AMD, Asustek, Fujitsu Siemens Prepare External Graphics Cards for Laptops

External Graphics Cards for Notebooks May Become Reality This Year

by Anton Shilov
05/19/2008 | 12:53 PM

Mobile computers may carry powerful graphics adapter, but this makes them heavy and bulky, which automatically reduces popularity of such mobile computers. However, ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, Asustek Computer and Fujitsu Siemens plan to enable high-performance graphics processing on notebooks with the help of external graphics cards.


Over a year ago – in early 2007 – Asustek Computer, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer components and hardware, unveiled its XG Station which integrated a fully-fledged graphics adapter into an external box that could be connected to a mobile computer using Express Card interface. Even though the product has never made it to the market, the concept itself appeared to be pretty popular. According to a media report, Asustek plans to release its XG Station based on Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card already this quarter. Moreover, AMD/ATI and Fujitsu Siemens also prepare similar devices.

Graphics product group of AMD has already showcased external graphics solutions to its partners back in early 2007, however, the former ATI Technologies has not released its code-named Lasso products commercially. Another media report claims that ATI Lasso will be showcased again a month time in Taipei, Taiwan, at Computex 2008 trade-show as a graphics booster for notebooks based on the new AMD Turion Ultra processors and code-named Puma platform. ATI Lasso will reportedly use a “proprietary connector” to attach external graphics adapter to notebooks, therefore, will not be compatible with existing machines or competing mobile platforms like Intel Centrino.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers is focused on building mainstream notebooks and the company’s lineup does not feature a lot of laptops for gamers. Nonetheless, it does not mean that the firm does not want to address the market of video game fans who use mobile computers. A press article claims that Fujitsu Siemens preps Amilo GraphicsBooster, an external graphics solution powered by ATI Radeon technology. Not a lot of concrete information is known about external graphics adapter from FSC, but what is known is that it would enable “up to” 8000 points in 3DMark06 benchmark.

External graphics adapter is an interesting concept that not only provides opportunity to improve rendering speed of video games or connect notebooks to a number of displays, but also allow to enable higher performance of very small form-factor desktops that are usually fanless and come with low-power power supply unit that cannot support powerful graphics processing units.

AMD, Asus and Fujitsu Siemens did not comment on the news-story.