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Alienware's M17x: Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire Is A Go

Battery Life, Energy, And Efficiency

While we used a rather basic mid-priced desktop as a reference point for today’s top-performing notebooks, it’s clear that the notebooks have a big lead in portability. It’s also clear that nobody is going to carry around a huge PC, separate monitor, and enormous uninterruptable power supply in their backpack.

Thus, while any gaming notebook’s battery life is certainly less-than-spectacular by mobile standards, all three portables are stellar by desktop standards. Alienware has the biggest battery but, unfortunately, the slowest-charging circuit.

Alienware could have gone further, but a hidden setting in firmware prevented it from operating at anything less than 12% charge. Windows is set to initiate power savings at 7% and hibernate at 5%, but we simply stopped our tests at 7% on the other two units.

And now for the weird part: the desktop’s single graphics card appears to consume less energy than the pair of low-wattage cards used in both notebooks. The reason we say "appears” is that there’s no way to measure exactly how much of the desktop’s additional energy is going to the platform that supports its card, and we can only guess that’s it’s more than the 18 W difference in “full GPU load” measurements.

Efficiency is a comparison of energy to work, and the M17x works nearly as well as the mid-level desktop. Eurocom’s X8100 Leopard is slightly behind, in spite of its higher-model processor and higher-numbered graphics driver.

An amazing parity of efficiency is found between AVADirect’s $3100 notebook and Eurocom’s $4100 version. Alienware leads slightly, while the desktop falls far behind.

  • Hmmm. Overpriced.
    Reply
  • wintermint
    wasabiman123I smell a comeback hehe
    Fixed... wtf is wrong with you..
    Reply
  • unclewebb
    When you review a product like this, why not go over to the Notebook Review forums and ask the experts there about the M17x R2? The Core i7 Extreme mobile processors are absolute beasts when they have been unlocked and fully overclocked. The turbo throttling that is common to the Core i7 mobile CPUs when loaded can easily be corrected by raising the turbo TDP/TDC values for a simple yet significant increase in performance. Do your readers a favor and show everyone what the M17x is really capable of. With the help of a program called ThrottleStop, you can completely transform the performance of these CPUs.
    Reply
  • gorillateets
    It'd be nice if Tom's would review some of the more midrange gaming laptops from around $750-$1000. I got a great deal on an Asus G60 with respectable specs and can run any modern game at decent settings. Who here can really throw down that much cash on a laptop? Either way, nice review.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    gorillateetsIt'd be nice if Tom's would review some of the more midrange gaming laptops from around $750-$1000. I got a great deal on an Asus G60 with respectable specs and can run any modern game at decent settings. Who here can really throw down that much cash on a laptop? Either way, nice review.It's a tough problem because I wouldn't game on a weak GPU. Since I can't afford any notebook over $2000, I wouldn't game on a notebook. Since I wouldn't game on a notebook, I went in the opposite direction with a notebook that has integrated graphics and around eight hours of battery life. Of course, I also have desktops...
    Reply
  • duk3
    Bang for buck at $4000? Not so much.
    The problem with big heavy expensive laptops is that a desktop does everything they do and better at a third of the price.
    How much are you really going to be taking a $4000 laptop out of your house?
    Reply
  • braneman
    I like my m11x (i7 r2) sturdy plays most games except for the absolute bleeding edge of cpu throttled applications.
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    build kickass desktop for 3k and spend 1 k on this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152207

    and laugh at people who bought this.
    Reply
  • TheStealthyOne
    Alienware? No thanks.

    Although you definitely are paying a superflous price premium, you're at least getting power (the same can't be said for MACs.)
    Reply
  • cinergy
    GTX 480M looks like a big whimper compared to those Radeon dualies.
    Reply