So, here’s a problem I face right now. Say you have a laptop, and it has a decent processor. The one I’m using to write this very article has a Core i7 in it. It likely supports a ton of RAM. Mine only has 4 right now, but I could shove more in there if I needed it. Sounds like a pretty good work laptop, right?
Here’s the problem. Intel Integrated Graphics. Those three words are enough to make any PC gamer shrivel up inside a little. It made this laptop super cheap, and it lets me type up fancy articles for websites like this fairly comfortably.
But what if I wanted to game on it? Well right now I have Doom, XCOM, Elder Scrolls, and Civilization installed. Well, Doom from 1993, the DOS version of XCOM, Elder Scrolls Morrowind, and Civilization III, and a bunch of emulators for older game consoles. See my problem? I have this decent processor, but without a good GPU, my gaming is stuck in the 90’s. Unfortunately, you can’t just upgrade your video card in a laptop like you can with a desktop.
Or can you? HP has a solution to my specific problem in the HP Omen eGPU. What is an eGPU? It’s basically an external caddy for a video card and external storage that temporarily turns a boring old work laptop into a gaming powerhouse. This idea isn’t new, but previous variations on this idea always ran into the bottleneck of external port bus speeds compared to the speed you get from connectors onboard. HP has solved this problem with USB – C Thunderbolt 3 technology. With this, you can put this wicked looking box next to your laptop, plug it in, and game with the best of them.
Review of OMEN Accelerator
But how much does it set you back? Around $300, which might be a breaking point for some of you. The entire point of this exercise is that your work laptop was cheap, and heaping another $300 on top of that could just buy you a laptop that would probably game on the go instead of locked to a desk. Plus, that cost doesn’t factor in the price of a desktop GPU, which you have to provide yourself. And on top of that, you have to have Thunderbolt 3, and most laptops with Thunderbolt 3 have decent GPUs already inside of them.
This is a product for a very niche problem. Say you just got a shiny new laptop from work you get to take home, and they cheaped out and got you a computer with Thunderbolt 3 but it has a crappy GPU. Well now instead of buying a dock for your home office, you can buy this and still get the ports and the external storage, but also get the option to get your game on. You could in theory also use it for graphics support related to 3D rendering if you are boring, but let’s be real, this thing is for those of us who want to game on the sly with your work machines. $300 isn’t too far from the cost of an option dock anyway, plus you get the option to upgrade your GPU to keep up with the Joneses.
For the vast majority of you, the HP Omen eGPU won’t give you a boost in performance that would make it worthwhile if you have the ports to use it. But for those of you that do, it’s not a bad way to get a little more out of your laptop if it can’t pump out graphics itself. As for me, I’m going to check and see if I have Thunderbolt 3 and maybe finally see what this Skyrim is everyone keeps talking about.