Print 93 comment(s) - last by Vertigo101.. on Jan 10 at 10:01 AM

The ASUS XG Station is connected via a dongle to the notebook ExpressCard interface
ASUS introduces the world's first external graphics card for notebook users

ASUS today introduced a dedicated external graphics card for laptops -- the XG Station. The XG Station is an external graphics card that allows laptop users to enjoy high end graphics performance while plugged in. As the XG Station is an external graphics it can be unplugged when portability is needed.

The XG Station connects to any notebook’s ExpressCard slot and provides a PCI Express x16 slot for graphics cards. Since ASUS has opted to equip the XG Station with a standard PCI Express x16 slot, the station can be equipped with any PCI Express based graphics card: AMD, NVIDIA or even Matrox. ASUS launched the default XG Station with an NVIDIA 7900GS powered graphics card.

The XG Station is powered externally.  A separate power brick plugs directly into the adaptor.

An integrated LCD display and control also grace the XG Station. The display is customizable and can display information such as frame rate, fan speed, GPU temperature and more while the control knob can change various settings of the XG Station such as the core and memory clocks.

Expect ASUS to release the XG Station in Q2'07 this year. Pricing of the XG Station is unknown at the moment.

The XG Station adaptor only interfaces with ExpressCard interfaces at the moment, but will work with with PCIe ExpressCard interfaces installed in a desktop PC.

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By One43637 on 1/7/2007 4:33:50 PM , Rating: 2

by FITCamaro on January 7, 2007 at 10:06 AM

He's absolutely right. Many laptops today would be perfectly suited for games given the right graphics chip. They often throw a bunch of RAM and a great processor into one but skimp on the graphics. With this you can have your portable, light laptop thats great on battery life during the day and then when you get home, you plug it in (as many people do) to an external monitor along with keyboard and mouse + this new external GPU and enjoy gaming. At my office those with laptops don't have desktop PCs often times. They plug their laptop into a docking station thats connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Personally I think its an awesome idea. I do wish though that there was some way to make it work with the laptops LCD screen. Because if it could, it'd be a great way to be able to upgrade your laptops graphics. My laptop still has a pretty decent processor for gaming and a good amount of RAM, but its 128MB 9600 Pro is a bit dated.

my sentiments exactly. i was looking to build a new desktop because of the performance increase over my current DC Opteron system, but now that this is announced, buying a notebook with a decent CPU and RAM looks even more attractive. :)

i wonder though, if you can use an LCD TV with a DVI hookup as your monitor and attach a USB wireless keyboard and mouse so you can sit on the couch?

By FITCamaro on 1/7/2007 4:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see why not.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
How about the fact that laptops have slower processor, smaller, slower hard-drive, less room for memory expansion, and crappy built-in sound?

By dice1111 on 1/8/2007 12:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you get that from? Haven't you been Laptop shopping in a while? A lot of lappy's out now would kill a midrange PC in all those aspects.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 1:14:10 PM , Rating: 3
And they set you off a couple grands. There is no question that mobile components are more expensive. A 100+ hard-drive is high-end in laptops, whereas it's under of the line where it comes to desktops.

By dice1111 on 1/8/2007 4:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
The whole premiss and importace of this article; Power for portability.

I love the power and afforability of a Desktop, but some people can't put a price on portability, like myself. I could never concider a Desktop, and this gives me a graphics upgrade without having to get a new Lappy. Almost makes me feel like my original decision on investing in a laptop (more cpu and ram, less gpu)is more valuable because I have this new option.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 6:07:16 PM , Rating: 3
If you want portability, then get a gaming laptop that's properly engineered to be used on the road. Or get a machine with MXM support and an MXM card. The XG Station doesn't offer much mobility. First of all, you need to carry around an external display--either a projector or an LCD screen. Second, you a keyboard and a mouse, since you probably want to keep the lid closed so it doesn't obscure the external display. Third, you need the station. Fourth, you need the power block that powers it. You don't see it in the photo, but it's likely to be sizable as video cards draw considerable power.

By vdig on 1/8/2007 1:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Core 2 Duo does exist in the laptop markets, so CPU is not a problem. Memory can reach desktop sizes of 2-4 GB as well. I have 2 GB myself. Sound card? There is Creative's portable line. Only big problems are the power and the video card. Don't expect gaming laptops to be powered for long on a battery. That is what the AC adapter is for.

Finally, this new device helps alleviate the dilemma of not having room in the laptop for a gaming grade video card solution. Heck, if you wanted a GeForce 8800 board for a laptop, this is the only way to go (for now). Portability will hurt a bit, but it is by far lighter than lugging a full blown desktop rig. Nice for playing at a hotel or at out of town locations.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 1:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
Judging by the picture, I doubt you can use a dual slot card in the thing. Heat issues clearly will be worse in a small enclosure.

The claim of performance at "factor of nine over integrated solutions" give you an idea of what to expect. Nine times three, four frames a second is not a lot.

By vdig on 1/8/2007 3:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
3x9 is 27 fps.
4x9 is 36 fps.
I would assume this is with the video card that comes with the kit. At any rate, the difference between 3, 4 fps to 27-36 fps is the difference between Oblivion screenshot slide shows and actually playing the game. I think people can survive with 25-30 frames. Further, we do not know the true power of the dark si... er, the XG Station. Could be better with different cards. I just hope it is capable of even better, or that there is an even better version coming for beefier cards. My brother, who can really benefit from this, is a real graphics nut.

For now, I will say this:

Stay tuned to this channel (DailyTech) for further developments ;)

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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