X15 and X17, recently announced by Alienware, thin and vaguely light gaming laptops are glaringly lacking in ports — and that’s not because they’re thin and light, as it turns out. Alienware has just confirmed to The Verge that the Alienware Graphics Amplifier external GPU has been retired, meaning these laptops will no longer require the proprietary connector.
The company hasn’t said whether it would sell an eGPU in the future instead of pointing us to off-the-shelf Thunderbolt options. The Graphics Amp was first released in 2014 for $299 as a companion to the company’s midrange 13, providing the bulk of the power of a desktop graphics card and four additional full-size USB ports when connected. The combination is lovely.
It’s unclear when Alienware stopped making the Amp. According to the Wayback Machine, it was still active as of November 2020, and Dell last updated its support website in April 2021 – without adding support for the next wave of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. The Graphics Amplifier port is also missing on the new Alienware M15 R5 and M15 R6. It’ll be interesting to see if Alienware aspirations of upgradeable laptops are over; the Amp undoubtedly lasted a lot longer than the concept of supplying new CPUs for the massive Area-51m laptop.