Dell launched the Alienware Graphics Amplifier way back in 2014 and only recently discontinued it, but now, the company has announced that it's giving eGPUs another shot. A new device called Concept Polaris is aimed at "performance-driven enthusiasts" and takes lessons learned from the original, though Dell has yet to decide if it will go beyond the concept stages.
The design couldn't look more different from the Graphics Amplifier, with rounded edges replacing the more aggressive gamer-oriented styling of the original. Dell said it offers "meaningful cable routing" along with lighting effects, and the ability to mount it both vertically and horizontally. Power-wise, it uses up to a 425 dual AC adapter, allowing for a full-sized GPU with reduced occupied internal space.
It can accommodate off-the-shelf full-sized 16-inch desktop gaming graphics cards and uses liquid cooling with Dell's 240mm Cryo-Tech cooling solution and "Element 31" thermal interface material. "With that kind of cooling architecture, overclocking your GPU natively with Alienware Command Center to reach its unrealized potential could never be easier," the company explained.
Rather than using the clunky, proprietary connector that Dell installed on so many of its previous Alienware laptops, Concept Polaris connects to your laptop via Thunderbolt 4, though it's backwardly compatible with Thunderbolt 3 as well. In exchange for your free port, it provides external USB-A, USB-C and 2.5Gbps ethernet connections..
The concept sounds a lot more practical than the original, though it's hard to knock the first product considering it had such a long life. In any case, Dell is promising "desktop-level graphical strength" thanks to the overclocking potential — that is, provided it ever gets built. The company said that "it is a concept and many of these features and ambitions will evolve and change and, perhaps, even the purpose of the device will be redefined." It's hoping potential users will tell the company what they think "as we continue to explore concepts like this for the near future."