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||Row 0 - Cell 3|
|Dimensions and Weight||Row 1 - Cell 1||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|Width x Height x Depth||14.5" x 1.75" x 11.75"||16" x 2" x 12"|
|Row 3 - Cell 0||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||Row 7 - Cell 1||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|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||Row 11 - Cell 1||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|Graphics Controller||nVidia GeForce 8800m GTX||2x nVidia GeForce 8800M GTX SLI|
|System||Row 15 - Cell 1||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|BIOS||Phoenix vX32 P3A33 (04/11/08)||Dell A06 (02/04/08)|
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000||Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000|
|Row 18 - Cell 0||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|
|Hard Drives||Row 21 - Cell 1||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|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|
|Other Devices||Row 25 - Cell 1||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|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|
|Connectors||Row 32 - Cell 1||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|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||Row 51 - Cell 1||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|OS||Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium||Microsoft Windows XP Professional|
|Platform Driver||Intel 220.127.116.118||Intel 18.104.22.1684|
|Graphics Driver||22.214.171.12455 - nVIDIA ForceWare 167.55||126.96.36.19957 - nVIDIA ForceWare 167.57|
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.
Who made you king and let you decide what portable means?
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!!
I second this.
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.