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Surface Book Performance Dock?

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  • User profile image
    Ian2

    nVidia

    Given that the performance base connects to the Book using the same connection as the existing dock I was wondering about the possibility of including a GPU as a part of the next Surface Docking station?

    Anyone have any thoughts (or reasons why this wouldn't float?).

    Would anyone else out there be interested in purchasing such an item?

     

     

  • User profile image
    cheong

    Can anything except Thunderbolt 3 make external GPU desirable? I think just USB Type-C is not enough.

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  • User profile image
    Ian2

    @cheong:It uses Microsoft's own port (I think known as the "Surface Connect") so given the GPU is in the base already (and connected via this port) it must be possible to move the GPU into the dock - it seems strange that they haven't done this before now as it looks like a pretty desirable option to have?

     
  • User profile image
    cheong

    Seems Microsoft had not published the detailed specification on the port so practically no one is building eGPU solution for it.

    If Microsoft want eGPU on the dock, she has to release the information to that GPU vendor at least a year before release date of the new Surface Book. I'd be surprised if that's the case but there's no rumor leaking out. After all, possibility of having higher graphic performance with docking is desirable news.

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  • User profile image
    Ian2

    I'm thinking they could just put whatever nVidia gubbins is in the performance base into a Surface Dock - surely all the hard work has already been done?

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    androidi

    @Ian2: While that sort of makes sense, it's probable that part of the eGPU market might want portable high perf solution and other part is interested in both the perf and the upgradeability. (personally interesting about the eGPU things aren't the GPU's but that you can could dock in PCI or PCI express or maybe even ISA cards - because if you're paying $2k for a system where you install "everything" then 2 USB 3.0 ports aren't legacy or future proof. What this external PCIe needs is some official statement that you can't just plug in some "pwnkey" and have it work immediately- there should be option to say "don't autorun stuff plugged into external pci express" unless the system admin is sitting in front of the camera giving authorization)

     

    Also I've mentioned this before but to me it would be most appealing if you could have ordinary desktop system and then when you connect the portable into it, it gains all the connections and performance from the desktop system - the desktop system's c: drive would go away or become secondary drive. The one bit that I don't like about this is that I'm not too happy with the current security model. It should work such that while the laptop is using the desktop system as a "super dock", it should be possible to be sure that none of the firmwares on the desktop system can be written into by the laptop. So that if I find at some point that the laptop was rooted, I could still be certain that the desktop is still clean. I don't believe there is currently any way to ensure this kind of thing. Once the rooted laptop gets access to the desktop or dock, who knows whats hiding in the firmwares. This might be somewhat theoretical threat but there's also a more practical side: if the desktop could get updates while acting as a dock, those updates might do something that affects behavior of apps on the desktop side (desktop c: drive). eg. perhaps you wanted to keep one system running "ESR/LTSB"-type very stable versions of software and firmware, while have the portable more up to date. Another angle: I should be able to connect my "rooted" laptop to a 3rd partys desktop or dock system without the 3rd party getting worried that the rootkits on my laptop would root their systems.

     

    Currently I'm fairly sure that you can download some driver and it can update the firmwares. With some exploits might be possible to update firmware without a driver. So the industry needs to standardize how it updates firmwares and when you reboot the system the ROM has software that asks if you really meant to update these firmwares (if updates were driver update-initiated). Or you could do this without reboot if you had some custom color led-light that only the ROM could turn on to tell that whatever you see on the screen is really related to the ROM (eg. you might have firmware updates behind a face-recognition piece that sits in the ROM).

     

    I just read about someone noticing Google Chrome turning the camera on/off randomly because of some new feature and they thought it was spying because only the camera light informed about this. In that vein, one should also be able to be sure if the mic/camera/location-signaling devices are on or off. (just read about how every Android-os user is trackable because of the devices handing out the MACs) One satisfactory way would be a standard relay module for these devices that is embedded into the display and has two colored led which tells which combination of camera/mic/wireless modules are powered and (trickier) which are active. Then have a dedicated button in that relay module "tap 2x to unplug to the device".

     

     

  • User profile image
    Ian2

    @androidi:I like the idea of your second paragraph!

     

    I know what you mean about upgradability but that is starting to look like an expensive option, especially as this is before you add the cost of the GPU!: http://www.eteknix.com/asus-and-razer-releasing-graphics-card-enclosures-for-laptops/. 

     

    I guess in time we will maybe get there? :)

     

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