Acceptable Application Performance

For general applications, the GPU is less important and so the M11x is going to end up quite a bit slower than many other "midrange" laptops. We should see about the same level of performance as the ASUS UL50Vf, with slightly better scores from the 7200RPM hard drive. That's the theory at least. As noted earlier, the actual overclock appears to be 1.60GHz instead of 1.73GHz, which means the UL50Vf is clocked 8.3% higher and should outperform the M11x except in cases where the faster HDD and/or GPU come into play. We've colored the N61Jv black and the UL50Vf gold for ease of comparison in our application benchmarks.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

Internet Performance

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

As expected, the M11x ends up beating the UL50Vf in some tests and trailing in others. It's 25% faster in PCMark05 (mostly from the GPU result, it appears), 7% faster in PCMark Vantage (GPU and HDD), but around 10% slower in the CPU-limited tests of Peacekeeper, Cinebench, and x264 encoding. Again, it's odd that Alienware would limit the multiplier to 6x when overclocked but then claim to have a 1.73GHz CPU. Note also that in overclocked mode, the various power saving CPU functions don't seem to kick in—CPU-Z reports the processor running at a constant 1.60GHz instead of dropping to a 4x multiplier when idle.

Does any of this really matter? In terms of getting acceptable application performance, not really: practically any dual-core CPU will be fast enough for general computing, and if you're doing 3D rendering or video encoding you should be using a different tool. (NVIDIA would of course recommend Badaboom with CUDA for video encoding, and we admit that it's quite speedy on the GT335M.) If on the other hand you believe in truth in advertising, Alienware needs to update the BIOS or update their web page. We'd also like to see SpeedStep functioning with the overclocked CPU, as we've seen that work on the ASUS laptops.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark05

Futuremark 3DMark03

Our final stop will be the 3DMark results. Yes, they're synthetic and we've already looked at gaming performance. For those that like to see the numbers, though, we've included them as usual. The M11x makes short work of the ASUS UL series, with scores that are anywhere from 50% to 220% higher. 3DMark Vantage shows very close to linear scaling with the shader processing power of the GT335M compared to the G210M. (The M11x also manages to run Vantage at Performance defaults (but 1280x768 resolution) with a reasonable score of P3217, if you're wondering.) The N61Jv matchup is a bit more sensible, with the M11x leading by 7% in 06, 18% in 03, and 32% in Vantage… but oddly it trails by 7% in 3DMark05. Now you know why we take 3DMark results with a large dose of skepticism; the 3DMark results are only truly indicative of 3DMark performance.

M11x: Ultraportable Gaming Goodness Still Great Battery Life
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Hi everyone,

    In case you have any questions for me, I'm very likely not going to be able to respond for a few days. My wife is in labor, and I'll be heading out shortly, so wish us luck! Hope you enjoy the M11x review!

    Cheers,
    Jarred Walton
    Reply
  • Lunyone - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Good luck! Hope all goes well with mom and kid. Hope that they both are healthy and I'll officially welcome you to parenthood! Lot's of work and sleepless nights, but well worth it, IMHO! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Corbin Derrik Walton was born yesterday (March 30) at 2:33PM PDT.

    Mom and baby are doing fine, and we had a great experience. We used a midwife and delivered at the local birthing center, and after having my first daughter delivered in a hospital I have to say that this was an awesome change--much more intimate and relaxed, and the birthing tub was extremely helpful!

    This is my second child, but Becky (my new wife's) first, and she was amazing! After around eight hours of labor, she gave birth au natural to our gigantic baby boy: 10 pounds, 4 ounces, and 21.5 inches long! We're back home, I managed to get some sleep for the first time in two days, and mom is trying to do likewise (with less success of course, since there's a big little boy wanting food on a regular basis).

    Thanks for the well wishes, and thanks for the comments... I'll have to look through them in detail later.

    --Jarred
    Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Congratulations Jarred! Great news :) Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    On the "baby and stuff":
    Congratulations and God bless!

    On the article:
    Very nice, I'm happy that you pointed out the lack of Optimus, Arrandale CULV, and driver issues. Even if the MX11 was $500, I would still hesitate given the potential for the MX11 mark 2. I was very excited for the MX11 after CES... then what seemed like only a month later I saw all the press surrounding Optimus and Arrandale CULV. Bad timing, indeed.
    Reply
  • teko - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Good luck =) Reply
  • fabarati - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Congratulations Jarred! Reply
  • at80eighty - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Best wishes man! hope all goes smooth & happy! Reply
  • Voo - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    All the best and don't worry about us! We'll just wait and bombard your mailbox with mails.. uh no that wasn't a threat, really ;) Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    Hope your baby enjoys his/her new gaming notebook! Reply

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