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.