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Acer: AMD's XGP External Technology No Good

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 21 comments

Ouch. Acer didn't speak too fondly of AMD's XGP technology.

TechRadar reports that Acer isn't too keen on AMD's XGP external graphics technology. The feelings were conveyed to the website during a query about the release date of Acer's external ATI Radeon graphics card, slated to ship this year. According to the report, it appears that the card has now been placed on the back-burner. In TechRadar's actual words, Acer responded to the query with a "less than flattering description of XGP."

While TechRadar didn't offer a full disclosure of the transaction, Acer apparently still shows some interest in the external GPU technology. "Acer is interested in this solution, but at the moment it doesn't offer the best user experience," said a spokesman for the company. AMD was a little more positive, saying that it was working closely with Acer to bring the XGP product to the market.

"The Acer Ferrari One [netbook], now available for purchase, does include the XGP port," AMD told the site. "AMD demonstrated a prototype solution with this notebook at International CES 2010 in Las Vegas at the beginning of this year."

For laptops without graphical horsepower, AMD's XGP technology (short for eXternal Graphics Platform) could be a huge boost to consumers wanting to play better games or survive the flood of embedded Flash objects littering the Internet. Unfortunately, the XGP market is scarce, virtually non-existent at this present time.

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  • 16 Hide
    nevertell , May 6, 2010 6:16 PM
    It should be just a port in which you can plug in an "extender-cord" to which you can plug in any pci-express 2.0 video card. And it should come with a 200w power supply that supplies the video card with power. It should be a way of turning a portable doc writer/netbook into a semi-portable gaming machine.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    nevertell , May 6, 2010 6:16 PM
    It should be just a port in which you can plug in an "extender-cord" to which you can plug in any pci-express 2.0 video card. And it should come with a 200w power supply that supplies the video card with power. It should be a way of turning a portable doc writer/netbook into a semi-portable gaming machine.
  • -4 Hide
    silentq , May 6, 2010 6:20 PM
    3DFX accelerator cards reborn?
  • -6 Hide
    mister g , May 6, 2010 6:21 PM
    When I first looked at this I thought that AMD had finally created external graphics cards, after reading this up at Wikipedia I'm still confused at what this is for.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , May 6, 2010 6:34 PM
    We have express-card which already breaks out a PCIe x1 slot (and USB if I recall). In theory, XGP should just be like an Express-Card slot. Of course, this isn't x8 or x16 bandwidth, so the performance won't be great, but it should be better than anything you can get on-board. I wish there was some detail in this article.
  • 0 Hide
    victomofreality , May 6, 2010 6:58 PM
    hellwigWe have express-card which already breaks out a PCIe x1 slot (and USB if I recall). In theory, XGP should just be like an Express-Card slot. Of course, this isn't x8 or x16 bandwidth, so the performance won't be great, but it should be better than anything you can get on-board. I wish there was some detail in this article.


    That's just it though they're designing the platform and interface from scratch theres no reason they shouldn't be able to get it up to atleast the speed of a PCIEx8... as for the complaint from Acer it's new tech, show me a piece of new tech that worked right out of beta without flaws.
  • 0 Hide
    figgus , May 6, 2010 6:59 PM
    hellwigWe have express-card which already breaks out a PCIe x1 slot (and USB if I recall). In theory, XGP should just be like an Express-Card slot. Of course, this isn't x8 or x16 bandwidth, so the performance won't be great, but it should be better than anything you can get on-board. I wish there was some detail in this article.


    The on-board would still get better bandwidth, and that counts for a lot. XGP is a neat idea, but not very practical for exactly that reason.
  • 0 Hide
    etrom , May 6, 2010 6:59 PM
    The XGP is a feature that I was thinking about for years: it's understood that VGA cards consumes a lot power and draws a lot of heat to be inside of a notebook case, so why develop a pcmcia-like external card, or even a USB 3.0 card to do the job? This would rock the gaming notebook market!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 6, 2010 7:06 PM
    'mister g
    When I first looked at this I thought that AMD had finally created external graphics cards, after reading this up at Wikipedia I'm still confused at what this is for'

    there's always the ATI website.... granted it's probably got they're marketing spin on it but should give you a feel for the tech

    interesting, could be eyefinity for laptops that just dotn have the space for 6 ports or even better still..... hybrid crossfire with compatible ATI IGP, mostly though i just like the idea of not having to rely on Sony/Dell/vendorX releasing half a$$ed drivers thats are not supported for the latest OS cause they want me to upgrade my laptop so i can use the TV out which worked perfectly fine on the old OS..... dont i just love Intel GMA chips........
  • 1 Hide
    CptTripps , May 6, 2010 7:10 PM
    Maybe it's not that great atm, but I have no doubt this kind of thing will mature over time. It will be very cool for those laptops/netbooks that are fully capable in all respects except graphics power.
  • -3 Hide
    wcooper007 , May 6, 2010 7:10 PM
    How about that Intel Light Peak as the connection what 10 gigs a second or something like that granted okay i know the device is made by AMD but i doubt even a video card could saturate the connection of that light peak technology... humm larabee with light peak
  • 3 Hide
    webbwbb , May 6, 2010 7:39 PM
    What I find to be ironic is that Acer feels that they have the right to call other products "No good". They only rank slightly better than HP in reliability and tend to cost more at the same time which negates that added reliability.

    wcooper007: PCI-E 2.0 supplies 500MB/s per direction per lane. That is 4gbps. If you are talking about a 16x 2.0 bus running in full duplex mode then you get 128gbps total bandwidth. Once PCI-E 3.0 comes into popularity that bandwidth will double. In terms of internal connections (which is what you would want for a GPU) light peak is quite slow. If they want to make a really good product they could do what another poster recommended and have an actual PCI-E slot and power connector plus a case to put your dedicated video card in.
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , May 6, 2010 8:17 PM
    A 1x PCI-E 2.0 slot is pretty low bandwidth to todays GPUs. Sure it could give you a boost over integrated graphics, but it's going to sap the performance of even lower end cards compared to what they would do on a 16x, or even an 8x 1.0/1.1 PCI-E slot. I think they need to find a way to supply at least 4x PCI-E lanes to make this somewhat viable.
  • -1 Hide
    ta152h , May 6, 2010 9:26 PM
    The slot a GPU is attached to shouldn't make much difference at all, as long as the latency is low, and the card has enough memory.

    Using a high speed interface for a video card is a low-end solution. It means you didn't put enough memory on the card. Using system memory slows things down, either way. If you use a slow interface, it slows it down even more.

    GPUs get commands to do work, which are tiny. Provided they get them quickly (i.e. low latency), and work with their own memory, interface bandwidth is essentially irrelevant, for a single card. The downside is applications that use the GPU for things residing in system memory, to assist the CPU.

    So, they'd have to sell these things with lots of memory if they don't have great bandwidth, and they'd probably be a bit more expensive, but, then, laptops always tend to cost more, and have more expensive parts. They'd probably also want to avoid apps that work with system memory, when possible.

  • 0 Hide
    bdonedge , May 6, 2010 9:48 PM
    Who cares what Acer thinks? I mean, really. What have they done that is so great? They make a lot of pre-built machines, I can understand not wanting to use the first generation of this product but I mean it's going to mature at a rapid pace.
  • 2 Hide
    bk420 , May 6, 2010 10:08 PM
    i would take an XPG laptop. This would save me a lot of space and time looking for that PERFECTLY configured lapturd.
  • 0 Hide
    EXT64 , May 7, 2010 2:37 AM
    I hope they can get it working. Only way I can foresee me buying another high end laptop anytime soon.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 7, 2010 9:42 AM
    Using a high speed interface for a video card is a low-end solution. It means you didn't put enough memory on the card. Using system memory slows things down, either way. If you use a slow interface, it slows it down even more.

    GPUs get commands to do work, which are tiny. Provided they get them quickly (i.e. low latency), and work with their own memory, interface bandwidth is essentially irrelevant, for a single card. The downside is applications that use the GPU for things residing in system memory, to assist the CPU..



    You forgot about texture loading. which is not tiny.. That needs huge bandwidth. Even since Hardware TNL was introduced since Geforce 1 days, Hardware shaders etc etc. Textures have to be in Graphics memory for lighting and shading processing, where they originate from! your CPU and System memory, and it is constantly moved too and removed from the GPU ram in large amounts.

    Where you get your Info from? Interface Bandwidth is extremely relavant.
  • 0 Hide
    Hiniberus , May 7, 2010 10:16 AM
    Why has no one thought of a docking port? You know on the underside of a laptop there tends to be the dock port? Docking stations aren't used all that much for the non-business man type (though possible desktop replacement users can also have them?) I think it could be great if they were to somehow utilize that but that's just my 2 cents. I have no clue what the transfer rates are for that but with USB 3.0 XGP could actually become pretty popular I guess.
  • -1 Hide
    elcentral , May 7, 2010 10:50 AM
    so usb 3.0 to a conwerted pci-e cord ??
    or how is it going to get plugged in.
    probebly work good on the new fiber usb thing.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , May 7, 2010 12:41 PM
    Sounds like an interesting concept that needs more research and development.
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