My friend just got a new Alienware M17XR3 laptop which seemed to work fine until we tried to launch Skyrim. The game is extremely laggy at medium to high and MSI Afterburner reports 'power save' levels of core clock from the GTX 580M. http://gyazo.com/9c92acfc784786da8a24bc83d279eb81
Whenever I try to change the GPU manually I get the 'error' message 'Your graphics solution is automatically configured for optimal performance'.
The GPU successfully reaches 620 MHz in Minecraft, the only other game we have tried. So it seems to be Skyrim causing the problem.
I would recommend configuring the system to force the use of 580M and disable the Intel GPU when gaming. Has then been tried?
Skyrim will certainly play on this platform. If this a newer Alienware, it will have an i7 CPU (plenty of horsepower). My daughter plays Skyrim on a Macbook Pro 13" with a dual core C2D CPU, 4GB memory, and a much less capable GPU than the 580M and it is quite smooth at medium settings.
Forcing it is what I would like to do, she has it constantly plugged in anyway so there isn't really a need for the power saving Intel graphics. I have checked the BIOS but it is extremely limited and there appears to be no options for forcing the GPU.