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  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Why can't alienware make a laptop that doesn't look like it was beaten all weekend with an ugly stick. I don't care how powerful it is - i'll never buy one - and no-one else over the age of 14 should either. FAIL! Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    BUT it has 2 l00k leik a 5T34L7H FIGHT3R!!!!1!

    The only thing that holds me back from buying the M11x is that it is hideous. I've been wanting an relatively inexpensive SFF gaming notebook (with balls) forever! But when I finally get it, it's the size of a humidor and looks like a snaggle-toothed pug. Oh well, I'm glad it's a free county and I can choose not to buy it!
  • synaesthetic - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    The LG P330 looks like the best bet for small form factor gaming laptop. It's really not much larger than the M11x and it looks far less ugly. It also doesn't use a ULV CPU either, but a standard mobile i5 SNB processor. Video is the 555M, which should be better than the 335M in the M11x. Reply
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    You're complaining about a company with the name of Alienware making its systems look like an Alien or Alien form? Are you serious or just fooling around? There are other more normal gaming laptops if that's your taste, Asus, Clevo and so on. Reply
  • headbox - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    They don't look alien, they look childish. Or will we be invaded by Hasbro aliens? My kid's Leap Frog toy computer looks more sophisticated. Reply
  • khimera2000 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Alienware is to taste, some people like it others dont. I have one it works pritty well. It dosent look that bad. Alienware has always had a distinct look, you can love it or hate it, but it hasent changed that much since i dont know... since alienware wasent dell?

    Complaining about something based on looks is just like complaining a car is slower because its not hotrod red. Its not going to make a differance. People will still get it because it looks neat to them.

    O ya the backlit keyboard is a god send >.<
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    You're the one that EPIC FAILs here, for telling everyone else what they should or shouldn't like in the appearance of their gaming laptop. You don't like it, fine, but get off the high opinion you have of yourself and quit telling other people how to think and what to do.

    Personally, I think the M17x looks great. I also happen to be 55 years old. Would I carry it into an executive board room meeting? Probably not, but it's a gaming machine, and not intended to look like Mr. Businessman.
  • Astoria85 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Alienware doesn't need you buy one of their laptops ;) I'm 21 years old and I work every day with new guys who ask me where i have found a laptop like my M15x, and if it's as powerful as it looks cool! Obviously your point of view is not the point of view of the major part of the people... FAIL! Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    I agree.

    I was just last night looking for a replacement laptop, and just because of the looks I wont even consider any of these. Useless " features" that add only cost; serving no other purpose.

    Too bad you can not get an XPS with similar hardware, but as it stands looks like I will be shopping with someone else.
  • 5150Joker - Monday, June 27, 2011 - link

    You were beaten with an ugly stick, not the AW. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    "Price as configured: $2,503" - Holy Shit!

    You can get a Apple 17" MacBook Pro for less. And the MacBook Pro will have a more pixels, be made of metal not plastic, and still weigh three pounds less. Who would buy this thing?
  • chinedooo - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    will have more pixels? what do you mean both have 1080p screens? And the M17x is way more powerful than the macbook pro regardless of configuration. Reply
  • Brad4 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    The 17" macbook pro uses a 16x10 resolution (1920 x 1200), which is much better for productivity.

    This dell product, and all of dell's products, use a 16x9 resolution (1920 x 1080).
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    There aren't many laptops that give 16x10 nowadays and that is a sad thing. Thankfully I still have my R2 with that resolution, despite what you've claimed as Dell using 16x9 on all products. It is great for productivity and I would not trade that in since I also use it for business and need the extra space.

    And while I ponder why anyone would hate a company who's sole slogan is to be "Alien" in its product and statements, the MBP really can't beat the R3 in gaming. Don't believe me, go look at charts!
  • esSJae - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Cheaper? Configured comparably as possible, the 14" Macboo Pro is $2,949.00
    on Apple's site.
    And the MBP has a significantly slower CPU and GPU and only 1 HDD.

    I own both an M17r2 and a 13" MBP. They are designed for completely different tasks and users.
  • Shinya - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    But the macbook pro would get stomped into the ground spec wise and all other things associated with owning apple computers. Not to mention it gives the image of being insecure just from owning an apple product. Only hipsters and macf**s would be deterred from purchasing something this powerful because of the way it looked or because *waaaa im a huge wuss* weight.

    Thinkpads are the greatest looking things in the world, but they get more done in the REAL world than any apple toy
  • Shinya - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Thinkpads aren't* Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    You ignorance comes out in every post you make

    It becomes blatantly obvious you have never bought or even looked at high end laptops - $2500 is cheap for a top tier laptop.

    I will ignore the post on looks, that is purely opinion and you are entitled to yours - even if many disagree. If it is not for you, get the painfully bland Clevo

    Your 2nd post however about price makes me laugh.....Comparing this to a MBP 17" is a joke due to the hardware and cooling involved - MBPs are some of the hottest running laptops on the market - period. Your remark regarding resolution is moot as apple is the ONLY company still offering 16:10 panels afaik (sadly - I miss WUXGA). The outer shell of the M17x R3 is in fact metal - not as thick as the R1 and R2 or M18x but still metal

    Call me a fanboy if you want but I actually have an Alienware (the newer M18x) and know that the build quality is above anything else on the market - just like the reviewer here mentioned
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Please - I have owned nothing but high end laptops! This thing is hamburger sold at price of steak. The 17" MacBook Pro may run hotter, but it will crush this techno frumpy laptop in battery life.

    And they are at least a couple of hundred dollars less.

    I'd buy the 17" Apple laptop in a second, then take the savings and get an SSD. Overall, it would blow this fat, ugly, juvenile, crappy PC laptop off the face of the earth. And no one would miss it!

    Paying this kind of money and getting a bouncy keyboard should be illegal!
  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    And then you'll try to GAME on your Mac and you'll suddenly understand what's this business about "GPUs" and "CPUs" and all those other fancy acronyms.

    If you can't understand this is a gaming laptop/desktop replacement, you have no business buying one anyways.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    That MBP has the same CPU and a GPU that is only a little bit slower. These aren't massive differences in performance here, but one has a much better keyboard, multitouch trackpad, real battery life, slimmer/lighter chassis, 16:10 display, etc etc.

    Bashing Alienware is like shooting fish in a barrel anyway. Lenovos are also great, if you're dead set against a Mac then at least give a reasonable alternative.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    I take back what I said re: GPU performance, I got one of the numbers mixed up when checking on other sites. The Macbook Pro is surprisingly good for a gaming laptop, its great for Starcraft 2, Team Fortress 2, LoL, etc etc, but the Alienware can legitimately be a full desktop replacement if one was so inclined based on these numbers:

    Its still not going to make me sell my SLI desktop PC, but its nice that the option is out there. :)
  • Shinya - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Protip: intelligent computer users dont care about battery life on a GAMING/HIGH PERFORMANCE laptop. We all know these are supposed to be plugged in. These tend to be desktop replacements/lan machines.

    "Paying this kind of money and getting a bouncy keyboard should be illegal!"
    so should spending the same amount of money on a apple computer and getting dated hardware, crap cooling, and a fraction of software availability. All while labeling yourself an in insecure macf** in the process.

    Go back to Engadget you'll fit right in with the rest of your kind. Your Lord n Savior (Jobs) will be waiting for you.
  • ganjha - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Don't poke the trolls. If you ignore them long enough they'll go somewhere else... Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    "intelligent computer users don't care about battery life on a GAMING/HIGH PERFORMANCE laptop"

    What total BS. Only an idiot wouldn't care about battery life on a laptop. If you have to plug it in, then it's not a desktop replacement, its a small form factor desktop with average performance and a $2500.00 price tag. Oh yeah - I forgot butt ugly.

    The MacBook Pro uses the same Sandy Bridge processors found on the Alienware systems.

    Yes, people complain about the heat while gaming on the MacBook Pro, but the Alienware in this review got same complaint. Obviously Dell doesn't have a magic solution for the heat either.

    The MacBook Pro can run Mac OS X *and* Windows 7 - therefore could run a much larger suite of applications than any PC ever could.

    Yes the Alienware has a couple better features, like the faster GPU option. But given all the pluses and minuses, I'd take the MacBook Pro every time. It simply is a better value for my $2500.00.

    If I'm a troll for thinking that, well at least I'm a troll that can back up my rant with facts. And not insane musings from insecure winf***s.
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    So now you're thinking because Apple uses Sandy that the performance is the same? Or did I misread that. What do you mean by that statement so we're all clear. Let us all forget about the surrounding designs around the processor for argument sake.

    There is hot and there is hot hot. Not like your Sandy bridge comment.

    I can run Mac OS, why do you think I can't? And are we referring to raw install, emulated or VM? You do realize the difficulty in using a Mac OS on a non-Mac PC is right? Go have a chat with the VMWare dev team. Currently I have Windows 7, Redhat, Fedora, Unbuntu and XP SP3 available for my business use. I have absolutely no use of Mac OS for work or play. Absolutely zero of my business associates here or in China (contract manufacturing) has a Mac. So while I can use it, I have 0 need to use it. And if you have to ask why all the flavors of Linux then I'll just have to slap you silly.

    So for a high end laptop, in which most users pay to be able to play games much better, having a better GPU option is not such a big concern to you. Ok. Fine, that's fair. It's also fair that with all the +/- the user gets to choose the laptop of their liking. Cool. Value sure has its niches.

    I don't mind you choosing a MBP but please at least try to be reasonable and have some common sense in your comments. Just looks so redneck and childish...see, kinda like what I just said!
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    This is a gaming laptop not a general purpose system, and the MBP gets stomped in any relevant comparison. The 6750m it offers is less than half as fast as the alienware's 6970 (half the cores and slower clocks), the 6490 that's the baseline option is about 4.5x slower. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Actually, the 6870M is about twice as fast as the 6750M, and thus the 6970M is more like three times as fast as the 6750M. If you want a comparison, on the High quality gaming charts the 6750M would be around 5-15% faster than the GT 540M. (That's the line second from the bottom in most of the games... and that's not even running at 1080p, where the limited memory bandwidth on the GT 540M and 6750M becomes even more of a handicap.) Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    I would really like to see some gaming benchmarks from the 15" MBP under Windows, because a 3x increase in performance with the 6970m seems quite massive. I've tried Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Starcraft 2, and Bad Company 2 on a 2011 MBP. Not the most straining games by any means, but they were all very smooth from what I saw.

    Unfortunately is the only place I found stats on the 6750m, and their testing methodology isn't the best since they just aggregate random data from different hardware and displays that aren't necessarily the same:

    Based on those benchmarks the difference seems to be under double, with the 6750m yielding about 40fps in Bad Company 2 with high settings while the 6970m gives about 65fps based on the results in this review.

    Again, the 6750m numbers can only be taken as ballpark since the rest of the machine specs are unknown. Again, too bad there aren't many 2011 MBP reviews out there with gaming benchmarks, it'd be interesting to see how well the medium end AMD GPUs stack up to the monster in the Alienware machine.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Well well well:

    Such impressive numbers there. You're compromising size and battery life, but man that thing screams, truly a desktop replacement.
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    You are expecting your SSD to blow the performance of the Alienware R3? Are you being serous here? Has Anandtech users fallen so low in stupidity that they say such things? On one hand it's a great laugh until I realize these people are actually serious and then I remember the iPhone vs EVO bear video about the sales-bear taking off his own dong because he doesn't want to have to raise kids in such an ignorant world.

    Let me ask you some questions,

    1. How often do you use your MBP on battery alone?

    2. How often do you play games on battery alone?

    3. You rather have a laptop that burns you instead of one that doesn't? And this is because you think its quite fine since you have longer battery life in which to prolong the burn? You think all laptops of different, and in this case more powerful, should have battery life like MBP?

    4. Do you know what an SSD is? Do you know what it improves and what it doesn't improve? Do you now realize the ignorance of your statement IF you have an answer for the first two?

    5. Price comparatively in performance what are the prices for the MBP and R3? Go on, take your time and respond. I want you to. There are performance charts here in this review to get you started btw.

    6. If you were to start a company with a specific product would you consider deterring from it? Let me elaborate so as to not confuse you. If you "had" a company that has a theme of say Bantam chicks (these are really pretty midget chickens btw) would you change your image because of some dick with no clue about marketing and such thinks bantam chickens suck and should be more like a duck? Just an example mind you. I sad "had" was a good choice of word don't you?
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Are you gonna add something useful to this discussion or just ask stupid questions? Do you have anything to say that can honestly refute my position that a 17" MacBook Pro is more desirable than this butt-ugly, over-weight, Dell laptop? Anything factual? Anything at all? Because, so far, all I see is a PC fanboy having difficulty producing facts.

    The only tangible advantage the Alienware has is a better GPU option,. But to get that GPU, you need to sacrifice everything else. I would not make that sacrifice, and I think many people will agree with me. The Alienware laptop is over-priced, lacks any sense of style, isn't ground breaking portable technology, and is largely targeted at teenage boys.

    Price being equal - I see more value in a 17" MacBook Pro.
  • dlite1 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Purchased an ASUS G53JW-SSD with a 120 G SSD and 750 / 7200 G HD two months ago. 8 G RAM and a Nvidia GTX-460M ran just less than $2000. I priced Alienware but the price for the feature set just seemed high. Course people that buy Alienware are looking for performance and bling. Reply
  • vhong - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I bought the Alienware M17x R3 from dell Outlet for $1279 (with online coupon). It has the base configuration + w/ 2GB 6970.
    Still has a standard 1 year warranty, and looks brand new.

    This thing looks amazing.

    People's jaw usually drops when they first see this, followed by something like: "That's awesome!" The pictures taken for this article just don't do it justice, as they all appear to be the blue color scheme. The 4 sections of my keyboard & front lights are slowly rotating through the color spectrum. Video would have been better for this review.
  • erple2 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    To be fair, if you were to option out the M17x as the base 17" MBP, (2500 base cost at retail) it would cost about 1900 dollars, not $2503.

    So you are spending about 600 bucks (I know, you can get a MBP sometimes cheaper online at discounts) nets you a slower GPU (by about 1/2 - which may or may not be important to you), and higher load temperatures on the surfaces. On the positive side, you get a thinner and bit lighter chassis, 120 extra vertical pixels, and more battery life (roughly double, if you use OSX vs. Windows 7). OSX is either a positive or a negative, depending on your viewpoint.

    If you factor in discounts, it's a bit less clear - though Dell typically has significant discounts available (25% isn't unheard of).

    Which is the better all-around machine? I'd be willing to say the MBP is probably the better one. It is, however, 600 dollars more expensive (at retail). However, you're not buying this Alienware machine for it's "all around performance". You're buying it for playing games for which it FAR exceeds the performance of the MBP.
  • kioshi - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Mac user here.

    The MBP will not be as future-proof for gaming which is the main intention of this laptop. Also the MBP will have a much longer battery life (I don't know how Apple does that but they do).

    IMHO the MBP is a very nice machine but not for the heavy gamers who want a laptop. Even the 27' iMac comes with a mobile GPU and non upgradeable components, not really what I'd want for a gaming machine even though I'm planning on getting one of those.
  • kevith - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link


    To keep on comparing MBP´s and the Alienware is quite pointless. I don´t think you could find two more different systems:

    One has a "whispering" design, grey in grey, silent, lightweight, astounding battery life, a "Gentlemans Express"; the other is MEANT to shout out loud, look alien and brute and catch every eye in the room, a "Thoroughbread Racer" .

    One is for all kinds of work EXCEPT gaming, the other is for the hardcore gamer segment

    It even comes with two different OS.

    What the one doesn´t have is the others finest virtues.

    I´m sure they are both very nice laptops, I´l never afford neither of them, but for this machine and this review we probably could find some more appropriate comparisons.
  • anishannayya - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Who would buy a 17" MacBook?

    To be fair, I would buy neither, but if I was forced to, I would take the Alienware any day.

    Trying to compare a functional computer to a locked down and feature lacking system doesn't make any sense.

    Apple makes great hardware and they have an awesome marketing department.

    But because I'm not a glitzy hipster neither an Mac nor an Alienware system would work for me. I'll go for a ThinkPad and build my own gaming desktop. And, oh yeah, I'll still spend less than you.
  • khimera2000 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    this is true that you can get a macbook for that price, but you only need a budget of 2000 on the alienware and your alredy pushing beyond what the macbook pro can do, pushing up to 2500 the mac book pro looses any chance of catching up to the M17. Its cool that the macbooks are made out of aluminum, but it still dosent stop them from having many flaws from a company that does alot to make sure those flaws dont come out.

    Mac Books have nice looks to there builds, but there build quality has suffered and to me can no longer be considered as a major point of comparison. All there products have had major flaws be it cracking on the G4 screen from case stress, warping of the optilce drive slot on there macbooks, leaking of user information once again on ther phones, or bricking of ipods which cant be fixed out to sea (I had 6 of them floating in my locker by the end of deployment) I just dont trust apple to make a product 100% ready, Hell i dont even expect them to make a product that isint bata on first release. sure what you look at will work ausome, but its always something else, that goes horrably wrong.
  • UltimateTruth - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - link

    Macbook Pro? That overheating, overpriced pile of pot metal? You should keep some aju sauce on the side when you have one on your lap. Since it will slow roast your thighs something tasty. Reply
  • 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.
  • 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 if you want a huge wealth of good information on the Alienwares or Clevos or Asus
  • 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)
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Pretty much just described an AIO with a battery base 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
  • 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.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I can add quite a few more concerns. All that weight in the screen would make it top-heavy. Also, the screen would now need to be an inch thick with a quarter inch thick keyboard. Yay? Maybe they should just make the whole bottom of the laptop aluminum and then use it as part of the heat sink, and then they could somehow make the whole laptop a lot thinner. Wait... Apple tried this with the MBP 17 and while it's thin, it also runs extremely hot and it has a GPU that's 1/3 as potent as the 6970M. Incidentally, the 6970M can draw up to 100W, give or take, so you're going to need a lot of airflow and heatsink to dissipate all that heat.

    If you want a thin, light, and inexpensive gaming laptop, you're right: they don't exist. Given current technology and the laws of physics, such a laptop simply can't exist. In ten years when CPUs and GPUs are a lot more powerful, software will be more demanding as well and such a design will continue to not exist.

    If you still don't think that's correct, take tablets as an example: the Tegra 2 stuff puts all of that performance into a package that's less than a centimeter thick, and the iPad 2 is similar and it's even faster! But how much performance are we really talking about? The CPUs in these tablets are slower than a dual-core Atom. Looking at the iPad 2 for instance, in Geekbench an i7-2720QM is generally anywhere from 5-10X faster on single-threaded tests, and 15-40X faster on multi-threaded tests. In general, it's easily more than an order of magnitude faster.

    The GPU is a similar story: 8 "shader cores" is basically what you get -- never mind that these are DX9 cores compared to modern DX11 cores on the PC stuff. Peak performance, the 543MP2 at 300MHz is capable of around 19.2GFLOPS. By comparison, NVIDIA's GTX 460M is capable of 518.4GFLOPS (27 times faster!), and the 6970M tested here can hit a whopping 1305.6GFLOPS.

    So yes, power requirements are higher, and thus size requirements are higher, but we're looking at roughly 20 times the CPU performance in multi-threaded workloads and over 50 times the GPU performance. What does this have to do with your "put the hot components in the screen" idea? Mostly I'm hoping to show you that just because you can get a lot of "stuff" into a tablet like the iPad 2, there's a reason the cooling system in a notebook like the M17x weighs a couple pounds and has a large fan: it's because it has to have it.
  • GeorgeH - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I've had the same idea, except I wouldn't put the GPU/CPU behind the lid, I'd just run a couple of flexible heatpipes through the hinges to a passive radiator built into the LCD cover. The point wouldn't be to create a significant amount of additional cooling, though. The surface area of a lid with reasonable physical properties (i.e. not too heavy and without lots of delicate fins) would only be a small fraction of the cooling capability of a typical fan driven cooling system. The point of such a system would instead be to allow the laptop to run completely silent at light to moderate loads, then spin up a typical fan cooling setup when stressed. Reply
  • Thale - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Hold S, D, and then press the space bar on an M17x R3. You won't jump/roll/ do whatever else the combination would usually do. It's mildly annoying for FPS style games or WoW, and an absolute killer for overhead style games that use WASD controls.

    For a quick example off the top of my head, it makes some sections of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light unplayable (anywhere where you need to make a jump while running down+right).

    Dell's priorities seem to lie more with charging a lot for silly lights than making a real game machine if they can't even be bothered to pay extra attention to rollover for the usual 'gaming cluster' of keys.
  • colinw - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I'd love to see how this thing stacks up against a Dell Precision M6600. The prices are similar for high-spec machines, but I do love the aesthetics of the Precision line, as well as their general high quality. They make surprisingly able gaming machines. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    We reviewed the M6500 a while back; the M6600 is mostly the same design with a few upgrades on the hardware. We won't get into upgrade pricing on the RAM and HDDs, because Dell really rips you off there ($330 to upgrade to 8GB RAM, and another $420 to go from a single 250GB HDD to two 500GB HDDs!). If you grab an M6600 with the current sale, though, you can get the FirePro M8900 (basically a workstation version of the 6970M), 2GB RAM, and a single HDD with the anti-glare 1080p LCD for $1924. That includes a 3-year warranty as well.

    Add in your own RAM for $73 ( a high-performance SSD for $470 ( and even a single large HDD for $90 ( That would bring the total up to around $2600, with a much higher performance SSD + HDD setup.
  • colinw - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Yeah, when I was looking at the configurations I definitely counted on buying a few after-market upgrades from newegg. Rather ridiculous upgrade prices.

    As you spec'd it, it's a pretty good system for $2600!

    But as far as I can tell they don't feature switchable graphics? I haven't seen any reviews of the SNB M6600 yet, so I'm not sure. Battery life won't be quite so happy with the M8900 in use all the time.
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Yes, Dell does charge a bit for the M line workstations. These are, however, workstations and not gaming laptops. As you've suggested buying the minimum and upgrading it yourself, if you're up to the task, is far far less expensive. Although I'm an Engineer and not an IT person, I upgrade the PCs and laptops to save our department money all the time hahaha Can use the savings for a free lunch, all win-win :D Reply
  • ggathagan - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Not sure if it's universal, but everything I've ever owned with that "incredibly comfortable rubberized plastic surface" turned into "incredibly sticky dirt/dust magnet surface" in a year or so.
    Given the heat this can put out, I wouldn't be surprised if it starts feeling tacky in 6 months or so.
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Yea, I know what you're thinking hehe. I have my R2 for about a year now and it runs pretty much 24/7. Aside from the accumulated dust balls and water/soda spilling it still looks like brand new. I am assuming the R3 differes little btw. Plus, taking it apart isn't that difficult which makes cleaning easier than on a desktop. Reply
  • Brad4 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Two reasons why I won't buy this laptop.

    1. The most important reason is the resolution. 10x9 resolution laptops are horrible and are only good for watching movies.

    2. The laptop looks like it is marketed for young teenagers. How about a nice laptop without the silly lights?
  • Brad4 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    In the above message I intended to complain about 16x9 screen resolutions. Unfortunately, if someone wants a really nice laptop with a 16x10 resolution, the macbook pro is the only option. I will probably purchase the 17" mbp and install win7. Reply
  • Uritziel - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    So for that 1080 -> 1200 small jump into the less common format, you're willing to live with the greatly reduced GPU and halved RAM, while paying separately for the Win 7 license? Those extra pixels must mean a lot to you. Too bad they'll drag the 6750M down even further... Reply
  • Brad4 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    That is correct. Unfortunately, it is the only option I'm left with. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Me too. It's not just a change of 1200 pixels - its a general reduction of the entire screen size. it feels like I'm looking through a slit with a 16x9 laptop. I'm not sure I want a MBP, but there's not too many other options out there now.
    I run a lot of VMs, and really need the vertical space.
  • cjl - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Why not just get a nice external monitor for use most of the time? That gives you even more space and resolution (potentially) than the MBP, while retaining the performance advantage of the Alienware. Reply
  • Uritziel - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    I just figured, as a DTR, you could live w/ the 16:9 for the built-in monitor and just get a nice, external, 16:10, giant, productivity monitor. But, if that's not an option for your use case, I guess you're kinda stuck :\ Reply
  • Spazweasel - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    People who attach their self-worth and identity to what hardware they buy have no worth or importance of their own. Without the object of their hatred or the brand they've decided to ride the coattails of, they dry up and blow away.

    It's just hardware, dumbasses. The logo on it has no virtue or evil, no matter what that logo is. If it's evil you want, how about Dell's deliberate campaign of lies to cover up the extreme failure rate of their Optimus computers? Where's the outrage over that? Oh yeah, this isn't about truth. It's about shoring up a shattered self-esteem which actually deserves to be shattered. Haters gonna hate, and that's what makes them inferior.

    Impotence + income jealousy + never having done anything to be proud of = logo hater.
  • k1ckass - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I think you mean Optiplex, Optimus is an Nvidia technology... Reply
  • RoninX - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I'm always impressed by the thoroughness of the Anandtech reviews compared to those of other popular tech blogs, and the M17x looks very nice to me (though I'd probably go with a smaller screen).

    One thing I would like to see in reviews of gaming/high-end laptops is an estimate of battery life while gaming. I know a lot of people use these as desktop replacements, but I already have a high-end gaming rig for home (i7-2600k + GTX570 + SSDs, etc.). However, I do a lot of traveling for business, and the only reason I would buy a gaming laptop is for playing games while waiting for flights (on battery) as well as at the hotel (on AC). This can turn "OMG, not another delay!" to "Oh well, back to gaming."

    I recently purchased a Sandy Bridge Dell XPS 15 L502x, so I'm not in the market right now, but I like to keep up with what's coming down the pike. While some people would say that it's impossible to play high-end games for any significant time on battery power, that's not true. I get around 90 minutes of gaming on my XPS 15, and I carry a spare battery, so that gives me up to 3 hours, which is usually enough to deal with layovers as well as airport delays.

    So, even though battery gaming time may be limited on any high-end laptop, the difference between, say, 90 minutes (one spare battery), 60 minutes (two spare batteries), and 30 minutes (five (!) spare batteries) can be significant. I would find this information very useful, and I'm guessing that others would as well.

  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Your request isn't unreasonable and I know Jarred's dabbled in pulling those kinds of numbers. The problem I've seen is that sometimes notebooks running on the battery, regardless of whatever the power setting is, don't perform quite as fast as they would if they were plugged into the wall. So you wind up having to add a second metric: you're testing gaming running time on the battery, and you're testing performance on the battery.

    Honestly I think anyone wanting to game while on battery power would be best served just buying a Llano-based notebook. Is it going to be as fast as a Sandy Bridge-based one? No, but it's going to last a heck of a lot longer. Jarred ran the Llano test unit through a loop of 3DMark06 to see how long it would run gaming, and he got nearly three hours of running time.
  • RoninX - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Yes, I would find it very useful to see both performance and run time stats for gaming on the battery.

    Right now, I'm pretty satisfied with the balance of power vs battery life on my XPS 15, but I am curious what sort of price you pay in terms of run time if you move up to a gaming laptop like the M14x (or the equivalent rigs from Clevo or ASUS).

    Likewise, I'm curious whether you actually get better performance on the gaming laptops while on battery (as compared to a general-purpose high-end laptop like the XPS 15), or whether the actual performance ends up being equivalent (or worse) due to throttling.
  • Hrel - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    I'll have a review of one of those in the near future (not from XoticPC, but it's the same Clevo W150HR chassis); I would say "better" is all relative. If you mean it will have better battery life, then yes, it's better. If you mean it offers okay performance in games, but it's not as fast as GTX 460M, then yes, it's "better". The GT 555M is half-way between GT 540M and GTX 460M, though, which means the 6970M is over twice as fast... and 1080p gaming on the 555M is definitely a stretch. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Immediate disqualification on the grounds that you still have to put up with that Clevo keyboard. ;) Reply
  • b0tch02 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Does this Clevo have the capability for 6970m CF? No.
    Maybe you prefer the Optimus technology of the Clevo?

    "Better" how? What is your definition of better? Because everyones opinion differs - people buy different laptops for different reasons/applications/funtions...

    You're comparing apples to oranges.
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Nice article. Thank you for typing it up. I have been looking for a replacement for my aging XPS and this might be it.

    I was wondering though if you have any idea what the SSD option is. Is it worth it to maybe get the laptop with the SSD option and then purchase a 2nd HDD after you receive it for storage purposes?

    The drive situation and the keyboard issue are the only two things that would keep me from purchasing it (well that and the fact that the XPS I have now is 1920 x 1200).

    Thank you again
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    It's my understanding the SSDs that Dell ships the notebooks with aren't the best. Under the circumstances you may be best off ordering it with a single HDD and then upgrading to an SSD of your choosing. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    Seriously, putting some really great hardware through its paces. Makes me wonder, if this is the first laptop that's made you regret having to send it back, what's your daily driver?

    Either way, great job, can't wait to see the M11x R3view.

  • Uritziel - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    LOL, nice. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    It's not the first one, but it's definitely the one I've wanted the most out of all the machines I've tested, desktop and notebook. My personal desktop is powerful enough that the demons I test aren't that interesting (they're noisy and generate a ton of heat), but I've been looking for a new 17" notebook and the M17x R3 is sooooo perfect. :(

    Honestly I'm just thankful I get the chance to test these things at all so I can see and know there's something out there to shoot for.
  • 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.
  • 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:

    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?
  • 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

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