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  • ddriver - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    What defines being the "king"? I guess it is not performance, since there appear to be faster products? Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    ... and not styling, since Alienware tends to build the ugliest notebooks without fail. That alien head just looks dumb, always has. That is my opinion. Reply
  • edwd2 - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Well, it‘s designed for usually immature, enthusiast gamers who probably would think of it as cool anyway. Reply
  • bad_code - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    Must be plenty of immature gamers out there because most people I see are impressed with the looks and lights. Many are older and lots of them younger. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    It's designed for people that want an actual high end notebook (remember those?) that's reliable and can actually be pushed without dying. Reply
  • macov44 - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    Their success proves you are wrong. Reply
  • Panickd - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Both Voodoo (tragically bought by HP) and Falcon Northwest were better builders of gaming laptops that Alienware ever was (even before Dell came sniffing around). If I have the money to spend I am spending it with Falcon Northwest everytime. Smaller vendors tend to have a handle on what their buyers want and are more attentive when it comes to service. Plus getting a laptop painted any color you want is just hyper-cool. Reply
  • Kumouri - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I believe in general the king of products would be the one that sells the best, that the most people have. Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Dunno... to me "king" also implies exclusivity, rarity, premium that is usually not the best selling product most of the people have. Reply
  • kogunniyi - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Durability, fit-and-finish, features, and cooling, I imagine. It's not so much that Alienware is particularly competent as that the competition is incompetent. Reply
  • kogunniyi - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Oh, and Dell's NBD warranty. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Personally I think it should be more sensible to just get last gen model with 680M and save $1000. I prefer the old design and keyboard, and 680M is still no slotch even compared to 780M. Reply
  • xenol - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    No temps, noise, or the like? Reply
  • Drumsticks - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    It's amazing how you can write "the progress is palpable" for the exact same thing! Haswell) in an ultra book review and an alien ware review and have it mean the same thing. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Different things* no edit :( Reply
  • inighthawki - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Anyone else ever wish there were baselines of desktop models to compare against? I've never purchased a gaming laptop before, so it'd be really cool if I could see the difference between the two. Like, how much slower is a 780M than a GTX780, or a 7970GE. I know they're significantly less powerful, but it'd be nice at some points to see by how much rather than just comparing to a bunch of similar classed laptops. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    780M is going to be more like a GTX 680 with lower clocks, and performance will also be a bit more variable thanks to the thermal constraints. If you're after bang for the buck, gaming notebooks have never been a good choice; we figure anyone looking for a new gaming notebook is looking for a new gaming notebook -- they don't need to see how much faster a desktop that costs less will be. Or if they do, they can do a bit of research on their own -- our system benchmarks and desktop benchmarks are using the same core tests (other than battery life, of course), though the lack of higher resolution tests on notebooks makes it a bit trickier.

    If you want a couple links, though:

    I've taken the Enthusiast gaming scores and compiled them into a single image, showing performance differences between the Alienware 17 and an overclocked GTX 680 and stock GTX 780 (with overclocked CPUs on both as well). Here's that image (hopefully the link works):

    Short summary: the desktop 680 OC is 12% to 60% faster than the AW17, with an average increase of 33%. The desktop 780 is 32% to 77% faster, with an average increase of 53%. StarCraft II is the game that shows the smallest improvement, being largely CPU limited even with OC'ed desktop CPUs. Metro Last Light shows the greatest improvement, followed by Tomb Raider and then Bioshock.
  • nerd1 - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Recent laptops are quite good up to 1080p. 680M or 7970M can run pretty much anything on 1080p, and cheaper one like 765M can run most games on 1080p, except for metro or crysis series maybe. Reply
  • waldojim42 - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    I actually play Crysis 2 on my AW 14 just fine. Have to use the "Extreme" preset rather than "Ultra", but 1080P is no problem. Reply
  • brucek2 - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Actually Jared I'm not sure at all that the difference between desktop and mobile parts is well understood by the mass of computer purchasers. Certainly the manufacturers are not helping by reusing the same product names, a practice I feel is dishonestly misleading. Its something I have to explain to my less technical friends frequently, the last time being not three days ago.

    Anyway, that's a long way of saying I actually think it would be a great service if reviews could attempt to assign a dollar premium for mobility so potential purchasers understand how much they are paying for the privilege and/or how far down the performance curve they are limiting themselves. In the case of the talk from three days ago, the upshot was the friend realized a desktop would be the better choice after all.
  • arthur449 - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Based on these comments, I feel it would be a good idea for AnandTech write an article describing the current state of notebook gaming PCs.

    Is performance closer than it has been in the past to desktop parts? Price?

    Apart from Optimus and Enduro, are there any recent software or hardware trends that may change this in the future?
  • inighthawki - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Thanks so much! Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Anyone else underwhelmed by Haswell with the exception of ULT version? Sad thing is we're stuck with this generation till 2015.... Reply
  • andykins - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Only the ULV SKUs, or 40 EU graphic SKUs (with or without Crystallwell) are any improvement over last gen. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Power/battery life is almost universally better on laptops, as long as we're not looking at full blown gaming laptops like the Alienware 17, Clevos, etc. The MSI GE40 for instance posts some pretty awesome battery life results. Reply
  • warezme - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I would label it disappointing. The redesign looks like a compromise in quality over the previous generation in an attempt to increase profits. The screen a TN panel, while matte is good, the lack of glass insert that went over the entire surface was classier even if more reflective. The missing control panel on top, also a cut in cost by eliminating extra buttons and and an extra controller, the integrated battery slot, etc. It looks cheaper without the benefit of a lower price. Reply
  • ilkhan - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Any chance of a GTX770M notebook review? This is the 3rd or 4th GTX780M review but nothing down-market. Reply
  • Relaxe - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    M. Sklavos,

    I have an Alienware M17xR3 since early 2012. At first, I had some troubles with games being "choppy"... investigations made it clear that the GPU and CPU hit the thermal derating ceiling very fast....
    Please, consider integrating OCCT from OCBase in your testings. This test demonstrated very clearly how thermally limited my Alienware was.
    After this, I repasted the GPU and CPU with a cheap but well revied thermal paste... and now I do not hit the thermal limits at all (even at full load).
    I am still baffled by Dell putting such a low-grade paste in such a premium product...
    Maybe this has something to do with the inconsistent result you had.
    Also, It would be nice to have a thermal picture of the bottom of the laptop under load.
  • Khenglish - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I wish clevo and AW would pay more attention to battery life. With optimus there is really no reason for a gaming laptop to have significantly worse battery life than GPUless laptops. The MSI GE40 with just a 65Wh AND a dGPU is incredible compared to clevo/AW. Reply
  • landsome - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    No reason except for significantly larger screen, larger and often better equipped mobo, sometimes dual hdd's of which one mechanical, typically a bit more power-hungry CPU, more mem, an optical as well - these things end adding up. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    GE40 has HDD + SSD, so toss that out. Larger screen and other items remain, but really we're talking about a laptop (GE40) that draws around 7.15W in our Light battery test compared to 20.63W (AW17), 18.56W (P157SM), and 20.49W (P177SM). That's a full 10W or more difference for basically a 1-2W screen difference; most of the other items on the motherboard should be in a deep sleep state during the battery life testing, but Clevo and Alienware appear to have been quite lazy in that regard this round.

    To illustrate just how bad it is, let's look at the MSI GT70 Dragon. Dustin tested the initial Dragon and measured 22.34W power draw in our Light test, making that the worst of the GTX 780M notebooks. I received two more Dragon notebooks for testing, and I'll have an article on this shortly, but with an updated BIOS and firmware MSI dramatically improved battery life. The second two laptops achieved power draw of 13.71W (i7-4700MQ) and 14.21W (i7-4930MX) in the exact same Light test. So firmware updates to help power down inactive components on the motherboard and such were able to reduce idle power use by over 30%. The Alienware 17 and Clevo notebooks almost certainly could achieve the same reduction, if Dell and Clevo were to put in the time and effort to properly optimize their BIOS.
  • CharonPDX - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have found an apologist for a manufacturer other than Apple, and it's even worse than Apple fanboyism... Reply
  • landsome - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    I don't get it... So the AW17 earns a recommendation, but what are its advantages over a similarly equipped Clevo or MSI? Apparently by your own admission design still leaves a substantial amount to be desired, and in other departments - battery, screen, raw power, perhaps even temps were it not for AW's conservative approach to clocks/heat - the 17 seems no better or slightly worse than a GT70 or a P177SM. Price is another disadvantage. So what makes it the gaming notebook to buy at this time? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    The design leaves something to be desired, but it's still better than the Clevo and MSI offerings. Obviously there's subjective opinion on this matter, but the designs on all of the top gaming notebooks are flawed to varying degrees. I'd probably go with Clevo this round, based more on pricing than on design, with Alienware 17 being second and MSI third. Dustin swaps AW for Clevo, and since he's used the P177SM and AW17, he's entitled to that opinion. Reply
  • MDX - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Alienware's keyboard might have been a step back, but it's light years ahead of the chiclet keyboards found on all other gaming computer. Dell's warranty is (IME) better, as well. Personally, I can't stand matte screens, so that's a mark against it, and I think the styling could have used more metal and been a bit slimmer - especially on the 14.

    I'm in the market for a gaming notebook since my XPS M1730 finally bit the dust, but I'm leaning towards a customized MSI Dragon 2 from XoticPC, because I can get it with a gloss screen there. Just wish I could get a non-chiclet kb on it...damn you apple, and damn everyone that's copied apple and installed chiclet kbs.

    Clevo/sager don't even make it on my radar...sorry, at these price points, I expect my hardware to have some style other than "square/black". Your phone/car/clothes aren't black bricks are they? I don't want my PC to be, either.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Why do you place the MSI last? Reply
  • Gunbuster - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    "Alienware isn't as flexible as it used to be, and as a result if you want any of the good stuff, you have to shell out for the $2,299 top base model and then upgrade that."

    Dell this is why your sales are down something like 74%. People who buy dell's like to customize. Your "ships quick" BS where the config choice is office, a mouse, and bloated AV is NOT Customization.

    Stop hiding config options. Stop penalizing long time customers.
  • Spunjji - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    Funny, not noticing an awful lot of fanboy screaming about the 780M like there was with the 7970M. It appears to be comparably broken, only it costs more too! Yay! Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    You mean the 7970M that had broken Enduro for over a year all while AMD had user forum threads about it deleted so no one would catch on? Reply
  • deeps6x - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    The 'bonus performance' you speak of should only exist in overclocking situations. In standard form the 780M should work the same for everyone. They are only binning it for power, so I don't get why they are having problems with drivers on it. The desktop GK104 has been out a long while and doesn't have the same problems.

    OMG, Dell FINALLY figures out that this thing should have had a matte screen all along? Will wonders never cease? Now hopefully they realize they also need to move to 16:10 instead of 16:9.

    Yes, the light up track pad is exclusively for kiddies. How many kiddies have 2 grand plus to blow on an overpriced laptop? Scrap it Dell. Scrap it now.

    No IPS option? What F the?
  • mp5cartman - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Damn, so much hate. To all haters, why don't you try an Alienware laptop I bet you will be satisfied. They are very relaiable, offers customizing even the best of the best components for laptops, ie. GTX 780m or i7-4930MX. And with the design argument, its stupid. Turn the lights of if you don't like it. If you dont like the chassis look then and look to a different brand and stop hating. jesus... Reply
  • Globemaster - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    I've owned 1x Alienware, 1x Dell XPS, 3x Sager (Clevo) and 1x MSI. The MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 is my favorite of the lot by far. Yes, I have to use it with the fan on high to not hit thermal limits, but I've always had to do that since 1999 with all the others as well (Fn 1). It's psychotically fast and an incredible upgrade from my Sager with a 485M GTX and 120GB SSD boot. The 3x SSDs are amazing and the 780m rocks with a driver upgrade. My scores are way better than Anandtech because I test with the fan on. Simple as that.
    Also, Alienware customer service was terrible, they said the battery latch was not covered under my extended warranty so I had to tape my 1 year old $3k laptop to keep the battery in.
  • Draconian - Thursday, September 12, 2013 - link

    I never thought they were going to switch to Matte screens. So glad they did though. Reply
  • woofblitzer - Thursday, September 19, 2013 - link

    My Maingear Nomad 14 with i7-4800, 780m, 2 x 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD in RAID0 and 16GB Corsair Dominator beats all of these benchmarks. I paid $2600. When I turn on the VirtuMVP software, I destroy some of these Alienware FPS. Test a real machine. This is just a name. Reply
  • conflictserum - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    TL;DR Buy a Sager/Clevo and save money. Reply

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