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Conclusion: Gaming Just Got More Portable

Alienware m15x: True Gaming Portability?
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While we obviously wouldn’t recommend gaming away from a wall socket for any extended period of time, Alienware’s mid-sized Area-51 m15x provides the power to game while plugged in, the reduced weight required for true portability, and the “typical application” battery life needed for everyday mobile use. Even the screen is geared towards visual quality, with the top 15.4” display providing the same 1920x1200 pixel resolution typically found in larger 17” models.

One might argue that a 15.4” display doesn’t really need such a high resolution, since gaming frame rates go up at lower settings. But with the exception of one RTS title, the Area-51 m15x was able to provide smooth frame rates at all tested settings in our gaming suite.

A gaming system isn’t used exclusively for gaming, and our m15x came loaded with multimedia features such as the standard HDMI output and the optional 2x Blu-Ray Disk burner. This is where the huge 1920x1200 panel resolution really shines, since 1080p movies can be played at their native 1920x1080 pixels without scaling issues.

Due to these features, we’d hesitate to call Alienware’s system a portable gaming notebook—a fully loaded m15x is a desktop replacement system on a very successful diet. For all the things the m15x can do, it might better be called a “power system”, one that fortunately has all the portability features needed for daily use on the go.

Alienware targets much of its marketing effort towards university students, and the dorm room might just be the best place for the Area-51 m15x. With optional TV tuner and all the basic functions of a home theater plus gaming console, the m15x becomes a replacement for all of those entertainment devices its owner is often forced to leave behind. But that does raise one question: with an as-tested price of just over $4,000, how many students can afford it? Looks like it’s time to give mom and dad a call...

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  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2008 12:32 PM
    portable laptops can never be gaming PC.

    what's portable?
    small laptops that can be easily put onto trail table.
    hand hold device that can be easily carried around and have at least 5 hours of battery life.

    what's a gaming PC?
    a PC that can handle all game you throw at it
    a PC that can provide constant performance, not 2/3 performance when on battery mode

    so you see, there is no such thing as gaming laptops, all you going to get is a half way house where it's neither really a laptop (in sense that it sucks at battery life and weights a ton) and isn't really a gaming PC (in a sense that it won't perform and doesn't allow easy upgrade of graphics card)

    best solution for university students is like what i've done: a beast of a gaming PC, and an iPhone for portable entertainment. (or Asus EEE, MSI Wind, etc)
    PC's go outdated very fast, so just sell the uni. PC when moving away.
  • 4 Hide
    fudgeboy , August 8, 2008 12:39 PM
    unfortunatly unlike you're situation, there is people out there who have to move around ALL the time. i have a family member in the australian defence force who has a mid-end gaming laptop. sure he cant have the settings turned up all the way but the important fact is he still has something to play games on. thats what the gaming laptop is here for. two different things - gaming laptop - gaming pc. now STFU and GTFO my internets =D (kidding)
  • -4 Hide
    tim851 , August 8, 2008 1:23 PM
    Quote:
    what's portable?
    small laptops that can be easily put onto trail table.
    hand hold device that can be easily carried around and have at least 5 hours of battery life.


    Who made you king and let you decide what portable means?
  • 0 Hide
    jeb1517 , August 8, 2008 1:34 PM
    I announce wyx as King of definitions of portable.
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , August 8, 2008 2:00 PM
    +1 jeb seconded!!

    I got out my old 15" Pro-star (Clevo) P4 heater/laptop on the train earlier this summer. The guy across from me had a 13" Mac with a newer processor, etc. Boy was I embarrassed since my laptop looked like a chunky breeze block compared to his!!

    But really if you want a gaming laptop you are going to get something similar to my old laptop more akin to a portable PC (I mean 4kg+ of heft, etc. is not for the feint of heart!!) This won't change until fuel cell technology becomes mainstream...

    Personally my next machine will be a lightweight laptop with a 15" or smaller screen. As long as it can playback 720p x264!!

    Bob
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2008 2:35 PM
    what's with these tiny pictures, I can barely see anything
  • 3 Hide
    hoofhearted , August 8, 2008 2:38 PM
    I think I'll opt for the Sager NP8660 15" model. Much more bang for your buck.
  • 2 Hide
    Kaldor , August 8, 2008 3:40 PM
    hoofheartedI think I'll opt for the Sager NP8660 15" model. Much more bang for your buck.


    I second this.
  • 7 Hide
    Mach5Motorsport , August 8, 2008 3:41 PM
    I'm waiting for Tuan to hype the Mac Airbook Gaming Laptop as superior in his next insightful article on toms.
  • 0 Hide
    njalterio , August 8, 2008 4:27 PM
    A score of around 13,400 in 3dmark06?
    What a joke. With my q6600 @ 3.0 and an HD3870 I get a little bit lower than that at around 13,000. I wonder how much more that laptop costs.

    Unless you have money to blow and/or the need to be extremely mobile just get a desktop computer. Hopefully you will build it yourself, but even buying a high end desktop would be a better deal than getting these kinds of laptops. I know too many people who think they need a laptop, and it just sits at their desk anyways.
  • -2 Hide
    ereetos , August 8, 2008 5:37 PM
    Mach5MotorsportI'm waiting for Tuan to hype the Mac Airbook Gaming Laptop as superior in his next insightful article on toms.


    LOOOOL

    hey at least he fessed up to most of the comments. It was a great (comedy wise) week for articles here on toms :) 

    i know i had a good chuckle at work readin comments
  • -1 Hide
    liubros , August 8, 2008 5:41 PM
    with Q6600 OC to 3.0, and GTX280, I got 15000+ 3DMark06 scores. feel bad for people who need to spend 4k+ for a gaming laptop
  • 1 Hide
    Mach5Motorsport , August 8, 2008 5:57 PM
    ereetosLOOOOLhey at least he fessed up to most of the comments. It was a great (comedy wise) week for articles here on toms i know i had a good chuckle at work readin comments



    He did? Must have been lost in the sea of feedback. Any reply I saw was him attempting to rebut (in a glorious lost cause) most critical comments. I didn't see a reply by him after page 25.
  • -2 Hide
    pogsnet , August 8, 2008 7:40 PM
    PUMA design is still better with external gaming GPU. You dont need SLI during typing or browsing mode, its a waste of battery. PUMA is more practical in design.
  • 3 Hide
    ravenware , August 8, 2008 8:01 PM
    "Looks like it’s time to give mom and dad a call..."

    Looks like a little brat needs to get a job...
  • 4 Hide
    bobwya , August 8, 2008 8:09 PM
    RAVENWARE"Looks like it’s time to give mom and dad a call..."Looks like a little brat needs to get a job...


    Or more like "Time to max out those credit cards... !! "

    Bob
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , August 8, 2008 8:33 PM
    $4000 is out of my price range, and I haven't got "parents to call." Even if I did I'd feel a bit ashamed asking mom and dad for that kind of cash. I wouldn't want to be a spoiled brat or anything.
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , August 8, 2008 9:32 PM
    JonnyDough ... I wouldn't want to be a spoiled brat or anything.


    Depends whether your mom and dad is Mr & Mrs Hilton or not I guess!! :crazy: 

    Bob
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2008 9:49 PM
    totally agree with liubros here. that kind of performance is what gaming machines should get! (have my £400 right here to upgrade my 8800GTX when gtx280+ or 4870x2 comes out)

    people on the move all the time? isn't there something called a CAR?
    i go home every holiday from university, and i bring my gaming rig home every time, now i've also moved my gaming rig to summer placement (internship for Americans) all done using a car! they are great creations to move heavy objects ;) 


    so for those who like idea of gaming laptop, tell me this:
    you are stuck without any way of charging for 5 hours, what do you do with the brick?

    i only carry an iPhone around when travelling. its got 4 pages of game, 10 hours of video and gameplay/wi-fi time of 6hr+, so i think i'll be happily occupied without being weighted down. and at destination (say to stay for a week) i still have internet access and enough games to last until i get back.
  • 0 Hide
    skywalker9952 , August 8, 2008 10:02 PM
    Umm hasn't this laptop been out for like 6 months now? Since when did THG review 6 month old hardware?
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