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MSI eGPU dock in the works for GS30?

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Thanks for posting.

It would be great if something like this was released at a reasonable price point. Sadly, we've seen several announcements like this before (e.g., GUS II), which all never saw the light of day. I really just don't understand Intel and what they get by artificially limiting thunderbolt.

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the sheer ignorance and snobbery of other tech forum sites that have announced this news is pure bliss, for real!

Most noobs could not appreciate the revolution that laptops can and will utilize desktop GPUs through differenr means regardless of manufacturers blocking such attempts..

I can only smell the success of such platform in such times today. Of course nothing beats a desktop setup but Portability is another whole new Genre.

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Sorry to break it to you guys but from looking at the pictures and the laptop specs, it appears that the egpu will be using lightpeak not thunderbolt. This makes sense as it would enforce brand loyalty (you would need their laptop) and also it seems intel is much more lenient with light peak (there is already an existing one for the vaio z AnandTech | Sony Updates Vaio Z: Light Peak and An External GPU).

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Until MSI releases more details, we can only speculate on their choice of interface for this product.

Light Peak was indeed Intel's codename for eventually became Sony Vaio Z's implementation and Apple/Intel's Thunderbolt. The underlying technology is the same, even if the connector and demultiplexing isn't. I haven't found any info confirming that the GS30 is indeed using Light Peak and the laptop doesn't appear to have a Thunderbolt port either (2x USB, 1x HDMI, 1x Ethernet, SD card reader, DC power, Kensington lock slot). My guess is that this eGPU case is more of a conventional laptop dock, connecting to the laptop through a slot on the underside of the laptop - notice how the laptop is placed on top of the eGPU case and the two levers next to it, just above the power button:

post-28168-14494998292718_thumb.png

One (or both) of those could be a latch or release lever. Also, on the photo where you see the front of the case:

post-28168-14494998293058_thumb.png

Look at the very top of the case - it looks like there is a footprint for the laptop, which also suggests it's a docking interface.

Docking connectors often hook up directly to the PCIe bus directly and there have been many examples of docks carrying not just additional storage and extended connectivity options but also GPUs (e.g. the old Thinkpad docks) so it's not out of the realm of possibility that this was the route MSI took for the GS30. It's a well established technology that would side step the licensing issues with Light Peak/Thunderbolt. The bad news is that this dock will probably only fit with this particular laptop model series and thus won't be a universal eGPU solution. Still, it's a step closer to a mainstream solution for a problem everyone here cares about.

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IFA 2014: MSI GS30 Shadow als 13,3 Zoll Gaming-Notebook mit GamingDock ab Januar 2015

There's a good pic of the dock. Looks like some proprietary connector on the back of the laptop.

<A HREF="http://www.notebookinfo.de/artikel/ifa-2014-msi-gs30-shadow-als-13-3-zoll-gaming-notebook-mit-gamingdock-ab-januar-2015/5542/bild_1.jpg"><img width=500 src=http://www.notebookinfo.de/artikel/ifa-2014-msi-gs30-shadow-als-13-3-zoll-gaming-notebook-mit-gamingdock-ab-januar-2015/5542/bild_1.jpg></A>

Thank you for posting the picture link.

They are advertising a full x16 bandwidth from the device and to achieve that they cannot use Thunderbolt/Lightpeak with it's x4 2.0 electrical link to the GPU. The proprietory dock would encompass the 16 TX/RX pairs for transmission + a few extra lanes for signalling. That's at least 64 lines.

We see too they have a desktop video card in the gaming dock along with some form of PSU (ATX?).

This along with the TB2-capable MSI WS60 2OJ seeing MSI make some pioneering eGPU candidate systems. Fingers crossed, other vendors will start getting onboard too.

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A very decent start, lets see if this actually makes it to market.

Two main annoyances with this though; you can't use the laptop alone when it's on the dock, you have to use a keyboard and mouse. I would prefer it like this (from the side):

post-10650-14494998293694_thumb.png

and use a SFX PSU instead. Ok, you can't run the 295X from it, but you couldn't fit the CLC in anyway, so the only card would be the Titan Z that you couldn't use with a 500W SFX PSU, and I think that would be a fair compromise for a smaller dock.

Secondly, even if they stick with this design, why do all the ports have to be on the sides, and if they have to be (of course the GPU ones do) they should be on the same side as to make it a bit tidier. It's going to look naff with wires sprouting out from all sides.

I guess they can't make it too small and portable at risk of stealing sales from their with-gpu gaming laptops.

Also, I think they missed a trick not putting additional cooling in the dock, aiming at the laptop, and kinda sad they are relasing it just as broadwell arrives, as the iGPU is slated to be faster still than 5200.

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I'm not sure this is something I like.. like someone else said, you can't really use the laptop while it's on the dock... I guess that is the price you pay for having an actual PCIe connector on the back of your laptop, no hot swapping support lol

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Here's an update to this monster notebook!

I am late but here's some great news!

æ“有ç¨ç«‹é¡¯ç¤ºå¡å¤–接盒,MSI GS30 2M Shadow 與 GamingDock 亮相 - VR-Zone ä¸*文版

Google translated, note the i7-4870HQ quad-core CPU.

Such epic hardware that can kill the Alienware 13!

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That gaming "dock" is as big as many mini atx cases so what's the point? Just build a full computer instead.

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That gaming "dock" is as big as many mini atx cases so what's the point? Just build a full computer instead.

Point is it's a dock so isn't meant to be mobile. The GS30 notebook itself will be portable when undocked. When docked, it will provide a centralized point for all your data and gaming needs. Consider how much less space it will take in your room than say a separate desktop machine.

You'll notice too the spec includes the HQ CPU with the faster HD5200 iGPU to give some on-the-go graphics capability. The GS30's ultrabook dimensions, quad-core CPU and full x16 dock obliterates the Alienware 13 offering.

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Where's the gain in space? You could build a desktop w/the exact same footprint and have a laptop in addition to that. Nothing really changes and I fail to see the advantages of a dock that's so big.

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Where's the gain in space? You could build a desktop w/the exact same footprint and have a laptop in addition to that. Nothing really changes and I fail to see the advantages of a dock that's so big.

The point is, at the end, you only have 1 computer to manage. 1 OS, 1 setup. You don't need like "oh shit, the game is on my other computer", something like that :).

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The point is, at the end, you only have 1 computer to manage. 1 OS, 1 setup. You don't need like "oh shit, the game is on my other computer", something like that :).

Amen to that brotha!

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The point is, at the end, you only have 1 computer to manage. 1 OS, 1 setup. You don't need like "oh shit, the game is on my other computer", something like that :).

That's hardly anything to boast about if your trade off is a gimped mobile CPU in exchange. But to each his own.

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That's hardly anything to boast about if your trade off is a gimped mobile CPU in exchange. But to each his own.

Yep, to each his own. For me it's a blessing to come home and just plug in the VGA and have a good gaming experience. I don't care about the performance penalty that much because whatever it is, it's still way way better than my laptop VGA, and I can also work at the same time when I don't want to play, which is also a plus.

What I'm trying to say is, some people value absolute performance, but some people also value convenient, and fortunately there're now enough options to satisfy both groups, which is a godsend if you ask me :)

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that is really cool actually. I think they need an interface all laptops could make universal for this in future

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that is really cool actually. I think they need an interface all laptops could make universal for this in future

It will probably be lets hope I am totally sold with this let me get a pre order button please? Hey @Nando are you seeing this? or you like that alienware 13 more LOL

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This guy in the second video pushes the idea of small laptop portable and then combined when docked is full desktop graphics is yes a great idea but I really would like to see it a universal port used across manufacturer and even the heavy 17+ laptops because some people like that lol :) and then they equally would benefit from the desktop gpu as well as for those with that type of rig probably a better cpu/ram combo +cooling than available to the 13" laptop. Anyway all ranges of products could benefit from this if they were to consider it.

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This guy in the second video pushes the idea of small laptop portable and then combined when docked is full desktop graphics is yes a great idea but I really would like to see it a universal port used across manufacturer and even the heavy 17+ laptops because some people like that lol :) and then they equally would benefit from the desktop gpu as well as for those with that type of rig probably a better cpu/ram combo +cooling than available to the 13" laptop. Anyway all ranges of products could benefit from this if they were to consider it.

While MSI aren't saying it yet, there is no reason why they couldn't provide the same docking solution across all their gaming boxes, inc 17". Would be a big step forward for upgradability. If they are profit centric company then that may not be so desirable for them

As for universal ePCIe port, consider PCI SIG released specs for such a port in Feb 2007. Manufacturers have chosen to NOT adopt it, instead producing gaming notebooks with rather short performance lifespans due to their dGPUs. Closest we have as a universal ePCIe port is Thunderbolt2 that is limited to 16Gps (x4 2.0). The Skylake platform will see Thunderbolt3 released with a bandwidth bump to 32Gbps (x4 3.0, x8 2.0).

It will probably be lets hope I am totally sold with this let me get a pre order button please? Hey @Nando are you seeing this? or you like that alienware 13 more LOL

The MSI GS30 looks a lot better than the Alienware 13. The CPU could be a dual-core or quad, something MSI are not disclosing as yet. If I was MSI, I'd be aiming for a quad. However, a quad in a 13" chassis is going to need very good cooling. Plus, they are aiming for the HD5200 (Iris Pro) iGPU which in quad-form only come as a 47W parts currently. They may need to drop the spec to a 37W HD4600 + i7-4702MQ/i7-4712MQ OR wait for 14nm Broadwell to decrease TDP/temps. Maybe they have some other cooling tricks up their sleeve?

I also see storage is two two m2 SSDs, likely RAID-0. Keeps the system light and gives very fast performance. Outwardly, if they spec it with a i7-quad then would be a performance match to a 15" Macbook Pro in a more compact chassis, along with the x16 proprietory eGPU interface. That would be a hot seller.

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While MSI aren't saying it yet, there is no reason why they couldn't provide the same docking solution across all their gaming boxes, inc 17". Would be a big step forward for upgradability. If they are profit centric company then that may not be so desirable for them

As for universal ePCIe port, consider PCI SIG released specs for such a port in Feb 2007. Manufacturers have chosen to NOT adopt it, instead producing gaming notebooks with rather short performance lifespans due to their dGPUs. Closest we have as a universal ePCIe port is Thunderbolt2 that is limited to 16Gps (x4 2.0). The Skylake platform will see Thunderbolt3 released with a bandwidth bump to 32Gbps (x4 3.0, x8 2.0).

The MSI GS30 looks a lot better than the Alienware 13. The CPU could be a dual-core or quad, something MSI are not disclosing as yet. If I was MSI, I'd be aiming for a quad. However, a quad in a 13" chassis is going to need very good cooling. Plus, they are aiming for the HD5200 (Iris Pro) iGPU which in quad-form only come as a 47W parts currently. They may need to drop the spec to a 37W HD4600 + i7-4702MQ/i7-4712MQ OR wait for 14nm Broadwell to decrease TDP/temps. Maybe they have some other cooling tricks up their sleeve?

I also see storage is two two m2 SSDs, likely RAID-0. Keeps the system light and gives very fast performance. Outwardly, if they spec it with a i7-quad then would be a performance match to a 15" Macbook Pro in a more compact chassis, along with the x16 proprietory eGPU interface.

@Tech Inferno Fan

I only see one advantage of the alienware 13 is that can run the with graphics amplifier on screen like that Optimus functionality Nvidia eGPUs here in our site, and the MSI seems likely the opposite where a monitor or tv is required to project the display outwards from the external gpu solution, additionally the laptop screen needs to be closed as per the demoes shown on the videos... Well will see if other manufacturers are shaken by these moves and will manufacture similar tech soon to be on par with market and consumer demands... 2015 will be a great year for Computers I am quite very sure

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