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Alienware's got a massive $300 dock for your new graphics card

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We know what you're thinking: What the hell is a "graphics amplifier"? (Some of you smartasses are probably also wondering if it goes to 11.) In fact, it is what it sounds like: The Amplifier, a new accessory from Alienware, is a big ol' shell that lives on your desk, with room for nearly any desktop-grade GPU (anything up to 375 watts). Once you get that set up, you plug the thing into your gaming laptop via a cable and boom, your notebook is suddenly running off a desktop-grade GPU, not the mobile one that came built inside the chassis. As a bonus, the Amplifier also has four powered USB ports, so you can also use this as a docking station for your keyboard, mouse, monitor, et cetera. And yes, that glowing Alienware head on the front has customizable lighting. Of course it does.

Gallery: Alienware Graphics Amplifier hands-on | 11 Photos

Gallery: Alienware Graphics Amplifier | 4 Photos

Sounds kinda rad, right? Right. Well, except for one teeny detail: This requires a proprietary, PCI-Express-based cable, one that only works on the new Alienware 13. According to a Dell spokesperson, future models will use the same connection port, but for now, even if you have an older Alienware machine you're outta luck. Of course, too, if you own a notebook from another brand, like Razer or ASUS, this will be of absolutely no use to you. Which makes sense: Dell wants to give people an incentive to buy Alienware laptops. This is, at the end of the day, just an Alienware add-on and little more. But come on, imagine how many of these Dell would sell if it could make the thing work using a common standard.

Assuming we haven't taken the winds out of your sails, this is up for preorder today for $299 in the US and £199 in the UK (GPU not included), and is expected to ship sometime in November. As for the rest of you, well, we'll always have Spinal Tap, right?

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