Alienware m15x: True Gaming Portability?

Internal Components

Underneath the Area-51 m15x you will find a 5.2 Ah 6-cell battery, a large removable panel to ease maintenance and upgrades, and a name plate customized for the individual purchaser.

Removing the cover panel reveals the hard drive, memory, accessory cards, and coolers for the graphics and CPU.

Most important to any gaming system is the graphics, so Alienware packed our system with its optional GeForce 8800M GTX 512MB module, a notebook part that’s based on the same hardware as the 8800 GTS 512MB desktop graphics card—not the 8800 GTX. Bear in mind that Alienware didn’t pick the model name, so desktop users annoyed by deceptive component nomenclature should address their complaints to Nvidia...

A solid graphics solution should be complemented by a good central processor, so our Area-51 m15x sample included Intel’s most powerful notebook component: the 2.8 GHz Core 2 Extreme X9000.

As a result of power concerns, Intel-based notebooks generally sacrifice front side bus speed compared to the company’s desktop models. Case in point, the highest model X9000 processor runs on an 800 MHz front side bus, whereas the fastest workstation-oriented Core 2 Extremes run at 1600 MHz. It’s no surprise, then, that even a top-end notebook uses only DDR2-667, but at least Alienware upgraded ours to the maximum of 4GB.

Our Area-51 m15x was also supplied with a 200 GB Seagate Momentus 7200.2 hard drive.

The biggest reason gamers are likely to choose a notebook is portability, so a wireless solution is needed. For the ultimate in wireless performance, Alienware equips all of its m15x models with an Intel 4965AGN 802.11G/Draft-N wireless adapter. Of course, as Intel readies Centrino 2, that wireless adapter will slowly be phased out in favor of a new family of draft-N devices.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • 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.
  • fudgeboy
    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)
  • tim851
    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?
  • jeb1517
    I announce wyx as King of definitions of portable.
  • bobwya
    +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!!

  • what's with these tiny pictures, I can barely see anything
  • hoofhearted
    I think I'll opt for the Sager NP8660 15" model. Much more bang for your buck.
  • Kaldor
    hoofheartedI think I'll opt for the Sager NP8660 15" model. Much more bang for your buck.
    I second this.
  • Mach5Motorsport
    I'm waiting for Tuan to hype the Mac Airbook Gaming Laptop as superior in his next insightful article on toms.
  • njalterio
    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.