Alienware m15x - Overview

We'll start with the Alienware m15x, which is certainly the most unique laptop we're looking at today. Alienware is one of the heavy hitters among the boutique computer vendors, and as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dell to have more resources than many of their competitors. In the past, some of Alienware's laptops were simply ODM designs with a customized shell on top. To the best of our knowledge, the m15x is a unique design that's only available from Alienware.

Alienware computers - both laptops and desktops - have always tended to look at users either love or hate. The m15x has tone things down a bit, and that users are able to choose between one of two chassis designs. Besides the usual "Skullcap" design, which we've seen on most of their laptops (including the m7950), Alienware now offers a "Ripley" design. Both options use a shiny silver plastic that likes to collect fingerprints (although they're not as visible as they would be on a shiny black exterior), but the Ripley design doesn't have the extra ridges and tends to be a bit more understated in appearance.

We're not quite sure how understated a glowing alien face can be, not to mention the lighting highlights around the borders of the case and on the keyboard, but there you have it. The m15x has six different zones for the AlienFX lighting: the alien head and power button (with two different states depending on whether you're plugged in or using battery), the light pipe around the border of the LCD, the Alienware logo at the bottom of the LCD, the quick touch controls, the touchpad, and the keyboard - note that the keyboard lighting is an optional upgrade. You can set each of these areas independently to one of 12 colors (counting white and black/off as colors). It's kind of gimmicky, but not all gimmicks are bad - certainly my teenage nephew was duly impressed by the lighting.

In the above gallery, you can see pictures of the m15x laptop on our operating table being dissected. Sometimes this is easy, and sometimes it can be extremely frustrating trying to determine what screw you might have missed. Even worse are the laptops that have plastic clips that hold the case together, which frequently break no matter how careful you are when you take things apart.

In the case of the Alienware m15x, getting at all of the important internal components is extremely simple - one large cover provides access to everything from the memory slots and hard drive to the CPU and GPU. While this might make doing things like swapping hard drives or replacing/upgrading memory a bit more tedious than if they had separate compartments, the easy access to the CPU and GPU is definitely appreciated. Now all we need is the ability to upgrade MXM modules, which is unfortunately not something offered or supported just yet.

While getting at the major components was easy, after an hour of trying to remove the keyboard and look at some of the other parts without success, we decided to call it quits before we broke something. Besides, how often is it that you need to replace your motherboard or keyboard on a laptop?

Index Alienware M15x – Features and Specifications
POST A COMMENT

37 Comments

View All Comments

  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    We reviewed that http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=324...">six months ago. Dell hasn't updated it to support the 9800M (yet?), but otherwise it would be very comparable in performance to the Sager unit. The Sager is still a bit faster because of the desktop CPU, and it consumes a bit more power and is a bit heavier. The Dell is also more expensive because of the cost of mobile CPUs, so if you want i.e. an X9000, it's over 3X the cost of an E9500. Since both weigh a lot and cost a lot, you might as well get the fractionally larger Sager/Clevo. Reply
  • cheetah2k - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I understand you reviewed the 1730 6+months ago (and I bought one based on that review with the extreme CPU and SLi 8800GTX's) however some of us would like to see how it still stacks up to the competition, and being a "round-up" and all, I think it makes sense to include it, even if its just for old time sake.

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    I did mention the laptop, and there are a few games where we tested on both laptops. However, we don't generally get to hang onto $5000 laptops for a long time, so I can't just go back and retest the M1730. In terms of performance, the Sager is going to be slightly faster on the CPU, but overall gaming performance is a tie. If I were to pick between the two now, I would probably go with the Sager for the high-end, because price is a bit cheaper for the same level of performance. Plus you can run quad-core if you want (though that's not really useful for games). I'd be much more likely to go with the Gateway units for the price, but obviously the Dell and Sager are over twice as fast in most games. Reply
  • SniperWulf - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    While I agree with you on the astetics of the P series, its price/performance ratio and upgradability are unmatched at the moment. A few months back, I picked up a 6860FX and have been nothing but pleased with it. I've replaced the CPU with a used X7800 ES, and swapped the hard drives for 2x Hitachi 200GBs in a Raid 0 array.

    I didn't do it all at the same time of course, but thats the beauty of it. Whenever you need a lil bit more horsepower, all you have to do is just shop around for parts
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    I like the Leveno stuff!


    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • Kardax - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    I took a chance and got a P-7811 a couple weeks ago. Its stability has been rock-solid, even after hours of intense load.

    My only complaint would be that the keyboard has a Bluetooth enable/disable option, but there's apparently no Bluetooth hardware inside...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    Hi guys,

    I'm *sure* there are typos in the article (or errors in speech recognition). I've spent most of the past two days trying to finish all the writing and graphs, so go easy on me while I get some sleep. In the meantime, if you want to point out errors, reply to this post and we'll (eventually) correct them. Hopefully, none of the issues "ruin" the article for you or make it "unreadable". ;-)

    Good night,
    Jarred Walton
    Senior Editor
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now