Will 2024 be the year of the eGPU? Open, caseless external graphics card dock goes on sale for $99 only — but you will need to have an OCuLink compatible device to benefit from it

Minisforum DEG1 eGPU
(Image credit: Minisforum)

2024 might just be the breakout year for external GPUs, especially with Minisforum's debut of the DEG1, one of the more affordable eGPU docks on the market.

Priced at $99, the DEG1 is designed to offer significant graphical performance enhancements for those with mini-PCs, handhelds, laptops, or other devices constrained by internal capacity.

Initially unveiled in May as an optional add-on for the Minisforum AtomMan X7 Ti mini PC, the DEG1 is now available for pre-order as a standalone device, with shipping expected by mid-August 2024. Its minimalist design and singular focus on providing an external GPU connection mean it doesn't double as a USB hub or port extender, which is a shame.

PSU required

The DEG1 boasts a fast OCuLink connection (so it will only work with devices that have an OCuLink port; there’s no support for Thunderbolt or USB4), providing up to 64 Gbps of bandwidth.

Thanks to its open-air design, it can accommodate even the largest GPUs, such as NVIDIA's RTX 4090 and AMD's RX 7900 XTX. The eGPU dock also features a signal amplifier to ensure stable video transmission from the CPU to the GPU.

One feature of the DEG1we like is its integration with the main power switch of the connected PC.

This means you don't have to worry about flipping multiple switches to turn your setup on or off. It's worth mentioning that the dock requires an external PSU, which isn't included. The DEG1 supports both ATX and SFX power supplies, and for optimal cable management, a modular power supply is recommended.

For users who have space constraints but need a powerful GPU setup, the DEG1 could be an excellent solution when paired with an entry-level or mid-range graphics card.

However, as Tom’s Hardware points out, “This niche product doesn’t make sense for most consumers who simply want a desktop gaming PC with a high-end GPU inside. After all, if you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a graphics card, why not just invest in a desktop PC that can accommodate the GPU of your dreams?”

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.