Dell’s gaming division has launched a plug-in accessory for bringing desktop-style graphics power to a laptop. But between the cost and the bulk, it’s not exactly a convenient option.
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier works along the same lines as an external hard drive caddy. It’s a box that includes a PCI Express slot for adding almost any graphics card, and includes a power supply. It’s the use of this connection to a mains power outlet that allows you to run graphics cards that wouldn’t work inside a laptop because of its reduced power. The box also includes four USB connectors and makes any connectors on your chosen graphics card accessible.
Catch number one is the size of the device. It’s 6.8 by 7.3 by 16.1 inches and weighs 7.7 pounds, plus the weight of your chosen graphics card. You’re not exactly going to be gaming in coffee shops or airport lounges.
Catch number two is that as things stand, a proprietary cable means the device only connects to the Alienware 13 laptop, with support promised for future Alienware models, but you won’t be able to plug this into rival makes.
Catch number three is the cost: a whopping $299 (not including the card).