The Area-51 m15x scores a big win in PCMark’s system test, but individual test scores should show the source of that performance advantage.
The performance difference obviously isn’t due to the processor, since both systems used a Core 2 Extreme X9000. Dell’s small win could be attributable to Vista versus XP.
The big difference isn’t in the memory, as both notebooks are also equipped with 4 GB of DDR2-667.
The PCMark05 graphics suite tests 2D, 3D, and video performance, so the fact that Alienware’s m15x bests the SLI-armed Dell would seem to indicate that the benchmark isn’t taking full advantage of SLI’s dual-card technology.
PCMark’s Hard Drive test also hands a slight win to the Alienware Area-51 m15x.
Sandra’s processor tests seem to indicate that Alienware’s Core 2 Extreme X9000 is a little better than Dell’s Core 2 Extreme X9000, but the difference is almost trivial.
With a slight memory bandwidth advantage in Sandra’s test, we must wonder if the Alienware is running slightly more aggressive timings than Dell’s configuration. This would certainly explain the previously spotted processor performance difference.