AMD’s Solution To Turn Notebooks Into 4K Gaming Monsters – Standardized External GPUs


AMD is prepping a standardized solution to plugin desktop class graphics cards into laptops for a huge boost in gaming performance. This tease came via AMD's Robert Hallock's facebook page  and the solution promises to bring desktop class high-performance gaming experiences to ultra portable laptops via a simple plug and play solution.

AMD External GPU Solution

Robert Hallock, Technical Marketing Lead at AMD - Facebook
Alright, let's have some Real Talk™ about gaming on the go. Gaming notebooks are great for gaming, but nobody in their right mind wants to carry one all the time. Ultrathin notebooks are awesome to carry, but nobody in their right mind would confuse one for a gaming notebook.

But there's still a HUGE appetite for thin notebooks that can game. I also bet there's a bunch of gamers out there who, as they get into their 30s and 40s, wouldn't mind condensing their entire computing life down into one device that does it all. I ALSO bet that some people wouldn't mind giving up an mITX LAN rig if their notebook had the potential to serve that role with gusto.

External GPUs are the answer. External GPUs with standardized connectors, cables, drivers, plug'n'play, OS support, etc.

More info very soon.

A Simple Plug And Play Solution To Convert A Portable Notebook To A Desktop Gaming Machine

Hallock is in no doubt correct when saying that there's a huge appetite for an on-the-go desktop-class gaming machine that can replace your ordinary, mostly stationary, desktop. Whether it be for frequent LAN partiers or frequent travelers or even just casual gamers that want a portable and capable system; gaming notebooks have been the only go-to solution thus far.

However it has always been the case that gaming laptops are both significantly more expensive than similar performing desktops and simply not as portable as ultrathin notebooks. Gaming notebooks have always been about compromise, whether it was at the expense of weight, cost, display panel quality, limited component choice or all of the above. This is where external GPU solutions come in where you can have your cake and eat it too.

Forbes's Jason Evangelho points out :

External GPU docks like Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier and MSI’s Gaming Dock solve a very real problem for many gamers. Laptops are great for gaming on the go, but they simply can’t provide the kind of raw graphics processing power a dedicated desktop graphics card can. That means at home, you’re more likely to invest in or build a desktop PC.

I get the potential appeal. I’m one of those guys who wouldn’t mind simplifying.

The issue with external GPU docks is that they're in serious need of standardization. We've seen proprietary solutions like Alienware's Amplifier and MSI's Dock but they force you into a locked ecosystem where you have to pony up for an expensive external GPU setup that can only work with one set of hardware from one company. Simply changing your laptop to a different make means losing the entirety of an already expensive investment.

Alienware graphics Amplifier

A standardized solution means that no such restriction exists. All you would need to do is plug it into your laptop and it'll just work. All it would require is for laptop makers to simply implement compatibility into their products. And as with all technologies that have seen standardization, it will drive adoption up and cost down and simply create a more comprehensive and robust solution. Also just like a desktop, when you grow in need of more graphics performance you simply upgrade to a more powerful graphics card, install it into your dock and you're ready to go again.

This also opens up whole new set of opportunities for flexibility by which you can simply have one external GPU dock and plug it into any one of your many systems whenever you need the extra graphics oomph, maybe even lend your dock to a friend. Certainly, the prospects are huge and extremely exciting for a small plug and play box that can convert a small ultrathin notebook to a desktop class 4K gaming monster and we really can't wait to see it in action.