These are the best external GPU enclosures for your Laptop in 2022

These are the best external GPU enclosures for your Laptop in 2022

Buying the best external GPU enclosures for your laptop can be crucial to boosting the overall performance of the machine, be it for gaming or for improving the render speeds in Premiere Pro. The external GPU enclosure, as the name suggests, holds an external desktop graphics card and also provides power for it. These enclosures allow you to get all the horsepower and graphics capabilities of powerful desktop graphics even while using a thin and light laptop.

External GPUs are becoming more common now, especially as the faster Thunderbolt USB-C is becoming a standard connection interface on laptops. A few of these external GPU units also use proprietary connectors, but we recommend buying the ones with a standard interface that allows you to use them with different laptops. Some of these eGPU cases that we’ve mentioned in this collection also double as external mounts for SDDs and HDDs, so that’s a great way to add more storage to your existing laptop if you’re falling short.

There’s no shortage of external GPU enclosures on the market, so let’s get started with our collection of the best eGPU enclosures you can buy right now:

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Best overall external GPU enclosure: Razer Core X Chroma

A image of a gaming setup with a Razer Core X Chrome external GPU unit connected to a laptop and an external monitor

The Razer Core X Chroma is arguably the best external GPU enclosure you can buy for your laptop right now. We’ve selected this particular unit as our best overall external GPU enclosure for a lot of reasons. It offers what we think is a beautiful yet functional design to occupy even the newest GPUs on the market. The exterior of the enclosure is made out of CNC aluminum and it’s a single piece with no seam. The vented side panel not only allows you to see GPU that’s installed in the unit but also allows the hot air to exit the enclosure, thereby helping the overall cooling performance.

It won’t be a Razer product without some RGB lights, right? Well, the Razer Core X Chroma comes with lighting in small doses. There’s an RGB light strip on the front of the unit that can be customized using Razer’s Synapse software. This strip is illuminated by 15 zones of RGB lighting which looks stunning when powered on. You can also see the light through the side vents where the GPU itself is installed. The GPU lighting, if it has any, is also visible through this vent.

The Razer Core X Chroma is fairly simple to use. All you have to pull the internal compartment from the back using a lever. This makes the overall process simple and less time consuming as compared to the ones that require dismantling the enclosure by undoing screws. The GPU plugs into the PCIe slot with a single thumbscrew to support it in the back. The Razer Core X Chroma should have no issues accepting even a 3-slot card. The enclosure supports up to that are 330mm long, 160mm tall, and 60 in thickness. The Razer Core X Chroma is compatible with even the newer RTX 30 series GPUs, which is nice for those looking to get their hands on some of the best graphics cards on the market.

The Razer Core X Chroma also has an internal 120mm fan to circulate the air. This is in addition to the fan in the power supply, so you should have no issues keeping the thermal performance of this external GPU enclosure in check. The fins on the front of the unit, however, are just for show. It’s a solid piece and no air comes through this panel. Even though the side panel has air vents, we’d love to see some vents on this front panel too for better airflow.

The Razer Core X Chroma comes with a handful of ports at the back. You get four USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a gigabit Ethernet jack. Other external GPU enclosure units have a better port selection, but this isn’t a bad selection either. These ports should be enough to connect an external monitor along with a bunch of peripherals like the keyboard, mouse, USB-driven headphones, and more. The Razer Core X Chroma also packs a 700W ATX PSU to power everything on its own.

Overall, we think the Razer Core X Chroma is fantastic eGPU enclosure that works as advertised. You can also buy the standard variant of the enclosure if don’t like flashy RGB lights or if you simply want to save some money on this unit. The standard variant of the Razer Core X enclosure is available in both black and white variants, so pick the one that goes well with your overall setup.

    Razer Core X Chroma External GPU enclosure
    The Razer Core X Chroma is one of the best external GPU enclosures you can buy right now. It's got RGB lights and it's compatible with even some of the newer GPUs on the market including the RTX 30 series and the Radeon 6000 series GPUs.

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Second-best overall eGPU enclosure: Mantiz Saturn Pro

An image showing three Mantiz Saturn Pro eGPU8 unit with a desk at the back

The Mantiz Saturn Pro is our second best pick for the best eGPU enclosure you can buy right now. It’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing enclosures on this list and it packs a lot of great features, making it one of the best eGPU enclosures on the market. The Mantiz Saturn Pro follows the footsteps of its predecessor with aluminum construction and clean aesthetics. The Mantiz Saturn Pro will have absolutely no issues blending into most setups with its minimal looks. It’s a great fit for most setups compared to something like the Razer Core X Chroma.

One thing we know a lot of people will appreciate is the lack of any RGB lights on the Mantiz Saturn Pro. You get to choose between three anodized finishes — Silver, Grey, and black — and none of them RGB lights. That being said, it’s relatively bigger in size, so you might need more space to accommodate it on your desk. You can access the internals of this particular unit by pulling the internal chamber from the back. It’s very similar to how you access the chamber inside the Razer Core X eGPU enclosure.

Inside, you get an 80+ Gold 750W single-rail unit that’s capable of providing 100W upstream Power Delivery and a max 550W to the graphics card. This is the highest-output PSW in an eGPU enclosure, compared to the 650/700W units in other enclosures like the Core X. It also has a 3x 6+2 pin PCIe power cable, with which you can mount even the most demanding graphics cards on the market including an RTX 3090 and beyond. There’s also enough space inside the chassis a hold a monstrous card like 3090.

One of the best things about the Mantiz Saturn Pro is that it comes with two 120mm fans inside the chassis for keeping the internal temperatures in check. They’re both stacked side-by-side with one of them being the PSU fan. The other unit is tasked to draw the heat away from the GPU itself, and it throws hot away from the back of the GPU. The PSU also has a fan-off mode for quiet operation, which is a nice touch. There’s also enough space in the chassis for a 2.5″ drive bracket for your SATA drive. It sits on top of the enclosure cooling fan mount and can be removed very easily if you don’t need it.

The Mantiz Saturn Pro doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the ports selection. It comes with up to five USB ports, 1x SATA, and an ethernet jack. Additionally, the Mantiz Saturn Pro also comes with an SD card reader, making it the only eGPU enclosure on this collection to have one. It’s perfect for content creators to quickly transfer photos and videos from their camera to the laptop and get started with editing. This is a great feature to have as more laptops don’t come with an SD card reader nowadays.

Overall, we think the Mantiz Saturn Pro is one of the best eGPU enclosures you can buy right now. It’s definitely worth considering over the Razer Core X if you’re not really into the flashy aesthetics of the Core X and want a functional eGPU unit with minimal aesthetics for your setup.

    Mantiz Saturn Pro eGPU enclosure
    The Mantiz Saturn Pro is a minimal-looking eGPU enclosure that comes with a ton of great features, making it one of the best enclosures on this list. It comes with two internal fans and space for a storage drive mount too.

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Best eGPU enclosure with included GPU: Gigabyte Aorus Gaming Box

An Aorus eGPU unit with RGB lights on the front sitting on a white background

While most external graphics card enclosures will ask you to bring your own GPUs, a few options on the market come pre-installed with one. The Gigabyte Aorus Gaming box is one such unit and we think it deserves a spot in our collection of the best external GPU enclosures on the market. Gigabyte has a couple of variants of this eGPU enclosure on offer. There’s a variant that comes with an RTX 3080 GPU and another one with an RTX 3080 Ti GPU pre-installed. Both RTX 3080 and the RTX 3080 Ti are two of the most powerful GPUs on the market, so we think you can’t go wrong with either of them.

Notably, Gigabyte is using its water-cooled RTX 3080 GPUs dubbed “Waterforce” inside the enclosure. This means you’re bound to get the best performance with this gaming box. Similar to most other eGPU units on the market, the Gigabyte gaming box also uses Thunderbolt 3.0 to connect to your laptop. This makes it a universal eGPU unit that can be connected to any notebook with support for Thunderbolt 3. We recommend buying eGPUs with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity as opposed to ones that have a proprietary connector.

The Gigabyte Gaming box eGPU also comes with a bunch of ports at back to further expand the port selection of your laptop. You get three USB Type-A ports, two HDMI outputs, and three DisplayPort with which it’ll be easy for you to connect any external monitor with the eGPU, be it for gaming or content creation. Notably, you also get an Ethernet slot which is great if your laptop doesn’t come with one already.

Furthermore, the Gigabyte Gaming box also supports Power Delivery to charge your laptop while plugged in. All this is made possible by the 80-Plus Gold 550W power supply unit that comes with this eGPU enclosure. The unit also has RGB lighting on the front which can be synced with other Aorus laptops and devices via RGB Fusion 2.0.

Gigabyte also has a variant that’s powered by an RTX 3090 GPU but that’s going to cost you a lot of money and is probably not worth pairing with any laptop due to the potential bottlenecks created by the CPU or other components. It also goes without saying you probably don’t need anything more than an RTX 3080 GPU for playing games or even content creation. Professional content creators are better off building a computer with more powerful desktop-class components to get the most out of their money.

Due to the shortage of graphics cards on the market and the influx of their prices, you may have a hard time finding this particular eGPU unit on the market. Even if you do manage to find one in stock, it’s probably going to cost a lot more than what the launch price may suggest. That being said, this is perfect for those who don’t necessarily want to spend time looking for an eGPU unit and a GPU separately. You can check the link below to get the best price online for this particular product.

    Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming Box
    The Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming Box is one of those eGPU units that come with a graphics card pre-installed. It's obviously more expensive than the ones that don't offer a GPU, but it saves the effort of looking for an eGPU and graphics card separately.

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External GPU enclosure with built-in laptop stand: Cooler Master MasterCase EG200

An image of a desk setup with an eGPU unit with a built-in laptop stand

Cooler Master also threw its hat into the eGPU enclosure ring along with other manufacturers and it came up with the MasterCase EG200. The MasterCase EG200, as can you see, is one of the more unique eGPU enclosures in this collection. It’s the only one on the list that comes with a built-in laptop stand. That’s right, you can unscrew the slider at the bottom and stow your laptop away neatly. It just adds to the overall appeal of the product and just makes more sense since you will most likely be using an external monitor while using an eGPU and your laptop will mostly be sitting idle.

The Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 has a very functional design. It looks just like Cooler Master’s mini-ITX cases and we think it’ll blend in nicely with most setups without sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s a relatively slim chassis that packs in all the essential internal components along with some thoughtful extras. The EG200 also comes with a hot-swappable drive bay that lets you mount your SSDs and HDDs without having to connect any extra cables. This is one of the few eGPU units on the market that lets you mount storage drives to increase the overall storage that’s available at your disposal.

In addition to that, you also get an internal power supply unit to power the entire unit. It’s 550W PSU that should be enough to handle even the most demanding GPUs on the market right now. The EG200 is capable of holding a 2-slot GPU, which means you should be able to mount up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU without any clearance issues. Cooler Master says the eGPU unit can also take an RTX 3090 although it’ll depend on the SKU you end up buying before not all RTX 3090 GPUs are built the same and most of them tend to have a sophisticated heatsink.

The MasterCase EG200 comes with a 92mm fan that’s pre-installed inside the enclosure to keep things and maintain the airflow of the case. There are events on both side panels as well as the top, so there’s enough airflow at any given point within the enclosure. Thermal shouldn’t really be a major issue in this case since it has enough ports and capable 92mm fans to take care of everything, although your mileage may vary depending on the choice of GPU.

One thing we don’t necessarily like about the MasterCase EG200 is the port selection that it offers at the back. It’s fairly limited and we think Cooler Master could’ve done a better job here. Unlike some of the other eGPU enclosures in this collection, the MasterCase EG200 comes with just three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. Sure you’ll also get the standard GPU ports in there like the HDMI and DisplayPort, but we think it could’ve been better. Perhaps a couple of USB ports and even an Ethernet jack?

That being said, the Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 is a well-rounded product overall. We really like the thoughtful addition of things like storage mounts, a built-in laptop stand, and more. It’s definitely considering if you’re in the market to buy a new eGPU enclosure.

    Cooler Master MasterCase EG200
    The Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 external GPU enclosure comes with storage drive mounts for SSDs and HDDs, and it also has a built-in laptop stand to hold your laptop next to it.

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Best eGPU enclosure for creative professionals: Sonnet Breakaway Box

Sonnet Breakaway Box eGPU unit sitting next to an iMac

The Sonnet Breakaway Box has been around for quite some time now and it’s still one of the most reliable eGPU enclosures on the market. It’s more suitable for creative professionals as it allows you to install professional-grade GPUs like the Nvidia Quadro cards. The Breakaway box is available in a bunch of different PSU options, but the most recent ones are the 750 and 750ex. These units have a 750W PSU for powering even the most demanding GPUs on the market.

The Sonnet Breakaway Box 750 is plenty for most users, by the 750ex also comes with four USB ports and Gigabit ethernet for a $50 premium. The Sonnet Breakaway box has a very functional design and it demands a lot of space on your desk compared to some other eGPU enclosures on this list. Its design will remind you of a standard desktop tower. It comes with a metal cage frame and the panels are held together with thumbscrews. It’s got a simple design and the enclosure is very light. There’s very little in the name of lights in this enclosure, however, it’s not as minimal as the Mantiz Saturn Pro. It definitely has a striking appearance but there are no flashy RGB lights.

The 750W power supply, as we mentioned earlier, is enough to power some of the most powerful GPUs on the market. AMD has also approved its air-cooled version of the RX Vega 64, Radeon Pro WX 8200, and WX 9100 GPUs to be used with the Breakaway Box. In addition to the power supply that’s delivered to the PSU via an 8-pin connector, the unit also offers up to 100W of upstream power to charge your laptop, which is great. A lot of eGPU enclosures support this feature, so it’s nothing unusual.

The best thing about the Breakaway Box is that you can connect up to four of these boxes together if you have enough Thunderbolt ports. Having multiple breakaway boxes will accelerate even the most demanding creative workload applications. You probably don’t need more than one Breakaway Box given how powerful some of these newer GPUs on the market are, but it’s nice to have an option pairing different boxes. The Breakaway Box also comes with a cooling fan to maintain steady airflow inside the chassis. The best thing about this fan is that it comes with a bracket to eliminate vibration.

The Breakaway Box has three vents for airflow, but we think it can definitely use more of those. The two small vents on the sides push hot air hot from both the PSU as well as the GPU. There’s also a small vent at the bottom of the front panel, but it would’ve been nice to have a fully vented panel on the front with just the logo in the middle. Overall, we think the Sonnet Breakaway Box is worth considering if you’re a creative professional looking for a powerful eGPU enclosure.

    Sonnet Breakaway Box eGPU enclosure
    The Sonnet Breakaway Box is a fantastic eGPU enclosure for $299 that lets you use even the most demanding GPUs on the market including the Nvidia Quadro cards.

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Second-best eGPU for creative professionals: ASUS XG Station Pro

An image showing different shots of the ASUS XG Station Pro eGPU enclosure

The ASUS XG Station Pro eGPU enclosure is one of the best units you can buy as a content creator mainly because of how minimal it looks. It doesn’t have any flashy RGB lights of striking design element and it looks straight up like a heavy-duty GPU docking station that’ll blend in nicely with most setups without a hitch. It’s also fairly powerful given how it’s compatible with a lot of powerful GPUs on the market. We’re picking this as our second best eGPU unit next to the Breakaway box only because it’s not compatible with all the new GPUs on the market. You can only slot in up an Nvidia RTX 20 series GPU as opposed to the newer 30 series cards. The same is the case with AMD cards too.

That being said, the RTX 20 series cards are still very powerful and capable enough to push even the most demanding tasks, be it for content creation or even gaming. The XG Station Pro eGPU enclosure measures 375mm long, 107mm high and 205mm tall. It supports GPUs that take up to 2.5 slots, so you might actually be able to slot in one of the newer cards even though it’s officially compatible. Monstrous cards like the RTX 3090, for instance, will probably not fit inside the case though.

The XG Station Pro enclosure has perforated panels on both sides through which the hot air is pushed out of the case. Both panels are lined with an internal dust filter, so that’s a nice addition. What we don’t necessarily like about this particular enclosure is the lack of I/O ports. Yes, you do get ports, but they’re very limited. Unlike some other GPU enclosures on this collection, the XG Station Pro only comes with a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. The Thunderbolt port will be used to connect the laptop itself, so that’s not going to be useful for any practical purpose. It also uses a proprietary power connector for the external 330W passive PSU. 330W isn’t the most powerful PSU unit for an enclosure like this, but it should be enough to handle the compatible GPUs and then some more.

Getting into the enclosure itself is fairly simple. You can do that by simply flicking the locking mechanism over to the right, pushing the top section forwards, and then by removing the perforated aluminum side panel by pushing upwards. It’s not as easy as pulling the internal chamber as you would in the case of the Razer Core X enclosure, but this works too. At least, you don’t need any tools to get into the chamber, so that’s a good start. Inside, you’ll see the PCIe slot for the GPU along with the Thunderbolt controller. The case also has two fans to dissipate the heat.

Overall, the XG Station Pro isn’t the best eGPU enclosure out there, but it’s good for those who have an older GPU lying around waiting to be used with an ageing laptop. We’d still the Sonnet Breakaway Box over this one mainly due to better port selection and more compatibility with newer GPUs on the market.

    ASUS XG Station Pro eGPU enclosure
    The ASUS XG Station Pro is a minimal-looking eGPU enclosure that's plenty to be paired with one of the older GPUs to accelerate the graphics performance of your system.

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Best budget eGPU enclosure for gamers: ASUS ROG XG Station 2

A black colored eGPU unit with red colored light in the center

The ASUS ROG Station 2 is a relatively old eGPU enclosure on the market, which is why you’ll now be able to buy it at a cheaper price. If you’re someone who likes flashy RGB and striking designs with sharp edges, then the ROG XG Station 2 eGPU enclosure is for you. This is one of those eGPU enclosures that screams “gaming” from every angle you at it. It’s got the ROG gaming DNA and it’s got a very unique form factor that makes it stand out from all the other eGPU enclosures on this collection.

Both sides of the XG Station 2 opens up to reveal the central part holding a custom fATX power supply. Only one side of the enclosure is used to hold the GPU, both they open up to form the letter “W” once fully opened. Inside, you get immediate access to the PCIe slot for installing the GPU. The enclosure also holds a tiny 40mm fan, which honestly could’ve been a little better. There’s only so much a small 40mm fan can do to cool the internals by regulating airflow, so we don’t recommend using the most powerful GPUs on the market.

This particular eGPU enclosure is only compatible with last-gen GPUs on the market, which means, you won’t be able to run the newer RTX 30 series or even the newer Radeon GPUs. That’s not a deal-breaker considering the price tag of this product now. It’s a relatively old eGPU enclosure, as we mentioned earlier, so this isn’t really a surprise. Besides that, a GPU like an RTX 2080 Super, for instance, is still plenty to run even the most demanding titles on the market right now in 2021. Higher GPUs may not work well with your older laptop hardware anyway, causing huge bottlenecks.

As an ASUS ROG product, you also get support for the company’s Aura sync technology for controlling the RGB lights. Yes, there’s a ton of lights in case you’re wondering, and you can see them in action thanks to the glass windows on one of the side panels of the enclosure. You also get enough vents on the side panels that help with the airflow. The XG Station 2 also comes with a decent amount of ports at the back. You get four USB 3.0 ports along with an ethernet jack and a USB-B port. It’s recommended that you connect the host computer via the Thunderbolt port as well as the USB-B port to a stable connection.

Overall, we think the ASUS ROG XG Station 2 is a fantastic eGPU enclosure for gamers who’re looking to add upgrade their gaming setup with an external GPU. It may not support the most powerful GPUs on the market, but it’s still plenty to run even the most demanding titles in 2021. And the fact that you can get it for a cheaper price just makes it that much better. It’s a little difficult to find this particular eGPU unit on the market right now, so we recommend checking the link below for the best price.

    ASUS ROG XG Station 2
    The ASUS ROG XG Station 2 eGPU enclosure is a fantastic option for those looking to buy a budget unit to upgrade their gaming experience. It may not support the most demanding GPUs on the market, but it's plenty to run most AAA titles in 2021.

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Best external GPU with proprietary connection: ASUS XG Mobile 2021

While it’s not recommended to buy an eGPU enclosure with a proprietary connector, we think the 2021 ASUS ROG XG Mobile unit deserves a spot in our collection of the best eGPU enclosures. This particular unit is different from every other enclosure on the list mainly because it doesn’t use Thunderbolt for connectivity and it doesn’t come with a desktop-grade graphics card either. That being said, it’s also meant to be used only one laptop in particular (at least for now) and it works as advertised.

The ASUS ROG XG Mobile unit is essentially an accessory that’s meant to be used with the company’s ROG Flow x13 2-in-1 notebook. The eGPU unit, as you can see, is fairly small and doesn’t take too much space on the desk when kept next to the Flow x13 laptop itself. Well, that’s because the XG Mobile unit comes with a mobile RTX 30 series GPU inside as opposed to a desktop-grade full-sized GPU. You can buy it with either an RTX 3070 or an RTX 3080 mobile GPU and it connects to the Flow x13 laptop via a proprietary connector.

Having a proprietary connector means the XG Mobile unit can only be used with the ROG Flow x13 laptop for now. That’s right, the Flow x13 is the only laptop on the market right now that comes with this particular connector, which means the XG mobile unit is useless unless you have that particular laptop. Unlike the other eGPU enclosures on the market, the XG Mobile unit is exclusive to the Flow x13, at least until ASUS makes other laptops with the same port.

That being said, there are advantages to having a proprietary connector like the one used in this case. It also supports data throughput for the XG Mobile’s built-in expansion ports. Despite its small form-factor, the XG Mobile unit comes with a bunch of ports at the back including four USB Type-A ports, an SD card reader, a gigabit Ethernet jack, an HDMI 2.0a output, and a DisplayPort 1.4 jack. This means the XG mobile unit can also act as a hub to connect your laptop to external displays and other peripherals. With its 280W of power, the XG Mobile can even charge the Flow x13 laptop, which is great. It’s also worth pointing out that the XG Mobile doesn’t have a brick of its own, so it further simplifies cable management.

The XG Mobile unit also has an internal fan that kicks in as soon as you start pushing the GPU to its limits. There are no flashy RGB lights though, and you only get a glowing red light inside the XG Mobile unit. It goes without saying the XG Mobile unit isn’t going to perform as good as some other eGPU units on the market with a full-sized desktop GPU, but it’s plenty to push the Flow x13 laptop to its limits. We encourage you to read our full review of the ASUS ROG Flow x13 laptop to learn more about this eGPU unit and see how it performs with modern games. We hope ASUS makes more gaming laptops with support for XG Mobile units. We’d also love to see an upgraded version of the XG mobile with better GPUs sometime in the future.

    ASUS ROG XG Mobile unit
    The ASUS ROG XG Mobile unit isn't compatible with all the laptops due to a proprietary connector, but it deserves a spot on our collection due to its impressive performance and small form-facrtor.

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The best external GPU enclosures for laptops you can buy: Final Thoughts

Well, that wraps up our list of the best external GPU enclosures you can buy on the market right now. As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to eGPU cases but we think the Razer Core X Chroma is the one to go for. Not only is it one of the best-looking eGPU enclosures on the market, but it also supports all the new graphics cards that are available right now. The Mantiz Saturn Pro is also worth considering for its minimal design and spacious internals. The Cooler Master MasterCase EG200 is also a great option as it comes with storage drive mounts and a built-in laptop holder.

Buying an external GPU enclosure is a great way to accelerate the graphics performance of your ageing laptop. It’s also a good way to get more usage out of your machine before upgrading to an entirely new laptop or building a new computer. That being said, it’s one of the best times to build a computer right now with the arrival of Intel’s new Alder Lake CPUs. They use the new LGA 1700 socket though, you might want to keep that in mind while shopping for the best motherboards or CPU coolers. Alternatively, you can check out our list of the best CPUs on the market if you don’t necessarily want the new 12th gen Intel processors.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.