Why Dock for dGPU does not fly? Although the dream is awesome with Windows Tablets

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices and SoCs' started by orangpelupa, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    Windows Tablets can play a whole lot of PC games but hampered by the low performance. They do have external docks (surface with dock, asus with keyboard dock, etc) but mostly it simply for adding ports and storage.

    Any idea why nobody making dock for (optional) dedicated GPU?

    It will transform tablet into gaming PC in instant... and should be in line with what MS is going in Win 8 and especially 10. One os to rule them all, one device for portable, fun, work, and desk.
     
  2. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    External GPUs have been toyed with in the past, usually shot down by costs (especially if your dock is so small it can't house a proper graphics card; then you need a custom PCB and cooling solution), as well as performance and compatibility issues.

    Thunderbolt is currently the only viable way to externally attach a GPU, and it is fairly low performance compared to motherboard slots, roughly equalling PCIe 2.0 4x, IIRC. Far below PCIe 3.0 16x of today. A new thunderbolt standard is being worked on and will be released together with Intel Skywell CPUs IIRC, but speed will "only" double, making it still quite slow compared to a full slot.

    Also, due to the hot-pluggable nature of thunderbolt you'd need a graphics card driver that's hotplug-aware. Current drivers aren't, so will probably crash the computer if you undock... Not sure how they'd react on docking though. If you boot the computer undocked the driver won't load as the GPU hardware is not present. It might not load even if you dock later either. Maybe someone else knows more about this, there's been a couple thunderbolt PCI express chassis shown as prototype or maybe even released in the past few years.
     
  3. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    From what I read, thunderbolt already works well for extern gpu as long as it's using real-time compression in nvidia card.

    So it's basically become a monopoly... If only amd also have that compression feature...

    About hotplug, current Windows seems partly support it. My HTPC have loose pcie gpu and when knocked by my feet often the screen will blank for a while then back on saying 'Windows recovered from graphic crash'.
     
  4. silent_guy

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    Forget about technical reasons: the market for the consumer who wants a Windows tablet and a docking station and an external discrete GPU just isn't there.
     
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  5. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Yup, Silent_Guy has it dead-on. I'd love a tablet with some graphical fortitude, but I'll be damned if I only get it while docked. Screw that noise.
     
  6. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    Vaio tap 13 fits that bill. It use full blown Intel cpu desktop class with fast (for Intel) Intel gpu (it's the one with edram if my memory are correct).
     
  7. eastmen

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    what the point ? if I have to dock it , I might as well have a console or a small form factor pc.

    Your going to be limited by the cpu in your tablet anyway in most cases.

    Look at the surface pro 3 . Its $1,449 for the 256GB/8GB 1.7ghz i7 2 core /4 thread cpu

    4th generation Intel Core i7-4650U 1.70 GHz (with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.3 GHZ) with Intel HD Graphics 5000

    THe current dock is $200 already and only comes with With an Ethernet port, Mini DisplayPort, and five USB ports (three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0

    Your lready at ,1600. Add in what another $200 to the cost for a decent graphics chip from NVidia and it will most likely still be a laptop part due to the small nature of a dock. . So you just paid $2000 for a non mobile gaming platform that would most likely be out performed by a xbox one or ps4 or at the least a cheap $500-$800 htpc size system.

    That said , if I could get something the size of the surface ac adaptor (even twice the size) that I just plug into the side and it cost $100-$150 for but it would have to be gtx 980m or 970m performance
     
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  8. Zaphod

    Zaphod Remember
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  9. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    Yikes that one dock is even more expensive than building full pc...
     
  10. ToTTenTranz

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    IIRC AMD has tried to deploy a standard for external graphics in laptops twice already.
    There's XGP and I remember seeing some news around CES about another shot at it, recently (never to be heard of, again).

    The problem with external graphics isn't a lack of consumer demand. It's the laptop makers who will naturally prefer to sell a new laptop every 2-3 years for gamers (when GPUs get outdated) rather than selling one every 6-7 years (when CPUs get outdated).
    Otherwise, the market with gamer laptops would still be filled with 4 year-old Sandybridge models with updated graphics cards like the Geforce 750Ti or the 960.
     
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  11. eastmen

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    The way to fix that is to stop making new external cards for the old laptops. Every 2-3 years introduce a new standard and make the chips for that.

    I just don't know how they will make it cheap enough and portable enough to make sense.
     
  12. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    I guess in the end, now we can easily make portable pc as the dock. Because there's steam game streaming that works well.

    Heck, Windows 10 with xbox streaming should works well too. (xbox one act as 'gaming dock')
     
  13. Arnold Beckenbauer

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    But on the other hand there are no tablet games (for Win 8.1), that require an external discrete GPU.
     
  14. eastmen

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    I always found it odd that indie games didn't skin the game for touch on windows and publish on the windows store.

    Faster than Light (FTL) would be perfect on a windows 8.1 tab and they already have it running fine on windows plus they have touch controls for the ipad. Just put the two together.

    Same goes for something like X-com they have it running on windows 8 and touch controls on the ipad / android.
     
  15. Arnold Beckenbauer

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    The main problem is, that eg Gameloft doesn't offer its main titles for Windows 8.1 (ok, they do offer some of them like Asphalt 7/8, Order of Chaos, Modern Combat 5, Minions..., but no Nova series, no Modern Combat 3/4, no Wild Blood or older titles).
    The next issue is:
    As you said: Why no touch controlls? Halo: Spartan Assault (Steam) offers Virtual Joystick support, but Deus Ex: The Fall doesn't (both are mobile games).
    And:
    We need "naked" games without high-res textures, high polys characters like BioShock or XCOM mobile, that require max. 2 GB (or 4 GB, but not 8 GB or more).
     
  16. Silent_Buddha

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    Hell, Defense Grid has touch controls. And pretty darn good ones at that. Defense Grid II has no touch controls, WTF? ARGH.

    Is it really so hard to include touch controls on the PC versions of games when you know that there are millions of people with touch enabled PCs? Hell, just Surface Pro 3 has over a million sales. One of my 4 monitors connected to my PC is a touch monitor. When games actually support touch, gaming on it is glorious. When they don't, it's incredibly noticeable for the lack of touch controls.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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