AYANEO AG01 graphics dock puts a retro-style spaceship on your desk

Nostalgia is a very powerful (and lucrative) emotion, but the retro designs don’t necessarily have to be just based on past products. In fact, they don’t need to be based on real things at all. Retro designs only need to incorporate elements from the past, whether that’s a historical past or a fictional one. The latter especially applies to what has become known as retro-futuristic styles that try to blend past and future in a way that makes some sense in the present. This upcoming graphics dock, intended to give handheld gaming PCs a performance boost, is one such example, bringing a unique visual accent to your workspace by taking on the appearance of a miniature spacecraft with the blocky and rugged aesthetics of the past.

Designer: AYANEO

Although external graphics enclosures have existed for a while now, it was only with the advent of handheld PCs that they started to become smaller and slightly more portable. The purpose remains the same, providing significantly more powerful graphics capabilities than the portable computer can manage, but in a form factor that can also be carried around in a bag if desired. Many of these so-called graphics docks take on the form of uninspiring rectangular bricks, but the AYANEO AG01 bucks the trend with a design that is almost literally out of this world.

As part of its next batch of REMAKE products, AYANEO is including its very own graphics dock with a design that doesn’t really resemble any existing product from the past. The company describes it as a starship, though it might not immediately strike one as similar to those from hit sci-fi shows like Star Trek or even Star Wars. It has a more blocky shape, not unlike other graphics docks, but with an overabundance of panels and grilles. Its rough edges and dark color scheme contrast with the usual smooth curves and lighter motifs of futuristic spacecraft. This is a spaceship that humans would first produce for exploration and perhaps even militaristic action. Space-efficient, rugged, and a little menacing.

Underneath that retro-futuristic shell, however, is a very typical graphics dock, one that even houses a slightly dated AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT graphics from last year. There’s a plethora of connectivity options, including USB4 and the newer Oculink technology. It does also function as a typical data hub when connected to a computer, which means USB ports and even an Ethernet jack for faster network connectivity. Although technically compatible with any computer that supports external GPU via USB4, the AYANEO AG01 is specifically designed for the brand’s handheld gaming computers that have a significantly weaker GPU compared to laptops.

There’s also some RGB lighting, but that’s curiously limited to the ring around the dome on one end of the dock and three “vents” near it. It’s a purely aesthetic element, though one that admittedly looks too modest for what should be a space-faring vehicle. Availability details about the AYANEO AG01 are still unknown at this point, but the graphics dock’s unique design will surely catch the fancy of many collectors, whether they have an AYANEO handheld PC or not.