

Keep in mind that this testing was done with GTX 1000s cards on the previous version of Thunderbolt (which is 3.) Framework seems to have Thunderbolt 4-like support even though Intel hasn’t officially certified it yet.

The 20% number seems to stick however, since people have gotten similar results when using RTX cards on Thunderbolt 4 laptops (like this person here who got around 7500 in the Time Spy benchmark vs the average of 8800.)

There’s not a lot of people trying out the latest GPUs with this setup though because of the shortage, so I don’t recommend going all-out on an eGPU setup quite yet without more research. If you have an older GTX GPU though, it might be worth looking into. (egpu.io is a great site if you DO want to keep digging.)

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I have Razer Core with NVidia 1060. I use it with Dell XPS 15 2017, Intel NUC-form-factored mini PC with TB3 and Asus laptop. All Intel based. Dell XPS 2017 is a disaster in terms of TB3, because idiots from Dell have only connected it with two PCI Express lanes (x2.3)( so it’s 2 times less throughput). The only reason I use eGPU with XPS 15 2017 – better thermals and lack of throttling( because of the poor Dell’s cooling system). Performance wise it’s really slow comparing to regular PCIe x16 usage, but better than built-in video card.
Surprisingly, with Intel NUC – the performance degradation using external monitor is just 12-15%. If I feed data back to NUC – I’m losing around 30%. Asus laptop with TB3 has ~20% speed degradation( comparing to the PCIe x16 setup) if using external monitor via eGPU and ~ 30-35% if I feed data back to laptop.
I believe the CPU family/generation impacts TB3/TB4 handling as well. Older CPUs and their chipsets are not really prepared for the constant high load from the TB3 interface. Also, e.g. Ice Lake 2019 + generations of the Intel CPUs have TB3 interfaces directly built into the CPU( e.g. Ice lake has 4 TB3 built-in). This is significantly better from the performance and stability perspective comparing to external chip from the ~2016-2017 models. :slight_smile:

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Best way to sum it up. If you don’t mind losing 20% it’s worth more than dealing with mobile-class GPUs!

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@gs1 @Shawn_Lewis
So guys, to make it more visible, I’ve spent some time and ran different tests with Razer Core( please, pay attention this is the first Core!!!) +NVidia 1060 in 2 modes: feeding content back via TB3 to internal frame.work display vs External Display connected to Razer Core.
The ratio is almost the same regardless of the GPU tests I run, so I will attach screenshots from the World of Tanks GPU Benchmark in Ultra settings and FullHD display resolution(60Hz).
Please find the score for the feeding video back via TB3 to internal frame.work display (14407):

And here are the results using External monitor connected via HDMI to Core(16146):

As you can see the difference is ~12.1%, external display option works significantly faster.
Please note, if I switch resolution to 2k or higher, the difference dramatically increases – e.g. it’s 17.4% for 2K( 2256*1504) resolution. Because you need to stream more data back to Frame.Work laptop via the shared TB3 connection.
JFYI, almost identical( the same CPU, RAM and exactly this 1060 GPU) desktop with the same monitor and FullHD resolution scores ~21000 in the same test. So it’s ~ 21% faster, because 1060 is plugged directly to the PCIe x16 instead of PCIx4 used by TB3( or PCIe x2 used by Dell’s TB3 on some laptops :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:).

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Also, if you want to know if there are any benefits using eGPU with 1060 over built-in XE, here are some other results of the GeekBench OpenCL test:


The same ratio with the Vulkan backend. As you can see good old NVidia 1060 connected via TB3 eGPU is still more than 2.45 times faster than newest shiny Intel XE!!!

Just to wrap it, guys, please find the results of the same World of Tanks test via Intel XE built-in GPU( the same ULTRA settings, the same resolution):


As you can see, it has scored only 5894. So it’s ~2.45 times slower than eGPU 1060 that feeds video back to the built-in display and ~ 2.74 times slower than eGPU 1060 connected to the external display!!! Can you imagine? Dusty 1060 via eGPU is multiple times faster than built-in new latest Intel XE GPU. :laughing:
The decision is yours… :wink:

I actually hate how bulky/heavy the Razer Core X is- gonna try my luck with the ADT-Link + Dell Charger eGPU combo

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@gs1 I have regular Core v1, even not v2. :laughing: One of the benefits is I can save on visits to the local gym – real heavy weight lifting exercises possible using this eGPU.
Jokes aside – if you have kids or pets, I would suggest with closed enclosure eGPUs. These tiny beasts always want to stick their fingers or nose or both inside. :laughing:

Have you tried this solution yet? I checked it out and it looks awesome for my GTX1080.

Once my Framework arrives I certainly will try this setup out and make a thread about it!