Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 Hub lets you use an External GPU with a Laptop


When it comes to portable gaming on a laptop, we are always limited by our laptop’s power efficiency. Since laptops are designed to run on a limited power source, most of their hardware are also built to operate with low power consumption. This is the reason why that two identical hardware from a PC and laptop always have a huge performance difference.
All the advertisements that you’ve seen about high end gaming laptops are just marketing gimmicks. A laptop based GPU will never be able to provide the same performance as a PC based GPU and this is why I have never recommend laptops to my friends and relatives who wanted to do a lot of gaming.
Fortunately, this is going to change soon. Intel has demoed an interesting piece of technology at Computex 2015 that enables laptop users to power their laptop with an external PCI-e based graphic card. Thus boosting the gaming overall performance on a Laptop.
Power by Thunderbolt 3, the device is an PCI-e based extension hub that allows you to hook a dedicated GPU and harness it’s power to play graphically demanding games on your laptop. 
Before we move ahead let me give you a brief introduction of Thunderbolt 3 and what it is capable of.

In June at Computex 2015, Intel unveiled Thunderbolt™ 3 – The USB-C that does it all. Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt™ to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all – delivering the fastest, most versatile connection to any dock, display, or data device.  

So Thunderbolt 3 is  essentially a supercharged version of USB-C with double the bandwidth, i.e. 40 Gbps. What you see in the below picture is an thunderbolt 3 based hub that encloses a AMD Radeon R9 M385 GPU. The hub has three USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports, two DisplayPorts, external audio, and Ethernet. 
The above hub is capable of powering two 4k displays while charging the laptop and powering all the USB devices at the same time.
But that’s not all of it, the above device is just a entry level hub. For those who need more processing power, they can use the second thunderbolt 3 hub show below. This thunderbolt 3 based hub houses a full-size AMD R9 200 series graphics card, which will be able to run any game you throw at with decent fps at 1080p resolution.
However at the moment, these products are all reference designs. Intel is tight lipped on whether these products will ever be available for sale or not. Thunderbolt 3 is expected to arrive in the market by the end of this year and I am definitely sure that, even if Intel doesn’t launch the above devices first, there will be some Chinese manufacturers who will come up first with this device.
last but not the least, you need to know that, this is not the first time we have seen such a piece of hardware. There are similar hardware already available in the market, but what they lacked was the power of thunderbolt 3. With thunderbolt 3, we can clearly assume that USB based external GPU adapters are going to be common in the coming days.
Image Source: Gizmodo and Intel

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