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Buy Alienware Graphics Amplifier UPD

Certain retail cards may have larger heatsinks and other elements that may not let them fit inside the graphics amplifier. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is designed to fit standard size graphics cards (Reference and Founders Edition).

buy alienware graphics amplifier

The divide between desktop and laptop gamers has narrowed in recent years, as mobile discrete graphics cards and improved power efficiency have made it possible for laptops to have a place at the PC gaming table. One of the undeniable drawbacks of gaming laptops, however, is the lack of upgradability. The confines of a notebook chassis typically make swapping out parts impossible, outside of maybe adding RAM, and most systems don't even give users access to the internals. Desktop gaming rigs, on the other hand, are built for upgrades, and even a novice can put in a new graphics card without much trouble. Alienware wants to bring that same upgrade capability to the laptop, and it has done so with the Alienware Graphics Amplifier ($299.99), a new spin on an old concept: the external graphics card. The Graphics Amplifier($174.99 at Dell)(Opens in a new window) provides a housing for a discrete desktop-class GPU, and use that horsepower to supercharge your Alienware laptop.

Back in 2007, Asus showed off an external graphics module at CES, called the XG Station, but it never made it to market in the United States. Another external graphics solution popped up in 2011 as part of the Sony VAIO VPC-Z214GX, which used Light Peak to connect a docking station that boasted AMD discrete graphics, a Blu-ray drive, and several connectivity ports. If these past products are any sort of indicator, external graphics solutions tend to be short-lived, one-off products.

Design and Features In the most basic terms, the Graphics Amplifier is a box for your own graphics card. There's a little more to it than that, like a built-in cooling fan, a 460-watt power supply, an integrated four-port USB hub, and some snazzy lighting effects, but in the end, those features just make it a better box.

Because it runs as part of the system, you will need to connect the card before powering on the laptop and disconnect it after powering down, or use Alienware's AlienAdrenaline software (the software for the Graphics Amplifier) to set up a shortcut or activate the button on the cable connector that triggers the same action. In either case, the system will still shut down to allow safe removal. Unplug the Graphics Amplifier (again, I stress, after shutting down the system), and the laptop goes back to just being a laptop, with whatever mobile graphics solution is inside taking over.

You can also connect your laptop to an external monitor via the Graphics Amplifier, taking advantage of the desktop-grade graphics card to drive a larger, higher-resolution display. With its built-in, four-port USB hub, the Graphics Amplifier can also function quite well as a desktop dock, letting you connect a keyboard and mouse and external storage to the system, plus a monitor for a full desktop setup.

Obviously, these results only reflect this particular combination of hardware, and the specifics for your laptop and your desktop GPU will vary. That said, you can definitely expect to see a significant boost in performance. The one issue you might run into is that, as laptop graphics improve, older desktop cards will have a smaller lead, and I could see the difference between a mobile Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M and an older card, like a GeForce GTX 660, being less pronounced.

Conclusion The biggest question if you're considering the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is one of value. The Amplifier alone costs a cool $300, and a new graphics card will cost more on top of that. You should also consider the fact that, at present, the Graphics Amplifier is only compatible with three Alienware laptops: the current iterations of the Alienware 13, the Alienware 15, and the Alienware 17 R2. Whether or not future Alienware laptops will have the necessary port to connect the box is yet to be seen.

That said, if you're looking for a way to either dramatically boost the graphics capabilities of your Alienware gaming laptop, or significantly extend the usable life of the system, this is a solution that can achieve both of those goals. Compared with replacing a $1,500+ laptop, you can pick up a year-old graphics card for much less and see the same sort of improvements to gaming performance. That flexibility to upgrade your gaming rig with off-the-shelf parts is a definite plus, and if you already have a couple of new-ish graphics cards lying around, there's not a lot of expense involved. With our earlier caveats firmly in place, the Graphics Amplifier does what it's supposed to, and does it well, so we give it a tentative thumbs up.

The graphics driver that comes pre-installed on Dell notebooks is configured to support the graphics hardware included in the notebook. The driver release available on may not include support for that hardware until a later release. Users attempting to update the driver may select a driver that supports the graphics card within the Graphics Amplifier but not the notebook GPU, resulting in loss of all Dell-specific driver settings for the notebook. To resolve this, beginning with Release 361 drivers, the NVIDIA installer will block the driver installation if the driver does not support the specific Dell notebook. This support is necessary to ensure that Dell-specific driver settings are preserved during the driver update.

Users should update their Dell notebook graphics drivers only with drivers that support the NVIDIA GPU in the notebook. This may involve waiting until a UDA driver is released that includes this support before attempting to update the drivers.

So, as we said, desktop graphics cards are generally more powerful than their mobile counterparts. But just how powerful? Consider the example of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, compared with the GeForce GTX 980M, both of which were released in the last month and a half.

If Alienware continues to support it, the Graphics Amplifier will also outlive both the laptops and the graphics cards it works with. Think about it: Future desktop graphics cards will only be more powerful than their predecessors.

For PC gamers, there isn't a more important component than a graphics card, but it can be tough to find the best graphics card for you. GPU reviews don't always tell the full story, and tracking down the graphics card that offers the best value between cost and performance isn't as simple as shopping online.

We dug through our graphics card reviews to bring you a definitive ranking of the best GPUs for gaming. The competitiveness between AMD and Nvidia is hotter than it has been in years, and we have several options from both brands. If you're new to building PCs, make sure to read our answers to common GPU questions. We also have a full guide on how to install a graphics card so you can upgrade your PC.

Why you should buy the Alienware Aurora R14 Gaming PCThe two most expensive components of a nice gaming PC are the CPU and the GPU. If you're going to spring for a pre-built gaming PC, those components better be good. RAM, bodies and accessories can be upgraded easily, but you'll want a solid foundation to build off of. The RTX 3080 Ti is a great GPU that will power the newest and most demanding games for a few years to come. When it first released in 2021, the RTX 3080 Ti retailed for $1,200, an "ungodly" price high enough to knock it out of our best graphics card rankings. But when you pair it with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, then take $600 off, the $1,900 price tag on this package becomes more than reasonable.

The first thing to note about the Amplifier is that it's huge. It's not the same size as a fully-fledged desktop PC, but it's certainly larger than a simple graphics card. Most of the internal space is occupied by the full ATX power supply, and there's quite a bit of free space inside the case that's not used for anything. I'd have liked to see some hard drive ports or something in there, just to use up that wasted space.

Installing the graphics card and setting up the Graphics Amplifier is relatively straightforward. The top cover can be opened via a switch on the back panel, without the need for unscrewing anything. Inside you simply slot in the GPU (after removing the port covers), attach one or both of the included 6+2-pin PCIe power cables as necessary, then close it up and attach the standard power cable and data cable to the back.

PCIe 3.0 x16 is overkill for any modern graphics card, but things start to get a little tight when we cut that down to x4. It's not as bad as you might think, though: according to the analysis over at TechPowerUp, a flagship Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 running on PCIe 3.0 x4 at 1080p will deliver 95% of its maximum performance, with less of a performance drop as the resolution increases.

When using the Amplifier with any external displays, you'll need to plug those in to the display outputs on the graphics card seated inside the Amplifier. This is because the internal GPU in the laptop is disabled when the Amplifier is attached, with the laptop's display being directly powered by the external GPU.

The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is a box which can house a desktop-class graphics card, which you can then hook up to a supporting Alienware laptop. This will allow you to connect external displays to the installed GPU, which are then powered by the desktop-class graphics card, or you can use the GPU to power your built-in display. Inside it you're able to place any desktop-class graphics card, be that from AMD or Nvidia, with TDPs of 375 W or less. It connects to the laptop through a proprietary sleeved cable. The power supply is user-replaceable, so if you're aching for more power, you can certainly make that happen.

One of the questions that we asked Dell was whether the device would support hot-swapping, to which the answer was, as we expected but still unfortunately, no. This isn't surprising though, as you also cannot just pull a graphics card out of a desktop that is switched on, and the GPU is directly wired into the PCI-Express lanes of the laptop. Dell did build in a safety feature though, where if you do happen to make the mistake of pulling out the connector cable with the laptop switched on, it will switch off for you to ensure no damage is done. This is done through a piece of software. 041b061a72


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