Well first I want to say, I love this laptop. I just got it a little under a week ago. The Laptop looks great, and runs even better. I am going to type up a review based on my experience with the unit.
The System: Processor: AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile ML40 2.2GHz 800MHz FSB 1MB L2 Cache Operating System (Office software not included): Genuine Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 with Service Pack 2 Display: 17" WideXGA+ 1440 x 900 LCD with Clearview Technology Motherboard: Alienware® NVIDIA® Mobile SLi Chipset Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR SO-DIMM at 400MHz - 2 x 1024MB Hard Drive: Extreme Performance (RAID 0) - 160GB (80GB x 2) 7200 RPM SATA with NCQ Optical Drive: 24x10x24 CD-RW / 8X DVD Combo w/Software MPEG2 Decoder Video/Graphics Card: Dual 256MB NVidia® GeForce™ Go 7900 GS - SLI Enabled Sound Card: High-Definition Audio with surround sound (SB Audigy ZS) Wireless Network Card: Internal Wireless 802.11b/g miniPCI Card Communications: Integrated 10/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet & 56K V.92 Modem Bluetooth: Integrated Bluetooth® Device Primary Battery: Alienware® m9700 12-cell Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack
Well I have to say the unit looks very proffesional, The Laptop doesn't have any stickers gumming it up, the Glowy Alien head on the backside of the display is not intrusive, Infact in a dark room with it up against a white wall you can barely see the glow. The Unit is very clean looking all around. The inside area were the keyboard and touchpad are located is Laminated with a clear coat that shine's amazeingly. Seems highly durrable. The unit is as thin as any other Laptop out their. When someone see's this from a distance, you normaly get some gocking. =) The unit I got has the 17" Wide Screen on it. This laptop looks big compaired to the average unit.
The touch pad is placed perfectly so that if your typeing you constantly bump the touch pad if being lazzy handed. =( This is a downer to an extent, but its expected of any laptop for the most part. The touch pad is almost completely flush with the surface, and has a touch pad mouse wheel unit on its right wich works wounderfully. At first I thought this laptop was going to be warm, even hot to the touch considering all the Toys packed inside. I am suprised that it runs very cool on the surface of the unit. I do have a warrning for anyone that wants or owns the unit, The back grill area has 2 Heat Exhaust's. These get over 100 degrees! NO TOUCHY, and don't block them. You can't hear a single fan, but their obvisouly inside, because the air flow out the back is far to stout of a breeze. I ran this unit through 3dmark 2005 full edition for about 2 hours straight (setup on constant cycle) Heat was minimal on the surface of the unit were your hands would be placed, but the rear of the unit ran at around 115 degree's almost constantly after about 30 minutes. The power supply also got warm enough that I put it on a chair! (I was fearing my carpet burning at times). I will tell you the statistics in a Performance review.
WOW, thats my first remark. This laptop is everything I expected plus more! I will start with a few stats.
3D Mark 2005(Wall Pluggin) --> 9400's
3D Mark 2005(battery) --> 4900's
(Avg FPs for some popular Games)
Oblivion @ Native 1440 x 900 (Wall Pluggin) => fully cranked a wicked 50fps
Oblivion @ Native 1440 x 900 (battery) => fully cranked a dismall 20fps
DOOM3 @ Native 1440 x 900(Wall Pluggin) => fully cranked a bouncy 45 - 60fps
DOOM3 @ Native 1440 x 900(battery) => fully cranked a dismall 25fps
WOW @ Native 1440 x 900(Wall Pluggin) => fully cranked a wicked 70fps
WOW @ Native 1440 x 900(battery) => fully cranked a playable 30fps
After seeing these #'s the obvious question comes to mind, What the heck is happening when on battery. Well I can offer some information, but I am not a rocket man!
Full power is provided to the unit when plugged into outlet at about 320watts of pure power. When on the battery pack, the CPU is throttled back a good amount. Over all the system goes into an Auto power saver mode with the rig, cutting the power consumtion back incredible amounts!
I have found that the battery is good for about 1hr - 1hr 30min when under a load playing a game or watching a DVD movie. What does this mean,...... The true function of a mobile computer is well, not so great. This is a power monger, and with this mongering comes Desktop performance when useing a normal outlet. This is the Ultimate Lan Party Machine in my estimation.
Please Leave me questions, Comments, anything (try not to FLAME). I will do my best to answer questions.
Killer, you seem like a straight-up guy, so I'm going to tell you a story. Use the information as you will.
I came home last weekend to find that my HP dv7280 had bit the dust. The display no longer functions - it'll boot (I can see the HD light churning) but no screen.
A quick Google on "HP dv7280 black screen" reveals a billion-page thread on HP support about this very problem. A chat with an HP tech gets me a promise of a free repair (even though it is out of warranty) and I'm told to wait for the FedEx box in the mail.
It's 4 days later, and still no box... but that's neither here nor there at this point.
It strikes me that, independent of HP fixing the machine or not, that I cannot afford (more's the pity) to be without access to a Windows machine for long, and I really need to have a backup for cases like this - especially if HP support drags their feet getting this fixed. I have a little mad money, so I can afford a new machine.
My requirements are:
* A high-res 17" screen
* A very good graphics subsystem
* A full size keyboard
* Lots of processor power
* Integral Wireless B/G
* Integral Bluetooth
* Windows XP, not @%^#Vista!
* DVD read/write
My nice-to-haves are:
* SLI graphics (for redundancy)
* RAID 1 (for redundancy)
* Cool design
* A honest-to-god Serial port
* Cheap price
* Core 2 Duo based
So the machines I find that meet these criteria are:
1) Alienware M9700
2) Killer Notebooks Executioner
3) ABS Mayhem Z5
4) HP dv9000t
The HP almost makes it, despite the 7600Go and Vista, on sheer price. What finally causes me to reject it is the fact that my zd7280 died the way it did and I'm not too impressed with the reports on HP Support. Lack of RAID 1 and the lower end display chip (about half as fast as the other machines on 3DMark 06) are the nail in the coffin.
The ABS gets points for the serial port, but for some weird reason it has a 99 key keyboard (no Home, End, Page Up, Page Down) and I use those keys all the time. It is also a tick slower, in 3D Marks, to the other two.
So that leaves me with the m9700 and the Executioner.
Both are near-identical on price (though each configuration has its strong and weak points) Executioner is a tick faster on 3D Marks and is Core 2 Duo based. Fashion marks about the same (Green vs Carbon Fibre) Both do RAID 1, with the M9700 having a 160GB option (that I'm sure you could match) Alienware also provided an extra battery and a car adaptor
I chewed on this for a LONG while.
What finally pushed me over the edge was the optical drive. The M9700 has it integral, where it is external on the Executioner. I'm really not interested in having that thing flopping around like that; I've got enough dongles as it is.
So I ordered the M9700.
Now, that was yesterday, and no indication from Alienware that my order is moving forward yet (I'm about to call them and confirm) If they make it too difficult for me to buy, I'll cancel the order and go with you.
If you had a serial port, I'd've gone with you.
If you had an internal optical drive and RAID 1, I'd've gone with you.
If the m9700 was Core 2 Duo based, I'd've gone with them.