We recently noticed that Alienware’s just-announced X15 and X17 are thin and Vaguely light gaming laptops conspicuously lack a port — and that’s not because they’re thin and light, it turns out. Alienware just confirmed that The edge that it has discontinued the Alienware Graphics Amplifier external GPU, and so these laptops no longer need that proprietary port. The company isn’t saying whether it will offer a future eGPU, instead pointing us to ready-made Thunderbolt versions.
First introduced in 2014 for $299, the Alienware Graphics Amp is designed to complement the company’s mid-range Alienware 13, giving it the vast majority of the power of a desktop graphics card plus four additional full-size USB ports. in the docking station. I thought the combo was good enough. But over the years, Alienware has added the port to virtually every laptop (and some of its more compact desktops, such as the Alienware X51 mini-tower and Alienware Alpha R2 console-sized PC) it released, including the company’s flagship, Area-51M, which was designed to have built-in upgrades of its own.
With an included 460W power supply dedicated entirely to the GPU, and a price that dropped to $199 and sometimes $150, the amp managed to stay competitive for quite some time. in the rather niche market of eGPUs, which generally use manufacturer-independent Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of proprietary cables (and can often charge your laptop, too).
It’s not clear when Alienware discontinued the Amp. The Wayback Machine shows it was still live as of November 2020 and Dell was last updated his support page in April 2021 — without adding compatibility for the latest wave of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.
The new Alienware M15 R5 and M15 R6 also omit the Graphics Amplifier port. It’ll be interesting to see if this is the end of Alienware’s dreams of upgradeable laptops; the Amp certainly lasted much longer than the idea of offering new chips for the giant Area-51m laptop.