Asus creates new GPU future with upgradeable graphics cards
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May 17, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Location: Kitchener, ON
Originally Posted by
I gotta say I don't really get it. What's the MXM module? Is that a new socket that the new GPUs will plug into? Why and how would you have to replace the socket?
MXM (Mobile PCI Express Module) is a form-factor standard used in laptops for graphics adaptors. It's the reason that some manufacturers are able to advertise their units as being 'upgradable'. While the guts of the graphics cards will obviously vary, if you standardize things such as the PCI-E interface, the power connections, the heatsink mountings, etc, you can theoretically swap out an old card for a new one, without having to spring for a new motherboard/laptop entirely.
That said, I have no idea what the appeal is supposed to be for desktop systems. The advantages of MXM are found when you're trying to cram a GPU board into a skinny little laptop, get everything connected again, close the panel afterwards, and not have it overheat. The worst problem we have with desktops is when the card reaches out past the mobo, or when we need a second power connector.
Making it so that we "only" have to replace the GPU and memory isn't much of a consolation, since they pretty much comprise the majority of the GPU's cost in the first place. Added to that, the smaller economies scale will probably ruin any chance of competitiveness with mainstream graphics products.
They could push it as a variation of Xfire/SLI, but both vendors already have single-card/multi-core options. Added to that is the fact that most mainstream mobos will already accept a second GPU, even if you sacrifice some theoretical bandwidth (eg PCI-E x4 on P35 chipsets) or are only limited to one brand (Intel chipsets). Since the MXM standard also incorporates some thermal standards, anyone serious about performance probably isn't going to be interested in neutered GPU modules.
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