Laptop with external GPU support for gaming, ~$1000


May 22, 2016
> 1. What is your budget?
Ideally under $1000, since I'd need to be purchasing a dock/adapter of some kind as well. Willing to go over a bit for something exceptional that'll remain relevant longer.

> 2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14" or larger. Ultrabooks are a bit too small for me to use comfortably.

> 3. What screen resolution do you want?
1080p or higher.

> 4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Already have a beefy 980ti SLI setup at home so I'm primarily looking for something that'll allow me to play games comfortably while travelling while still remaining reasonably portable. 17" is fine, but not if it's a super heavy/bulky monster. I'm quite happy with the weight/form factor of my HP Envy 17 even if it's a bit hard to use on a plane.

> 5. How much battery life do you need?
Not a huge concern. A few hours while not gaming is fine.

> 6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Yes; primarily Final Fantasy XIV, Rocket League, Overwatch, and the occasional new release. A solid 60fps@1080p is more important than the settings; my current 4 year old HP Envy 17 can only play these games at sub 1080p resolutions and 25-45fps which is tough to stomach coming from my 144hz@1440p desktop.

I'm very interested in something that would work with an external GPU dock; see the end of the post.

> 7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Web/mobile app development and occasional photo editing.

> 8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Not a huge concern as long as it's not so tiny that I can't fit Windows, Visual Studio, and a game or two on it. Most of my media/work files are on external disks.

> 9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Don't care.

> 10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
4-5 years. Interested in using a GPU dock to allow it to keep playing newer games reasonably comfortably years down the line.

> 11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Ideally it wouldn't even have one because I'll never use it.

> 12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Don't care.

> 13. What country do you live in?
United States.

> 14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I am particularly interested in something that will allow me to use an external GPU dock of some kind. I have a spare Radeon 7970 lying around and I'd love to be able to use it with this laptop, and a GPU dock would mean that in a few years I could buy a used GTX 970 or 1070 or something and keep playing games comfortably on the same machine. As a result, a powerful, reasonably future-proof CPU is much more important to me than a beefy discrete GPU if the laptop supports an eGPU.

Suggestions for docks are welcome as well. I have a couple spare PSUs lying around which might allow me to use a cheap adapter or something but that would certainly be less portable than a proper dock.

I've looked into the Razer Blade Stealth but even though the Razer Core dock looks very cool, 12" is just a bit too small and $1500 for the laptop and the dock together is a little steep. It's a consideration, but I'm looking for other options.


My best suggestion is to save up a bit until you can afford something like an alienware 17 R3 as it supports external graphics support if I am not mistaken.

I personally don't know of any laptop under $1000 that does this.


May 22, 2016
Perhaps a full blown dock is out of the question then. What about a more DIY solution that would work with a PCIe adapter through mPCIe or even ExpressCard? Messier and less portable, but if it saves me $400+ dollars on something that supports a Thunderbolt enclosure (not to mention the enclosure itself) then I don't think I'll be too heartbroken.

In this case I'd be looking for something with a 1080p display, a decent CPU, and some interface through which to connect the GPU, be it mPCIe or ExpressCard.
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