At the top of the gaming tech
Alienware have a history of delivering high performance gaming rigs like no other. Founded in 1996, it has held the record for fastest pre-built branded computer, four times. During this time it has been the pedigree by which all others have been measured, and for good reason. Alienware's rigs are fast - super fast. We got our hands on the M17x, the speediest laptop in the Alienware range at the moment.
Lifting the laptop out, covered in its own dustcase, I was immediately assaulted by it's weight: one could easily tone their entire upper body by the daily process of picking it up and putting it down again. It is such a heavy laptop, that my underdeveloped gamer wrists can't pick it up one handed, but that is such a small price to pay for such a package.
Turning it on
Removing the dustcase and looking over it, you can straight away tell that this is not going to be your regular everyday laptop. It has a solid, sleek, professional look about it that just screams 'turn me on'... and we did just that. Starting her up, you are immediately entered into a world of super-fast response times and incredible high fidelity graphics. A custom welcome screen with an Alien head greets you before the wonderfully average operating system from Microsoft begins its boot sequence.
The load times of the M17x are incredible. From hitting the power button it only took us a few moments to be greeted with the Alienware custom login screen. The special facial recognition system learned my face after only a few times and the high definition webcam would log me in before the welcome screen had even finished loading. Testing some of the latest games, the speed kept up throughout every test we could throw her way, Medal of Honour purred like a dream, and even Arma 2 was crushed by this stark behemoth.
If you are planning on laying out the money for such a glorious piece of technology, surely how the game runs isn't your only concern, and rightly so - powered by a dual CCFL and WLED backlighting, the display on the M17x is nothing short of fantastic. While gamers might moan about its 8ms response time, really any response lower than 9.7 eliminates ghosting. All on an amazing 17 inches of pure delight.
M17x has many options for personalization, such as lighting effects that allow you to change the lighting of distinct parts of the laptop's massive full-length keyboard, touchpad border, and more. Additionally, all M17x's are custom built, allowing you to change options to suit your own gaming needs. While the base model is already a monster of epic proportions, the customisation choices allow you to put the crown on the whole experience. Even if you prefer Radeon over GeForce, Alienware gives you the ability to choose. And those who intend to haul this beast along on their gaming trips will certainly appreciate the possibility to choose an SSD drive instead of the more easily breakable HDD.
But it's what is under the hood that stands out. The model we reviewed had dual graphics cards capable of speeds well over a TERAFLOP (One Trillion floating point calculations a second), and 3DMark tests amongst the highest I've seen even out of desktop PC's.
For those technically minded, overclocking options are easy to work with, and just like a deluxe sports car, upgrades have to be certified to work well with the Alienware technology. Upgrading drivers that haven't been passed can cause the system to slow down, so the certification system is quite a nice touch.
Pure gaming perfection!
Originally, I didn't want to say that I liked this laptop. I wanted to say it was too big, too bright, too pricey... but it won me over. Every single piece of technology has been lovingly placed. So lovingly, in fact, that people have been known to completely break their Alienware laptops by opening them incorrectly. It is speedy, slick, and a huge load of fun. Even its perfectly balanced weight allows it to make you fitter than Wii Fit ever will.