All laptops, even the more powerful Windows gaming notebooks, use less powerful graphics chips than desktop machines by virtue of the restraints of portability, but the just-launched Dell Alienware 13 has an interesting way around that limitation with an add-on that gives it a desktop PC graphics boost.
While the Alienware 13 has an Intel Core i5 4210U processor with a clock speed of 2.7GHz, and support for up to 16 GB of RAM, the optional (and huge) $299 Alienware Graphics Amplifier add-on box has been designed so it can hold desktop PC graphics cards with either NVIDIA or AMD chips inside so it can provide the laptop with a massive graphics increase. Dell says:
"The Alienware Graphics Amplifier connects directly to the Alienware 13 through dedicated PCI Express lanes, so any graphics card will have more than enough bandwidth to drive desktop graphics experiences. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier can house full length, dual-height graphics cards with up to 375 Watts of power. It also features four powered USB 3.0 ports, so gamers can plug in for instant access to their favorite peripherals and output directly to their gaming displays."
The Alienware 13 itself has a starting price of $999 and both it and the Graphics Amplifier are now on sale at Alienware's website. The company is also now selling the previously announced revival of its high end Area 51 gaming desktop PC, with its unique triad case design, for a starting price of $1,699.
Would you buy a graphics add-on for your gaming laptop if you had the option to do so?