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  • shangshang - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    gaming laptop is so out of fashion at this point. I'll take the ipad2 toy anyday. Reply
  • theda3g0 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    "out of fashion"?? What does fashion have to do with it? This is the most functional ultra-portable gaming laptop available on the market. It's about function, not fashion. (though the lights and flashy gimmicks might imply otherwise) Reply
  • NicodemusMM - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Actually for certain aspects the light are functional.. at least one of them. I've run into situations where such a small form factor and a lighted keyboard are very handy. Mine gets used very little for gaming, but as a PC to interface with machines that may be in dark, enclosed areas it's paid for itself many times over.

    ~ Nicodemus
  • The0ne - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    Fashion and gaming laptop? Are you serious? Ipad2 over a gaming laptop? To begin comparing the two together? Just wow...

    Alienware is their trademark, hence the keyword "ALIEN". If you want a non-alien gaming laptop go Asus, Clevo and what not. Why must there always be someone that don't understand how trademarks and logo's work.
  • sulhogar - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    Being in fashion isn't the most important thing for everyone. Some of us have to find a portable gaming laptop to bring with them on a submarine, where space is limited. Reply
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Ever since the r1, I've seen the m11x as the only laptop that makes sense (for my needs). Most of the benefits of both a netbook and a full-sized laptop, without the drawbacks of each. You get around the battery life you would expect from a netbook or similar, at not much larger than the size of a netbook, too, but yet you get enough power to do everything you might want to do on a mobile device. Sure, you would not be getting top performance for autocad or some compute-heavy professional work, but that's not really the point of most laptops - and people who wish to do that should be looking for a monster-sized desktop replacement style laptop. Also unless someone really needs to go and max crysis 2 output to an external display, the m11xr3 should provide an excellent mobile experience, be it a college laptop for note-taking (would benefit from relative portability and battery life), a movie-playing computer on the go or to squeeze some gaming in, I think the m11x series is just great. It may not be the prettiest device (well, the r1 grew on me over time, it's not as ugly as I originally thought), but I like to recommend the m11x to my friends and family - unless they are opposed to such a small device, and just need something a bit bigger. Reply
  • failquail - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I broadly agree with most of that.

    Never could get past the incredible uglyness of the chassis though.

    In the end i went for the lower specced Lenovo x100e and spent the price difference on a SSD for it.
    Netbook size and weight chassis, but speed of a larger notebook. (would love the newer fusion-based versions for my next one though)
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I was reluctant to buy the r1 at first, but when I looked around I could find nothing that suited me better - I wanted something netbook-sized, with long life, but as powerful as possible, for around $1000. At first I thought it looked like some riced-up computer-equivalent of a honda civic, but over the months I've grown used to the look. The LED lights can be disabled completely, or enabled for individual areas. If you disable the lights for all but the keyboard, and have the keyboard LEDs to be white, it looks a lot less ugly. With all lights off, and the device closed, it doesn't look as ugly as I used to think. A small, mostly smooth black laptop if you think about it - a lot less uglier than some of the previous alienware designs with crazy ribs on the lid. It reminds me a bit of a ferrari, actually. You know - overall it will certainly stick out, but as long as you don't go out of your way to enable all the LEDs to make it look like a kids civic, the curves aren't too bad, or at least I can put up with them since the m11x has so many other great features.

    I'm not sure that I ever looked for the lenovo x100e when I was searching for a machine of that size. It certainly looks like a fine replacement for a netbook, and is a bit more visually appealing than the m11x, but I think I prefer the bit of ugliness associated with the m11x than to being stuck with an athlon neo. My previous laptop was an ion netbook - wouldn't feel like too much of an upgrade.
  • Aikouka - Monday, July 25, 2011 - link

    The only thing I'd like to see more of was touched on in the article. In my Dell M1530, I have an OCZ SSD, which I rather like the overall speed that it brings to the system, but I dislike the fact that I'm stuck with just a 120GB SSD. To get a laptop with two HDD bays, I've found that you typically have to go with a 17" laptop or larger.

    I wouldn't mind the 14" or 15" models with an option to remove the optical drive in lieu of another HDD. Right now, I'm toting around a WD Elements SE 500GB HDD as my secondary drive for my laptop.
  • FlyBri - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Seriously, I don't get it. Can we please have a few laptop manufacturers give us consumers some high end displays to choose from? Specifically for me, I want more choices when it comes to 15.6" laptops with an option for a high quality 1080p, where the rest of the laptop is also high end as well.

    But even if it's not 1080p, many of the screens on laptops are just plain sh*t. Look at all the reviews here on AnandTech...all you see in the "display" section of reviews is how bad most of these laptop screen are. As much as I hate to say it, this is where Apple truly shines. You get a high end display, and the rest of the laptop also feels extremely high end and well built. The Samsung Series 9 is finally starting a trend, and the new Dell (bleh, hate Dell), but come on HP, Acer, Asus, etc....GET WITH IT!
  • Tchamber - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    This is a lot of performance for a 11" computer. When i look at laptops at my local electronics superstore, i always think that 1080 resulution on even a 15.6" screen is too uch, everything is so small i invariably change to lower resolutio. If you need that though, hp offers it on their website. And this is written on my ipad, and it's no substitute for my m17x :) i hate typing on this thing. Reply
  • sviola - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Well, you should look into Sony Vaio's line of notebooks. My wife has a SR model (the updated line is call SB now, if I'm not mistaken) and its screen is very good. Rivals with Apple's offering. Reply
  • werewolf23 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Try the Lenovo W520, 15" and beats the M11 in every regard. Reply
  • plewis00 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    I had the M11x R1 and it was pretty good apart from the hinges snapping three times in a year (in a lawsuit with Dell over that), but the screen was utterly appalling, it actually hurts my eyes it's that bad.

    Then while we're told that there are no good 11" 'netbook-sized' screens, as much as I hate to admit it, the screen on the Macbook Air 11" is truly stunning - in fact one thing Apple is worryingly consistent with is the quality of their screens, sure you pay a premium for it but just as when I moved from the Dell XPS 15 with base 768p screen to one with the B+RGLED 1080p one, I'm starting to think the difference is justified.

    I wonder if anyone fancies trying to replace the M11x screen with one from a Macbook Air 11"? As long as Apple hasn't pulled off any proprietary rubbish with the screen, which I guess is unlikely as they're almost all industry-standard. Any ideas?
  • S0me1X - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    4.4 pounds and 1.3 inches thick? For comparison:
    - Macbook Pro 13 is 4.5 pounds and 0.95 inches thick.
    - Thinkpad T420s is 4.0 pounds and 1.05 inches thick.
    - Macbook Air 11 is 2.4 pounds and 0.68 inches thick (the only ultraportable in this list)

    Ultraportable should be reserve for notebooks under 3.5 pounds (preferably under 3) and 1 inch thick.
  • Sazar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    It is a gaming ultra-portable. None of the items you have listed are gaming products. Apples and Oranges.

    Btw, if you want the thinnest ultra-portable out there, get your hands on a Dell Adamo XPS.
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I disagree. There aren't really any laptops out these days that are thick enough that they would cease to be portable. It's not like decades ago when they used to make brick-thick 'portable' computers. 1.3 inches does not stop the m11x from being portable, in the same way that the macbook air being .68 inches thick does not make it any more portable. Whether or not someone is able to carry their laptop with them should never come down to whether or not it can fit in a manila envelope. What IS important, I believe, is screen size. 17" mammoth laptops are hardly portable, as screen dimension really makes laptops a lot less portable than simply a fraction of an inch difference in thickness. Likewise, I own an m11x r1, and sure, it is relatively heavy for its size, but only relatively. It is not heavy to the point that it is unportable. If someone is unable to carry it around simply because it weighs 4 pounds then that's a real problem - and I'm no body builder.

    So for me, I consider laptops around 12" screen size or under to be 'ultraportable', as screen size ultimately decides whether you can or cannot stuff it in whatever luggage you have, or how comfortably it will fit under your arm on-the-go. Companies should be less worried about thickness - to a point - as with the m11x that thickness goes to good use with performance and battery life.
  • Guspaz - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    That's the problem, though, this isn't really an 11.6" laptop. The chassis could easily fit a larger screen; a 12.5" screen should be no problem. It's not as bad as some laptops (like the ridiculously enormous bezel on the Lenovo X1), but it underscores how silly the screen in the m11x really is. Not only is it smaller than it should be, it's a TN panel. Not only is it a TN panel, it's a *bad* TN panel.

    Is 1366x768 enough for an 11.6" (or 12.5") screen? Probably, but with Sony putting 1920x1080 screens into 13.1" laptops, it wouldn't be unreasonable to see something slightly higher. 1600x900? Or something a bit less, but still more tan 1366x768?
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    The resolution is perfect as is. You want to keep the framerate of games decently high, and thats one way to do it.
    I notice that the bezel is pretty large, and I feel that it could fit a 12.x size screen in it, but I don't mind -too- much as I can't think of a better laptop for the size, at least for my purposes. The 11.6 is probably there either because its popular, or for the ability to claim it as the fastest 11.6 laptop.
    Sure, a TN is disappointing, but alienware doesn't really target people that care about screen quality. It's not that there is no reason to have a nice display to match the laptop, but it's not on alienware's priority list. Personally I don't care too much, either. It's a portable device, and so I'm not expecting perfection.. so if I had to choose, I would put up with bad screen quality over bad performance. The m11x is a powerful little machine, so I am willing to put up with the poor display after everything else it gives me.
    But as the review did say, since everything else is nearly perfect, it's not too much to ask for a better display in the future, huh?
  • LordanSS - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    I always see people complaining about the screens being TN on these gaming notebooks... some asking for IPS or some other higher quality option. But these are gaming notebooks, and I ask you: what about the screen response times?

    3ms-5ms GTG response times are common on TN panels, but ISP ones usually are on the 10ms+ range (like that Apple Cinemadisplay they just released, 12ms). Ghosting becomes a real issue at that point, if you are *playing a game*, like a First Person Shooter, with very fast-paced action or image movement.

    I'm sorry, but as far as *gaming* goes, TN is much more than adequate. If you want to do work or watch movies, I agree that a different tech would be more apropriate, but like I said before: this is a *gaming* notebook.
  • DanNeely - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    60hz is 17ms per frame; once response times dropped below that level they ceased to be anything except bogostats used by marketing people. Reply
  • GraveUypo - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - link

    are you serious? really? god. this is even worse than the "humans can't tell apart more than 30fps so there's no point to it" argument. i had to register just to reply to this.

    if you have a "17ms" monitor, by the time the screen is fully set on a frame, it already has to transition into the next, so it'll be showing blends of two neighbouring frames ALL THE TIME. you'll NEVER get a crisp picture on ANY moving/changing picture.

    and yes, responses are still very much relevant. try reading movie credits on a LCD panel then on a plasma panel (or even play games on them) and you'll see how obvious the frame lag is on LCDs.

    heck, i always thought gears of war 2 had heavy motion blur on it until i played it on my plasma tv. picture was so clear on moving scenes i thought the game was missing some shaders.

    anyways, response times will be irrelevant when those transitions are all under 0,5ms. with 5ms it just hit the spot where it's usable (yes, 2ms is a lot better but still not quite there yet).
  • Snotling - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Whatever the manufacturer, finding a laptop with a good display is a challenge... basically there isn't much incentive for them to try any harder much the opposite:

    people buy the display by the inch, not by the pixel count. (sometimes the pixel count is not even easily available in the product description)

    Contrast and color information is basic at best in any spec sheet.

    People don't care because they don't realize that even word processors and spreadsheets need visible LINES of display space to be useful (stupid 16:9 ratio doesn't help... more inches, less workspace)

    We're losing the battle
  • Madcatatlas - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Where did the bigger Alienware and Clevo laptop reviews go? the ones sporting 6970ms and 6990m?

    These small laptops are no good for even light gaming. Gives a man a headache.
  • ph0masta - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Good machine for the size, but you can still buy a faster notebook with full 1080p screen at 15-17" from Digital Storm, for around the same price. Reply
  • CZroe - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I've owned an M11x r1 for over a year and now own an r3. I wanted to point out that the indicator strip has changed (was almost impossible to see Caos or WiFi status LEDs before), though that likely happened during the r2's life, and the rubberized texture is new to the r3. The WiFi toggle doesn't actually toggle anything anymore, it just launches a software dialog with check boxes for WiFi, Blueooth, and Mobile Broadband.

    It takes a Dell Wireless 375 Bluetooth 3.0 adapter, which can be added by the user if the cable is present internally (mine was). The r1 and r2 used a DW365 BT 2.1 adapter that conneted directly (no cable needed).

    The left USB port remained powered when the r1 was off or asleep as long as the battery had over 10% charge. I used this feature all the time to charge othe devices without running my notebook dead nearly as fast as if I booted, so I was disappointed to find that it usually doesn't work on the r3 (different between asleep and off). Oh well. Reviewers often misinterpreted it and reported that the notebook only had one "powered" USB port, which was untrue, so maybe they got rid of the feature and I'm only able to charge when it's not fully asleep or something.

    The article seems to be saying that it would take a 12.1" panel size bump to consider a good IPS panel but the 11.6" MacBook Air has obviously sourced one. Also, the MBA has an unexpectedly large bezel, just like the M11x. Now that they got rid of the discrete GPU in the refresh with a backlit keyboard, it's even less comparable and I'd no longer consider it in comparison to the M11x.

    I was able to compare the r1 and r3's audio side-by-side and the new "Klipsch" speakers sound very different. I'm somewhat hard-of-hearing, so I'll just assume that the quality was better, but the volume was notably lower. It was already frustratingly low for me the first time. Looking inside, they look identical. One of the two is still placed almost in the center, but I don't expect much stereo separation in such a small chassis anyway. I am disappointed that this article didn't touch on the strange Sound Blaster software configuration option. Most people would love an explanation of that! They ask $20 to add what, exactly, to the integrated sound? Is it just a software EAX wrapper? Has Creative joined those they can't beat?

    I didn't see any mention of the dual microphones in the display. They should help with noise canceling in a crounded room. They are both farther away from the webcam than the single mic on the r1/r2, but the dimensions are otherwise identical. The webcam/mic cut in the official Green Onion Supply AG2 anti-glare filter/screen protector no longer suffices, so I had to use a hole punch to make two holes. I also spoke with the creators of Invisible Defenders and they supposedly updated their templates, but I don't see the change on their site.

    I can suggest a couple more changes for the future than the article suggests. Make the touch pad as large as will fit, like Apple does, and stop truncating keys like the shift key just to keep from shifting the arrow keys down. There is no reason for the keyboard to be perfectly rectangular. The M14x has them shifted down and there is obviously plenty of open space in the palm-rest area. The tiny rear rubber feet always come off eventually and they have remained unchanged. I had problems with the palmrest rubber bumpers as well (holds the screen above the keys when closed). The keyboard backlighting us not needed when the display is closed, so they should be hard-wired to turn off and save batter when closed, the same as the backlight. Of course, this is when you set the lid sensor to "do nothing." At least it doesn't interrupt a manual sleep and hard-lock it like the M11x r1 did if you closed it before it finished entering sleep (obviously, it was doing SOMETHING).

    I also want to mention that the DW375 BT module doesn't seem to have improved range at all. I still sometimes find that I am operating my BT Razer Orochi mouse too far away on the same lapboard as the notebook, which is annoying (mouse pointer stutters and lags until you get closer). Gaming on battery power with "balanced" settings isn't always great. For instance, the initial GlaDOS encounter in Portal 2 gets really choppy unless you are plugged in and set to high performance, but the rest of that particular game seems fine so you may find yourself doing it anyway.

    That's it for now. I still love the notebook and will put it to good use.
  • Guspaz - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Dell has been shilling the software SoundBlaster stuff for years; I had the same option on my Inspiron 9400 (e1705 in the US) when I bought it four or five years ago. It's just as you say: all it really does of worth is emulate EAX in software, as well as providing a DirectSound3D to OpenAL wrapper, which lets older games use surround audio (and EAX) on Vista or 7.

    This is of limited use, since modern games tend not to use EAX (environmental audio is normally handled by the game's sound engine itself), and support Vista/7's native 3D audio API.

    EAX stopped being relevant when Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 came out seven years ago, and both did all their audio processing internally.
  • CZroe - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks. I know is that it wasn't available for the M11x back when I bought my r1 but is is available for the r3. Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Macbook's (including the Air) use TN panels.

    The issue here is that there are good TN panels, mediocre TN panels, and BAAAAAAAAAAD TN panels. My experience suggests the following:

    Good TN panels generally go on stand alone monitors (which are in turn considered poor compared to much more expensive IPS panels).

    Mediocre TN panels are usually the best we get on laptops (i.e., anything apple, or some of the higher resolution upgrade options on Dell, etc).

    BAAAAAAAAAAD TN panels are what we get standard on pretty much every laptop made today, usually at 1366x768. Actually, if your panel is 1366x768, there's probably a 99% chance it's a bad one, because most of the better quality TN panels are also higher resolution. In fact, it may have been literally impossible for Alienware to source a better quality TN panel at the 1366x768 resolution, without working out some exorbitantly expensive deal. Since they probably did not want to increase the resolution since this is a gaming laptop, I bet this is why we are stuck with a horrible panel.
  • Beenthere - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I was considering the M11x but it's too ugly and only available with an InHell CPU. If it was better looking and available with an AMD A8-3530mx I'd be seriously interested. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    There are two major problems with your A8-3530MX plan:

    1) Judging by the results of the A8-3500M, it is unlikely that the 3530MX would actually be faster than the i7-2617M in most applications. Certainly the SNB CPUs will be faster in single-threaded performance.

    2) i7-2617M (and the i5-2537M) are 17W TDP parts, which means they should use at most around 17W. The A8-3500M by contrast is a 35W TDP part, while the 3530MX is a 45W part; good luck getting that into a sub-13" chassis. I know you hate Intel, but that doesn't make AMD's parts universally better.

    Assuming Alienware did go with Llano, pricing should at least drop $50 to $100 or so, which really isn't the point with a premium brand like Alienware. Perhaps Dell or HP will make a 13.3" laptop with an A6 (A8 TDP is still too high for most companies to try fitting it into anything smaller than 14"), and sell it for $600 without a discrete GPU. Performance will be lower, making high detail gaming a non-starter, but you can get two such laptops for the cost of the M11x R3 with i7 CPU.
  • Beenthere - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Seems like there's a few Intel fanbois at Anandtech. The M11x is still ugly and they won't get my money until they sell AMD powered laptops. :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    And that, my friend, is the definition of a fanboi: "I won't buy it unless it has brand X." It's not about being better; rather, it's about using a specific brand for no reason other than the brand.

    Fact: Intel currently has a faster CPU at every power level than AMD.
    Fact: AMD has a better integrated GPU.
    Fact: With a discrete GPU, Intel will be faster (see point one above).
    Fact: AMD costs less for their APU vs. comparable Intel CPU + dGPU.

    So, if you want to take that and say that AMD is better on price/performance, that's fine. They are. But if you need a specific level of performance, the pricing difference starts to erode. Consider:

    The Fusion 6620G graphics is about as fast as a GT 525M, slower than the GT 540M, and also slower than the HD 6630M. It's good for up to ~medium settings at 1366x768, but you wouldn't want higher resolution gaming on it. Add in a faster dGPU and you've added $100 to the price, and now the Llano CPU becomes more of a bottleneck. Heck, the Llano CPU is even a bottleneck for the fGPU in the 3500M, though I suspect that will largely go away with the 3530MX.

    So if you're looking at a 45W TDP Llano and adding in a dGPU, how would that be better than just going with a faster Intel CPU with the same dGPU? If the price difference is only $50 (which precludes Alienware type of hardware, obviously), and you're already paying $800+, the 6% increase in total cost will be outweighed by a greater than 6% increase in overall performance.

    Llano A8 laptops priced under $700 should sell quite well. That's not even remotely in Alienware/Dell's plans for the M11x, which is why they're not worried about Llano. Deliver better performance, charge more, and make more money -- that's what the M11x R3 is supposed to do. If you don't want to buy it because it costs to much, that's sensible, but to refuse to buy something "because it doesn't have an AMD APU"? That's brand loyalty, which is just a less offensive way of saying fanboi.
  • SquattingDog - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Well said Jarred :) Reply
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    The m11x and liano parts seem to have a lot in common, I was thinking. They put more focus on the GPU than on the CPU - but not in such a way to leave the cpu crippled as you would with atom or bobcat. I was thinking that I could see a liano laptop of the size of the m11x, I mean, sure liano parts are 35-45w, but the 540M GPU in the r3 is around 30-40 too, and liano is a CPU+GPU chip. So, I believe you could make a laptop similar to the m11x with liano. It would cater to the same market, more or less. The only thing is, as this review shows, it would not perform as well. Close, but not as good. It's actually impressive how well the sandy bridge + nvidia discrete work together with optimus to result in better performance and battery life than a fusion part gets, seeing as fusion's integration has its advantages. I'm not the kind of fanboy who would bother getting an inferior machine just to avoid buying a competing product, so I would stick by the m11x, but liano would be a pretty nice second choice, and I would assume at a lower price, too.

    Certainly, as he mentioned though, alienware's styling is not the best, and not everyone can put up with it. I believe in function over fashion, but that's just me.
  • Wolfpup - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Disappointed it still uses Floptimus. But the GPU that really much of an upgrade? Yes it's 96 instead of 72 cores (and Direct X 11), but the new archetecture ends up performing somewhere between 2/3 to 100% the speed of the old architecture for the number of cores, right?

    Is it really that big an upgrade?

    Total side note, I've got a 96 core part just like that in a desktop that runs Folding at Home 24/7. Wish I could put something better in there, but it's got a tiny power supply, and that part works (does a heck of a lot of work Folding too!)
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Using clever terms like "Floptimus" doesn't actually make the technology bad. What's wrong with Optimus, where you would actually prefer not having it?

    Let me see... you can get Intel and NVIDIA reference drivers, switching happens very quickly, and you pay perhaps a 3-5% performance hit in some cases (due to the copying of the frame buffer). You also lose out on 3D Vision (who cares?), and for some titles you have to create a custom profile.

    The alternative is the switchable graphics used in the original M11x. Switch and reboot, or switch and watch the flickering for five seconds; neither is a great experience (though SLI notebook flicker just as bad). Now go ahead and ask how many driver updates such laptops have received since launch. I believe the correct answer is two updates since the March 2010 review, and that's two more than most other non-Optimus switchable graphics laptops have received. The current driver is actually relatively recent: 263.08 released in March of this year. Any games released since then have the potential for compatibility issues, though the GT 335M isn't likely to have issues since it's an older DX10.1 part.

    In short, Optimus isn't perfect, but it's a lot closer than the switchable graphics alternatives I've encountered.

    Concerning the GT 540M vs. GT 335M, it's really not even close as far as performance goes. Sure, each core on the 400M/500M may not always be faster than a 300M core, but the 540M comes clocked at 1344MHz on the shaders vs. 1080MHz with the 335M. We tested the ASUS N82Jv, which used a full i5-450M instead of a ULV CPU, and even with a ULV SNB part the M11x R3 is quite a bit faster in gaming (the closest the GT 335M gets is in STALKER at our Medium preset; everything else is about 20-40% faster for the 540M). Here's the comparison:
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I'm still on the r1, so with the launch of the r2, I thought I didn't care for optimus - the r2 had a loss in battery life and I was wondering if it had to do with the nvidia gpu turning on when it didn't need to - that it had imperfect sensing of what gpu is needed for what task. So, I thought I liked the switchable option best, for it puts the user in complete control so that he can decide when he wants to use the discrete gpu.
    But considering the r3 is better all around, I can't really hate optimus now. It's certainly easier, especially to the casual user who wouldn't know how to work switchable, or that it even existed. If the r3 can get the same battery life with the pain-free optimus that the r1 can get with manual switching, then it's all for the best.
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I completely agree with Jarred. Reply
  • ouchtastic - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I think 1280 x 720 is the sweet spot res to game on this laptop, it's a standard HD res, and your framerates can only be higher than what's already been benched. Reply
  • ouchtastic - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    forgot to say that 720p would work great too when output via hdmi, can game on any hdtv out there. Although I suspect nvidia settings might require you to play with overscan settings if you do this. Reply
  • Thermogenic - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I have an m11x R1 and generally like it, although the CPU really holds me back trying to watch

    Can anyone comment on the webcam quality of the R3? I find the R1 to be exceptionally poor in low light situations, and not great even with good lighting.
  • rufwork - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    "The R3 is easy to recommend over the R2. It's absolutely worth the money, definitely the best one Alienware's released thus far, and an easy sell for the portable gamer. The $999 stock configuration can easily be left unchanged..."

    CNET's running a deal now with the R2 (I believe) with i3 for $599.

    Windows 7 Home Premium, 64Bit
    Intel Core i3 330UM (3M Cache, 1.2 GHz) - Overclockable
    11.6-inch WideHD 1366x768 (720p) WLED
    1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M
    Alienware M11x a/b/g/n 2x2 MIMO Wireless

    Is it really worth two-thirds the cost to move to R3 land? What games am I missing at R2 for $600 that I'm getting with R3 for a grand? Which doors can't I open? (Honest questions here; if the difference is a PS3, the answers should be pretty convincing ones, though, don't you think?)
  • redchar - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't buy the stock for $1000. I've been waiting, and just recently the r3 has come out on dell's refurbished device website. I had seen the stock version for as low as $800, and the high-end i7 version for $900. Also, dell gives out coupons monthly to give discounts on the already discounted refurbished devices, usually between $100-200 off. So, before tax and shipping you might be able to get the stock version for $700 or something similar. Compared to the r2, you'd be getting better performance, usb3, and slightly better battery life. It might be worthwhile.
    Also, the refurbs get a 1 year warranty which covers free in-home repairs, so I really don't see a point in buying them new.
  • tzhu07 - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    Does this company put any effort into industrial design? That thing looks like puke. Reply
  • dhiiir - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    it doesn't look as ugly as I used to think. A small, mostly smooth black laptop if you think about it - a lot less uglier than some of the previous alienware designs with crazy ribs on the lid. It reminds me a bit of a ferrari, actually. You know - overall it will certainly stick out, but as long as you don't go out of your way to enable all the LEDs to make it look like a kids civic, the curves aren't too bad, or at least I can put up with them since the m11x has so many other great features.By the way, I would like to share a website with everyone, you can try clicking into perspective, there are many things we need, I often buy things here. Now share it with everyone. Can not miss it, or will be very unfortunate. Reply
  • dhiiir - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    good ,i want to buy it Reply
  • mschira - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    my Lenovo t420s weights 3.94 pounds that is with a 14" screen. I wouldn't call it ultraportable thought....
    not that the t420s can compete in graphic power, unfortunately...
  • Luke2.0 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Forgive me if this sound noobish, or OOT.

    Taken from for i7-2720QM
    Memory Type: DDR3-1066/1333/1600
    # of memory channels: 2
    Max memory bandwidth: 25.6 GB/s

    Could I put in a pair of DDR-1866 or 2000 modules and run them at said speed, thus more bandwidth?? 32 GB/s, anyone?

    FYI I ask because I read Llano provides users with max 51.2 GB/s (some) thanks to the generous 128-bit bus, making me feel "why not,Intel?!"
    You know, Ivy Bridge would get the same 25.6 GB/s of max bandwidth on paper, at least for now.

  • erple2 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    The answer is "yes, but it's only worthwhile where memory bandwidth is your limiting factor". Nowadays, I can't think of many situations where memory bandwidth (beyond a certain level, that is) has any significant play in the overall performance of the machine. Sure, if you're compiling large quantities of java code in parallel, or maybe certain tasks while manipulating large data files might be faster, I'm willing to bet that the additional cost of DDR1866 or 2000 memory modules would not translate into a reasonably measurable (> 5%) increase in performance. Unless there's no additional cost to fancier memory.

    Though that's more or less been the norm for the past 5 years - faster memory generally doesn't make a reasonable (considering it's price premium) choice. Note that overclocking can slightly justify better memory (faster, tighter timings, etc), but even there, the gains aren't necessarily in line with the resultant price premium.
  • Luke2.0 - Saturday, August 06, 2011 - link

    I see, thank you for bringing up the cost issue as well.

    Now if anyone's still here... which one of these is the most expensive (or the least)?
    1) 1600MHz, with 128-bit and 2 channels yielding 51.2 GB/s (AMD Llano)

    2) 2000MHz, with 64-bit and 2 channels yielding 32 GB/s (Intel Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, with premium memory modules)

    3) 1866MHz, with 128-bit and 2 channels yielding 59.7 GB/s (AMD Trinity, estimate)

    Thank you
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review, just one thing: It would be nice to get the dimensions and weight figures in international units as well (cm/mm and kg). Anandtech has it in some articles and it's missing in others. :-)
  • frozentundra123456 - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Impressive performance in such a small package, but I am not sure I would want to game on an 11 inch screen, no matter what the resolution. And the price just seems too high.
    I would prefer to get a 1000.00 gaming desktop and a 500.00 netbook, tablet, or small laptop.

    I wonder what kind of performance a Llano chip could provide in a small form factor like this, if it would fit into the heat, power, and size envelope. Maybe you could get some sort of decent light gaming and save a lot of money.
  • rousseauhk - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Have seen a few reviews of this laptop, but for some reason none mention the battery performance under a gaming load. For a laptop thats a dedicated portable gaming machine, I'm astonished that none of the reviewers seem to think its important.

    Does anyone have any figures for this?
  • Bolas - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Just bought a couple Alienware laptops, an m17x R3 and an m11x R3.

    I'm enjoying the m11x more than I thought I would. The portability is great!

    I can put my m11x in the same backpack as the m17x so that I can game when I game. In other words, a guest comp for the "victim".

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