At 225 x 111 x 29.8 mm, the pocket-sized GPD G1 External Graphics Dock is probably only suitable if you have extremely large bags. But I’m willing to make oversized cargo shorts my entire look if it allows me to easily charge my compact 13-inch 2-in-1 laptop and turn it into something akin to a gaming laptop with this connected eGPU resembles.
This compact external GPU is powered by AMD’s Radeon RX 7600M XT. This is the best mobile chip from AMD’s 7000 generation so far, delivering a computing power of 21.4 TFLOPs.
How this affects gaming performance, Notebook Check tested the slightly slower RX 7600S and found that it can keep up with Nvidia’s mobile RTX 3060 chip. On the product page for GPD Win Max 2sold with the GPD G1, GPD says the eGPU will outperform an RTX 3070, but it’s not a direct comparison.
At the very least, we can expect a nice RTX 3060 or better performance from the 7600M XT if it’s not too limited by the compact body of the G1 dock.
The G1’s finish gives me hope for fairly decent temperatures, despite putting out 75-120 W for the 7600M XT. A 240W GaN power supply is included with the G1, so there are no problems. It’s possible the G1 will pull the GPU back a bit to prevent it from throttling too much, but as GPD notes, this dock is a co-development with AMD so ideally they’ll make the most of it.
The world’s exclusive pocket eGPU!#gpdg1 pic.twitter.com/9k9xMIlIW3May 19, 2023
The size of the dock shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the mainstream GPU, as the competing and only slightly larger ROG XG Mobile comes with two chunkier cards, the RX 6850M XT or the RTX 4090M.
We’ve got an AMD-powered XG Mobile on hand that measures 215 x 165 x 33mm. So it’s shorter than the G1, but wider and thicker. It also has an Ethernet port, which is surprisingly absent on the G1.
The G1 is packed with I/O: there are two DisplayPort 1.4a ports, an SD card reader, a single HDMI 2.1 port, three USB 3.2 Type A ports, an OCuLink port and USB4. Next to a power connection and an on/off switch.
You don’t see this OCuLink port every day. Despite having the worst brand name formatting known to man, it allows this eGPU to connect to laptops with the female OCuLink connector. OCuLink was developed by PCI-SIG many years ago as an alternative to Thunderbolt to extend PCIe connectivity outside of a device, but we haven’t seen much of it since.
GPD advertises a connection of up to 63Gbps over OCuLink, which is higher than I expected but makes sense when the port can provide four PCIe 4.0 lanes.
The obvious problem here, apart from formatting OCuLink, is that there aren’t many laptops on the market that support OCuLink. In fact, the GPD Win Max 2 is the only one I can think of with such a connector. You can actually buy adapters for M.2 slots that turn them into OCuLink ports, but that’s quite a niche and not much help for a laptop. Deployment on the G1 will definitely be fairly limited.
TipsThe GPD G1 will be crowdfuning soon, so don’t worry, you can also order a separate G1 from this campaign. pic.twitter.com/jkLxaVMXqFMay 12, 2023
The alternative on the G1 is to use the USB4 port, which has a lot in common with Thunderbolt as it can deliver between 20 and 40 Gbps. Not only is this fairly common on modern laptops, but the USB4 connection lets you use all of the G1’s USB-A ports and SD card reader, while OCuLink doesn’t. GPD has confirmed that you can connect any laptop with a compatible USB4 port to the docking station, so this will likely be the connection of choice for most.
GPD has confirmed it will be selling the G1 separately in the future, but like everything GPD has to offer, this will be via an Indiegogo campaign. As with crowdfunding, there is some risk involved, but GPD has released most of its products this way. You can also order a G1 alongside the Win 2 Max laptop today if you want the full package.