The aforementioned issues with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M don't prevent it from turning in an excellent performance, just not the one we'd hoped for. That in mind, the two 780Ms in the Alienware 18 are still able to offer a fantastic gaming experience with a decent amount of headroom.

Results for our "Value" benchmarks are in Bench but not really necessary when you're dealing with this much gaming horsepower. For academic purposes I'll trot out the "Mainstream" benchmarks before hitting the high end where the Alienware 18 will really shine.

Bioshock Infinite - Mainstream

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Mainstream

GRID 2 - Mainstream

Metro: Last Light - Mainstream

Sleeping Dogs - Mainstream

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Mainstream

Tomb Raider - Mainstream

The mainstream benchmarks are at least helpful for teasing out which games are more CPU limited versus which ones are more GPU limited. Skyrim and StarCraft II are old hands, but we've found GRiD 2 to also be a bit exacting on the CPU. Of course, the enthusiast class 1080p benchmarks are where the two GTX 780Ms in SLI will really stretch their legs, and for these we've included performance data from a desktop system with an overclocked i7-4770K and GeForce GTX 780 as a point of comparison.

Bioshock Infinite - Enthusiast

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Enthusiast

GRID 2 - Enthusiast

Metro: Last Light - Enthusiast

Sleeping Dogs - Enthusiast

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Enthusiast

Tomb Raider - Enthusiast

Skyrim and StarCraft II continue to scarcely benefit from the extra GPU horsepower, and keep in mind that SLI does have CPU overhead, but every other game gets a healthy boost. Unfortunately a single desktop GTX 780 paired with a 4.4GHz Haswell chip is still at least as fast or faster. While there are games that obviously need more CPU power, I honestly think the Alienware 18 would benefit as a whole from a jump to the much more expensive i7-4930MX. That puts the buyer in an unfortunate position; the 18 is already very expensive to begin with, but if you want to get the most out of your multi-GPU configuration you're probably going to want to have the extra headroom the i7-4930MX will give you to play with, which is a $500 upgrade on top of the highest end stock model.

System and Futuremark Performance Display, Battery, Noise, and Heat


View All Comments

  • GeneVostok - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I wish you'd have reviewed the 14 instead upgraded to 1900x1080 matte IPS and the 765GTX. But you've already done two of them :). Reply
  • ananduser - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    So what? They've reviewed 3 macbook airs one after another. There's nothing stopping them reviewing their 3rd Alienware, the 14"-er.

    Sorry for the troll.
  • stacey94 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Because the Air is a trendsetting product will have much wider appeal than any Alienware? What's wrong with that?

    There's nothing new about this Alienware's just a spec bump. The new MBAs bring some insane battery life numbers, while sporting a better chipset than most competitors.

    I'm expecting a very detailed review of the Zenbook UX301 from Anandtech as well. It's the bellwether for HiDPI ultrabooks.
  • ananduser - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Silly fanboy: "The new MBAs bring some insane battery life numbers, while sporting a better chipset than most competitors."

    Reading Anand's own review, the MBA barely has a chipset that is equally performing to their own last gen version. Where did you get the better chipset from ? It's more frugal but it's not faster.
    Oh and btw, Anand didn't review any other ultrabook so you cannot make your comparison, not yet.
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - link

    Ugh, that's depressing if the Air actually has wider appeal. I hope that's not the case.

    These Alienware systems actually just seem like good mid and high end systems, back before the race to the bottom of everyone offering low end CPUs with no GPU.
  • gandergray - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I second the motion for a review of the Alienware 14. (As always, thank you producing quality content.) Reply
  • blanarahul - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Name one person who has bought this Portable Desktop. Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    A lot of people will. Just because you do not see a need does not mean others wont. I bought the original M18X on day one and never looked back. Was a great system for 15 months when a GPU died and Dell refunded the entire thing for me since they would not have a replacement part for a month - extremely high quality customer service. I did not have to fight, bicker, waste time, or anything with them - they just said "yep, we are not getting more for a month so will give you a 100% refund", keep in mind that was on a 15 month old no longer cutting edge system that was heavily used. The Next Business Day On-site warranty on the Alienware notebooks continues to wow me and keep me an Alienware customer (I have my 4th one now). Reply
  • SniperWulf - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Me. Except I went with a Sager for this buy. I bought last years NP9370. GTX 680M with an i7-3630QM, 16GB RAM and all the trimmings. Cost came in at around $1800. Some months later I bought the second 680M for another $600. At $2400 its hard to beat, especially when compared to the Razer Blade (awesome engineering, total waste for the $ if your after performance). Couple that with the fact that I can throw it in a bag and head over to a friends and get damn close to the performance out of this that I do out of my desktop and its a win/win. Reply
  • stacey94 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    12 bounds? I think you're going to have some back pain issues later in life. Reply

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