External graphics, sound and extra USB ports for your notebook.
The Asus XG Station was announced all the way back in 2007 but you couldn’t actually buy one anywhere. With this week’s unveiling of the ROG XG Station it looks like that external 7900GT-sporting graphics device may never see the light of day – we can but hope its successor will.
The station connects to an ExpressCard slot, which means that just about any notebook manufactured this side of 2003 should be able to use it. Oddly for a product carrying the Republic of Gamers branding the graphics card inside isn’t what you could call top of the range, being as it is a mere 256MB nVidia GeForce 8600GT – although it is overclockable using a dial on the device’s front.
This relatively underwhelming choice of graphics chip isn’t the end of the world. While many laptops already have an equivalent (or even better) GPU inside, more still either offer mere integrated graphics, and often only have a single VGA output. The ROG XG Station sports dual DVI outputs, and in addition also has fairly impressive audio capabilities: Dolby technology, such as Dolby Headphone (virtual 5.1 sound), Dolby Digital Live and Dolby Pro Logicllx.
Yet more functionality is added by the inclusion of four USB 2.0 ports and the aforementioned control knob which, as well as controlling the GPU speed, also gives access to the fan speeds, Dolby modes and various other settings. Furthermore an LCD readout offers such information as frame-rates, GPU temperature and fan speeds.
Sadly our contacts at Asus tell us that there is still debate as to whether the ROG XG Station will actually go on sale in the UK. Hopefully someone will do the decent thing and overrule the nay-sayers.
Asus press release.