Like your backward compatibility but not at the expense of ripping fast new stuff? Now you can get a graphics card to fit into a PC’s M.2 slot. Caveats being this card won’t play modern games and, technically, you probably can’t buy it… yet.
As spotted by Tom’s Hardware, ASRock has come out with a legacy VGA module that hooks directly into your M.2 slot with PCIe interface and is set to support both Windows and Linux.
Now, let’s be really clear. The M2_VGA module is not going to play any of the latest games. Or probably even games from the past 20 or so years. It uses a very basic silicon chip that can only process 2D graphics, but it can output them at a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080. It also has its own DDR memory and uses basically no power with a draw of only 1.49 Watts.
But you can use it to connect to a 15-pin D-sub connector, if that’s your jam. This could be really useful for people trying to keep legacy software alive in its somewhat pure form. It could also be neat if you just have an old VGA monitor you desperately want to use.
However, the coolest thing by far about this niche little product is definitely the form factor. Having any graphics fit the M.2 slot is a neat idea, especially as almost all computers from the past few years are likely to be rocking one. It’d be so easy to install something like this, even if it was only for occasional use.
This could even make a great gift for the niche tech-head in your life, but if people have slightly broader tastes maybe check out our gift guide for more ideas.
It’s nice to see any innovation that could end up making multi-card set ups more viable. However, I wouldn’t expect to see any ray tracing cards come to this format any time soon. Check back in a decade and see how things are going on that front.