Asus Announces Multimedia Docking Station

In its continual quest to become a household name, computer components maker Asus (TPE: 2357) has announced a gadget they're calling the ROG XG – a "VGA and multimedia docking station" for notebooks. In what Asus describes as a "world's first" for a docking station, the ROG (which, somewhat awkwardly, the company claims is an acronym for "Republic of Gamer") comes bundled with a 256MB graphics card to supplement your notebook's underpowered chipset, as well as a built-in express card interface, two speakers with simulated Dolby 5.1, 6.1 or even 7.1 sound, and a 4-port USB 2.0 hub. The thing looks cool, in a gamer kind of way; cool enough to grab honorable mention at the Red Dot design awards this year.

Asus intends for gamers to use the docking station as an intermediary between their notebook and a large-screen monitor, the higher resolution of which might tax the notebook's graphics chipset. With its own graphics and audio processing power, the dock should free up the notebook's CPU to concentrate on grinding out good game performance. To appeal to the hacker-types, Asus included an "ergonomic knob" on the front of the ROG XG that allows you to safely over- or underclock the speed of the device's GPU, which is a common hobby of gamers who want to squeeze more performance out of their systems, often at the risk of a voided warranty or overheated PC. Other settings are controlled through a GUI-based interface and a large LED screen on the front of the docking station that reads critical stats like master volume, clock speed, GPU temperature, and current frames per second. It's also upgradeable, via a PCI slot inside.

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