Alienware’s Area 51m Gets GeForce RTX 2070/2080 Upgrade Kitsby Anton Shilov on November 8, 2019 10:00 AM EST
Earlier this year, Alienware launched its Area 51m laptop, a high end desktop replacement (DTR) class laptop. Now, living up to the idea of being a proper replacement to a desktop, the company has started selling GeForce RTX 2070/2080 GPU upgrade kits for the laptop. The graphics modules come in Dell’s proprietary Dell Graphics Form-Factor (DGFF) and include a cooler as well as installation by the company’s technician.
Upgrading laptops is always a challenge for many reasons, but upgrading notebooks that use proprietary components has always been particularly tricky, especially due to a lack of standardization. Early this year Alienware introduced its 17-inch Area 51m machine that can challenge many desktops in terms of performance and upgradeability as it uses a socketed desktop-class CPU, regular SO-DIMMs, standard storage devices, but it also a proprietary form factor GeForce RTX graphics module. Fortunately, this week Dell fulfilled its promise and started selling upgrade kits for the DTR notebook.
Right now, Dell offers two upgrade kits based on NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 GPUs, which are aimed at laptops that originally came with GeForce RTX 2070 or RTX 2060. Each kit contains a DGFF module with the GPU and memory, an advanced CryoTech 2.0 cooling system with seven heat pipes, and a matching power brick. Furthermore, the price includes installation service by a Dell technician.
The Alienware Area 51m DGFF upgrade kits are far from cheap as we are dealing with low volume products that require professional labor to install. The GeForce RTX 2070 upgrade is available for $1,038.99, whereas the GeForce RTX 2080 is officially priced at $1,638.99 – though it is currently available for $1,138.99.
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Notmyusualid - Friday, November 8, 2019 - linkAs an Area-51m owner, I guess I would thank them for (finally) making upgrades available.
But if they had offered the 200W Quadro 6000 Laptop (384 bit / 24GB), they would have made another sale today. I see Asus have them (surprisingly) in a 15" chassis...
Zeratul56 - Friday, November 8, 2019 - linkAnd I felt bad spending 700 to upgrade from my 980 to the 2080 Super. I can’t imagine spending over 1000 to get an upgrade over 1 or 2 generations.
PeachNCream - Friday, November 8, 2019 - linkIts not even a different generation. This will upgrade a laptop with an existing RTX 2060 or 2070 to either a 2070 or 2080. That's a pretty high price to pay for the performance increase you'd get out of doing so, but presumably some of the cost involves sending a technician to your home to perform the upgrade which likely won't be something a segment of Anandtech's readers will not find adds much value since we are comfortable with it being a DIY project.
What might be more interesting to some owners might be getting their hands on the apparently more powerful cooling hardware alone to make an existing laptop quieter or operate at a lower temp. Giving a laptop with a 2060 a cooling system that can handle a 2080 would be an interesting project, though I doubt Dell is sell only the cooler without onsite installation to end users. That'll be a gray market thing you might be able to do if the equipment ends up on eBay someday -- likely after its no longer considered high performance hardware.
rems - Friday, November 8, 2019 - link$1,038.99 is now $838.99 (2070)
Retycint - Monday, November 11, 2019 - linkIt is quite strange that a premium gaming laptop would choose to skimp on the cooling for lower end GPU models - surely an extra heatpipe or two can't possibly cost that much?
s.yu - Monday, November 11, 2019 - linkI don't think Alienware under Dell is as premium as it was independent.
Spunjji - Monday, November 11, 2019 - linkStandard Dell.
The only downside to the user is weight, while the upsides of a cooler laptop and lower noise are far more tangible in what is a relatively heavy laptop no matter which way you look at it.
TBH aside from the minor cost savings they make, I suspect it's more to do with preventing end-users from doing this upgrade themselves.
PeachNCream - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - linkVery much a Dell thing indeed. In their Latitude e6xx0 series machines there were two different cooling systems for the iGPU and the dGPU versions that could sometimes be swapped out without too much difficulty. Back in the C2D generation, the e6400 dGPU heatpipe could easily be installed in the iGPU version resulting in a cooler CPU and less fan noise, though the Intel 4500MHD was nothing at all to get excited about even when it was new. I did that swap for fun on an old e6400 I had laying around a few years ago. It helped, but at that point the laptop was already a dinosaur and not particularly useful.
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