Every so-called gaming laptop struggles with one very simple problem; to get the graphical muscle that modern games demand, you have to squeeze a pretty enourmous GPU, a decent processor and plenty of RAM (and then cool it down), which leaves you with a hulking behemoth of a notebook that is hard to carry around and runs out of batteries in under half an hour. Losing the graphics card is the easiest way to keep the size and temperature down, but that means you’re going to end up with serious lag and stuttering framerates.
Luckily though, ASUS might have come up with a pretty clever solution in the form of the XG Station; it is an external graphics card station designed for notebooks that you plug in an express card connector – in this instance its was an HDMI port but it could potential be compatible with other connectors as well.
That means you can take your laptop into the office and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t destroy your spine getting it there and know that it will still have enough battery life to keep you busy on the ride home. Once you’re back home you can then hook it into your XG Station and get back to the more pressing task of pwning all those n00bs.
The device itself looks a bit like the front of car stereo and has a lot of colourful flashing lights indicating GPU temperature and clock speed, fan speed and it will measure the framerate for you, which seems quite handy. It also offers audio in the form of Dolby Headphone technology so you can enjoy 5.1-channel surround sound while you play.
Perhaps the best feature though, is that it is just equipped with a standard PCI-Express slot so you’ll be able to swap and upgrade your grahics cards whenever you feel the need. Needless to say, replacing your laptop’s intergated graphics card with something like an NVIDIA 7900 is going to result in an unprecedented leap in performance and the price of a PCI-E card shouldn’t break your bank either.
The XG Station is due out in Q2 of this year but there’s no word on how much it will cost yet and you will need to have a laptop with a compatible Express Card connector for it to work.