MSI has a history of demoing external notebook graphics at the Consumer Electronics Show. The firm has a new solution on display this year, and it looks like the tech is finally ready for prime time. Say hello to the GS30 Shadow notebook and its gaming dock sidekick:
MSI's previous external graphics implementations have relied on Thunderbolt connectivity, but the new gaming dock attaches via 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0. Connected graphics cards have access to just as much bandwidth as they would in a full-sized desktop system. According to AnandTech, the dock works with all desktop graphics cards, including dual-slot monsters like the GeForce GTX 980. It also has an integrated 450W PSU, speakers, a 3.5" hard drive bay, and additional USB 3.0 ports.
Although the dock is a little chunky, the 13.3" notebook looks fairly portable. It's 0.77" thick and 2.65 lbs, according to MSI, and its specifications are pretty impressive on their own. The machine has a 1080p display, a Core i7-4870HQ processor with Iris Pro graphics, 16GB of RAM, and dual 128GB SSDs. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are also part of the package.