Alienware is a subsidiary of Dell. It specializes in desktops and laptops for gaming and also other high graphical performance applications. Alienware offers M11x, M15x and M17x product lines for their gaming laptops.
In this article, we are going to look at its highest performance product line, the M17x laptops.
Alienware M17x gaming laptops boast of the most powerful Intel mobile processor. It is using the lastest Intel Core i5 and i7 processors which has Intel Turbo Boost Technology for dynamic, on the fly overclocking feature to deliver the speed needed to for high end gaming. It also boasts of ATi CrossFireX dual GPU graphics to deliver the ultimate gaming experience. According to alien ware website at the time of writing, the M17x gaming laptops starting price is USD1799 in US and SGD3499 in Singapore. The difference in price is due to different default specifications offered in its website both country.
Let’s go through the M17x gaming laptops technical specs.
Starting with its processors, Alienware only offers Intel processors. In its Singapore website, it offers Intel Core i7-740QM (default), and up gradable to options i7-840QM and i7-940XM Intel core processors for a price. In the US website, it offers Intel Core i5-520M (default), up gradable to i5-540M, i7 720QM, i7-820QM and i7-920XM Intel Core processors for a price. These are the latest i5 and i7 product line from Intel and should do well for any type of game requirement.
It is shipped with Windows 7 operating system. As far as gaming is concerned, this should not be of any concern. Most new games support both Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
For graphic or video card or GPU (Graphic Processing Unit), M17x comes with CrossFireX Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Mobility Radeon HD5870. There is also a single 1GB GDDR5 ATI Mobility Radeon HD5870 and single 1GB GDDR5 ATI Mobility Radeon HD4870 options available. You can’t have too much of video memory. Graphic card handles the graphic processing for your computer. Increasing the video memory, using CrossFireX allows 2 or more graphic card to work together to improve the system performance, giving you smoother, sharper and more detailed graphics. Games now has very detailed graphic effects such as shadow, reflection 3d and will require more and more powerful graphic processor to ensure the ultimate gaming experience. ATI is a company acquired and own by AMD since 2006. Its main competitor and the other major player in graphic card market is NVIDIA’s GeForce.
M17x gaming laptops comes with MacAfee antivirus. While antivirus is not an aspect to be considered for gaming laptops, it is very important as there are many viruses, Trojan and worms that could easily infect your laptops while accessing the internet.
For its memory, M17x gaming laptops comes with 4GB (2x2GB), 6GB (2GB+4GB) and 8GB (2x4GB) 1333MHz or 1067 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. More memory increases the overall system performance. It allows more space for the laptop to store currently used data and enable your computer to run more applications at the same time. It is a rule of thumb that laptops with Windows Vista or Windows 7 have at least 2GB RAM. For gaming laptops, the more memory the better.
For the display, M17x gaming laptops comes with HD Display. It offers 17.0 inch UltraSharp WUXGA (1920×1200) RGBLED Display with TrueLife or 17 inches WideXGA+ 1440 x 900 (US only). A bigger display with high resolution will give a better gaming experience with the state-of-the-art graphics gaming has to offer. Alienware laptops also come standard with a 1.0 MP Web cam and digital microphone array.
M17x gaming laptops comes with a 640GB 7200 RPM SATA (320GBx2) Hard drive. It is also upgradable to 1TB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive (500GBx2). There are also 128GB, 256GB and 512GB Solid State Drive options available. Solid state drive are less susceptible to physical shock, quieter and have lower access time and latency. However, the price is much more expensive than a hard disk drive. For now, solid state drive may not make too much difference in gaming experience. There are improvement to load times for games using solid state drive but that itself may not justify the expensive price you have to fork out. To store more data, video, pictures and install more programs, choose a higher capacity hard drive.
MX17x gaming laptop comes with 8X DVD + /-RW Drive with DVD + R double layer write capability Optical Drive, Wireless 1520 802.11n Half Mini-Card or Intel Ultimate N WiFi Link 6300 a/g/Draft-n 3×3 MIMO, Internal High-Definition 5.1 Surround Sound Audio, 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery and AlienFX Illuminated keyboard. It features a QuickTouch system control pad and boasts of sensitive keyboard. The casing and laptop design is also very sleek and nice. Also, it comes with 1-year Premier Service with 1-year CompleteCover (Singapore) or 1-year In-Home Service After Remote Diagnosis(US). Based on my experience, it is good to consider upgrading to a longer plan as it saves you the hassle of worrying when your laptop breaks down.
Looking at all the specifications, M17x truly is a superb gaming laptop. If it fits within your budget, this is definitely worth considering.