Lenovo launched an incredibly powerful external GPU — shame you can only use the ThinkBook Graphics Extension with one laptop right now

ThinkBook Graphics Extension
(Image credit: Lenovo)

At CES 2024, Lenovo took the wraps off its new, impressively powerful external GPU, the ThinkBook Graphics Extension. However, it comes with a fairly major caveat - namely that it is currently only compatible with one laptop model, Lenovo’s own ThinkBook 14 i Gen 6+. 

Introduced at the same time, the ThinkBook 14 i Gen 6+ is a sleek, smart looking business laptop powered by an Intel Core Ultra processor. It utilizes AI PC features to optimize user experiences across various workflows including office tools, photo, video, and audio editing, and meeting collaboration. It comes with up to 32GB dual channel LPDDR5X memory, built-in Intel Arc graphics, and a large 85Wh battery.

The ThinkBook Graphics Extension, or TGX as it's known for short, is an intelligent graphics solution that connects to the ThinkBook 14 via the laptop's TGX port. This port was created by Lenovo specifically to enable a high-speed connection to a desktop GPU.

A powerful boost for AI tasks

A product of Lenovo's collaboration with NVIDIA, the TGX supports NVIDIA GeForce RTX desktop GPUs, which can greatly boost AI computing power when paired with the laptop’s Intel Core Ultra processor. 

Lenovo says the combined intelligence provided by itself, NVIDIA, and Intel will offer "the perfect solution for users requiring extra power for graphics-intensive or AI-based tasks." NVIDIA RTX GPUs are known for their ability to excel at parallelized work, which makes them ideal for running generative AI models, such as Stable Diffusion accelerated by NVIDIA TensorRTTM. 

The TGX also serves as a convenient shared solution for hot desk settings in offices. Users can simply connect their ThinkBook laptop and utilize the extra power as and when required. 

While the launch of the ThinkBook Graphics Extension is great news, its current limitation to just one laptop model may disappoint a lot of potential users. Hopefully Lenovo will expand its compatibility to other devices in the future. 

The ThinkBook 14 i Gen 6+ and ThinkBook Graphics Extension will be available in select markets from Q2 2024, with the starting bundle price expected to be $2199.

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.