Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tech Gadgets: ASUS XG Station Lets You Take Your Graphics with You

Just after seeing this product, the laptop PC gamer in me jumped for joy.

For longer than I care to recall, I'd been wary of laptop gaming systems because they're grossly overpriced even with outdated hardware. Not to mention, many people complain of broken/fried laptops because of too much power (or perhaps bad engineering) shoved into too small a case.

I always wondered why laptop manufacturers tossed toned-down graphic cards into otherwise powerful machines, and slap a $2499+ price tag on them. Anyone who shopped around would notice severe price jumps are directly related to which video card your machine came with.

Customers were demanding a product that would allow them to harness desktop graphics without having to lug around a rig and monitor. This is where ASUS' XG Station comes in. This product was just released at CES, but as of this writing, doesn't have a price tag associated with it. However, if ASUS manages to price the XG Station below $400, this could very well solve the problem that has long since plagued the laptop gaming niche. As demonstrated in this image, you plug in your desktop graphics card to the XG Station, then plug the XG Station into your laptop's ExpressCard slot. From there, you can game with graphics that rival desktops.

However, note that not all laptops come equipped with the necessary ExpressCard slot. Yours might still have a CardBus PC Card slot (comparison visible in the ExpressCard link). It is also not yet confirmed that you can use this without a separate monitor. In the graphic previously linked, you'll notice the user playing games on a separate monitor. This would defeat the "mobile" functionality of this product, so hopefully ASUS clears up whether or not you can play on your laptop's screen.

Nevertheless, this little invention lets you purchase an otherwise dull laptop with so-so specs and transform it into a graphics powerhouse. Make sure it has an adequate CPU and RAM, and you're set. Toss the rest of your budget in the video card, and viola, laptop gaming is attainable.

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