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Published on Jul 11, 2011
Here I have a desktop video card connected to a laptop computer. The laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad T410i and the video card is a generic nVidia GTS 450. The video card is connected to a PCI-E to ExpressCard adapter (Model PE4H, link below). I have this all housed in an old laptop docking station (A Dell "D-Dock", if I remember correctly) and works quite nicely together. Due to bandwidth constrictions of the ExpressCard port, the video card runs at a restricted bandwidth of 1x (which, surprisingly, does not have that big of an impact on performance).
The desktop video card is able to interface with the laptop and display video on the laptop's internal screen. The laptop is running nVidia's stock mobile video driver (270.51) and the video card is managed transparently by nVidia Optimus. The whole thing is powered by an Xbox 360 175W adapter.
As you can see, I am able to hot plug the video card while the operating system is running and start up a game. The game is Battlefield: Bad Company 2. All settings are maxed, although that may be a little hard to tell given the poor quality of the video. The game runs fluidly at 1280x800 with no noticeable lag.
I've also run 3DMark06 (The only benckmark that I could get running) and have obtained a score of about 9600, which isn't too shabby.
All credit goes to the dedicated members of the NotebookReview.com forums, who figured out how to put all of this together beforehand so I wouldn't have to :). Here's a link to the post: http://forum.notebookreview.com/gamin...
UPDATE: I've tried running Cuda programs on the external GPU and everything seems to be supported, so you could use this for that as well. I only tried Cuda programming in Linux. In Linux you can use the regular desktop driver and Cuda runtime. I didn't try games in Linux.