At Computex 2008, AMD introduced its External Graphics Platform (XGP), on paper an interesting solution. To recap, XGP is an external box linked to a laptop via a proprietary socket. This socket serves as a PCI Express 2.0 x8 port allowing the computer to communicate with the graphics card contained in the box (a Mobility 3870 at the time). This is an elegant solution that allows you to reconcile mobility and battery life with GPU power. The problem was at the time, only Fujitsu Siemens was selling the box and availability and compatability left a lot to be desired.
We have now learned from DailyTech that Acer and AMD are taking up the concept again. Acer have at least one machine with an XGP socket (the Ferrari One). AMD are set to announce an update for the associated XGP box. This “version 2” should come with the Mobility Radeon 5830 and have HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort (probably 1.1a) ports and two USBs. A demo was carried out on three screens and it looks as if the box is Eyefinity compatible. That said, with compatability with the Mobility Radeon 4000 seemingly taken care of, this will depend on the built-in GPU. Note: an external power supply will be required in addition to the usual computer transformer.
As the market for ultra mobile machines (netbooks, CULVs and standard ultras) has exploded since 2008 and Acer is much more of a heavyweight than Fujitsu Siemens, we expect this second attempt to be much more successful.