Gaming has always been an iffy vocation for notebooks. Sure, you can get laptops with speedy graphics processors, but those GPUs often can't be upgraded once they become obsolete. That's a problem AMD is attempting to solve with its new ATI External Graphics Platform, which puts the GPU in a box outside the notebook and connects the two via a cable-based, eight-lane PCI Express 2.0 connection.
AMD says the link between the XGP and the notebook transfers up to 4GB/s in each direction, which is about the same as a typical PCIe 1.1 x16 link in a desktop PC. As a result, the XGP can play host to Mobility Radeon HD 3800 mobile GPUs in single or CrossFire X multi-GPU configurations. The XGP module also makes things easy for the end user by featuring its own power supply and cooling, not to mention hot-plugging capability that "enables ATIXGP technology on-the-fly." Each XGP module can team up with a compatible notebook to drive as many as four displays, and there's even USB 2.0 connectivity built-in to hook up TV tuners, Blu-ray drives, or just a mouse and keyboard.
Nevertheless, the company has already gotten a partner to announce an XGP device. Fujitsu-Siemens' Amilo GraphicsBooster packs a Mobility Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB of GDDR3 RAM with DVI, HDMI, and USB 2.0 connectivity, all in a box measuring 7.1" x 5.1" x 1.3" (180 x 130 x 33.5 mm) and weighing 1.1 lbs (500 g). The GraphicsBooster is designed to accommodate Fujitsu-Siemens' new Puma-based Amilo Sa 3650 notebook, which has a 13.3" display, Turion Ultra processor, and Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics.
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