Lucid Thunderbolt External GPU Demonstrated

When Lucid took the wraps off its Thunderbolt External Graphics at the IDF, I could not help but to remember a rather visionary product we discussed here at Tom's Hardware more than six years ago and at least brought it to a virtual design phase.

Back then, we speculated that external graphics based on the ATI R600 graphics core would be testing acceptable power limits and potentially make external graphics boxes a necessity due to their excessive power and cooling requirements. Similar to how we used to bring external floppy and CD-ROM drives along with our notebooks, there was the idea that graphics boxes could be an option for notebook owners. As we know, this vision never became a reality, but the idea is not dead yet.

Lucid now sees an advantage for this technology because of the Thunderbolt interface and often underpowered Ultrabooks that may have enthusiasts wanting more in the graphics department. Their external box integrates an AMD Radeon 6700 chip, which has the potential to improve the graphics performance of a base Ultrabook by a substantial margin.

So, is this technology coming to market? It is a concept right now and far from being a market-ready product. As passionate as we were about external graphics in 2006, it is still much more likely that external graphics would be, if commercially sold, a niche product and not a mainstream solution.

For more details and another video, check out LaptopMag.

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  • A Bad Day
    SLI/Crossfire anyone?
  • spartanmk2
    That opening test of 3Dmark06 and Battle of Proxicon were my favorite to watch lolol
  • chuckydb
    If there's a way to use a better GPU in the future, I sure as hell would be interested
  • neodude007
    All this new prototype tech and they couldn't turn on a frikin light while recording this?!??!?
  • whiteodian
    I would love this. Get a nice little laptop and then an external graphics card capable of running modern games at good settings.
  • bustapr
    looks great. just too bad that cables and that dock alone would cost you an arm. cables are still $50!
  • egpu diy has been going on for quite sometime.
    ALthough thunderbolt enabled will definitely bring out better performance.
  • edogawa
    This is amazing, I always knew this would eventually happen. While I know this won't replace the desktop anytime soon, for casual PC gamers this would be an amazing solution; you could play any game on your laptop at home then take your laptop to school/work/trips.

    Dual/TRI SLI external cases would be cool though, you could really do a lot to improve cooling and keeping the GPUS separate from everything else heat wise would be an interesting idea. Several cool possibilities with this; you could even share an expensive GPU with someone else in your home and still use your PC while they game. What about consoles having an optional thunderbolt port to use an external GPU would be another neat idea.

    Let's just hope this gets cheap. Only issues I see are bandwidth wise on Thunder-Bolt.
  • Well, if you buy an ultrabook, you're normally not that interested in Games.
    Gamers buy Gaming-Laptops, having a better Performance(like Alienware).
    Also: isn't a Firewire/USB quite a bottleneck, compared with a fully-integrated Notebook-GPU?
  • classzero
    BlaargWell, if you buy an ultrabook, you're normally not that interested in Games.Gamers buy Gaming-Laptops, having a better Performance(like Alienware).Also: isn't a Firewire/USB quite a bottleneck, compared with a fully-integrated Notebook-GPU?Thunderbolt!