Published in Graphics
Lasso tied up by vendors
by Nermin Hajdarbegovic on11 June 2008
Bring a knife, save a calf
AMD spinners got their fair share of rather uncomfortable Lasso, or XGP questions at the Puma launch in Zagreb.
The company claims the new standard is open and vendors are free to choose if they wish to implement it on their notebooks or not. It's not a compulsory design feature for Puma based notebooks, so it's all up to the vendors at this point. Furthermore, DAAMIT doesn't mind if XGP products from various vendors end up locked, usable only on their notebooks. They'll just stick a card with a modded bios into the XGP box and that's it, forget about using it on another notebook.
This doesn't sound like a good solution; after all, it's the liberal, no-nonsense upgradeability of discrete graphics in desktops that has in great part fueled the graphics industry thus far. With XGP, not only are you limited to ATI cards only, but you're also limited to products sanctioned by notebook vendors. This means you'll probably end up paying extra, have less choice and much less resale value once you're done with your notebook or XGP module.
It might be a nice way for notebook vendors to rake in some extra cash, but it will end up hurting AMD in more ways than one. Vendor-locked XGP graphics will probably have much less potential appeal to consumers than devices usable on all Puma based notebooks. The second issue is that it will take a long time before Lasso takes off, as you cannot use it with your existing notebook.
And what about the AIB partners? They would be building this stuff for notebook vendors, at least the ones not making their own graphics cards, such as Asus and MSI, while the notebook vendors themselves would end up with much of the profits. With the market turning more and more to notebooks, AIB guys have to migrate to the notebook market as well, at least eventually. They just can't be content with missing out on this particular market niche, even at this early stage.
We just don't see Lasso working out, unless it's unlocked, whether it's by AMD, vendors or freelance geeks trying to make a name for themselves. A Lasso tied to a notebook vendor on one side and a young, hungry Puma on the other end doesn't sound like a good idea in any situation (figuratively speaking, of course).