Alienware's Graphics Amplifier eGPU is no more


Posts: 8,469   +104
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What just happened? Dell has confirmed that its Alienware Graphics Amplifier external GPU enclosure has been discontinued. The news follows the announcement of the X15 and X17 thin laptops, which lack the company's usual proprietary port on the rear.

Launched way back in 2014, Alienware's then-$299 Graphics Amplifier worked in the same way as other eGPUs, letting users combine a laptop with a desktop graphics card. But unlike its rivals, the device used a propriety port found in Alienware laptops and some SFF desktops, rather than the usual Thunderbolt port.

Earlier this week, Alienware revealed its new X-series of thin and powerful gaming laptops, including the x15 and x17. Conspicuously absent from the machines is the Graphics Amplifier port—it's also missing from the new Alienware M15 R5 and M15 R6. The company said this was because the eGPU would have been unable to take full advantage of the latest desktop GPUs and offered limited performance improvement over the laptops' onboard graphics.

It appears the main reason behind the absence is that the Graphics Amplifier has been killed off. Alienware confirmed its discontinuation to The Verge without saying why. The publication notes that Dell last updated the support page in April 2021, but neither Nvidia's RTX 3000-series nor AMD's Radeon RX 6000 line was added to the list of supported graphics cards.

The x15 and x17 do come with Thunderbolt 4 ports for those wishing to use other eGPUs, but with the laptops featuring an RTX 3060 and RTX 3080, you might not want or need any extra graphical power.

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Posts: 383   +177
Did anyone even really buy this?

I didnt, but then I went down the MSI Titan Pro route which came with its own (cut in half) Gtx1080.

I would say they are great for those uses that use thier laptop for both work and play. A nice slim laptop can be used at work, then at home you plug in the horsepower :)

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,329   +4,332
I always thought that having an bulky external video card kinda defeated the purpose of having a craptop to begin with, portability. Portability is the only real advantage that craptops have over desktops and you pay a stiff premium in both price and performance for that feature. I honestly don't understand how Dell can have so many bad ideas but people still buy them.

And of course, Dell (Alienware is Dell, after all) is still screwing around with its non-standard, proprietary BS just like that connector. Whenever I see that someone has a Dell PC, I'm always like "Dude, you got a Dell!" (like the commercial) but on the inside, I turn into Red Foreman:

I had honestly thought that Dell had stopped with the non-standard BS but "Long-Haired Steve" Burke from GamersNexus did a teardown of a Dell G5 5000 "Gaming PC" (so-called because it has the crappiest GTX 1660 Ti imaginable) and the way that thing was built was absolutely horrifying. I used to laugh at Dell's use of BTX instead of ATX but this thing is on a whole other level of absurd.

Anyone who's a techie (the overwhelming majority of us here) will totally appreciate not only how screwed up this thing is, but also Steve's priceless reactions to Dell's jacka$$ery:
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,984
The price for it - and that it didn't actually give you the full performance of the desktop card you put into it - was always a flaw.

It was almost always barely more expensive to simply buy a second desktop that could stay at home instead...

If you must use one of these, you might as well have a thunderbolt one - why tie yourself to one brand?

Bao Nguyen

Posts: 118   +88
This is sad news because the AGA always provides better than TB3/4 to near desktop in term of GPU performance, I was hoping for them to release an updated version that would take advantage of the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0. Hopefully Intel will soon release TB5 that has PCIe 4.0 bandwidth.


Posts: 19,283   +8,429
It seems quite logical to me that they should discontinue a video card enclosure, After all, you can't really buy graphics cards to put in it nowadays.