Gaming Laptop or GPU Dock

My brother’s HP Omen from 4 years ago died this week. He needs something new fairly quickly. He’s not down for a Desktop and Laptop move, wants to keep it to a gaming/performance laptop. He’s willing to consider something that’ll handle a gpu dock and monitor if its really a)reliable and b) cost effective.

I’m not seeing a whole lot of laptops with thunderbolt that aren’t on par with the price of laptops with built in discrete graphics. So I’m looking asking for others input. Work means he needs something this week. Here’s his requirements.

Moderate 1080 gaming, lots of Total War titles (including the Warhammer ones).
Lots of Adobe CS work, some animation, but mostly photoshoping.
Lots of traveling presentation work, needs to be very flexible in hooking up to displays in locations he’s got no control of the hardware.
Thermally restricted… he’s in midwest and southwest texas most of the time. Right now ambient even in a well built locations can be in the upper 70 to lower 80 range. Not exactly great conditions for even the mildest of hardware.

Having previously owned a ‘gaming’ laptop, I personally wouldn’t recommend it.

I don’t think there’s one particular laptop that stands out, but there’s offerings from ASUS, MSI, Razar and others (suggest you avoid Alienware – my experience was poor). If I was buying today, things I would look for:

  • ease of maintenance - does the manufacturer provide maintenance/repair manuals?
  • upgrades - can I upgrade the RAM or replace the NVME/SSD/HDD?
  • thermal performance - what kind of cooling does it have? can it be maintained easily?
  • battery life - okay, it’s for gaming, but what if I want to work for a few hours on the train or plane? Are there any power saving features that would allow this?
  • weight - more components = more weight. Can I get a lightweight ‘gaming’ laptop that meets my requirements?

I’d probably go with a thunderbolt laptop with a dGPU. I think having the hardware locally attached is a nicer experience.

I had a Razer Blade Stealth (7500U) and Core loaded with a 980ti. I went this way because I already had the 980ti, and I figured I was fine with it doing boring things, but it got super loud under any sustained load. Comparing it to the Lenovo gaming laptop my brother picked up around the same time, I preferred the aesthetic of the Razer, but the usability of the Lenovo.

The eGPU option is neat, but I don’t think it’s on par with a dGPU. I don’t think it’s as polished as a dGPU in a “gaming laptop”.

IDK if you were looking for specific recommendations or gathering feelings.

I keep seeing ads for a HP gaming laptop at MicroCenter that is reasonably priced enough that I thought about picking one up even knowing that I would almost never game on it.