March 10, 2016 – AMD today announced the AMD XConnect Technology. What is the AMD XConnect Technology? It is basically an external graphics card solution for notebooks. It allows you to pair a desktop-class AMD Radeon graphics card with a compatible notebook using Thunderbolt 3. Let’s take a look!
Traditionally, PC gamers have to choose between gaming performance or portability, sacrificing one for the other. Never having their cake and eating it too.
The AMD XConnect Technology aims to bridge that gap, offering the best of both worlds. Who wouldn’t want to work with an ultra-thin, ultra-light notebook, but go back to desktop gaming with the same notebook?
With AMD XConnect Technology, that is now possible.[adrotate banner=”5″]
Introducing AMD XConnect Technology
The AMD XConnect Technology allows a compatible notebook, or even a 2-in-1 device, with Thunderbolt 3 connect to an external GPU enclosure configured with AMD Radeon R9 300 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury series GPUs. It’s a simple plug and play experience – you can connect and disconnect from the external graphics card enclosure at any time.
“AMD XConnect technology is representative of the Radeon Technologies Group’s on-going commitment to gamers. With the introduction of our user-friendly plug-and-play external GPU solution, gamers no longer need to sacrifice portability for powerful performance in notebook gaming,” said Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “As innovators paving the way with an ingenious external GPU solution for notebooks, we look forward to creating a thriving ecosystem of notebooks enabled with AMD XConnect technology in collaboration with leading manufacturers.”
The AMD XConnect Technology is a collaboration between the AMD Radeon Technologies Group, Razer and the Intel Thunderbolt group.
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The First Notebook Ready For AMD XConnect
AMD also revealed the first ultra-thin notebook to support AMD XConnect – the new Razer Blade Stealth, together with the Razer Core external GPU enclosure. The Razer Core can be equipped with a Radeon R9 300 series GPU to allow gamers to enjoy desktop-like gaming performance on their ultra-thin Razer Blade Stealth notebook!
“The Razer Blade Stealth was developed as the ultimate Ultrabook™ for work on-the-go, additionally capable of transforming into a desktop gaming environment when connected to Razer Core, thanks in part to remarkable contributions from AMD,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer CEO and cofounder. “The collaboration and development between Razer and AMD for users with Radeon R9 300 Series graphics in the Razer Core helped us realize the world’s first Thunderbolt 3 plug-and-play external graphics solution. A single Thunderbolt 3 connection now provides power and data between the Blade Stealth and Core, and other peripherals can connect to the Razer Core’s USB ports to provide a desktop-class gaming experience.”
To unleash the AMD XConnect Technology, the Razer Blade Stealth must be connected to the Razer Core eGFX enclosure using Intel Thunderbolt 3, and use an AMD XConnect-compatible driver (Radeon Software 16.2.2 or better). You can game directly on the Razer Blade Stealth’s high-resolution IGZO screen, or connect to an external monitor.
“Thunderbolt™ 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40Gb/s, creating one compact port that does it all,” said Jason Ziller, Director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel. “Thanks to technical collaboration with the Radeon Technologies group at AMD, desktop Radeon™ graphics cards are now validated for use with Thunderbolt™ 3. AMD’s new XConnect™ technology brings effortless plug-and-play support and a convenient management interface to notebooks and 2-in-1s with the Thunderbolt™ 3 external graphics solution configured with a powerful Radeon™ R9 300 Series GPU.”[adrotate banner=”5″]
Performance Level : Desktop
Here is AMD’s showcase benchmark – based on a Razer Core powered by the AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card.
This allows the Razer Blade Stealth to deliver frame rates (at 1440p resolution) in excess of 70 fps! This is nothing special for a desktop gaming PC, but it is phenomenal on a notebook.
The eGFX enclosure must be powered by an AMD Radeon graphics card that supports AMD XConnect. AMD plans to expand the list of Radeon GPUs that can support the AMD XConnect Technology. This will enable gamers to upgrade their eGFX enclosures beyond the Radeon R9 300 series GPUs.
Not all notebooks or 2-in-1s support AMD XConnect technology, and not all external graphics (eGFX) enclosures are compatible with AMD XConnect. The base system’s software package and BIOS must be configured to support AMD XConnect. Both the system and eGFX enclosure must have a Thunderbolt 3 port.