You know you’re a geek when rAge gives you goosebumps, and that’s exactly what happened to me this morning. There’s just so much to see at this year’s event, and it appears to be continuing the trend of being bigger and better every year. We’ll wait for the official facts and figures before we confirm that, of course, but so far impressions are good.
I was lucky enough to get some hands-on time with some of Alienware’s latest and greatest, including a gorgeous 21:9 monitor and a fantastic innovation that’s new to the country, but which promises to change laptop gaming in a big way.
Alienware Graphics Amplifier
Even though laptop gaming has come a long way, it still lags a bit behind when it comes to performance; dedicated desktop gaming systems have them beat there unless you’re willing (and able) to spend upwards of R40 000 on one.
But what if you could plug a desktop graphics card into your notebook for a huge performance boost? What then?
Well, we have the answer – you’ll get a laptop that’s great at being portable, but which can play games at the same performance levels as a comparable desktop configuration.
This isn’t just hypothetical, either, it’s made possible by the “Alienware Graphics Amplifier”, a box that can accommodate a desktop graphics card that simply plugs into your laptop. It contains a 460W power supply and a daughterboard that the graphics card plugs in to, and interfaces with the laptop over four USB 3.0 connections, giving the laptop a huge gaming performance boost.
This isn’t a new concept; other countries have had the Alienware Graphics Amplifier for a while, but this year marks the first time it’s been made available in South Africa. Or at least, that I’ve seen it.
Should you own a laptop with four USB 3.0 ports, you can grab the AGA for R2 999, plug in a graphics card of your choice (that’s an extra cost, of course) and say goodbye to wishing your laptop was better at playing games.
21:9 Ultrasharp Gaming Monitor
4K might be the standard of the day that monitors and TVs aspire to, but for some gamers – like me – they pale in desirability next to 21:9 gaming monitors, like the 29-inch Dell Ultrasharp screen I’ve just spent some quality time with.
It was hooked up to an Alienware Alpha Steam Machine, which you’ll know from our review is a pretty decent little gaming PC, and playing DiRT3 on it was just amazing. That was partly because of the wider perspective, and partly because of the screen’s curve. It was oh, so pretty.
The extra screen real estate it offers widens your field of view and makes driving a real treat, and while I didn’t play any other games apart from DiRT3, we imagine that wider field of view will make those games even better, too.
Of course, having an ambitious imagination, I now can’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be to have THREE of these screens hooked up to my PC and playing games at 63:9 and a resolution of 7680 x 1080.
X51 Gaming Desktop
While I didn’t get to actually play on an X51, I saw them in action as they’re powering Telkom’s DOTA 2 demo area. They look the same as they did a few years ago, but inside they pack a much bigger punch.
That’s because they have Core i7 processors, 16GB of DDR3 RAM and a GTX750Ti powering their gaming chops, which are impressive. While you won’t be playing The Witcher 3 on its highest detail settings, that 750Ti is more than powerful enough for DOTA2, League of Legends and CS: GO.
You’re looking at R20 500 for an X51, though – excluding a monitor, speakers or a headset – which is quite steep considering you can build a better-performing (if not quite as sexy-looking) PC for less, but it’s Alienware and that’s the sort of price premium you’re expected to pay.
If any of these sound like the kind of thing you’d like to see for yourself, come on down to rAge 2015 at the TicketPro Dome.