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Edward Raja

Alienware starts selling GPU upgrade kits for the Area-51m

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Edward Raja

The promise of a user-upgradable laptop GPU is finally here

 

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Alienware’s Area-51m came onto the laptop scene at the beginning of the year with a big promise: that you’d be able to upgrade nearly every component of the laptop, including the GPU. And this week, Alienware made good on the last part of that promise by releasing its first GPU upgrade kits for the Area-51m.

 

The new kits aren’t the biggest update: they’re essentially just the Nvidia RTX 2070 and 2080 GPUs that were already offered on the high-end models which were available at launch. That means these kits are less for users looking to squeeze even more power out of their laptops and more for ones who are having some buyers remorse about picking up a less powerful GPU when they first configured their machines.

 

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The kits come with three parts: a new GPU built on Dell’s DGFF (Dell Graphics Form Factor) specification; a thermal kit for that GPU (the more powerful GPUs need better cooling); and a more powerful charger. Dell is also offering a service where a technician will come by and perform the installation for you, should you not be comfortable taking apart your laptop yourself.

 

But while the GPUs here aren’t exactly “new,” it’s still a welcome sign for anyone who bought into the Area-51m. The upgrade kits show that Dell is taking its promise of user upgrades seriously, and gives hope that future GPUs might be released for customers to customize their machines going forward.

 

The biggest issues with the upgrade kits are the steep prices: the RTX 2070 kit costs $1,038.99, while the RTX 2080 kit is $1,638.99. That’s not that much more expensive than the initial cost to upgrade when first buying an Area-51m, but it’s still a heavy price to pay to upgrade a laptop that already starts at $1,999.99.

 

To help sweeten the deal, Alienware is also running a limited time introductory discount on the two kits: the RTX 2080 kit is 39 percent off at $999.99, while the the RTX 2070 will be available for 32 percent off at $699.99.

 

Update November 7, 4:55pm: Added details for Alienware’s introductory deal on the upgrade kits.

 

Source: Alienware starts selling GPU upgrade kits for the Area-51m (via The Verge)

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tiliarou

Laptop GPU upgradability is not new and not exclusive to Alienware.

So unfortunate that MXM is not a real standard... And Dell came up with another f***ing proprietary format... so annoying.

Edited by Karlston
Profanity removed

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Edward Raja
3 hours ago, tiliarou said:

Laptop GPU upgradability is not new and not exclusive to Alienware.

So unfortunate that MXM is not a real standard... And Dell came up with another f***ing proprietary format... so annoying.

I know some OEM's does have GPU upgrade and replacement via MXM, but MXM is not really standardized plus depending on the system and BIOS, not all MXM's are compatible (for example, Lenovo's MXM card are not compatible with other OEM's).

 

Plus, this is not the first time Alienware uses replaceable GPU, in the past they did use MXM before they opted for DGFF (following Dell Precision models).

Edited by Karlston
Profanity removed from quote

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tiliarou

Yes, my ranting is first about the lack of MXM standardization, and second because Dell chose to make another "standard" but for its exclusive use (à la Apple).

Would be so much better to have standardized, replaceable CPU and GPU for laptop in order to upgrade them.

This would also reduce waste and energy needed to "recycle" components... but of course, why would the industry do that when they can just keep on making programmed obsolescence and earn money out of it.

Edited by tiliarou

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Edward Raja
22 minutes ago, tiliarou said:

Yes, my ranting is first about the lack of MXM standardization, and second because Dell chose to make another "standard" but for its exclusive use (à la Apple).

Would be so much better to have standardized, replaceable CPU and GPU for laptop in order to upgrade them.

This would also reduce waste and energy needed to "recycle" components... but of course, why would the industry do that when they can just keep on making programmed obsolescence and earn money out of it.

I'm aware of Alienware using DGFF platform for upgradeable GPU, since the consideration of GPU platform (PCIe specs, bandwidth, backward compatibility, etc.), thermal properties (which they need to be paired with cooling system such as fans) and power consumption (RTX series uses more wattage).

 

If MXM are have to be standardized and backward compatible for broader compatibility support, then they should have a regulatory body to supervise MXM development, just like USB.

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