ASUS Unveils External Graphics Card
January 7, 2007 2:12 AM
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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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1/7/2007 8:31:38 PM
One thing I'm wondering about is the driver conflicts this could introduce. Lets say I have a Radeon X1600 128mb internal graphics chip inside my laptop, and I connect up the external Nvidia 7900GS. I assume I will need two sets of drivers to make the laptop work with and without the external graphics attached. Otherwise if you unplugged the external graphics, you wouldn't be able to see anything on the screen because there would be no drivers to control the internal graphics chip.
Now everyone knows that if you have leftover drivers in the system from another video card it can drastically reduce performance and cause all sorts of problems. So having two sets of video drivers from different manufacturers installed on the system could cause havoc. So how will they combat that problem?
Also is this external graphics card hot swappable? Like when I'm running windows and want a performance boost, can I just plug it in, then unplug it when I'm done? Or am I going to have to shut down the computer, plug it in, then start it up again? That would be an extra annoyance having to do that.
RE: Driver conflicts?
1/7/2007 9:31:02 PM
Thats actually a pretty serious question because EVERY laptop has a set of display drivers installed as is. I'm sure somebody at Asus HOPEFULLY figured something out with a software driver that tells windows to turn off the integrated graphics and associated driver and use the expresscard GPU and driver. Otherwise, for those with notebooks with built in GPU's, you'll have to populate the external interface with a GPU made by the same company (i.e, ATI in the notebook, a more powerful ATI outside the notebook).
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