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Old May 8, 2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Asus creates new GPU future with upgradeable graphics cards

Although not new, here is a great idea. I like the fact that you could theoretically upgrade your gpu at a lesser cost, and less waste!

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Originally posted in TG Daily

The vision of upgradeable graphic cards goes back to the late 1990s, when Micron Technology was experimenting with removable sockets. In 2006, both MSI and Gigabyte showcased upgradeable graphic cards, but their concepts, which were based on GeForce Go MXM boards, never took off. Earlier this year, Asus introduced a single board with three MXM slots for ATI Mobility Radeon 3850 or 3870 cards (upgradeable with future parts), and has now unveiled its single-MXM product.

Thanks to a modular design, you will be able to upgrade to upcoming MXM modules, including ATIís RV770 and RV870 chips (Radeon HD 4800, 5800 series). Interestingly, there should be no issue to put a Nvidia-GPU based MXM module onto this card, since there is no limiting logic.

Using this design, you can imagine a future where users will upgrade their graphics experience simply by buying a small module. If you would have to buy just the GPU and memory, this approach would actually lead to less money being spent, since you don't need to buy the complete card over and over again.
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Old May 8, 2008, 02:01 PM
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I can't see the third party vid cards being too interested in this concept... folks would just order their chips direct from either ATI or Nvidia then.
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Old May 8, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
I can't see the third party vid cards being too interested in this concept... folks would just order their chips direct from either ATI or Nvidia then.
Not if ATI or Nvidia didn't open up shop to sell them. It'd be in their interest to maintain the middleman relationship I think.
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Old May 8, 2008, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
I can't see the third party vid cards being too interested in this concept... folks would just order their chips direct from either ATI or Nvidia then.
Geez, I don't know... If they could make it work well, regardless of where people were getting their chips from, I could see these being VERY popular. They'd sell a ton of 'em I think. Besides it may not be as simple as getting an nvidia or ati chip somewhere else as they mention that you change out MXM modules... what ever those are.
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Old May 8, 2008, 10:10 PM
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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?

And I don't know about you guys, but I've had 4 graphics cards and each one is drastically different in design and parts used, more than just the gpu and memory. How many of us are holding on to our motherboards for more than one series of processors, anyways?

I think with graphics cards, I'd rather just buy a whole new one every couple years, without the limitation of having it fit a certain socket. If you're upgrading a 3850 to a 3870, well thats just silly, you can OC that upgrade for free. The next cards are on DDR5, which I imagine would need a whole new 'mothercard' (lol) because it wouldn't be compatible with your socket. Maybe they'll sell you an 'upgrade socket', like the early pentium stuff, haha.
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Old May 8, 2008, 11:18 PM
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I wouldnt mind seeing something like this the basic card lasting 2 years or so and you can update the GPU but of coarse every few years you'd need to buy a new board because of newer designs ,added technology and or socket upgrades alot like what you have with motherboards today. Depends all on price really.. how much would all this cost and would the consumer actually go for it.
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Old May 17, 2008, 09:08 AM
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I would see this as costing more for the end user in the long run, however the upgrades would be more frequent and have less gains. I find manufacturers are always looking at the bottom line, profit.
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Old May 17, 2008, 10:09 AM
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I would see hole new mother board configuration and communications system. There would be a dedicated socket for a processor designed to be used in massively parrallel calculations (wich could be multi core), such as graphics, physics, foldings, etc... There also be expansion slots for GDDR memory. This would make for a verry customizable, scalable, evolutive, optimized and cost effective set-up. We all know that this will never happen, but I think it would be a nice thing to have. The end user would ultimatly be the winner here, being abble to choose an optimised set-up according to his specidic budget and usage. I don't think that Nvidia and ATI would use the same sockets, this would lead to problems leaving the end user brand dependant.

Wow that was a heck of a brain bubble!!

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Old May 17, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I think this is a great idea for manufacturers too. Yes I understand the argument that the manufacturers would be losing out on profit since people would be buying whole vid cards less often but on the other hand people may end up spending MORE on their graphics if upgrades were only $100 to $200 a shot to stay up to date rather than say having to buy spend $400 to $500 or more for a new card, upgrades would happen more often. How many of us for instance bought a C2D/mobo/DDR2 combo when they first came out and are still using the same equipment? I know personally I'm on my 3rd CPU, second mobo, and second RAM upgrade and none of those happened at the same time since I found it easier to do it in $200 (or less) increments.

I'm sure if this ever came out that the GPU's would come on a small PCB with a few support components (maybe a SPD chip or BIOS) which may require you to buy only ASUS upgrades if you had an ASUS graphics card there by not losing any customer base. This could be the equivalent to the MXM board that has been mentioned.

Also, I'm sure the first manufacturer to get this out would have a huge following and at least temporarily take a large portion of the market if they made it a viable solution.
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Old May 17, 2008, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinister View Post
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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