Personally I don't really see the potential for external graphics cards, but for those who do want such a solution for their laptop, LucidLogix is working on a Thunderbolt docking station. Shown off at the Intel Developer Forum, Lucid's dock requires external power and comes with an AMD Radeon HD 6700-series graphics card.
Laptop Mag received a demonstration and reports the dock works great. While an Ivy Bridge based laptop with integrated graphics achieved just 28fps in 3DMark06, the dock with the AMD Radeon HD 6700 chip saw a framerate of 89fps.
What happens when you accidentally (or purposefully) disconnect the external graphics card from your laptop while you have a program running? Lucid’s Thunderbolt graphics software will simply force close your application and return you to the Windows desktop, without forcing you to reboot or allowing a system crash. While this solution isn’t ideal, it is far superior to the epic Blue Screen of Death you’d experience if you yanked a video card out of your motherboard with the system running.
The notebook world has long been waiting for truly powerful and practical external graphics solution. Back in 2007-2008, ASUS teased mobile gamers with its XG Station graphics peripheral, which when it finally appeared, was only available in a few distant markets like Australia. Since then, a handful of notebooks like the Gigabyte M2432 have had proprietary graphics docks that gave them a little more oomph, but nothing to type home about. A number of companies also sell USB docks that employ DisplayLink technology that allows you to output to several monitors at once, but the performance of these isn’t good enough for serious gaming.
More powerful versions of Lucid's Thunderbolt graphics dock may follow in the future. The technology is still under development with no set release date and no official partners on board. For high-performance graphics cards the Thunderbolt technology remains too slow, the present Thunderbolt standard support supports a bandwidth of just 1.25GB/s, not even a tenth of the bandwidth provided by PCI Express 3.0 x16.