ASUS XG Station Empowers Upgradeable Graphics Power for Notebook Computers

Enjoy up to 10-times faster graphics power boost with cinematic audio performance

Taipei, Taiwan, January 6, 2007 –ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS), the leading provider of high-performance graphics solutions, today launched the XG Station as the industry’s first public demonstration of the world’s first external graphics card station for notebook computers. Equipped with Express Card interface, USB 2.0 and Dolby headphones, the XG station seamlessly integrates notebook computing with PC graphics power.

Engage Mobility with Powerful Graphics Processing

As technology advances to accommodate all aspects of modern life styles, digital devices are often merged or connected for a combined maximum benefit. As with the case of mobile notebook computing and high powered 3D gaming or multimedia experience, a balance is established with the exclusive ASUS XG Station.

When on the go, compact notebook makes work efficient without adding extra pounds, while at home, large LCD monitor is preferred for enhanced visual enjoyment. ASUS XG Station brings the power of a dedicated 3D graphics engine, providing users with the best of both worlds. Simply plug in the XG Station to the LCD monitor and connect the notebook via an Express Card connector and get ready to game!

Fast and Upgradeable Graphics Power

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.

Sensational AV Enjoyment

XG Station also features enhanced audio and video functions. With Dolby® Headphone technology any headphone is capable to delivers cinematic 5.1-channel surround sound for a dynamic true-to-life quality during PC game play and music or video playback. Real-time Overclocking is easily controlled with the ergonomic knob design for simple GPU clock speed adjustments.

Large Information Display and Easy Control

XG Station is designed with ease of use in mind. A large LED screen is adopted to provide clear display of critical system status statistics including the following:

  • System master volume
  • GPU clock speed
  • Current GPU temperature
  • Dolby® Headphone feature status
  • Current actual Frames Per Second (FPS) information
  • GPU fan speed Indicator

The XG Station also has a dedicated control panel to let users control the settings through the GUI based interface and easily switch modes between the notebook screen and the external LCD monitor.

The XG Station is currently scheduled to be released at the beginning of Q2 2007. A full package will include the XG Station graphics docking station, one ASUS EN7900GS graphics card and assorted accessories.

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Nvidia: saying graphics don’t matter is ‘nonsense’

“They’re talking nonsense. It’s ridiculous to say that graphics don’t matter.” Those are the words of Nvidia’s VP of content, Roy Taylor, in response to those that don’t believe graphics are important — Nintendo presumably included. Of course, since Nvidia and graphics technology are largely synonymous with each other, it would have been ludicrous to expect him to say anything else (Our chips totally don’t matter!) in his interview with Next Generation. “That’s like saying, ‘The quality of my TV screen doesn’t matter.’ Oh really? So then in that case, you can go watch 24 in black-and-white on a seven-inch screen.”

The counter-argument to be made here is obviously that the sentiment shared by many gamers and Nintendo doesn’t imply that we’d be happy to regress to terrible graphics. Instead, their stance has been that graphics have reached a “good enough” level and can no longer significantly enhance gameplay. The “24 in black-and-white on a seven-inch screen” argument doesn’t quite make sense, as the primary qualities of the show wouldn’t be particularly affected by switching to a 1080p television. Perhaps a better analogy would have Jack Bauer replaced by an angry, but not entirely believable sock puppet.

Taylor goes on to say that graphics can greatly improve in-game emotion, with technology aiding in creating detailed facial expressions and realistic movement. This is valid point, though it requires consideration of what experience the game is trying to convey. A title like Gears of War is absolutely made more fun by its intense and involving cinematic presentation, whereas a game like Wii Sports is less dependent on seamless worlds and nuanced characters. Perhaps a compromise can be reached by saying, “Graphics should be good enough for the intended gameplay.”

Check it out

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Four Laptop Add-Ons That’ll Keep Your System Humming


We’ve seen some really cool notebooks here at CES, but if you don’t have the cash to spend on a new system, one of these accessories should keep your system running with the big dogs.


APC Universal Laptop Battery
This slick, thin laptop battery not only doubles as a stand for your notebook, but can also juice it up for up to 8 hours. And it keeps track of the amount of time/power you have left via a tiny built-in LCD.


Kensington Wireless Keypad/Mouse Combo
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impact. Plug in this USB receiver and you’ll suddenly have a wireless mouse and numberpad.


Belkin N1 Wireless ExpressCard
Show your ExpressCard slot some love and upgrade to 802.11n at the same time.


Asus XG Station
Think of the XG Station as roids for your notebook’s video card. Plug it in and watch as those framerates jump through the roof. Future models will let you install/upgrade the video card inside the XG Station.

APC Laptop Battery
Kensington Wireless Keypad/Mouse Combo
Belkin Wireless N1 ExpressCard
Asus XG Station

Asus external graphics card elevates your laptop’s speed, sexiness


Demanding PC games and laptops usually don’t mix so well (unless price is seriously no object), but Asus developed this sexy external graphics card for just such a situation. After you connect the card to the express card slot on your boring Dell notebook, it’ll be able to play in the same arena as those Alienware desktops on an external monitor. And you will soooo be the big man at your next LAN party showing off that gorgeous LCD panel and glowing master volume control. It’s supposed to come to the States in the spring. Check back soon for the price (I know I wrote it down somewhere…).

Check it out!

First AMD 4×4 Mobo Spotted


Intel may be getting all the attention with its quad core and Core 2 Duo blitzkrieg, but AMD’s not one to rest on its laurels. Its forthcoming 4×4 platform will place two dual-core CPUs on one mobo for a total of four cores. Asus’ L1N64-SLI WS will be the first mobo to support the 4×4 architecture and this here is an overview of what you can expect. It’ll have 4 memory slots (2 memory sticks dedicated for each processor), 12 SATA ports, and 4 PCI Express x16 slots. The two CPUs will be connected via AMD’s Direct Connect architecture. Spec-wise, the board is fully loaded. Our only concern will be pricing, as something with this many features can’t possibly be cheap and could potentially be more expensive than the Intel alternative.


AMD 4×4 Mobo Details Unveiled [via Daily Tech]

Apple iPhone: Order for 12 Million Confirmed


Hey, this is cool. Forbes reports that Hon Hai won a contract to make Macbooks, but also “12 million handset/mp3 players.” The iphone handsets will launch during the first half of next year.

The Macbooks are to be 15-inch models. Which could mean Pros, or a new size of the standard Macbook.

We know Asus, makers of current Apple laptops, can churn out quality shit. Who’s Hon Hai, and are they going to build us good Apple-ware? Rumors! We’ve missed you so much.

Taiwan’s Hon Hai wins Apple orders for mobile handsets [Forbes]

NVidia Now a Supplier for MP3 Player

In a move that may very well have saved the assets of a once-venerable US media chip producer from being auctioned off, graphics chip maker nVidia announced this morning it is acquiring San Jose-based PortalPlayer, a producer of embedded media processing chips for devices such as SanDisk’s Sansa MP3 player, in a stock purchase plan totaling $357 million.

PortalPlayer had been struggling to regain its footing as a producer of multimedia processing chips after the customer that essentially put it on the map, Apple, dropped it last April without much warning as its key supplier for its video iPod. Up to that point, Apple had reportedly accounted for 95% of PortalPlayer’s business. Its replacement was Samsung, which apparently offered Apple a discount on flash memory to sweeten the deal; PortalPlayer is not a flash producer.

The PortalPlayer design has actually been considered quite innovative, and worthy of its presence in the iPod, were it not for Samsung’s package deal. Prior to winning the Apple contract, Samsung executives had publicly dubbed their proposed replacement “the PortalPlayer killer.”

Despite rumors of the company’s imminent death, PortalPlayer did manage, against all odds, to remain in the black. Two weeks ago, it reported net income for its fiscal third quarter 2006 at $1.5 million, up $100,000 from the previous quarter. That blank ink came at a cost, however: the layoff of 14% of its workforce in June, and the scaling back of operations and expectations.

As part of its comeback plan, PortalPlayer had staked a name for itself in a burgeoning new market for embedded components: secondary, miniature LCD displays for notebook computers. Its design, called Preface, consists of low-power displays on the outside of the clamshell, that can remain switched on even while the rest of computer is on standby. These displays can register the time, check the current box scores, present the weather forecast, and even show recent e-mails. Microsoft has vowed to support the concept behind this technology in its upcoming Windows Vista.

Preface could be a lucrative new technology for nVidia, which now knows it’s going up directly against AMD — no longer just ATI — in the production of new platform technologies for notebook computers.

There may be new momentum behind nVidia’s move. A recently released Merrill Lynch analyst’s report projects that, in its last fiscal quarter, the company’s market share in the entire graphics chip market increased a staggering eight points, to 29%.

Its share of the integrated chip market alone, the report also states, leap-frogged in size over that of its nearest competitor, Intel, although embedded graphics is generally known to be a low-margin business.

Yet the news of today’s acquisition does throw cold water on rumors that nVidia is seeking to be acquired by Intel. With an integrated graphics chipset business of its own, Intel doesn’t need nVidia the way AMD needed ATI. Meanwhile, with Intel also firmly positioned as a provider of embedded chipsets as well, it needs PortalPlayer even less.

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