Razer Core X review: The easiest eGPU option out there

Razer Core X
  • Razer Core X
  • Razer Core X
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • 3-slot support
  • Beefier power supply

Cons

  • No Chroma
  • Won't work with all laptops

Bottom Line

If you’re the kind of person who can honestly consider the external GPU life a good fit for them, the Razer Core X holds up as one of the most-reliable, mass-market options out there.

Would you buy this?

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The Pitch

The last time I bought a laptop for gaming, the ceiling on performance was so low it all but ensured I’d need to start looking at junking it in favor of a desktop a year later. Two, at most. These days, things are very, oft-mindbogglingly, different.

Aside from the GPU, building a decent desktop PC has never been easier or more-affordable. Then, if you’ve got the cash to splash, the range of ultra-portable, Nvidia-powered Max-Q gaming laptops continue to grow. Pairing up a already-powerful workstation with an external GPU enclosure like the Razer Core X is another avenue still.

A follow-up to the previous Razer Core and Razer Core V2, the pitch here is essentially the same but the execution more comprehensive and polished. If you’re looking to buy an external GPU, it’s hard to think of a better place to start.

Specs

Dimensions: 168 mm x 374 mm x 230 mm                        

GPU support: Up to 3-Slot wide, full-length, PCI-Express x16 graphics cards

Ports: USB Type-C

Power supply: 650W power supply

Price: $469

Design & Performance

Razer have designed the Razer Core X to be about as plug and play as these things get, and it delivers on that intent handily.

Once unboxed, you simply turn the handle at the back-end of the enclosure and the internal frame of the things slides right out. The Razer Core X supports PCI-Express x16 graphics cards up to 3-slots wide, and slotting them into the unit is more-or-less an identical process to what you’d experience with a regular desktop PC. From there, all you need it is a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 port with external graphics support.

Credit: Razer

Razer guarantee the Core X will work with their own Razer Blade Stealth, Razer Blade, and Razer Blade Pro laptops - but beyond that you’ll have to check with your OEM of choice to work out if your workstation features the requisite support. The list here is by no means exhaustive - but with Thunderbolt 3 and USB type-C ports becoming closer and closer to the norm, it’s all but certain to grow over time. The Razer Core X will even play nice with MacOS users.

Assuming your laptop also uses USB-Type C for power, the Razer Core X also allows you to neatly consolidate on your cable-situation by running the power supply through the enclosure and then onto your laptop. This is a small detail but it does act as a nice counterweight to the extra desk-space that the Core X itself takes up.

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In terms of how it compares to its predecessors, the Core X features a beefier power supply and better GPU support than the previous Core V2. However, it does lose the integration with Razer’s Chroma lighting ecosystem found in the latter.

Credit: Razer

When it comes down to it, there’s too many variables for us to sketch out an accurate picture of the impact or improvement that the Razer Core X will have on the everyday gaming experience. The CPU and RAM in your laptop matter, as will your choice of external GPU and whatever game you happen to be using the Core X to play.

Still, in our experience, we found that the Razer Core X allowed us to smoothly experience a ton of graphically-demanding VR content and modern gaming experiences that a Razer Blade Stealth ordinarily would be unable to deliver upon. GPU-intensive titles like Elite: Dangerous and Kingdom Come: Deliverance ran smoothly and without issue on the highest-graphical settings possible.

[Related Content: Four Alternatives To Cherry MX Switches]

The Bottom Line

External GPU enclosures still feel like a pretty niche option, but the Razer Core X does a ton of work making them more accessible and compelling than they used to be. It’s not going to be the right fit for everyone. However, if you’re the kind of person who can honestly consider the external GPU life a good fit for them, the Razer Core X holds up as one of the most-reliable, no-fuss,mass-market options out there.

Credit: Razer

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Read more on these topics: Razer Core X, Razer Core, eGPU
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