Application and Futuremark Performance

The Intel Core i7-2720QM and AMD Radeon HD 6970M powering the Alienware M17x R3 should provide more than enough power for any task. Keeping with our updated testing suite, we'll start with the breakdown of PCMark 7 performance.

Inexplicably, the Alienware M17x R3 hangs out in the middle of the pack for almost every test. When you get to the storage score, it's clear the RAIDed HDDs just aren't cutting it. The 2720QM is a more than fast enough processor, so why is it having issues lagging behind the i7-2630QM? The HDDs underperform, but here's the weird part: the ASUS G73SW also has two Seagate HDDs in RAID 0 (500GB instead of 750GB). How the two newer 750GB 7200RPM drives can trail the 500GB RAID 0 HDDs remains a mystery, but it appears ASUS is better optimized in the storage arena.

PCMark Vantage remains just as confusing, but once we get to Cinebench and the x264 benchmark, the M17x performs exactly where it should be. If anything the Clevo P150HM seems unusually sprightly. It's also interesting to get another good look at just how far behind Sandy Bridge leaves the last generation mobile quad-core processors.

3DMark performance again seems to favor the unusually quick Clevo P150HM, while the GeForce GTX 485M soars past the 6970Ms in 3DMark Vantage. Futuremark isn't everything, though, as we'll soon see with the gaming tests.

Making the Case for Bling Gaming Performance
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  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Also, when are you all getting an M18x to review so we can finally knock that ugly x7200 off the top of your charts? ;) Reply
  • Bolas - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I'm currently in the market for a high end gaming laptop, so this review was very helpful to me.

    I've ruled out Clevo x7200 due to the high noise levels that would annoy my wife too much.

    That leaves Asus G74SX-3DE, Clevo P170HM, and Alienware (m17x or m18x).

    Asus doesn't really have a good way to upgrade the cpu or gpu, just the base model. Clevo has a lot of good features, but the keyboard is pretty crappy and this may be a deal breaker for me. Alienware has rumors of poor customer service, and this is a concern.

    I was glad to read your review of the m17x to find that it is actually a good machine. That was helpful to me.
    Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Customer service is actually great, all of the Alienware machines have Next Business Day on-site repair and it is not an exaggeration. It is a shame that warranty does not get mentioned in reviews as this alone sets the Alienwares above the clevos with depot only service.

    Alienware/Dell customer service just takes patience when dealing with the idiots on the phone, if you can take it though, you will be well taken care of.

    Go to forums.notebookreview.com if you want a huge wealth of good information on the Alienwares or Clevos or Asus
    Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I've got a P170HM and its fantastic. I put a 2920XM, a GTX 485 and an Intel 510 SSD but the machine is now my main computer and there's no going back.

    I've got an ultraportable for mobile though, you don't really wanna carry a beast like this (or the Alienware...the brick is bigger than my ultraportable lol)
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    At least you could do the logical thing: pick a 750GB HDD, then when it arrives, buy a nice SSD for the other bay.

    You're right though, the options are bizarre. RAID 0 in a laptop?
    Reply
  • hammer256 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Yeah, Dell seems to like raid 0 in their large notebooks, even the Precision mobile workstations. Bizarre indeed... Reply
  • Topweasel - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Well not so much Raid O, but specifically Raid. To support Mirroring (more important) might as well support Raid 0 as well. Reply
  • stancilmor - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Very simple concept: Locate the GPU, the Processor, and the memory behind the LCD and use an aluminum cover as part of the heat sink. I'm fairly certain a fan will still be required, so if thickness allows place the fan in lid too and vent out the top. If thickness doesn't allow, then some sort duct will be required to get the air from the base up to the lid.

    And all that extra space in the base can now be used for a larger battery that doesn't stick out.

    The hot components are up and away from your lap.
    The heat is vented up and away.
    A larger battery in the base helps balance the weight shift and provides longer run times.

    Only concern, will all that heat wreck the display (color shift, early death, etc)?

    I think we can stand the extra thickness, because it's a real pain having some kind of thick lap insulator, so the laptop doesn't burn your legs.

    I'm in the market for a good gaming laptop, but one just doesn't seem to exist. Either they are too hot, have a bad screen, a bad keyboard, too heavy, or too expensive. I can see spending extra to get everything right, but when the prices are above $2000 and there are still compromises...what gives.
    Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Pretty much just described an AIO with a battery base lol.......it would be WAY to top heavy if they did that by the way and user serviceable parts like hard disk and ram are no longer an option....

    In general....this would be a TERRIBLE design for a laptop
    Reply
  • stancilmor - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Not quite an All-in-One; harddrive, all the I/O and even the memory could be in the base. I just wasn't sure the memory could be located that far away for signal integrity reasons.

    As for user upgradability, I agree this would give up CPU and GPU upgrades. I think RAM could still be user upgradable.
    Reply

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