Gaming Performance

While the Radeon HD 6970M is essentially a known quantity, up until this point the Clevo P150HM has seemed unusually fast in our synthetic benchmarks. This could be due to any number of factors; the cooling system in the P150HM may be allowing the i7-2720QM to keep higher clocks for longer, or the hybrid graphics solution in the Alienware M17x R3 may be taking a toll on performance.

In most cases in our "High" testing suite, the M17x R3 hangs with the Clevo P150HM while trading blows with the GTX 485M in the Clevo P170HM. Individuals interested in what kind of performance to expect from the entry-level Radeon HD 6870M configuration option for the M17x R3 would do well to check out the ASUS G73Jh results, highlighted in red, as the 6870M is basically a rebadged Mobility Radeon HD 5870. The biggest takeaway is that, at least at our "High" preset, every game is playable at 1080p on the M17x R3.

Adding anti-aliasing to the mix and jacking settings up further causes certain games to fall off, but there aren't any single-GPU options that are going to make STALKER or Metro 2033 playable at these settings. The 6970Ms and GTX 485M mostly cluster together. Net result: the M17x R3 competes among the fastest single-GPU gaming notebooks on the market. Not only that, but upgrading it to the 6970M yields a marked improvement over the alternative GTX 460M and HD 6870M.

That said, while the GTX 485M isn't available in the M17x R3 and doesn't make a compelling case on its own for gameplay performance, users who enjoy PhysX or need CUDA support (as in the case of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5) are going to feel a little bit shut out that their best option is the GeForce GTX 460M, which is clearly in a different class from the Radeon HD 6970M. It's oftentimes only a bit over half as fast as the 6970M, and the fact that it costs extra over the HD 6870M makes it a dubious proposition. Bottom line: if you want gaming performance at no expense, go for the HD 6970M. If you're on a budget, the HD 6870M will serve you well. The only reason you should configure the M17x R3 with the GTX 460M is if you explicitly need the features NVIDIA offers.

Application and Futuremark Performance Heat, Noise, and Battery Life
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  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 forums.notebookreview.com if you want a huge wealth of good information on the Alienwares or Clevos or Asus
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Pretty much just described an AIO with a battery base lol.......it 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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