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MSI Shows External Graphics Card w/ATI

MSI plans to showcase its upcoming Graphics Upgrade Solution (GUS) at Computex next week, an externally-housed ATI Radeon HD 5670 1 GB card that connects to a notebook's ExpressCard slot. MSI's solution is one of many external options in the works--both Gigabyte and Shuttle recently displayed their offerings at CeBit back in March. As seen at the show, Gigabyte has chosen the docking station approach whereas Shuttle's I-Power GTX mini will use a special GTX connector.

As for MSI's solution, the company has tweaked the limitations of the ExpressCard connection by using a thicker, shielded copper cable and "improved" associated electronics. This supposedly allows for "over 70-percent" of the theoretical bandwidth as opposed to the 50-percent or less seen with other external solutions. MSI said that the next generation of GUS devices will take the simpler route by using USB 3.0, however the current model will still provide a nice performance boost over integrated graphics.

While this option may sound encouraging for gamers, there are a few positives and negatives associated with the technology. The external device will need a separate power source, and could prove cumbersome when traveling. However that's only a minor setback given that it can provide up to three additional video outputs. This means that consumers can set up a 4-display array using the output from the laptop (or use the laptop's LCD) and the three ports provided on ATI's card.

MSI said that the upcoming GUS will be offered in two forms: without the ATI card for just $99 to $109, or with the Radeon HD 5670 card for $169 to $229. As it stands, the device can't support cards more advanced than the Radeon HD 5670, as the GUS has a maximum power draw of 84 watts and does not have a 6-pin power adapter.

  • IFLATLINEI
    AWESOME!!!! What took so long???
    Reply
  • adamspc
    As it stands, the device can't support cards more advanced than the Radeon HD 5670, as the GUS has a maximum power draw of 84 watts and does not have a 6-pin power adapter.

    Can't they just use a beefier power supply for a faster card, or is there maybe a bandwidth issue as well? I assume bandwidth would be the real issue considering they make a point about the extra shielding.
    Reply
  • jryan388
    Probably have 5670 performance at 5850 price.
    Reply
  • builderbobftw
    Be cool if there was a 5970/5870/5850 version for those of us with 19x12 laptops :/
    Reply
  • joytech22
    Awesome! Too bad my Laptop doesn't have a ExpressCard slot..
    Hp Pavilion dv6-1323tx... Only came out last year :o

    My older Acer has a ExpressCard slot but it's CPU will still bottleneck it.
    Reply
  • steiner666
    I've only been saying that they need to make external desktop-GPU housings for laptops for over a decade now! So many laptops get outdated because the built in graphics chipsets cant keep up with the games, CPUs dont get outdated nearly as quick. This will add YEARS of usability to laptops that would otherwise be replaced.
    Reply
  • schmich
    There should be a generic case where you can just put in any graphics card! Like that you can just take the one in your PC when you go away.
    Reply
  • Zoonie
    As it stands, the device can't support cards more advanced than the Radeon HD 5670, as the GUS has a maximum power draw of 84 watts and does not have a 6-pin power adapter.

    It's probably an easy mod to add the missing power. However, the question is, can you feed anything more powerful through that ExpressCard slot?

    And then ofc.. Can it outpace something like a mobile 8/9-series GS/GT? I'm really hoping you will benchmark this thing. As is and modded to run some more powerful card!
    Reply
  • Lamiel
    jryan388Probably have 5670 performance at 5850 price.The cheapest 5850 on Newegg right now is going for 289.99. This article says "or with the Radeon HD 5670 card for $169 to $229". Considering you're getting both the adapter and the GPU for that price, I'd say your comment makes no sense.
    Reply
  • RADIO_ACTIVE
    just another thing to drag around lolz along with a laptop cooler, mouse, power brick...

    portable PC gaming is not that portable :)
    Reply