Nvidia: External Graphics Accelerators for Notebooks Is a Big Opportunity

Nvidia Is Keeping Its Eyes on External Graphics Adapters, But Reveals No Plans

by Anton Shilov
02/06/2010 | 11:28 PM

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.