Gaming Performance

While the Radeon HD 6970M is essentially a known quantity, up until this point the Clevo P150HM has seemed unusually fast in our synthetic benchmarks. This could be due to any number of factors; the cooling system in the P150HM may be allowing the i7-2720QM to keep higher clocks for longer, or the hybrid graphics solution in the Alienware M17x R3 may be taking a toll on performance.

In most cases in our "High" testing suite, the M17x R3 hangs with the Clevo P150HM while trading blows with the GTX 485M in the Clevo P170HM. Individuals interested in what kind of performance to expect from the entry-level Radeon HD 6870M configuration option for the M17x R3 would do well to check out the ASUS G73Jh results, highlighted in red, as the 6870M is basically a rebadged Mobility Radeon HD 5870. The biggest takeaway is that, at least at our "High" preset, every game is playable at 1080p on the M17x R3.

Adding anti-aliasing to the mix and jacking settings up further causes certain games to fall off, but there aren't any single-GPU options that are going to make STALKER or Metro 2033 playable at these settings. The 6970Ms and GTX 485M mostly cluster together. Net result: the M17x R3 competes among the fastest single-GPU gaming notebooks on the market. Not only that, but upgrading it to the 6970M yields a marked improvement over the alternative GTX 460M and HD 6870M.

That said, while the GTX 485M isn't available in the M17x R3 and doesn't make a compelling case on its own for gameplay performance, users who enjoy PhysX or need CUDA support (as in the case of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5) are going to feel a little bit shut out that their best option is the GeForce GTX 460M, which is clearly in a different class from the Radeon HD 6970M. It's oftentimes only a bit over half as fast as the 6970M, and the fact that it costs extra over the HD 6870M makes it a dubious proposition. Bottom line: if you want gaming performance at no expense, go for the HD 6970M. If you're on a budget, the HD 6870M will serve you well. The only reason you should configure the M17x R3 with the GTX 460M is if you explicitly need the features NVIDIA offers.

Application and Futuremark Performance Heat, Noise, and Battery Life
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  • aranyagag - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    It is very rarely that I play any games or watch any movies on my laptop, however, I do use my laptop for Internet browsing and productivity software like Microsoft Word and open office.. Even when I watch movies, I strongly prefer to have player controls below the actual picture. Therefore, for me, And the taller a screen the better. Why is it that nobody other than apple can manage to find a 16:10 screen on a 17 "laptop. Reply
  • b0tch02 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    One thing I haven't seen anyone mention is an option for laptops I've been wanting for years... HDMI-In. For those of us that travel a lot (i.e. Military) and don't have the means of transporting a 55" HDTV with us, HDMI-In for a laptop is a big selling point so we can hook up our XBOX360 or PS3. I for one will probably buy this "blinged-out kid's toy" for this feature. Blasphemy you say? I love computer games just as much as any of you, but the cold hard fact is that game designers are obviously focusing their efforts mostly on console games. And even if a game is multi-platform, the console versions tend to be the most polished versions and less buggy. For example, both a friend and myself who are professed PC gamers who have always loathed console gamers have crossed to the dark side. Because the PC version of Battlefield 2: Bad Company had initially been so buggy, and unplayable online, we both bought PS3's and the PS3 versions of the game to get our Battlefield fix.

    So, in short, having a gaming laptop and portable HDTV ( HDMI-in option) for my PS3 has sold me on this laptop or the m18x.
    Reply
  • arvee - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the excellent review; timely because I'm in the market for something like this and was just looking at these machines a few days ago.

    My main issue is that I'm not really a gamer, I play the occasional game but what I really want is everything that comes with these machines minus the expensive video cards. I'm a programmer and also need a good CPU and large amount of RAM for virtualization. My general formula at the moment is:

    SNB i7 + RAM++ + big beautiful screen + 2 drive bays

    The Dell Precision line is more up my alley but I can't comprehend how those prices are justified. It seems to me more of a market segmentation exercise--business users *can* pay more and are less likely to skimp than personal users (who buy gaming laptops) who are forking over their own money so I'm sure the margin from Precision is much larger than Alienware.

    Because I need this for work and I'm often with customers while using my laptop I *really* don't need something that a 14yr old would want a poster of for their bedroom wall; I need a bit more professionalism. This is one of the major drawbacks for me with the Alienware line.

    I've been looking at the ASUS G73SW but the specs already look like they could do with a refresh--the inputs for example (1 USB3.0 and no eSATA?) when stacked up against the competition like the Alienware. Plus.... a "stealth fighter"? Really?

    The one that I'm more interested in is the MSI GT780. I've never owned an MSI before but the specs look great, though it's not due out here in Australia for another few weeks: http://au.msi.com/product/nb/GT780.html

    A notch up in terms of a professional 'look' than the alternatives, I'm glad they didn't just make a bigger version of the GT680 case.

    Does anyone have one of these? I think they are out in the US aren't they? Any comments on MSI in general?

    And what are the chances of an Anand review of one of these?
    Reply
  • Bolas - Thursday, October 13, 2011 - link

    Just ordered a refurbished Alienware m17x R3, based largely off of this review.

    Mod Number Mod Description
    K972H 210W/240W switchable Slim 3P A/C Adapter
    N971H 125V Power Cord
    DK04N Alienware M17x R3 Laptop
    5GMTT Processor: Intel Core i7 2820QM 2.3GHz (3.4GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
    3K4G1 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (4 DIMMs)
    HD4KK 750 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
    02TT0 Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD)
    D50W4 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
    GY0N1 Internal 60GHz WirelessHD Transmitter
    H9XM4 Killer Wireless-N 1103 a/g/n 3x3 MIMO
    VX5CJ 17.3 inch Wide FHD (1920 x 1080 60Hz) WLED Display
    8VWCN Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate
    8409V Soft Touch Nebula Red
    1M57Y Dell Wireless 375 Bluetooth Module
    WHD6215-R Wireless HD Receiver
    Reply

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