Alienware launches GPU upgrade kits for Area-51m gaming laptop

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Alienware at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year announced the Area-51m, a flagship gaming laptop headlined by a user-upgradeable, desktop-class CPU and GPU. After nearly a year in waiting, the upgradeable GPUs are now available to purchase.

Potential buyers may want to curb their enthusiasm a bit, however, as there’s not really much “new” here. Allow me to explain.


The Dell subsidiary is offering the Alienware Area-51m upgrade kit with thermal module in Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 variants priced at $1,038.99 and $1,638.99, respectively. That’s a hefty premium over their desktop counterparts, sure, but such is the cost of doing business in the proprietary laptop industry.

More underwhelming, still, is the fact that both GPU options have been available from the get-go when configuring a new system. Really, this means that the new upgrade kits are only appealing to those that skimped on their GPU out of the gate. Considering the Area-51m starts at $1,999.99, you've got to wonder just how many people would have opted for a low-end solution at this price point to begin with.

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
There is no real reason to "upgrade" one of these yet... hopefully, we will be able to upgrade from the 9xxx CPU to 11xxx and the 2xxx GPU to 3xxx... THAT's an upgrade... problem is, there's no real way to know if it will be possible as we don't know the form-factors of these products....

The real reason to purchase an "upgradable" laptop is so that it can be top-of-the-line for many years to come.... can't do that unless I can upgrade the CPU and GPU for at least 2-3 generations.
 

PEnnn

TS Addict
" That’s a hefty premium over their desktop counterparts, sure, but such is the cost of doing business in the proprietary laptop industry."

And that's the best reason NOT to buy anything by Dell, where everything is proprietary and they gouge the krap out of their customers!

PS: Note that the upgrades, despite the hefty prices, are not even the "Super" versions of the RTX 2070 and 2080!!
 

fadingfool

TS Addict
" That’s a hefty premium over their desktop counterparts, sure, but such is the cost of doing business in the proprietary laptop industry."

And that's the best reason NOT to buy anything by Dell, where everything is proprietary and they gouge the krap out of their customers!

PS: Note that the upgrades, despite the hefty prices, are not even the "Super" versions of the RTX 2070 and 2080!!
To be fair the parts in my Alienware Area 51 desktop are pretty much bog standard parts (aside from the controller card for the chassis lights). Admittedly pretty poor examples of bog standard parts - good specs but not good examples (ugliest 1080Ti I have ever seen). The PSU though whilst ugly is semi modular and 1500W Gold rated. Laptops pretty much by definition are going to be proprietary and whilst these parts are at eye watering prices at least they are available (only other options would be the external GPUs).
 

enemys

TS Maniac
There is no real reason to "upgrade" one of these yet... hopefully, we will be able to upgrade from the 9xxx CPU to 11xxx and the 2xxx GPU to 3xxx... THAT's an upgrade... problem is, there's no real way to know if it will be possible as we don't know the form-factors of these products....

The real reason to purchase an "upgradable" laptop is so that it can be top-of-the-line for many years to come.... can't do that unless I can upgrade the CPU and GPU for at least 2-3 generations.
It's using a desktop 9900K, so it's got an LGA1151 socket, which the next 10xxx Intel Core generation will most probably not use. While it is replaceable, there's basically no CPU to upgrade it with (except the limited and hardly better 9900KS) and there probably won't be any in the future. All hopes for upgrades are in the GPU department.