ExpressCard video card or anything similar?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by inboulder, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. inboulder macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2006
    Do any ExpressCard video cards exist yet? I searched but came up empty (it's been 9 months already, and it's friggin pci-e, how hard can that be)

    I've been trying to use my macbook as a primary computer, but it's hard as their appear to be NO multiple monitor solutions for it (no hi def dvi ones anyway)
  2. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    May 26, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
    Wait, you're talking for the Macbook?

    I think that would be kinda hard, seeing as last time I checked the MB didn't offer an expresscard slot...
  3. AlwaysRight macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2006
    Agreed, and even if it did have a slot it would be a much better option to spend the extra money on getting a MBP that would allow you to do this anyway.
  4. MGLXP macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2005
    There is a reason why there are no Expresscard video cards. Given that video cards produce heat and therefore need at least a heatsink, I think the probability of having a video card in the low profile Expresscard/34 (which is only in the Macbook Pro by the way) is next to none.
  5. inboulder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2006
    It would be simple, just have most of the card stick out the side, a la vtbook etc.
  6. inboulder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2006
    geeze, ok macbook PRO, and no my MBP cannot do this anyway. Is there currently a way to drive 2 external hi-def monitors from an MBP?
  7. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    There is this thing coming soon, but I haven't seen anything about Mac compatibility yet.
  8. inboulder thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2006
    Good call, that looks like it has an external video card able of doing 1600x1200 which I assume is using DVI as well. Now they only need to actually produce it, and include os x drivers, here's hoping :)
  9. polarity macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2006
    According to this site (bottom of page) it's possible to put up to 4 Mac version PCI ATI Radeon 7000s in an external enclosure, that's hooked up to the expresscard 34 slot. They also produce enclosures for a single external PCI-E card that will accept PCI-E x16 graphics cards, but the card will be limited to x1 speed (see TomsHardware for how this affects graphics performance).

    The downside? It costs. $1400 for the 4 slot PCI, $1060 for the 2 slot PCI, $1000 for single PCI, and $750 for the single slot PCI-E.
  10. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    You should soonish be able to buy the Asus XG Station.

    It will enable you to use an external PCI-Express graphic card with an external monitor.

    Wouldn't do any good on your MacBook though as it lacks the ExpressCard option.
  11. polarity macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2006
    Matrox DualHead2Go and TripleHead2Go also work for Macs, at a fraction of the cost, although on the Macbook (not Pro) you are limited to 2 external monitors each at 1024x768, hooked up to the mini DVI out. The Pro can manage 3 at 800x600 in addition to the LCD, or 3 at 1280x1024 if you disable the built in LCD.

    Looking at the Asus device, the review is misleading, as it's only comparing to integrated graphics that is appallingly slow (they're only designed for moving windows around and playing video files). Compared to the X1600 in the MBP the Asus would be a lot slower, as it's limited by the 1x PCI-E channel available to the EC34 slot. Fine if you want to play the latest games at the lowest settings, but not particularly future proof (Might be able to give you a lot of screen real estate though). The price may be pretty high, as essentially the thing is a graphics card and external sound card in one. Also I doubt Asus are interested in making drivers for OSX available (searching for 'osx' or 'mac' comes up with 0 results).

    I confused bits for bytes in my previous post, so here's the correct bandwidth for PCI and PCI-E (MB = megabytes, Mb = megabits):

    32bit PCI at 33Mhz = 133MB/s input or output

    (Standard short PCI slot in desktop PCs. This is bandwidth is shared between all the slots, and input and output. Servers may have more than one bus to provide more bandwidth, and use PCI-X 64bit slots at up to 533MHz, for a maximum of 4.3GB/s)

    PCI-E 1x = simultaneous 256MB/s input and 256MB/s output

    PCI-E 16x = simultaneous 4GB/s input and 4GB/s output

    (The ExpressCard slot has electrical connections for a PCI-E 1x lane and a USB 2.0 connection. In a typical modern desktop PC motherboard there are 20x PCI-E lanes divided between the slots, so the bandwidth isn't shared like with PCI, and 1 x16 card and 4 x1 cards can run at full speed)
  12. schalliol macrumors regular

    May 7, 2002
    Carmel, IN
    A few months later, has anyone had any luck getting something like this to work? A single external display for my MBP isn't quite cutting it here. Right now, I have to resort to an old PB G4 Ti with external monitor using teleport.

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