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  • blyndy - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Why the F**K does Alienware, for all its awesome customisability, poke a stick in the eye with reflective displays!?

    I would own a m17x if it wasn't for the shit screen. Give me the option for an RGB display but NOT for a matte finish? They can keep it.
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    For everyone who complains about glossy displays there is someone who prefers them. I am one of those people. And if the majority disliked glossy displays the industry as a whole wouldn't use them.

    Matte displays attract dirt and fingerprints which are then harder to clean than glossy ones, that is a fact.

    I don't know why everyone complains so much about them - true, in this instance the low contrast nature of the M11x display is bad but being glossy is a matter of taste, and given the choice, I would take the glossy display over the matte one, obviously you and others differ here, but whereas low-contrast is bad for all users, the display coating is definitely an opinion matter.
    Reply
  • LaughingTarget - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Sounds to me the problem can be resolved by, you know, not touching the screen. Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Just because I don't touch my screen doesn't mean other people in the vacinity don't...

    Or if you are in a rush and grab the computer. Or if you sneeze on it. Any number of things can get dirt on the screen, but I'm sure you knew that and were just being facetious and annoying for no apparent reason...
    Reply
  • quiksilvr - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    First off, I don't know what matte screens you're talking about but glossy screens attract dust and fingerprints like no other.

    If you are using the glossy screen for mainly home use and have it set up so there is no reflecting light, then I would say that glossy is the way to go.

    LaughingTarget was merely pointing out the holes in your logic. For on-the-go use and for viewing the screen more easily, matte is the way to go.

    Gloss is only there to compensate for the poor screen quality beneath that most manufacturers don't want to spend extra money on. I've seen matte displays with great contrast ratios AND given that the screen isn't a mirror, makes it usable in a well lit environments.

    And as for the whole cleaning thing, they are the same. Just use the LCD cleaner with the cloth and both get just as clean.
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Well, I agree with most of what you say, however 'LaughingTarget' was being a tool. Whatever I do, some moron will come across to my computer screen or laptop in the day and point with the fleshy part of their finger having previously been stuffing their face with something greasy and unhealthy, so 'not touching' it just doesn't happen.

    I'm sure matte displays have their place, but there are times when glossy screens have a price premium and people do pay that premium for them (not me personally). And I have a Dell 2005FPW attached to one of my computers which is (as far as I know) a S-IPS panel with a great contrast ratio and matte finish, far outpacing most of the TN panels built 3-4 years later I seem to come across.

    Personally, I still prefer and will continue to use glossy screens where possible (one of which used to be the stunning RGBLED in the SXPS16). It doesn't matter what someone says, it is down to personal preference ultimately - I'm sure someone will spin me a load of rubbish about how I don't take graphics or image work seriously because I just said that but they would be wrong (and I hope that isn't you). What is universally agreed though is that high contrast and gamut is better.

    And yes, I do own an M11x and my complaint is not with the glossy LCD layer but with the hideously poor contrast and terrible vertical viewing angle.
    Reply
  • LaughingTarget - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Understand what tool means. Whom am I being a tool for, pray tell? Some secret international conglomerate of matte monitor manufacturers?

    At the end of the day, your piss poor behavior using your expensive piece of hardware is hardly a great reason to buy a lesser monitor. If you can't pop open the screen without grubbing the monitor and hang around people with a total lack of consideration, that doesn't somehow make the glossy mess any better. You shouldn't be buying the m11 if you regularly bring the unit to places where folks smudge Cheeto dust all over it. That's what $300 Netbooks were invented for.

    As for dust, close the thing when not in use. Problem solved.
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Look it up on Urbandictionary if you don't get it.

    Yes, you are a tool for being undeniably facetious and smug with your response without adding anything to the conversation. You may not agree with my use of glossy screens as do others but slating it or making a pointless remark like 'don't touch it' doesn't add anything, just like your last comment.

    And I wasn't talking about my M11x, I was talking about any LCD (matte or glossy), I mean at work people come to show you things and poke the screen - I work in an office where it's 90% women, they don't listen when I say 'don't touch the screen, it damages it' even if I do work in IT.

    Dust appears on screens and keyboards even if you do close them after use, it's these annoying things called static electricity and gravity but being such a smartarse you must've already known that.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Honestly, the initial response of LaughingTarget I thought was pretty reasonable, even funny.

    Clearly, the solution <i>is</i> not to touch it. Whether you can fully control whether people other than yourself touch the screen is a side issue, but you can at least prevent your own fingerprints on the laptop.

    Regardless, glossy vs. matte is, I suppose, as much about personal taste. I personally think that glossy is exceptionally annoying (and inferior from a practicality standpoint), but that's my opinion. I also think my opinion is based on facts. Whether those facts are important to you is a different story.

    BTW, touching a screen is not a male/female thing. I work in an office where it's about 80% men, and they still touch screens, even after being told not to.
    Reply
  • blyndy - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    The slight mirror layer over the whole display contents is what is unacceptable for me and others. They're obviously acceptable to some and that's fine, but for people who prioritise 'usable' over 'sleek' our options are negligible, hence the frustration.

    "Matte displays attract dirt and fingerprints which are then harder to clean than glossy ones, that is a fact."

    *turns off desktop lcd (matte)* ...I see a few smudges, but I have to shift my head from side to side to see them, and they're invisible when the screen is on, completely unobtrusive either way. I don't go poking the screen too much anyway, with that said it's simple to clean if ever I happen to rub my hands all over it. With a glossy screen though you HAVE to clean it if you don't want it to look dirty.

    Anyway my main gripe is that for all of Alienware customisation options they don't include a matte screen, on machines that are supposed to be uncompromising and for hardcore users.

    Especially when all they have to do is remove the clear plastic cover.
    Reply
  • Stokestack - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    "For everyone who complains about glossy displays there is someone who prefers them. I am one of those people. And if the majority disliked glossy displays the industry as a whole wouldn't use them."

    Not true, apparently:
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2006/10/8022....

    Glossy screens were shoved down buyers' throats by third-tier vendors at Best Buy with lies about "deeper blacks and richer colors." Sadly, so-called "leaders" like Apple followed the precedent set by plastic, fake-chromed Toshiba laptops with their tails between their legs. Most consumers, not being capable of critical thinking on these matters, accepted that. But the fact is that glossy screens suck in EVERY lighting condition. It doesn't matter if you're in a pitch-black room, because the light from the screen will illuminate YOU and create a reflection anyway.

    Your "deep blacks" aren't black at all with the sheen of a reflected image overlaying them, and that's a fact. Rich colors? Which ones, the ones contained in the scene behind you?

    And I hope we're not to take that strawman about matte screens being hard to keep clean seriously.
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Monday, July 12, 2010 - link

    I don't try and force my opinion on others I just tell you what I feel and how I see things. I find matte screens harder to keep clean, you may not, and frankly as you were a total asshat anyway I don't care - for all I know you can't afford an LCD and are still using a CRT. At least -some- people who came back and countered my opinion did it politely and with a modicum of decency about it stating their opinion.

    I have had good matte screens, I have had bad glossy screens.

    And you posted ONE link to a loaded survey anyway (from Lenovo/IBM users - who have been using matte screens as long as I can remember) where the article even states the reason why we are moving to glossy screens - where's the stuff about Best Buy come from? A demo glossy unit in a store sounds like the one place I would definitely rather NOT have a glossy display (bright lights and fingerprints and smudges everywhere).

    Unlike you, I'm not going to demand or ask that everyone bows down to my opinion, it was, for what it's worth an opinion. I like my M11x and if I had the choice of both displays I'd have to see both to make a decision but I don't have any complaints about the glossy finish.

    Take me seriously or not - am I bothered? No. Am I more bothered about how a self-opinionated jerk gets through life without getting the crap kicked out of him? Somewhat, but probably not as much as you'd hope...
    Reply
  • mrjminer - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I'm with you. This glossy phase that all manufacturers have entered is extremely annoying. I don't want a laptop that I have to position based on whether or not I have a light on, and I don't want a screen that's reflecting everything around me.

    I think the reason manufacturer's switched to this is because it looks better in the store. For practical purposes, though, glossy is inferior to matte.

    And to the guy below that says "matte displays attract dirt and fingerprints," that claim is outright false:
    1. Fingerprints barely show up on matte screens and they're almost always unnoticeable when the screen is on.
    2. Matte screens attract less fingerprints than glossy? Please, let me know who manufactures the screens on the laptops you've used because I'd like to invest in their non-existent company.
    3. Attract dirt / dust more than glossy screens? No. You merely spend more time cleaning off your glossy screen because you have to do so any time you accidentally give it the slightest touch.
    4. Take more time to clean than glossy screens? Um... I guess if you're comparing a larger matte screen size to a smaller glossy screen size.

    All of these things taken into account, matte screens need to be cleaned less and are not limited in position by the light/furniture setup.

    The only practical use I see for glossy screens are for touchscreens / tablets because it avoids the push-down effect (whatever it's called) and would largely negate the possibility of damaging the screen by pressing too hard.
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    If you get dirt on a matte screen and try to clean it, it smears more, whereas on a glossy it tends to come off easier - that was my point, nothing more. All my computers use glossy screens for better or worse (Dell M1530, 1750, M11x and Sony UX1XN) and I don't take issue or offence with them.

    The only LCD using a matte display is my TV and I do have a harder time cleaning that off - and you're right, I barely see dirt on it when it's on but knowing it's there, I find annoying.

    Glossy screens don't avoid that pushdown effect (do you mean the ripple) - the only way to fix that is the glass plate on top of capacitive displays i.e. iPhones.
    Reply
  • blyndy - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I'll add that I have vertical blinds behind me. I found a borrowed Macbook to be frustrating to use as the daylight leaked through the closed blinds and left glaring vertical reflections for me to have to look through. Reply
  • mrjminer - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Oops... slight correction, #2 is supposed to read "Matte screens attract more fingerprints than glossy?" I accidentally put less :O Reply
  • phreax9802 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I have an R2. Can you give details on how you achieve such long battery life? Just curious, because the maximum idle time that I get is around 4 hours. If possible maybe you can do a general guide for optimizing battery life for laptops. Thanks for the good job! :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Use Power Saver profile first, set brightness for 60% second, disable AlienFX (on battery -- use the Go Dark option), and make sure to disable any extra crap processes (especially the rogue Dell WLAN tray icon). Doing just those items got me to nearly the listed results. Going in and halting all the additional processes/services got me the rest of the way, but that was only an extra ~20 minutes idle. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Oh, and turn off Firewall, Windows Defender, and any Update services.

    FYI, the problem service with the wireless is called "DW WLAN Tray Service", as well as the WLTRAY.exe process.
    Reply
  • koscica - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I am going abroad in a couple of weeks and I would like to buy M11x before I leave. Therefore my only available choices are original m11x at best buy or the fast track i5 version from alienware. Is the i5 worth 150$ extra? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    It's going to come down to whether you value Optimus and regular driver updates from NVIDIA. I suspect the i5-520UM will be slightly faster in applications but that's about it. I do, so I'd go for the Fast Track R2; Linux people will want the original though. Another thought: grab the original and buy your own SSD for about the same price as the Fast Track... would be nice. :-) Reply
  • SlyNine - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I wish you guys would test for throttling on the CPU and GPU under load. After the whole XPS16 Studio deal. When plugged in it was slower then on battery, it could clock down as low as 300mhz while trying to play a game. Turning almost every game in to a studdering mess. Then it turns out this is COMMON practice for Dell. Other systems have done this as well.

    Throttlestop by unclewebb is the easiest way to check for it.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Intel is really dropping the ball here with arrandale ULV. There is no compelling reason to not choose a SU7300, up until Intel stops making SU7300s. Reply
  • Roland00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    all evidence points towards the fact that Intel wasn't quite ready for 32nm due to the canceling of the notebook version of nehalem 45nm (Auburndale) and the mainstream dual core nehalem 45nm (Havendale). Now when Intel announced they were canceling Auburndale and Havendale they were doing so for is 32nm replacement Arrandale (mobile) and Clarksdale (desktop) were comming around nicely and they didn't need a 45nm version.

    The evidence points to the contrary, there is too much leakage on 32nm thus you can actually get better battery life with the 45nm chips. Then again Intel is doing 32nm so much better than TMSC is doing their 40nm bulk (not really comparable, but TMSC really messed up with this one) and there 32nm chips are still awesome just not as great as they looked on paper.
    Reply
  • cjl - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Not at all. Intel's 32nm is definitely lower leakage and power than their 45nm. The problem is that the Nehalem architecture is more power hungry than Core. This more than offsets the advantages from changing processes to 32nm.

    If you need proof that 32nm is more power efficient than 45nm, just look at the i7-980x vs the i7-975. Same clock speed and 50% more cores, and it doesn't use any more power.
    Reply
  • HexiumVII - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I had the R2 for about a month. It was pretty nice and turned heads with the dancing lights. Overall its quite nice for the road warrior. The trackpad was surprisingly good after playing with the M17. A few things made me return it. First battery life I could only eek out about 5 hours at most, with internet browsing in todays world, you can get a little over 4. Its quite heavy for it's size, a lb or so less would be awesome, any lighter and it would be hard to balance. It really has room for a bigger screen. Viewing angles, contrast, are all very acceptable compared to most other models under $2k out there. The Geforce 335 is a bit dated and slow, need something a little faster. Needs USB3.0/eSata/gigabit to get things on this bugger faster. I had an Intel G2 in there and it felt a tad bit faster, battery life didnt improve much. Its hard to do that many things on an 11inch screen.

    Probably going to get a new Acer TimelineX or Sony Z. Or a new Tablet if something exciting comes out in the next two months.
    Reply
  • bakareshi - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    "The Geforce 335 is a bit dated and slow"

    The GT 335m that your R2 sported was by no means dated or slow for this category of notebook. In fact, the GT335m debuted in the m11xr1 that began shipping in the second quarter of this year. As for GPU speed, there is nothing faster offered under a 13" form factor. The 13" Vaio Z is the closest competitor, which still sports a slower GPU for about a thaousand dollars more.
    Reply
  • fire400 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    This laptop is a piece of junk. Reply
  • plewis00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Sounds like jealousy from not being able to afford this 'piece of junk', strange because maybe 80-90% of the people who use or see this machine either want it or buy it... Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    You'll need to provide sources to back up that 80-90%.

    :)

    However, it's just as much hyperbole as fire400 put forth, so that's ok..
    Reply
  • dumpsterj - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    ive got one on order and i cant wait for it. im glad the battlefield benchmarks saw such an improvement , as thats one reason i decided to replace my old asus f3sv w/ its 8600gs. It cant play bf 2 for crap. thanks for the awesome review. i know what to expect but im still happy im getting it. when i get it ill update in the comments. Reply
  • Mark McGann - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Does anyone know if the SSD option for this laptop supports TRIM?

    I've never been able to find any definitive information on this, which leads me to believe it doesn't.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Pretty sure the 256GB SSD is a Samsung model, and if it's one of the newer ones it supports TRIM. But honestly, I would NOT pay the outrageous $600 upgrade price to get it pre-installed. You can buy a 256GB for $525 online if you really want to:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Better still, if you really want an SSD and are willing to pay for it, get an SSD that's worth having, like the RealSSD C300 from Crucial or a SandForce SSD. $600 for the Samsung drive from Dell, or $600 for a 240GB SandForce 1200 SSD, or even $640 for the 256GB C300. I think the choice is clear:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Of all the review, what piqued my interest the most is the mention of a new U30Jc with a better GPU... Where did you hear that rumor? Any details on it? Honestly the M11x R2 is a nice laptop but I just don't really like the aesthetics and the screen size. A U30Jc with a GT335M or above would be the ideal laptop. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Not a rumor... it's what we *want* to see. Will ASUS make that? I hope so, but right now it looks like the U series is still getting saddled with G310M. :-\ Reply
  • MaxGeek - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I'm a M11x R2 owner and one thing I ran into is that the NVidia GPU throttling is sometimes broken. The GPU is suppose to be 450MHZ, but often it will only throttle up to 405MHZ from 135MHZ even when plugged in and gaming. This can cost you a fair amount of performance. This is an app out there called PowerMizer Manager that can fix this.

    Also as far as overclocking I've found it to be pretty significant. Once the system gets decently hot from gaming Intel Turbo boost won't kick in, so overclocking ensures you get consistent performance. Combined with GPU overclock, overclocking the CPU adds additional performance over a GPU overclock at stock CPU speeds. I found that Resident Evil 5 is also CPU limited and GPU overclocking didn't improve performance until the CPU was also overclocked.
    Reply
  • MaxGeek - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    Sorry for the Engrish, I can't edit my post... Reply
  • Roland00 - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    I am glad for smaller gaming computers, but I rather have one of these. Add 3/4 lb of weight and 1 inch bigger; and in return you get faster, cheaper, and with an optical drive. All for 3/4 of a lb

    ASUS K42JV-X1
    I5-450m 2.4 GHZ, Nvidia GT335m, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, DVD Burner, 1366x768, 4400mAH, 14 Inch, 4.8 lbs, $949
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    AS4820TG-3195 (Acer Timeline X)
    I5-450m 2.4 GHZ, ATI HD5650, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, DVD Burner, 1366x768, 6000mAH, 14 Inch, 4.9 lbs, $899
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results....
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    We should be getting the N82Jv in the near future (as soon as it shows up in the US). It's basically the same as the K42Jv you just listed, except with an 84Wh battery. That's the only downfall with the current K42: 48Wh battery means 3-4 hours battery life. Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Interesting... Are you all also getting any of the hp Envy's (including the "new" 5830 Envy 15)? Reply
  • beginner99 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    this.
    There is also a 13.3 timelineX with the 5650 radeon. no optical drive tough. I don't need one anyway for what?
    I think it's also the same weight as the alienware but bigger screen. imho much better bang for the buck.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Do you have the model for that timelineX? I can't seem to find it on acer's website (that doesn't mean it doesn't exist though). Personally I rather have a 13 inch and I have seen the AS3820T-5246 in person and I am impressed with what I seen so far (the joys of selling computers). Reply
  • bakareshi - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    ppft... optical drive. Still holding on? I don't hold it against Alienware for being at the front of the paradigm change. Optical drives no longer add value, they just consume real estate and sway customers to buy who haven't realized DVDs are no longer a necessity. Reply
  • Akv - Friday, July 09, 2010 - link

    The concept of "gaming laptop" still sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    I game with a large tower with large fans, and a large 27" screen.

    I would be more interested in a review about new laptops that don't heat and don't make noise.
    Reply
  • Shmutt - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    I understand that the review is done on the best possible config for the M11x R2 and thus has the core-i7 CPU.

    However, on Dell's website, it is stated that the option with the core-i7 does not have an integrated gfx. I have confirmed this in a live-chat with a Dell sales rep. I'm guessing that Optimus will do nothing in this case?

    So it was the main reason why I went with the core-i5 option. Supposedly, it will have a better batt life as discrete GPU will be powered down if not needed. I hope Anandtech can get its hands on a core-i3/i5 specced M11x R2 and see if this claim is correct.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Whoever you spoke with is clueless. LOL. The i7-640UM (and the i7-620M) are both dual-core Arrandale chips with Intel HD Graphics; they're just clocked higher than the i5 variants. So Optimus is fully functional. It's only the quad-core i7 chips that don't have integrated graphics. Reply
  • Shmutt - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Oh ok! Damn! Thanks for clarifying that. Reply
  • fire_storm - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Hi

    I am planning to buy an m17x in a week or so, is there any upgrades worthwhile in the near future?
    should I hold on this until its out if any?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • beelzebub253 - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    Can anyone confirm what the max resolution the m11x R2 will output to external display (using DisplayPort). The website doesn't seem to specify. In particular, can it display 2560x1600 such as on the Dell 3008WFP?

    Jarred? Anyone?
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The Displayport will be able to hit the 30" resolution. HDMI not. Reply
  • adonn78 - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    Same crappy video card. Just a slightly faster and more expensive CPU added. Its still not enough for today's games even at the low resolution of the monitor on this notebook. They need to shrink the die on the mobile video card to get a good heat and electricity level. That way it won;t sue up too much power and will be of decent speed. Reply
  • Jamezrp - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    I've been running my own benchmarks on the M11x R2, and besides having a hell of a time with a number of the games, Optimus just doesn't seem to be ready thus yet. My scores are similar to the ones posted (close enough to make them seem right), but Optimus just doesn't seem to activate the GPU at the right times.

    For instance, it'll play for a Youtube video at 360p. I don't need that, I don't need to waste battery life there when my netbook can handle 720p without a GPU at all. Then, of course, it'll run at 1080p, but not show that it's running for the new 4K videos available on Youtube.

    I'm not impressed enough with the R2 to say it's worth a purchase, but if anything it's because of the software still being in beta, and games not supporting Optimus yet. Does this determination sound right?
    Reply
  • jfmeister - Monday, July 12, 2010 - link

    The most interresting part comes at end, where you mentioned the goodies we should have had. The 2 most well awaited upgrades from v1, the LCD monitor & DX11 GPU. I was really disapointed. Would having an Radeon would have killed the battery life that much vs GT335M?

    Now the part about the 13inch model sounds tasty. It would make more sense of getting all we need in there i.e.: better LCD & GPU. Dell/Alienware, it's time to redeem yourself and jumpover the 13inch bandwagon before competition grabs the market before you. I am pretty sure they are looking around taking notes on the M11x from users & reviews to finaly create the overall "suits you best machine".

    Good point on cutting off the choices to drop down prices. On a large scale, it'll benefit the Dell & the customers.
    Reply
  • buzznut - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Hey, thanks for the great article. This addresses all my questions about my upcoming purchase. My choice is clear, I can see no reason to pay an extra $150 for optimus. Battery life is worse, and considering the CPU is faster, similar gaming performance is disappointing.

    I think I'll take my chances with the driver updates. perhaps I will invest in the return program they provide. At any rate, I'll save my 150 bucks and go with the original.
    Reply
  • jaeyang9 - Sunday, July 25, 2010 - link

    i decided to splurge and got the i7, 8gb, 256gb SSD... still waiting for it to arrive... but i came across this from tutorial video from dell/alienware regarding how to *properly* use optimus for gaming or gpu intensive applications

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U874jC2blJQ
    Reply

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