External GPU vs Max-Q GPU for mobile Enscape use

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  • External GPU or New laptop 1

    1. External RTX 2080 (0) 0%
    2. New laptop RTX 2080 Max-Q (1) 100%

    I'm looking for an alternative to lugging around our most powerful desktop PC to client presentations. I'm looking at laptops with new RTX cards but most have the "Max-Q" variation which means slimmer laptops but with a loss in performance compared to the RTX cards for desktops.


    Alternatively, I can buy an external GPU enclosure for one of our Dell XPS laptops that have thunderbolt 3 port and use a full RTX card. I understand both are not as good as a desktop setup with an RTX card but does anyone have any recommendations on what would be the better mobile setup?


    As we already have the XPS laptop, the external GPU would be cheaper, but does anyone have any experience with External GPUs running enscape? We push enscape pretty hard with complex revit models and present on 4k displays so performance is important.


    Thanks in advance!

    • Official Post

    mark8848 , I had a look at this article here and if I'm understanding everything correctly, it seems that even a MaxQ GPU should give better performance compared to a non-MaxQ eGPU. But, I cannot say how big of a performance difference you'd have when it comes to Enscape regarding using a MaxQ GPU vs the eGPU. The opinions regarding using a MaxQ GPU vs a dedicated non-MaxQ eGPU seem to be a bit conflicting so it's hard to say.


    Maybe you'll somehow have the chance to try both setups if you find a store with a decent return policy? :)

    • Official Post

    To add my two cents, all I can say is we're receiving reports from users from time to time stating that they experience issues with external graphics cards in general. I have no statistics available, but maybe some forum users have made their own experiences? In any way, Demian's recommendation to test both if possible sounds reasonable.

  • I can share some experience.


    We started with adding some eGPUs to Dell 5510s. Only 2 lane thunderbolt, but it worked. Provided a single cable dock solution when paired with Razer Core v2


    Next went to the new XPS 15” with 1050 maxq. Works okay as a standalone work station for light duty enscape work. Not a VR headset solution.


    I have now deployed 3 Razer 15” advanced with the 2070 - maxqs. Been very happy with these so far as a upgrade to the XPS 15s. Not an insignificant cost premium but has removed the eGpu from the equation. 2 of the users are using dual 4k monitors at their workstation, running directly off the laptop. The other is on a 38” ultrawide. Nice thing with the Razers is they have way more usb ports than the XPS. Have not yet tried to Rift on the Razer 15s.


    Thunderbolt and eGPUs have proven to be mostly reliable, but occasionally they can be flaky. Id say we have about 6 workstations still using them. Biggest annoyance by far - unplug the dock while Revit is open and Revit will crash with no chance to save.


    Feel free to PM me with any specific questions.

  • My recommendation is to ditch the laptops and build a fully capable desktop using a Dan case or other small case.


    The Dan case is smaller than a Razer Core V2 or Core X and it can hold a full size graphic card (RTX 2080, etc)

    https://www.dan-cases.com/dana4.php


    You can then pair this with a USB C external screen, compac keyboard/mouse combo and travel with not technical limitations to your Enscape or VR needs.


    The T1 case is even more interesting that the Dan case, but it is not fully available yet:

    https://www.sfflab.com/


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