External graphics could become more widespread thanks to a new PCI Express standard that has been approved. It's a cabling solution that extends PCI Express "outside the box".

This could allow smaller systems to be easily upgraded to have a dual graphics card solution, or TV cards to be fitted where there was previously no space. Power could be supplied to an external enclosure, fulfilling the airflow and cooling requirements of toasty GPUs.

The new solution could also help out in situations where large internal cards take up too much space.

The new standard was approved by the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), which has defined cables and connectors for the different types of PCI Express slot connections - x1, x4, x8, and x16. The cabling specification doesn't set a maximum cable distance.

Asus demonstrated an external graphics solution at CES in January, aimed at gamers wanting to use laptops that are light in weight and graphics power.