In the same week that it introduced its new switchable graphics mobile platform Optimus, Nvidia revealed that it's mulling an external graphics solution to boost the graphics capabilities of laptops. An Nvidia exec told X-bit Labs that it was a "big opportunity," but that the company hadn't decided if it would take the form of an adapter or a GPU docking station.
If the concept sounds familiar, it may be because AMD/ATI has already cleared this path with an adapter that was released in Europe as the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Graphics Booster. But the product was never released in the U.S., and might have served as a warning sign to its competitor that the concept faces a number of difficulties. Nonetheless, Nvidia seems to think it's just a matter of hitting the right price point with the device for it to succeed.
It is an intriguing possibility for people who mostly keep their laptops plugged into their desktop and only occasionally travel with them, and could be especially attractive to gamers or to those with mobile workstations looking for even more graphics power. But how much would people be willing to spend for that extra oomph. $500? $200? And how big a segment of buyers would Nvidia need to turn a profit on such a solution? Nvidia gave no details on what stage of deployment (if any) its external graphics solution is in, but if a company exec is floating the idea publicly, you'd have to assume it's made it past the drawing board.