Notebooks are notoriously short on graphics horsepower, but Asus has come up with an interesting solution
that moves graphics processing to an external module. Dubbed the XG Station, this external module sports a PCI Express x16 slot, allowing it to house standard PC graphics cards. The XG Station connects to notebooks via an Express Card connector, and also features its own power supply and audio unit. There's even a dashboard-like display with a volume knob, fan speed indicator, and real-time frame rate tracking.
The XG Station. Source: Asus.
Asus indicates that the XG Station has been tested with GeForce 7900 GS graphics cards, but it's unclear whether the unit is compatible with double-wide designs like the 7900 GTX or GeForce 8800 series. The XG Station should be compatible with any notebook that features an Express Card slot, though.
Of course, there's always a catch, and it looks like the XG Station is only capable of driving external displays—not a notebook's monitor. That would blunt the device's appeal a little, making it more of a graphics docking station than a truly portable gaming solution.
The XG Station is scheduled for release at the start of the second quarter of this year, and it will come bunled with an Asus EN7900GS graphics card. There's no word on pricing yet.