Asus announced a new external graphics enclosure, taking the blueprint for the XG Station 2 and giving it a professional-looking makeover.
The new Asus XG Station Pro ditches the edgy ROG gamer-centric design of the previous iteration, with Asus instead opting for an In Win-manufactured chassis with smooth edges and solid panels. Gone is the side panel window; the XG Station Pro sports a vented side panel with two 120mm fans that exhaust heat for improved thermal performance. The fans have a preset curve, but you can adjust the settings using Asus GPU Tweak II software. They can also be plugged directly into standard 4-pin fan headers found on Strix-branded graphics cards, allowing the case fans to react to the GPU temperature for more responsive cooling.
The new XG Station Pro chassis is also considerably smaller than its previous iteration, measuring in at only 4.3 x 14.8". To make it this tiny, Asus saved space by removing the internal power supply and using an external 330W power adapter (the same adapter found on its massive liquid-cooled GX800 gaming laptop). This is enough juice to support Asus’ factory-overclocked Strix graphics cards, with the XG Station Pro sporting two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
Asus stated that the new XG Station Pro can support up to GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards (with no mention of workstation-class GPU support, despite the business professional marketing lingo). These powerful GPUs draw considerable power (Nvidia and AMD flagships are rated at 250W and 295W, respectively), leaving only about 80W-to-35W for additional power for the attached Thunderbolt 3-enabled laptop. This makes the XG Station Pro adept for thin and light devices with low power consumption, such as the Asus Zenbook, which the company explicitly suggests as a suitable match. The XG Station Pro also supports macOS Sierra devices, but only with AMD Vega graphics cards for the time being (Nvidia does not have a certified driver for macOS).
The external graphics dock still connects to a mobile device via a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C interface (Asus also provides a near five-foot cable), but the USB Type-A and network connectivity found on the XG Station 2 is reduced to a single USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C port on the new XG Station Pro. The interface is capable of data speeds up to 10 Gbps and can be used to charge 15W mobile devices.
Although the look of the new XG Station Pro is toned down compared to the loud ROG-branded predecessor, it still has a few flashy features to suit your fancy. An RGB LED light illuminates the interior (it glows white by default), and the colors and effects can be customized using Asus Aura Sync software. You can also use the LED control software to adjust the lights on compatible Asus and ROG graphics cards.
The Asus XG Station Pro will be showcased at CES next week, and it will hit stores later this month for $329.