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A high-ranking executive from Nvidia Corp. said that it considers external graphics adapters for notebooks a big opportunity even though the company does not offer such products at the moment.

“I think it is a big opportunity. We have two strategies at Nvidia: one is to put graphics everywhere, the other one is to [find more ways to] integrate discrete chips into the box. I think there is definitely a place for [external graphics cards for notebooks], no question. We continue to look at whether this is a GPU [docking stations] or external devices,” said Rene Haas, general manager of the notebook GPU business at Nvidia, in a brief interview with X-bit labs.

There are a lot of notebooks featuring high-performance microprocessors, but there are fewer notebooks with high-performance graphics processors since discrete graphics chips increase the size and weight of mobile computers rather tangibly and are not needed crucially. A way to add high-performance graphics to laptops was introduced by ATI in 2008: external graphics cards and external graphics port (XGP) technology. Unfortunately, so far such graphics cards have hardly become widespread; in fact, there is only one XGP graphis solution available: Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Graphics Booster powered by ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 that can be plugged to Fujitsu Siemens Amilo SA3650 or Acer Aspire Ferrari One. One of the issues, believes Nvidia, is the price of such graphics solutions.

“I think, the issue that has to be solved for something like that is the right price-point that hits the right segment. There is definitely a lot of interest in it and [this is] something we are keeping our eye on to be able to offer something there,” said Mr. Haas.

Unfortunately, Nvidia does not reveal any concrete plans on the matter and it is unclear when the company could introduce its own external graphics technology for notebooks. As a result, the only thing for sure is that Nvidia is keeping an eye on such market opportunity.

“This is my opinion, I cannot say much about our plans,” added general manager of the notebook GPU business at Nvidia.

Tags: Nvidia, Geforce, ATI, Mobility Radeon

Discussion

Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 02/07/10 06:56:09 PM
Latest comment: 01/18/11 12:20:30 AM
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1. 
I think they should start developing an external PCI-E 2.0 port. What's so difficult is beyond my comprehension.!
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 02/07/10 06:56:10 PM]
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ATI XGP is an external PCI Express 2.0 x8 port with hot plug support. The connector itself was exclusive to ATI/JAE from mid-2008 to mid-2009, but now it is available for licensing.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 02/09/10 01:23:09 PM]
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2. 
Tavix,
Isn't that what the ExpressPort is on current notebooks? The one that replaced PCMCIA slots? I'm pretty sure its an PCIe interface and even possibly USB 2.0 combined (and its up for the add-in card to choose which interface/pins it chooses to use).

I don't know the bandwidth available to that slot (One could assume 1x or 4x) but with PCIe 2.0 standards, I would figure bandwidth wouldn't be a major concern. Perhaps it will limit performance slightly, but its a notebook solution anyway.
0 0 [Posted by: MonkRX  | Date: 02/07/10 11:00:13 PM]
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ExpressPort give a bandwidth 16 times lower than PCI-E 2.0. 16 times. From 4GB/s to only 250MB/s. Do you know what that means for a modern video card?
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 02/08/10 05:06:04 AM]
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While your concerns are good, I should point out that if you do buy such a card, you probably have integrated graphics.
My concern however is where the new card would display. Asus made a cardexpress to PCIe x16 so you could connect any desktop graphics card to the laptop. BUT: the output of the graphics card could not be routed back to the laptop's LCD.
So if you want a pluggable graphics card for the laptop, you certainly would like to still use the laptop's display. You could probably do this with an overlay to the IGP, but this would require even more bandwidth, not to mention latencies and CPU usage. So a new protocol is required for this. I'm looking for a long time for such a solution.
0 0 [Posted by: mathew7  | Date: 02/09/10 12:01:15 AM]
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101% agreed! That's why I was asking why they don't develop an PCI-E 2.0 external port?
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 02/09/10 04:00:07 AM]
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3. 
Personally, I love the Amilo SA 3650 that came with the HD3870 XGP. Having mobility on the road, while still having a integrated GPU that destroyed Intel's horrid solutions (HD3200) is a great win-win for me.

Possibly the beginning price point was the problem. Doubt many would run to the bank for the 1800 euro price point. Gladly, I got the set for 600 euros total, so that makes me a very happy customer.

I like what the future may hold for XGP though. Since it uses a new standard, I can easily plug in a nice HD5830 XGP or better, when they start hitting the market. Not that I need any upgrade.. =P

Just the opinion of a XGP laptop using customer.
0 0 [Posted by: JCD  | Date: 02/08/10 04:54:09 AM]
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