AMD’s XConnect Promises Desktop Quality Performance For Laptops
That’s an excellent solution to a pretty major problem!
The big problem with trying to play games on your laptop is performance- most laptops come with on board integrated GPUs that are not very good at running games at all. Some come with discrete chips as well, these are mobile variants that rarely deliver the kind of performance that is needed to run high end PC games.
However, AMD’s XConnect promises to solve this problem once and for all- it will be made available today in Radeon Software 16.2.2 or later, and will allow players to plug in external GPUs using simple/reversible Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cables and connectors. Thunderbolt 3 allows the external card to have up to 40Gbps of bandwidth- meaning the experience is no different than it would be with an on board chip. Moreover, you can seamlessly switch from the on board GPU to the external one.
The following cards are compatible with XConnect:
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury
- AMD Radeon R9 Nano
- AMD Radeon R9 300 Series
- AMD Radeon R9 290X
- AMD Radeon R9 290
- AMD Radeon R9 280
- Mobile derivatives of these ASICs
- PLANNED: Radeon dGPU products based on the Polaris architecture
You also need the following on your system:
- Radeon Software 16.2.2 (or later)
- 1x Thunderbolt 3 port
- 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable
- Windows 10 build 10586 (or later)
- System BIOS ACPI extensions for Thunderbolt eGFX (check with vendor)
- Thunderbolt firmware (NVM) v.16 (or higher)
- Pass Thunderbolt certification
This should make AMD attractive to a whole new subset of PC gamers.