This weird way of turbocharging a laptop hooks up an Nvidia RTX 3090 via an SSD slot

Koshin Air with RTX 3090
(Image credit: PC Watch / Koshin)

An intrepid modder has managed to hook up an Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card to a laptop by connecting it to the notebook’s M.2 slot, which is designed to play host to an SSD, not a GPU.

This feat was achieved by an employee of Chinese firm Koshin, which is a subsidiary of Lenovo, and it results in a fully functional system capable of coping with some serious gaming – like running Cyberpunk 2077 ‘smoothly’ with ray tracing turned on.

As spotted by PC Watch, the modder showed off this setup using a Koshin Air 14 laptop powered by a Ryzen 5 4600 U processor.

The M.2 NVMe SSD was taken out of the notebook, to allow the RTX 3090 to be connected to the laptop using an M.2 to PCIe adapter cable (with the small matter of requiring a hole to be cut in the underside of the laptop chassis to run the cable out to the GPU).

Then there was the problem of powering this external graphics card, of course, and to do that, the RTX 3090 had to be hooked up to a desktop PSU (650W model), making this, shall we say, a less than elegant looking solution.

The performance achieved is impressive, though, as we mentioned, but obviously not at the same level as you’d get with the 3090 in a desktop PC.

Impractical corner

In the end, while this is a largely impractical endeavor, it’s an interesting piece of tech wizardry nonetheless (albeit not the first time this kind of solution has been implemented – though it is the first time we’ve seen it).

Normally, the way you’d hook up an RTX 3090 (or other graphics card) with a laptop would be as an external GPU in an enclosure via a Thunderbolt connector, which is obviously a much easier way to go.

The M.2 slot method is a cool idea, theoretically offering performance benefits above Thunderbolt 3 – assuming you can get it all to work okay – but the main stumbling block is that we would definitely not recommend you start cutting holes in your laptop yourself, for obvious reasons.

Via Tom’s Hardware

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).