Gaming laptops or 'luggables' as they are called have a primary problem. You can either choose battery life or near desktop like performance but not both. Alienware however, has (after quite a long time) broken the veil of genericness that shrouds OEMs and come forward with what is probably the world's first (consumer) external graphics adapter. This dGPU Adapter or ' Amplifier' as they are calling it will currently work only with the Alienware 14 Laptop.
Alienware Amplifier marks a paradigm shift in laptop graphics - will blow the competition away
Usually if you opt for a high end SLI configuration in a laptop, you would be hard pressed to top the 1 Hour mark when your battery is no longer new. Considering the fact that some ultrabooks top 14 Hours of battery time easily, this is pretty sad. However, if you decide to go for a more battery friendly configuration you won't get anywhere near the power required to play modern games on high settings. The answer, according to Alienware, lies in the Amplifier. The ideology behind the peripheral would be for consumers to opt for a battery friendly conflagration and use the Amplifier for serious gaming or rendering.
The good news is that it supports external adapters and fits dual slot GPUs, which means you can probably fit in the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 with a little bit of adjustments. That is an absolutely insane amount of graphical horsepower compared to what a laptop usually provides. And best of all, it will come at no cost to your battery life. You get to enjoy the mobility of a laptop without compromising on the true power of PC Gaming. The bad news is, that it currently only supports Alienware 14 and is a pricey $300 a pop. Basically Alienware has combined the mobility and ease-of-mind of a laptop with the power of a Desktop. The Alienware Amplifier is powered by its own PSU and therefore requires its own power cord.
Alienware did not release a lot of information on the Amplifier but to be honest, we really don't need any, its an external GPU adapter, so nuff' said. One of the things that made me feel slightly uncomfortable about the entire affair however, was ironically the feature picture itself. The Amp actually reminds me of a traditional casing. Laptops are supposed to be moving away from tied down power, yet we have here an idea here that is a hybrid of desktops themselves. Redundancy aside, I am not sure whether sparking a highly feasible alternative for OEMs, would be in the best interests of the Industry. Why would Nvidia or AMD bother making energy efficient GPUs if most users simply slap on an Amp anyways? Because if there is one thing I expect to see, its other brands following suite.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) October 28, 2014