When ATI initially spoke of XGP, we were very very excited... about possibilities of having a laptop which would actually run for long, and then when required could serve up some kick ass action. Now, AT has managed to pack the 5870, albeit somewhat crippled, but still powerful enough to churn out some serious graphics...

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At this year’s CES, the guys over at AMD are demoing their external graphics solution for notebook PCs yet again, this time using much more computational power than the first demo at Computex 2008.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, XGP stands for“eXternal Graphics Platform” and is an intellectual property designed and developed by AMD. Back in June 2008, the company had secured a one-year exclusive right to the technology with JAE, the manufacturer of the external PCI-Express 2.0 connector. In perspective, the XGP platform consists of a mobile Radeon HD graphics card (usually enclosed in an external case) and connects to any notebook equipped with the proprietary XGP connector featuring up to 16 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes.

AMD is demoing its latest XGP solution using the just-released 40nm Mobility Radeon HD 5870 codenamed “Broadway.” In review, it features a 700MHz core, a total of 800 stream processors, 1GB of GDDR5 at 1,000MHz, EyeFinity support and a TDP rating of 50W. The external notebook GPU is connected to a specially modified Acer Ferrari One 12-inch notebook that features the XGP connector. The AMD representative we spoke with suggests that parterning notebook manufacturers are eventually going to include XGP outputs on their latest designs beginning this year, but he did not specify which partners or exactly when we could expect the first devices.

The Acer Ferrari One connected to the AMD XGP was able to run Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. spanning across three 20-inch monitors (1600x900 each) for a total resolution of 4800x900. The quality and smoothness of gameplay were definitely satisfactory, especially with a total power draw of just 50 watts for graphics processing. We hope to obtain more information from AMD’s partnering manufacturers regarding availability very soon.