Asus Announces the Innovative ROG Flow X13 and XG Mobile eGPU
Gaming laptops are getting smaller all the time, but the size limitations of hot components are always an issue. However, at CES 2021, Asus announced a unique solution to the problem that includes one of the smallest external graphics cards you have ever seen.
The first piece of the puzzle is the ROG Flow X13. It’s a 2-in-1 laptop that is no different from the HP Specter x360 or the Asus ZenBook Flip. It includes a 13-inch screen, a 360-degree hinge, weighs less than three pounds, and is only 0.62 inches thick. The device also uses a 16:10 display, either in a 120 Hz 1080p configuration or in a 4K model.
But Asus has packed some game-ready internals under the hood. It is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS and an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card. That might not sound like a gaming powerhouse, but keep in mind – this is a 13-inch 2-in-1. The only other 13-inch laptop we’ve seen with a dedicated GTX 1650 GPU is the Razer Blade Stealth. The Flow X13 would be remarkable in itself.
But then there’s the ROG XG Mobile, an external graphics enclosure designed to add extra performance to the Flow X13. External graphics are nothing new, but the XG Mobile has a form factor that sets it apart. The case itself weighs just 2.2 pounds, and Asus says it is only 6% the size of a typical eGPU. The main reason is that the XG Mobile uses a mobile version of an Nvidia graphics card rather than the desktop models that most eGPUs use.
The XG Mobile can handle the latest Nvidia RTX 3080, which was just announced at CES 2021. Apparently, Asus believes that these new Ampere GPUs have enough extra graphics power that it’s worth plugging in an external case.
Asus, however, has a trick up its sleeve. The XG Mobile connects directly to the CPU of the Flow X13 via a custom PCIe interface. According to Asus, it’s even faster than Thunderbolt 4, which most external GPUs rely on. The interface can provide 64 Gbps of bandwidth exclusively for the GPU, which means that gaming performance may be significantly more impacted when connected to XG Mobile.
According to Asus, Flow X13 and XG Mobile will both be available in North America in the first quarter of 2021, although no price has been given yet.