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Print 46 comment(s) - last by Hawkido.. on Feb 13 at 10:13 AM

Now we wait for devices to show up

Several years ago when PCI-Express was being developed, the technology was also being designed to support devices outside of the traditional computer enclosure. While "internal" PCI-Express took off, development and support for external devices was slow. This week, the PCI Special Interests Group (PCI-SIG) announced the availability of the PCI-Express external cable specification revision 1.0.

With the new specifications fully defined, cables will be developed for all PCI-Express link widths including: x1, x4, x8 and x16. This allows for devices such as external high-speed storage controllers, network or fabric interfaces and graphics adapters to use the technology.

According to PCI-SIG chairman Al Yanes, external PCI-Express products should now be in full development and show up on the market in less than a year. "This specification helps the industry create new products that will take PCIe technology out of the box – enabling PCIe solutions for IO expansion drawers, external graphics processors, tethered mobile docking, communications equipment and embedded applications,” said Yanes.

External PCI-Express devices will be able to use signaling rates up to 2.5 gigatransfers per second (GT/sec). Of course, the host, adapter and cable must be able to support those speeds, but the future looks promising according to the specification's outline. Later on, 5GT/sec. rates will be possible. Some applications for this type of technology include stacking storage arrays together by using the external PCI-Express interconnect rather than relying on Gig-E networking.



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By Hawkido on 2/9/2007 2:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
My wife has been playing WoW on her lappy, but keeps complaining about the chug as it struggles to work on the integrated GPU. Once this comes out she will be able to tote her new (yep gotta buy a new one) lappy and when she wants to play just drop her lappy into the docking station which would have the External GPU "box" attached, and Viola! Instant gaming PC! I hope they engineer this to work with a docking station, or integrate the External GPU attachment into the docking station!... how cool would that be! Power supply, cooling, and all integrated into the docking station with a standard PC power cable running from there to the wall (vs. the proprietary power brick and unique DC power plug that is the norm on most Docking Stations). Drop your lappy in and play or take your lappy out to work on the road.




By novacthall on 2/9/2007 3:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
How much RAM has your wife's laptop got?

I ask because - and it's really almost scary - you're in the same boat as I am. My wife-to-be plays WoW and chugged along with an old Alienware laptop with 512MB of RAM in it. By accident one day, while I was playing WoW on my computer, I brought up the task manager and saw, by chance, just how much RAM WoW uses to keep itself going. It's a system hog, consuming anywhere from 430MB to 500MB - and possibly more - during normal operation. So I took a chance, bought her a gig of RAM for her laptop and dropped it in.

The difference was night and day. She went from low double-digit framerates (slideshow in Ironforge) to sustainably playable framerates, consistently. This was all pre-expansion, so I'd wager that Shattrath would likely give her problems, but the performance difference was visible and easy to implement.

Sadly, that's all moot now that we built her a computer with enough power to run the old Soviet Bloc, but lessons learned nonetheless.


By Hawkido on 2/13/2007 10:13:33 AM , Rating: 2
Great post, thank you! I was shopping for a gig stick to put in it for Valentine's day. (That and the movie Greese on DVD, LOL) I was hesitant because I didn't know if it would make much of a differance. Her lappy has an integrated ATI Mobility 200 Video Card, and I was worried that the GPU was chugging and the memory wouldn't help that much. Exact same situation as you.

With the memory we will be able to wait till the new generation of laptops to come out and the price to stabilize before having to purchase one.


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