Published in Graphics
Want a leash on your Puma?
Hold your horses, Lasso comes later
While AMD is touting its Lasso/XGP as the next big thing in notebook graphics, at this point it doesn't seem like you'll be able to get a lot of XGP products any time soon. Don't get us wrong, AMD is right about this one, for the first time consumers will be able to upgrade notebooks graphics in an affordable and practical fashion, so it fully deserves its bragging rights.
As we've already said, FujitsuSiemens is the first notebook vendor to offer XGP with its machines. With the likes of MSI and Asus on the Puma bandwagon, it seems a bit odd that FSC should be the first one to offer an XGP solution on the market. So, what's with the others? AMD showcased two notebooks from Asus and MSI yesterday, and the XGP port was conspicuously absent from both of them. FSC, the guys who have nothing to do with graphics, basically beat renowned AIBs to the market with the first XGP machine ready for shipping.
We have no idea how many of the 95 Puma notebook designs mentioned at the presentation feature XGP support. AMD told us to check with the vendors themselves, but many of these products have yet to be announced. However, it's obvious that few vendors decided to embrace XGP on their first batch of Pumas, at least judging by what Lars and Fudo had a chance to see at Computex last week.
FSC already has XGP products ready to go and this means the technology is mature enough to hit the shelves, but other vendors just didn't seem too keen to support it at this stage. It's possible that they're just trying to keep BOM costs down, but how expensive could an extra port be, considering the myriad of seldomly used ports we find on the vast majority of notebooks? They might also be reserving it for high-end models slated to appear a few months from now, as it doesn't make too much sense to include it on budget notebooks or small, business class machines.
XGP is not an integral part of the Puma platform; vendors are free to include it in the design or drop it at their own accord. It's a lot like HDMI: you can get it with ATI, Nvidia and Intel IGPs, but in most cases you don't, thanks to vendors, or should we say their team of cost-cutting accountants. Unlike Intel's Centrino, AMD chose to give vendors a lot of freedom in designing their Puma products, maybe even too much. It looks like notebook vendors are just looking after their backs and not taking any risks this early in the game. So, if XGP turns out to be a success, you'll see a bunch of notebooks supporting it within the next few months. You probably won't have to wait long, as we'll try to find out what the vendors are up to.