Alienware 15 R2 (2015 edition) and Graphics Amplifier

Luperza

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Thought I'd drop this in here for anyone who is curious about the Alienware 15 R2 with the optional Graphics Amplifier as it's an interesting concept. Note, the cable linking the amplifier and laptop is a proprietary cable.

It's really pricey, and for those of us who prefer to build our own PCs, it's probably not a good fit as we can build an awesome PC at these prices, but maybe for someone who is looking for a pre-built system that is semi-portable (as far as the laptop goes) this could be useful.

My full in-depth review video is here. (Includes: overview of both products, opinions based on user experience, and benchmark testing with and without the amplifier.) If you have further questions, please feel free to ask.

(Also, I looked over the forum rules and saw nothing covering sharing reviews, so hopefully I'm not breaking any rules by linking to the review. If I am, mods please let me know and I'll write up a review instead.)

Cheers,
 

Zinn

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Nice review, excellent production values and narration. I've been interested in the 1080p IPS version of this laptop, but it's not different enough from my Alienware 14 to justify the upgrade (same CPU, just better GPU).
 

Luperza

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Nice review, excellent production values and narration. I've been interested in the 1080p IPS version of this laptop, but it's not different enough from my Alienware 14 to justify the upgrade (same CPU, just better GPU).

Thanks! I'm new to reviewing hardware, but hope to do some more videos in the future. :)
 

AthlonXP

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Nice review. I have an Alienware 15 myself and love that laptop. I use it for personal and for work via Citrix. BTW that IPS screen is Gorgeous!! Also to be honest if you plan to pay more for the 980m I would assume the graphics amplifier is not needed for now.
 
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cp_kirkley

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Awesome review! I currently own a 13 with the Graphics Amplifier and its actually really good. I went with the 1080p IPS screen, 16GB, 256GB m.2 custom build and found it kick ass.

My only warning to buyers is if you want the amplifier, REALLY think it out because its only a so-so value once the machine becomes stationary. I decided to rebuild my desktop rig and am now looking to sell the laptop + amp. The quadcore of the 15 definitely would be an improvement performance wise, but still once the laptop is rendered immobile by the dock the performance per dollar falls off a cliff.

Buy the laptop, skip the amp.
 

Luperza

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Nice review. I have an Alienware 15 myself and love that laptop. I use it for personal and for work via Citrix. BTW that IPS screen is Gorgeous!! Also to be honest if you plan to pay more for the 980m I would assume the graphics amplifier is not needed for now.
Thank you! :) Yeah, the 980m is pretty nice as is for the laptop. The amplifier did show increases in performance, but not sure if it's worth the money for some people.

Awesome review! I currently own a 13 with the Graphics Amplifier and its actually really good. I went with the 1080p IPS screen, 16GB, 256GB m.2 custom build and found it kick ass.

My only warning to buyers is if you want the amplifier, REALLY think it out because its only a so-so value once the machine becomes stationary. I decided to rebuild my desktop rig and am now looking to sell the laptop + amp. The quadcore of the 15 definitely would be an improvement performance wise, but still once the laptop is rendered immobile by the dock the performance per dollar falls off a cliff.

Buy the laptop, skip the amp.
Thanks! Yeah, that's why I think it's really a product for someone looking for a desktop replacement. If you have a desktop, the amplifier isn't really necessary.

Excellent review.
Thanks for the kind words! :)
 

MrCaffeineX

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This is awesome information. I wonder why they went with a proprietary cable. Why not just use Thunderbolt?
 

Luperza

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This is awesome information. I wonder why they went with a proprietary cable. Why not just use Thunderbolt?
Thanks!

Not sure, but probably because they want to keep the money in-house to work with just their products?

It'd be interesting to see how their sales would change if it was something that worked cross-product.
 

KrylonArt

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Awesome review video, any chance of additional reviews or comparisons for other gaming laptops?
 

Luperza

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Awesome review video, any chance of additional reviews or comparisons for other gaming laptops?

I'd like to do more reviews in general. Not necessarily just laptops as I do enjoy building PCs.

Was there a particular comparison you were looking for?
 

dvsman

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Nice review /subscribed! From my reading - I thought about picking one up to update my AW lineup but the external GPU link PCIE bandwidth is apparently limited. There is another one from MSI based upon a similar concept - the MSI GS30 Shadow that has full PCIE access.

EDIT: Forgot to mention - the MSI guys went with integrated graphics (IRIS 5200) to shave weight / cooling in the laptop itself, so if you want to game, you basically have to plug it into the base station with a real GPU but good for dual purpose use I guess - work on the road and gaming at home / parked.
 
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bigddybn

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This is awesome information. I wonder why they went with a proprietary cable. Why not just use Thunderbolt?

Pretty sure Intel expressly forbids eGPU usage over thunderbolt. There have been several commercial external GPU boxes shown but none of them made it to market for this very reason.
 
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I am currently using GeForce GTX 765M with win8.1 OS. Is it safe to install GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88?.I am considering of installing my graphics driver but last time I tried doing that it ended up ruining my entire motherboard.
 

Luperza

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I am currently using GeForce GTX 765M with win8.1 OS. Is it safe to install GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88?.I am considering of installing my graphics driver but last time I tried doing that it ended up ruining my entire motherboard.
I don't think this belongs in this thread. Also, are you trolling me, or are you just really misinformed? Updating your graphics drivers should not fry anything.
 

MrCaffeineX

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Pretty sure Intel expressly forbids eGPU usage over thunderbolt. There have been several commercial external GPU boxes shown but none of them made it to market for this very reason.

I did not know this, though it would explain the scarcity of such hardware.
 

jcagara08

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@Luperza

hey buddy, do you mind sharing some images of your post?
I was contemplating on buying this back in DEC 2014, choice was between Alienware 13 and MSI GS30
but could not help the waiting game and assembled a pc with i5 4690K and GTX 970...
 

Luperza

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@Luperza

hey buddy, do you mind sharing some images of your post?
I was contemplating on buying this back in DEC 2014, choice was between Alienware 13 and MSI GS30
but could not help the waiting game and assembled a pc with i5 4690K and GTX 970...
Images? I created a video that has all the details. Are you not able to watch the video? LINK for ease.
 

jcagara08

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Images? I created a video that has all the details. Are you not able to watch the video? LINK for ease.

Whoah sorry I must have missed it, yeah I am at work so youtube is nada, will watch your video once I will be home. ;)


But wouldn't it be nice to brag your setup through images here? I know many will drool and some will carry pitchforks for it! ;-)

I myself have tried this external GPU thing before I built a PC, believe it or not I used a Lenovo G500 + an EXP GDC V6 (that's the GPU adapter for the laptop) and a Radeon HD 7950!

Such heaven playing BF4 at ultra settings yes!
 

Luperza

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Whoah sorry I must have missed it, yeah I am at work so youtube is nada, will watch your video once I will be home. ;)


But wouldn't it be nice to brag your setup through images here? I know many will drool and some will carry pitchforks for it! ;-)

I myself have tried this external GPU thing before I built a PC, believe it or not I used a Lenovo G500 + an EXP GDC V6 (that's the GPU adapter for the laptop) and a Radeon HD 7950!

Such heaven playing BF4 at ultra settings yes!
I don't use a laptop to game personally. I normally build my own PC and I've been fortunate to always be able to play on max graphics on every game. =P

I hope you enjoy the review. Let me know if you still have any questions after watching it. (It should cover everything though.)
 
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