Been Here, Done This?
In last year’s battle-of the behemoths, Dell’s M1730 took on Alienware’s m9750, and with the exception of a few quirks, came out on top. But not everyone is ready to lug around a notebook that weighs nearly fifteen pounds with its power adapter.
Alienware’s advantage in portability among 17” gaming notebooks was still noteworthy, even if the Area-51 m9750’s battery life didn’t lend itself to truly mobile computing. The company now looks to extend its portability lead, with a smaller, lighter 15.4” unit that maintains the high resolution of the former 17” model without sacrificing battery life.
There’s another key difference in Alienware’s 15.4” model, though. While the 17” test unit contained an SLI set of graphics cards, the Area-51 m15x has only a single graphics card. Does the new configuration deliver enough horsepower to qualify as gaming-ready?
For comparison purposes, we continue to use an XPS M1730, which retains its SLI muscle. In fact, Dell has upgraded this unit with a new CPU and graphics processor, and changed a few smaller parts as well. The exterior remains unchanged from last year’s review.
The Dell XPS M1730 still looks like an Alienware design, but the Alienware m15x is clean, smooth, and dare we say, business-like? Of course the real business is gaming, so let’s take at look at the “business” inside.
(Editor’s Note: Check out our Quick Look: Alienware Area-51 m15X Notebook video of the m15x for even more up-close detail on the notebook)
|Model||Alienware m15x||Dell XPS M1730|
|Dimensions and Weight|
|Width x Height x Depth||14.5" x 1.75" x 11.75"||16" x 2" x 12"|
|36.83 cm x 4.45 cm x 29.85 cm||39.37 cm x 5.08 cm x 27.94 cm|
|Unit & Battery||7 lb 15 oz / 3600.4 g||11 lb / 4990 g|
|Charter & Power Cord||1 lb 11 oz / 765.5 g||3 lb 8 oz / 1588 g|
|Total||9 lb 10 oz / 4365.9 g||14 lb 8 oz / 6578 g|
|AC Adapter & Battery|
|Battery I Capacity||Li-Ion 6 Cell 5200mAh||Li-Ion 9 Cell 85 Wh|
|Battery II Capacity||None||None|
|AC Adapter||120 W||230 W|
|Display & Graphics Controller|
|Graphics Controller||nVidia GeForce 8800m GTX||2x nVidia GeForce 8800M GTX SLI|
|BIOS||Phoenix vX32 P3A33 (04/11/08)||Dell A06 (02/04/08)|
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000||Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000|
|2.80 GHz, 6 MB L2 Cache, FSB 200||2.80 GHz, 6 MB L2 Cache, FSB 200|
|Chipset||Intel 965PM||Intel 965GM|
|Memory||2x 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2||2x 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2|
|Manufacturer & Model||Seagate ST9200420ASG||Seagate ST9250421ASG|
|Size||200 GB||250 GB|
|Performance||(SATA / 7200.2 / 8 MB / 11 ms)||SATA / 7200.2 RPM / 16 MB / 4.17 ms|
|Optical Drive||MATSHITA BD-MLT UJ-220 Blu-Ray Burner||PBDS DVD+-RW DS-8W1P DVD Burner|
|Pointing Device(s)||Touchpad||Touch Pad|
|Audio Chip||Realtek ALC885 @ Intel 82801HBM ICH8M||SigmaTel STAC9228 @ Intel 82801HBM ICH8M|
|WLAN||Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN||Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN|
|USB||2x Left, 1x Right||2x Right, 1x Left, 1x B|
|IEEE1394 / Fire Wire||1x Right||1x Left|
|Serial Com Port||None||None|
|Parallel LPT Port||None||None|
|VGA / DVI / HDMI||None / None / 1x Right||None / 1x Left / None|
|TV Out||None||1x Left|
|PC/Express Card Slots||1x Right||1x Right|
|LAN||1x Left||1x Back|
|Audio Connectors||1x Mic, Headphone Left||1x Mic, Headphone, Line In Left|
|Card Reader||1x Multi Card Reader Right||1x Multi Card Reader Left|
|Manufacturer Docking Socket||None||None|
|System Software & Drivers|
|OS||Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium||Microsoft Windows XP Professional|
|Platform Driver||Intel 22.214.171.1248||Intel 126.96.36.1994|
|Graphics Driver||188.8.131.5255 - nVIDIA ForceWare 167.55||184.108.40.20657 - nVIDIA ForceWare 167.57|