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ASUS expects to launch its XG Station next month to OEM and channel partners -- no retail availability expected

Notebook users rejoice: ASUS is set to produce its XG Station external graphics card for notebooks. ASUS previously pulled the wraps off the XG Station at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The XG Station will not have retail availability, however, ASUS plans to ship the XG Station to OEMs and channel partners.

ASUS will not sell the XG Station as a barebones external graphics card enclosure. Instead, ASUS will bundle the XG Station with ASUS PCIe graphics cards. Pricing on XG Stations will vary depending on the bundled graphics card.

ASUS’ XG Station takes advantage of a notebook’s ExpressCard slot to provide a PCIe x16 slot for additional graphical processing capabilities. ASUS demonstrated the XG Station with an EN7900GS graphics card at CES 2007.

In addition to the enhanced video capabilities, the XG Station features audio output capabilities. There is a single headphone output jack on the XG Station – sorry folks, there is no 5.1 output support. However, the XG Station supports Dolby Headphone technology for simulated six-channel surround sound audio.

Audio and video capabilities aside, ASUS equips the XG Station with a large LED display to monitor vital system information. The LED display shows the following information:
  • System master volume
  • GPU clock speed
  • Current GPU temperature
  • Dolby® Headphone feature status
  • Current actual Frames Per Second (FPS) information
  • GPU fan speed Indicator
A control knob allows users easy overclocking controls too. Overclocking functionality of the control knob is limited to GPU core clock though.

Expect the ASUS to release the XG Station to eligible customers next month. Pricing information on XG Station-based graphics cards is unknown now. Expect XG Station bundles to cost slightly more than an ASUS graphics card itself.

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It's already obsolete
By Chillin1248 on 3/4/2007 3:18:10 PM , Rating: 5
The XG station is already very obsolete with the advent of this:

ATI Lasso

Also some more pictures of the XG station (including screen) here :

Though admittedly presumptuous to say that the XG station is history, I am looking back at past cases of these types of gadgets; which leaves me to believe that the ATI solution if released would victor in the market.


RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 3:41:06 PM , Rating: 1
there is very little info there about the capabilities of the Lasso. it appears to use two usb connections. how they expect to carry the bandwidth of two R600's over two usb's is beyond me. and as for the XG, the article states something about the X16 bus...but isn't expresscard just 1x?

RE: It's already obsolete
By cscpianoman on 3/4/2007 3:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
How can you tell it is USB?

RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 4:05:47 PM , Rating: 1
If you look at the pic of the lasso, look at those two cables connected to the horizontal board. Now look at a usb cable. The connectors look the same.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Chillin1248 on 3/4/2007 5:06:23 PM , Rating: 5
It's actually two external PCI-E 4X connectors.


RE: It's already obsolete
By Anonymous Freak on 3/4/2007 10:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
And how many notebooks have two external PCI-e x4 connectors?

Most mid-to-high end notebooks *DO* have an ExpressCard slot.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Anh Huynh on 3/4/2007 4:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
ExpressCard is indeed an x1 bus, however, PCIe graphics cards are PCIe x16 physically. You lose some bandwidth, however, the gains from the GPU will exceed integrated notebook graphics.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 4:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
yeah i know you still get a big gain, i was just confused for a minute.

RE: It's already obsolete
By DigitalFreak on 3/4/2007 5:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'll believe that when I see it...

RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 3:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
furthermore, all that article does is present questions. it says absolutely nothing about how it will interface and how it will be powered. I'm not sure how you could possibly make any sort of determination based on that writeup and that picture of some extremely early prototype looking piece of equipment.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Anh Huynh on 3/4/2007 3:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
Second paragraph, first sentence: ASUS’ XG Station takes advantage of a notebook’s ExpressCard slot to provide a PCIe x16 slot for additional graphical processing capabilities.

It uses a power brick, as outlined in the first article, the first link: The XG Station is powered externally. A separate power brick plugs directly into the adaptor.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Anh Huynh on 3/4/2007 4:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
Err oops, you were talking about the Hexus article I'm assuming?

The problem with AMD's Lasso is, its still in development, while the XG Station is available next month.

RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 4:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
yeah i know about the stuff with the XG Anh, i was referring to the lack of details regarding the Lasso

RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 4:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
haha yeah sorry for the confusion

RE: It's already obsolete
By Chillin1248 on 3/4/2007 5:05:20 PM , Rating: 3
Actually we do know the interface.

If you can kindly google:
PCI-E External Cabling 1.0 Specification

You would see a picture that shows the connectors. In fact the connectors shown in the Hexus picture are two external PCI-E 4X cables, why they use two instead of one PCI-E 8X or 16X is unknown to me.

The internal interface of which the GPU connects to the board is PCI-E 16X. Also you can clearly see the (Molex?) power connector cable and the GPU has its own power connector.

ATI is also working on a Crossfire version.


RE: It's already obsolete
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 8:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
ok cool, i'll buy that. sorry for my nearsightedness. So would it be safe to assume they are powering it from a psu while they develop a power-brick type solution? As far as the interface goes, why all the hubub about using such a high bandwidth connection (effectively 8x it looks like) if the expresscard bus will only take 1x? or do you think there will be a variant that interfaces with a 16x PCI-E (external) port on a laptop, if such a thing were to come into existance? i'm a bit confused, but then again i have a pretty limited knowledge of ePCI-E.

RE: It's already obsolete
By DokGonzo on 3/5/2007 6:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
If this type of peripheral takes off it could prompt the manufaturers to upgrade the expresscard specifications sooner. I think 8x or 16x expresscard slot (compatible with 1x components) specification in a year or two isn't far fetched...

RE: It's already obsolete
By ADDAvenger on 3/5/2007 12:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
Shoot, even a 4x expresscard slot would be a sweet upgrade for powerusers

RE: It's already obsolete
By crystal clear on 3/5/07, Rating: 0
Well, that's a shame.
By Vertigo101 on 3/4/2007 3:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
I bet they could have hit a much bigger market with these if they were sold as standalone enclosures. Still, it shouldn't be too hard to gut these and sell the card they ship with on eBay.

RE: Well, that's a shame.
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 4:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
Its really too bad that it will be a bundle. The ASUS 7900GS is the most expensive one on newegg, and its not even a 512mb variant. =(

RE: Well, that's a shame.
By kilkennycat on 3/4/2007 6:33:43 PM , Rating: 2
However, the power-brick may not be able to handle your desired substitute. Think 8800xxx......

what about display?
By hardwareking on 3/5/2007 5:12:45 AM , Rating: 2
Any idea if the laptop's lcd screen can be used to display the video output,instead of an external lcd screen.
If u can that makes a sweet deal(although u lose some performance from the GPU)

So i could get myself a ASUS geforce 8800 GTX or R600 and use it with my fully loaded laptop(without GPU) and wouldn't need to compromise on battery life

RE: what about display?
By erwos on 3/5/2007 8:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, won't work. The video card in the XG Station doesn't have an output path to the laptop's LCD. You'll need to use a separate display.

However, you should still be able to use your laptop's video card at the same time, so you'll still be able to use the display - just not for gaming.

RE: what about display?
By Hyperlite on 3/5/2007 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
and it appears that the 7900GS is the largest and fastest card it will accommodate, so no 8800's.

Found some more info...
By Hyperlite on 3/4/2007 8:29:05 PM , Rating: 2,128401/article.h...

ASUS said it expects to start shipping the XG Station around May for around $600 (possibly including a 3-year warranty) and most likely bundled with an ASUS EN7900GS board (our number 3 ranked graphics card at press time).

uh. suxxor.

By jedikevin20 on 3/20/2007 5:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ok. since January I have been looking into this dang XG station. I myself have a old gaming laptop, (2.8ghz pentium 4, 2 gigs ram, and a radeon 9000 igp). My video card has finally become pretty obsolete with most games having support cards of ATI of 9500+. People keep saying this thing is not gonna be good because of the bandwith but to me even with that reduction because of 1x its still gonna be way better then what I have now. So to me the XG station is the only solution for those who are in my predicament with antiquated video cards in there laptops. I am in a dorm in college and it hasn't been just me waiting for this thing. If anyone knows college students, the majority of them have laptops and tend to try to push their video cards and play a couple of games they get. This will definitely help those in the department also. My prime concern will be price. From what i researched the video card that will release with the station is around 150-200 dollars and normal sales price. Most people have stated that the station will sell slightly more then the sales price of the card. So where are we at then; 250-400 dollar price range? I am kinda hoping its in that 200+ dollar rang but I highly suspect it will be pretty pricy but you never know. The station is kinda marketed to the 20-30 age bracket with antiquated laptop cards so it may not be to high but you never know

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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