Many companies including Alienware offer gaming laptops, but their performance does not compare to a real desktop PC with a dedicated graphics card. That is where Alienware’s new Graphics Amplifier comes in. It is an external enclosure that allows you to install a full-length desktop graphics card.
Bringing desktop graphics to your laptop does not come cheap. The lone enclosure without a graphics card is $299. And another downside would be that currently you can only use the Graphics Amplifier with the new Alienware 13 gaming laptop. The connector that goes from the graphics amplifier to the laptop is proprietary and is believe to be a combination of PCIe and USB.
The enclosure comes with a 460-watt power supply and a full-length PCI-Express x16 graphics card slot. Alienware says that the Amplifier will take any full-size (dual-slot) NVIDIA or AMD graphics card up to 375W TDP. The Amplifier also has four powered USB ports on the back.
When you have the Amplifier plugged into the Alienware 13 laptop it will bypass the on-board GPU completely. When you unplug the amplifier and reboot the PC it will go back to using the on-board GPU. Alienware has included their own performance figures, which you can see below.
It does look like you will be able to get desktop performance from the graphics Amplifier. The big question is will Alienware (Dell) open up the proprietary connector to other laptop manufacturers?
What do you think of the Graphics Amplifier?