Alienware 13 just became world’s first future-proof laptop, as its add-on enables gamers to use any desktop graphics to play games on it.
Until now, gaming laptops couldn’t even be compared to their desktop counterparts. Some of them come with quite powerful graphics cards, but throwing such a piece of hardware in a compact notebook case meant that, for one, the temperature would go up and, as a consequence, increase the risk of GPU throttling. Alienware (which in case you don’t remember, is a subsidiary of Dell specialized in gaming notebooks and desktops) puts an end to all of these problems with the Graphics Amplifier.
At a first glance, this gimmick seems nothing more than an enclosure for a 460-watt PSU and a PCI Express x16 slot. The magic actually happens when equipping the Alienware Graphics Amplifier with any full-length dual-width video card (the device isn’t picky at all, being compatible even with Nvidia GTX 980 or Radeon HD R9 295X2), and connecting it to the Alienware 13 gaming laptop.
The Graphics Amplifier also doubles as a USB hub, as it comes with 4 USB 3.0 ports, even though I doubt anyone will use it primarily for that. Think of it as a bonus from the manufacturer. The box connects to a proprietary port on the laptop through a proprietary cable.
And this is the moment you realize that the Alienware Graphics Amplifier only works with Alienware laptops. I guess it wouldn’t have been fair for this company to use an open standard that made the device compatible with any other laptop you can think of. For the time being, only the 13″ version can be used in tandem with the Amplifier, but it’s a safe bet that future Alienware notebooks will also feature this port.
When connecting the Amplifier, it’s as if Alienware 13’s GPU (a GTX 860M) is by-passed altogether. For the internal GPU to work again, you need to unplug the box and reset the laptop. Needless to say, the performance improvements are nothing short of spectacular when connecting an AMD Radeon 290X to the Alienware 13. Below is a comparison between the laptop used with and without the magic box.
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier costs $299, which might seem like a lot, but think about it for a minute. You won’t have to change your notebook anytime soon just because the latest games aren’t looking that great on it. Just plug a new graphics card in and game on!
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