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CES 2016 | ASUS unveils prototype of an external GPU solution

The ROG XG2 - prototype of an external GPU enclosure for ASUS notebooks
The ROG XG2 - prototype of an external GPU enclosure for ASUS notebooks
We could get a glimpse at the ROG XG2 - a docking station for Asus notebooks, which should allow connecting powerful desktop graphics cards.

The new USB 3.1 / Thunderbolt 3 ports promise high transfer rates for peripherals. Apparently, this also makes the old concept of "external graphics cards" feasible. After Razer has already surprised with an external graphics solution for their new premium ultrabooks, Asus gave us insight to their "eGPU" plans, too.

The concept called ROG XG2 has been shown at Asus' booth at the CES. The external GPU case is connected to an ASUS notebook via two proprietary connections in USB 3.1 Type C format. The incorporated GPU gets automatically detected on the fly. If the external GPU is used, the image has to be display on an external monitor, while the notebook continues to use its own graphics card with the internal display.

This certainly limits the solution to stationary use. Nevertheless, it appears attractive that almost all desktop graphics cards up to the GeForce GTX 980 can be used on a mobile computer, since this would allow gamers to completely put aside desktop PCs. However, not all ASUS laptops might be equally suitable for this solution: powerful GPUs usually require matching processors to avoid bottlenecks. Thus, combining the ZenBook (frugal Core M CPU) with a high-end GeForce - as shown at ASUS' booth - might not be the perfect combination.

ASUS intends to sell the GPU case separately - in case the sample actually grows out of the concept status. If so, the ROG XG2 will be launched this year according to ASUS.

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Oliver Moebel, J. Simon Leitner, 2016-01- 7 (Update: 2016-01- 7)