The line between desktop computers and notebook computers is becoming more and more blurred with each passing year, and ASUS is helping to blur it. Last week, ASUS announced the release of their "XG Station", designed to give notebooks more flexibility as something to slip in between where a desktop computer once stood. While not quite a docking station, the XG offers an external graphics card station for a notebook, including a stock PCI Express slot. Not only does this give a laptop the ability to plug in a desktop-class card (when docked), it makes upgrading the graphics component of a laptop quite easy, which is often the most expensive and power-hungry portion:
The XG Station is the world’s first docking station to provide a standard PCI Express slot for additional graphics computing power on notebook computers with Express Card slot, delivering VISTA Premium performance. The device also conveniently accommodates future graphics technology such as, HDCP and HDMI upgrades possibility. Lab experiments on a notebook based on Intel 945GM graphics connected to the XG station with a ASUS EN7900GS graphics card showed an astounding 9 times faster acceleration.
On top of having a bunch of other goodies that make it seem like a great substitute for a desktop, such as a beefier sound setup that a laptop can't offer and a diagnostics LCD, a platform like this would increase the versatility of a laptop. Rather than buying a laptop with a beefy graphics card that may seriously choke your battery life, but be required due to CAD work or video processing, you can have the best of both worlds – one with low power components, and a small docking station that gives you everything else you need. I hope this design is picked up by other manufacturers as well. Modular workstations could definitely be a plus. ASUS expects the XG to be available in the second half of 2007.