Still Great Battery Life

With all the gaming performance on tap, and despite the lack of Optimus Technology, the M11x still manages to deliver great battery life results. Alienware puts an 8-cell 63Wh "Prismatic" battery in the M11x, which is quite large for an 11.6" chassis. Even better is that Alienware manages to keep the chassis looking clean, as opposed to designs like the Dell 11z where the large 6-cell battery juts out the bottom. We calibrated the LCD for ~100nits as always and found that a brightness setting of 60% (three steps down from maximum brightness) gave us the desired result.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - x264 720p

Relative Battery Life

The best-case results will give you typical CULV run times: over 4.5 hours of x264 playback, 7+ hours of Internet surfing, or just shy of 9 hours of idle battery life. If you don't like fussing with the BIOS, we suggest you run the M11x at the overclocked setting all the time; you still get over four hours of x264 video playback, 6.5 hours of web surfing, and 7 hours of idle battery life. Try that with any other "gaming" laptop and you'll likely end up disappointed. Relative battery life puts the M11x just slightly behind other 11.6" CULV laptops (Acer 1810T and Dell 11z) and on par with the Gateway EC54. Again, we really like switchable graphics and Optimus, as it allows users to get the best of both worlds… except Optimus appears to be the way of the future since you get better driver support (at least that's what NVIDIA is saying right now—we'll confirm when we see the next public Verde driver).

Of course, if you want to play games without plugging in—which means using the GT335M, naturally—you're going to get significantly less battery life. We conducted a gaming battery life test as well, with the CPU overclocked. The M11x managed just over two hours (126 minutes) before shutting down, though it did provide the same great gaming performance in the interim. If you need to play games for 90 minutes or less on your daily commute, and you don't mind the strange looks on the faces of your fellow passengers, the M11x will provide a nice outlet. However, it works better for gaming if you have ready access to an AC outlet, in which case the battery is just a safeguard against losing your progress with the power goes out.

Acceptable Application Performance Once Again, the LCD Fails


View All Comments

  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Congrats Jarred.

    May I suggest the name Ryan for your child? It works equally well as both as a girl's name and a boy's name.;-)
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    When Intel mobile CPUs are overclocked by doing BSEL mods (basically, shorting some pins to tell the chipset that the CPU requires a higher FSB clock), the CPUs fall back and are locked to their lowest multiplier - 6x. Maybe ASUS bypassed this protection and Alienware did not... Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    to include the Sony CW (VPCCW26FX) laptop in your reviews, it would have been a much better choice than the Asus for comparison sake. The sony is a 14' chassis with a core i5-520 and a 330m nvidia and only costs $899. Much closer in size and price to the Alienware.

    Why is there no one giving the Sony any attention at all? Its not just anand its everyone that seems to be totally disregarding this laptop.
  • NICOXIS - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I'll second that, its like the only 14" laptop with a decent GPU, less than 2.5KG, Arrandale CPU, DDR3, good battery life and under 1000.

    I haven't seen any decent Vaio CW review out there.
  • xFlankerx - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    The Alienware may be the cheapest, smallest laptop, but there is one more expensive competitor:

    The Sony Vaio Z is a 13.3" laptop that outperforms the Alienware in almost every single area, including aesthetics. The only downside is that the Vaio Z costs upwards of $2000.
  • erple2 - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    The Sony Z series has the 330m processor, which has 24 fewer Unified shaders (48 vs. 72). The graphical capabilities of the 335m could be up to about 50% faster in the best case scenario.

    To be fair, that's still more than in the tested ASUS notebook...

    But the Z series starts at 1900 dollars, which is about 1000 more than the M11x...

    The CW series has the 310m processor, which has a total of 16 unified shaders. That's 1/6th the total number of the M11x. Sure it starts at about the same price.

    However, that would answer the side question of whether the GPU in the Sony is significantly slower than the one in the M11x - I'm betting the answer is "yes". I don't think that there's any comparison, honestly. Though, perhaps that's the whole point of the article - how much does the GPU matter, and how much does the CPU matter? For gaming, I think that this article showed quite clearly that the GPU was "king".
  • cknobman - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Not sure what CW your looking at but there are CW models with a 330m in them - I own one. Reply
  • NICOXIS - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    The point is that the Vaio CW is a LOT more comparable to the M11x than the Asus that was chosen in the article. It is similar in size 13" vs 14" (size not display), M11x has slightly better GPU but CW has arrandale and price wise they are in the same level. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    You'll notice that I specifically mentioned this in the conclusion:

    "The only competing laptops in terms of performance are going to need something like the GT330M, GT240M, GeForce 9700M GTS, or a faster GPU. Finding laptops with those GPUs for a reasonable price is fairly easy—the ASUS N61Jv is one example, and the Sony VAIO VPCCW22FX/R is another—but the VAIO is the smallest reasonable competitor we can find and it still has a 14" chassis and significantly less battery life."

    The VAIO is advertised as 4 hours of battery life, and it sounds about right. The ASUS N61Jv is similar and with Optimus (i.e. IGP) it still gets about 4 hours idle. Yes, the Sony will definitely be faster in the CPU department, and GPU performance will be close. It has only 48 SPs but as pointed out the clocks are quite a bit higher than the 335M--net difference is that the 335 has 28% more shader potential; I don't know if they have the same number of ROPs or not, but the 330 has a 575 core clock vs. 450, so that's another are of comparison. RAM bandwidth is the same. If you're more interested in performance than battery life, I'd recommend an i3-330M over the overclocked CULV laptops without hesitation.
  • EDev - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I currently possess the M11x. I pick the unit for the lite keyboard as well as the form factor.

    Battery life is great, better than my other Gateway lt3103 (gave to Girlfriend). Speed is great, video speed is what I love on the unit.

    I do agree about the keyboard being an oddity, actually I find it slippery. If you have any form of skin oil, food oil, etc., my fingers slip easier than on the Gateway.

    Also, I dislike the plastic cover/protector on the screen, not only for the glare, but also like other platforms it touches the keyboard and puts lines on the screen which needs to be wiped off.

    Other than that, it is a netbook on steroids with battery life and power.

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