Asus at Computex 2016 dropped few updates on their ROG XG Station 2 external GPU dock one of them being a USB Type-C. Having a gaming laptop is a bliss, you can take out your powerhouse anywhere and happily game with your portable machine. But one down side is the missing horsepower that laptop GPUs lack versus their desktop counterpart. Using a DIY external GPU dock has been in news for some years but since the time Alienware kicked in its Alienware “graphics amplifier” to support its gaming laptops with desktop GPUs, the race began with other manufacturers too. Asus decided to switch to the standard Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C from the proprietary port which manufacturers like MSI and Alienware relied on to provide and effective 40Gbps bandwidth via those proprietary PCIe interfaces this evaluates to an obvious downside, yes, compatibility. Compatibility is a serious issue even for older laptops of the same brand let alone mixing and matching different docks with different brand laptops.
Thunderbolt 3 provides effective 32Gbps although it has a max bandwidth of 40Gbps bandwidth due to some encoding overhead. Asus’ proprietary connector had two cables and the first supported laptop is to be launched in fourth quarter of 2016. Asus however hasn’t completely moved to TB3+USB Type-C combo. The company’s decision is kind of radical, it had adopted the TB3+USB Type-C along with existing Dual cable interface rather than replacing the latter with former.
This is kind of an experimental product which maybe give rise to a third iteration which could completely drop the proprietary port to improve compatibility with laptops having required Thunderbolt 3 port over USB Type-C protocols like the Razer Core and Powercolor Devil box. As mentioned earlier about the sudden stir in external GPU docking sector in the industry, it may be the case that bigger companies could’ve been cooking something similar as even the most professional laptop brands are now into gaming laptop markets.
Asus’ ROG is a very performance oriented moniker always ready to please the enthusiasts with class leading features. XG2 being no exception, it does have some bells and whistles like a 680W PSU with solely 500W reserved for the GPU and 100W for dock components and 80W for quick charging function (yes, it can charge your laptop too).
The big GPU reserved headroom is specifically to provide GPU overclocking because Asus has been considering it to support. Multi GPU support is plausible but not confirmed. The unnamed laptop which is to be launched alongside the GPU dock would be launched in Q4 2016.