AMD XConnect makes living with an external Radeon easier

— 9:01 AM on March 10, 2016

AMD took the wraps off a new driver feature this morning that it's calling XConnect. As part of its Radeon Software 16.3 drivers, the company has added external graphics hot-plugging support. XConnect also includes management features in Radeon drivers that allow gamers to choose the display they want to use and gracefully close applications running on an external GPU before unplugging it.

According to Ars Technica, Thunderbolt-equipped notebooks need to meet a few supporting hardware and software requirements to be XConnect-compatible. They'll need Windows 10 build 10586 or newer, Thunderbolt firmware v.16 or later, a Thunderbolt 3 port and an active Thunderbolt 3 cable, and the necessary BIOS extensions for Thunderbolt external graphics. AMD says companies can add external graphics BIOS extensions to systems that otherwise meet XConnect's requirements through a firmware update. 

On the graphics hardware side, gamers will need a compatible enclosure and one of the following Radeon graphics cards:

  • Radeon R9 Fury
  • Radeon R9 Nano
  • All Radeon R9 300 Series
  • Radeon R9 290X
  • Radeon R9 290
  • Radeon R9 285 

So far, the Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Core appear to be the only XConnect-compatible hardware. We'd expect the list of compatible systems to grow as time goes on, though.

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