Alienware 13 R2 Gaming Laptop And Graphics AMP Review

Alienware Graphics Amplifier

Alienware Graphics Amplifier

An optional external accessory is the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. It's about the size of a small form factor desktop PC (though shaped much differently than most) and is designed to sit on your desk -- it's not really meant for travel. What it does is provide desktop-class graphics performance at home when you're near a power source, while still allowing you to disconnect the Alienware 13 R2 when hitting the road.

Alienware Graphics Amplifier Closed

Alienware's AMP is longer than it is tall. To make use of some of that real estate, Alienware includes a four-port USB 3.0 hub on the back. It's a welcome addition since an external gaming keyboard and mouse will quickly occupy the Alienware 13 R2's two main USB 3.0 ports, leaving you with only a Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C port for additional devices.

The AMP uses a proprietary connector that plugs into the back of the Alienware 13 R2. That means you can't use it with other brand laptops, only Alienware's 13 R2, 15 R2, and 17 R2 laptops.

Alienware Graphics Amplifier Open

The AMP flips open to reveal a PCI-E slot. It supports a variety of double-wide graphics cards -- pretty much anything that's up to 10.5 inches in length that doesn't exceed a 375W power requirement.

A list of known NVIDIA graphics cards that work with the AMP includes the GeForce GTX 660, 660 Ti, 670, 680, 690, 759 Ti OEM (192b), 760, 770, 780, 780 Ti, Titan, Titan Black, 960, 970, and 980. On the AMD side, cards Alienware has confirmed to work include the Radeon HD 5970, 6990, 7870, 7950, 7970, 8770, 8870, 8950, and 8970, and R9 270, 270X, 280, 280X, 285, 290, and 290X.

Our test unit came with an PNY GeForce GTX 980 XLR8. The AMP alone adds $200 to the cost of the laptop, or $900 if bundling it with the GTX 980.

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