"Plug 'n' Pulverize" gaming graphics upgrade for notebook PCs


For millions of notebook PC users, it's been nothing more than a frustrated wish. A portable performance possibility never realized. A mobile multi-monitor dream unfulfilled. An unreachable itch that laptop-toting PC gamers could never scratch -until now.


Thanks to AMD, notebook buyers will finally get what they have wanted for so long: "Plug 'n' Pulverize" graphics performance that transforms a thin-and-light laptop into a gaming powerhouse. AMD's new ATI XGP™ technology is a PCIe 2.0-compatible external graphics platform that adds desktop-class graphics performance and multi-monitor muscle to compatible notebook PCs. The idea is to deliver both long battery life and a great gaming experience -two features long considered mutually exclusive - making XGP a potential breakthrough innovation that gives notebook gamers the best of both worlds.


Supercharge gaming for CRYSIS-worthy frame rates with multi-GPU ATI CrossFireX™ technology, mating the ATI XGP's ATI Radeon™ HD 3870 GPU with the notebook PC's internal ATI Radeon HD 3000-series graphics card. Enjoy ultra high quality HD graphics for demanding multimedia and video editing tasks, HD video and Blu-ray decoding and playback, integrated HD audio output over HDMI, and more.1



Rabah and Ron (the AMD brains behind the scenes)</p>


ATI XGP™ technology features an ATI Radeon HD 3870 GPU with 512 MB DDR3 video memory inside a small portable enclosure with standalone power and cooling. It connects to a compatible AMD-based notebook PC with a special eight-lane PCI Express 2.0 external cable, enabling the ATI XGP to simultaneously drive up to three external high-resolution displays with HDMI and DVI connections. A couple of powered USB 2.0 ports also enable easy external mouse and keyboard docking.


This kind of solution has been the long-sought holy grail of every notebook user who suffered buyer's remorse after discovering the limitations of their latest lightweight wonder. Our lead ATI XGP technology OEM partner is+ +Fujitsu Siemens Computers and together we have been able to bring to market their FSC Amilo Graphics Booster, one of the "coolest" external consumer devices ever offered in the gaming/consumer electronics space. My exalted "insider" status enabled me to actually kick the tires and take it for a spin!



The FSC Graphics Booster: a half-kilogram of full desktop-class performance

We hooked-up a FSC Graphics Booster to a ATI XGP-ready notebook and big-screen HDTV at our UK AMD Live! lab. Addled gamers that we are, we loaded fresh installs of CRYSIS and FRAPS to put the FSC Graphics Booster to the ultimate FPS test.



The plant is fake - but the FPS are real

Our first impression? The FSC Graphics Booster is a great solution to play today’s most demanding PC games at mainstream resolutions on a thin-and-light laptop, yet avoiding the bulk, weight, heat, and battery power consumption of built-in single or dual discrete notebook graphics.



From left: playing GRID, watching HD video, tweaking Twitter, digging DIGG</p>


Next: a multi-monitor experiment to try something other notebook users can only wish they could. Even with dual-core CPUs and multitasking operating systems, today's notebook PCs are typically productivity-hobbled by the lack of true support for multiple high-resolution displays. The FSC Graphics Booster with AMD's XGP technology changes all of that, simultaneously driving three external monitors along with the notebook's screen.



+Quad-displays = sweaty-palmed excitement +

The FSC Graphics Booster with ATI XGP™ technology offers an unbeatable combination of desktop-class graphics power, ATI CrossFireX technology-enabled, and multi-display support. Thin-and-light notebook users can now have it all - mobile computing when you need it, multi-monitor productivity when you want it, and ATI CrossFireX graphics performance when your in-game survival depends on it. Check out some early reviews on We Got Served and here Notebookcheck.com


Watch this space for more notebook PC gaming, because I'm planning to take the awesome Alienware M17 for the ultimate test drive!




Ian "Cabrtosr" McNaughton


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1. HD monitor required. Additionally, a Blu-ray drive is required for Blu-ray playback.




Ian McNaughton is senior manager of product and platform marketing EMEA at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD's positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.