Despite AMD/ATI's lack of success with its device to connect an external graphics card to a laptop (a Europe-only release that never saw the light of day here), not everyone has soured on the idea. I posted a few weeks ago that Nvidia is considering an external graphics device, and this week at the CeBIT expo, Shuttle has been displaying its own solution, the I-Power GXT Mini.
The device can handle either an Nvidia or an ATI desktop graphics card, whether it requires a single or a pair of PCI Express slots. It connects to a laptop through a special GXT connector that only appears on Shuttle's new portables, which make use of a slew of I-Power technologies. The test setup on display this week consisted of a CULV notebook and a Radeon HD 4650 card, which saw a tenfold jump in performance running the 3DMark06 benchmark (scoring around 5,000). There would seem to be a built-in bottleneck, however, as the GXT connector uses a PCIe x1 lane, while current graphics card use PCIe x16 lanes. Shuttle also throws a couple of USB 2.0 port onto the front of the device, which doesn't yet have a price or release date.
Not to be outdone, Gigabyte had a different solution to the same problem on display at CeBIT as well. For its CULV-based BookTop M1405 (pictured below) and BookTop M1305 machines, the company has a special docking station that includes an Nvidia GeForce GT220 inside. While these have been in development for some time, the BookTops are still without pricing details or a U.S. release date.