The Alienware Graphics Amplifier Has Been Discontinued

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Alienware Area-51m high performance gaming laptop
Alienware Area-51m gaming laptop with an Alienware Graphics Amplifier. Image obtained with thanks from Dell.

Dell has discontinued the Alienware Graphics Amplifier (AGA) — an external GPU that turned heads with its ability to plug high performance graphics into supported laptops. The ability to plug a desktop graphics card into a laptop was appealing to anyone that needed that level of performance in a laptop, although it used Dell’s proprietary connector.

Competing products have launched that support Thunderbolt, rendering the AGA not only unnecessary but it’s a little wasteful to buy something that can’t work with other computers (unless there’s no alternative). People can now buy external video card enclosures as well that support Thunderbolt. So you can just install your preferred brand and model of video card.

Nonetheless, an Alienware Graphics Amplifier would have been the opposite of wasteful for users that keep purchasing Alienware laptops, as they could just reuse the same GPU on future laptops until it’s obsolete or has malfunctioned.

External GPUs like the Alienware Graphics Amplifier are equipped with external power supplies, their own cases, and of course a data connector. They may also have cooling fans built in to ventilate the case. The concept makes it very easy to upgrade a computer’s graphics, and at $299 when it launched in 2014 — that was a reasonable price too.