GPD is a familiar name for anyone who loves to tinker with tiny gaming machines. The Shenzen-based company made its name on emulation-friendly devices like the Android-based GPD XD, before moving on to Windows-based designs like the GPD Pocket mini laptop or the GPD Win 4, a Steam Deck competitor. But the company’s newest design is a horse of a different color. It’s a tiny external GPU that can punch up the graphics of any laptop or Windows-powered portable device.
GPD is calling it the G1, and like most of its other hardware, it’s starting with a crowdfunding campaign. (Normally we don’t cover crowdfunded projects, but GPD has proven its ability to deliver with dozens of devices). The gadget hides an AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT, a laptop GPU, inside its sleek aluminum housing. The GPD G1 uses a dedicated eGPU port called Oculink, a PCI-based standard supported on GPD’s mini-gaming devices and some competitors. But crucially, it also supports USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 (backwards compatible to Thunderbolt 3), which means it’ll work with most of the laptops on the market right now.
The G1 also works as a more general portable dock, including an HDMI 2.1 port, double DisplayPort, triple USB 3.2 type A ports, and a full-sized SD card reader. The semi-proprietary laptop power cable is a bit of a bummer, but a small price to pay for such a compact and useful little gadget. Devices with both Oculink and Thunderbolt 4 (like GPD’s WinMax2) can maximize the gadget’s throughput for external devices and GPU-powered video. At a bit under nine inches wide and 1.2 inches thick, it should be easy enough to throw into a laptop bag or a suitcase. Just don’t try to stuff it in there — the 240-watt internal power supply needs active cooling.
The mobile GPU inside the G1 means it can’t be upgraded like desktop-style eGPUs. That makes it something like the Asus ROG XG Mobile, which offers a lot more power with the latest RTX 4090 mobile card inside. (GPD says the RG 7600M XT can meet or beat a desktop RTX 3070, for what it’s worth). But there are two crucial differences: One, the Asus eGPU only works with a handful of Asus gaming laptops and tablets thanks to a proprietary connection. And two, the GPD G1 will probably cost a lot less than Asus’ $2,000 starting point.
How much, exactly? GPD isn’t saying yet. But Liliputing reports on an earlier rumor that pegs the mobile dock at about $700, presumably with a pre-order discount via the Indiegogo campaign, currently in preview.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.