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Dell revives the Alienware 18, upgrades its smaller gaming laptops

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It's a rare, satisfying feeling when a community rallies together to ask a company to bring back a discontinued product and it actually works. Today is one of those days: Dell announced at PAX that it's bringing back the Alienware 18 -- the most powerful portable gaming machine the company's ever made. The revived 18-inch rig is being touted as a 'special edition' and will pack in a 4th Generation Intel i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD (with an optional 512GB SSD) dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M or 980M graphics, depending on the configuration. Too big? Too much? No worries --- Alienware is refreshing its 13-, 15- and 17-inch laptops, too.

These updated laptops are packed to the brim overdue hardware updates, including support for PCIe SSDs with 4GB/s transfer speeds, updated Killer wireless and ethernet controllers, and a USB Type-C connector with USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 support. The Alienware 13 will also be getting a larger 62Whr battery. Dell isn't saying much about the line-up's CPU options right now, but the company typically keeps pace with Intel when it launches next-gen processors. All three models will be rocking NVIDIA's latest GTX GPUs except the Alienware 15, which will optionally ship with the AMD Radeon HD R0 M395X, instead.

The Alienware team is adding PCIe SSD support to its X51 desktop unit, as well as slots for DDR4 RAM and a new CPU liquid cooling system -- but that's not what makes the refreshed tower interesting. No, that would be the X51's newfound support for the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, a separate chassis that lets gamers hook desktop-class graphics cards up to Alienware laptops. So, why is Dell adding AGA support to a desktop? To accommodate larger graphics cards: the X51's case is just barely large enough to cram in a NVIDA GTX 960. If you want something like the Geforce GTX Titan X, you'll need a Amplifier.

Finally, Dell announced its first two gaming-centric computer monitors, an $800 27-inch display with NVIDIA's G-Sync Gen II technology and a 144Hz refresh rate, and a $400 curved 27-inch display optimized for a "wrap around" viewing experience. There's no word yet on the screens' native resolutions, but Dell says they'll be available in September and October, respectively.

Enough news for you? No? Then check out Dell's website for more details -- the laptop's product pages should be available for your viewing pleasure right now.

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