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.
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?