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

Better, Stronger, Faster?

A lot of folks in the press cheered about the release of Alienware’s second-generation M17x notebook a year ago. But more than a few enthusiasts spurned its use of G92-based graphics (alright, you can count us among those disappointed enthusiasts).

And yet, the new chassis was just one step this formerly cutting-edge brand took to rebuild its reputation in the enthusiast notebook market. The company left plenty of room to grow as mobile technology advanced. As such, we now get to welcome AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire update.

We like Alienware’s special-edition Nebula Red finish, in spite of our notions about alien spacecraft always being grey (since uncharged paint stays behind during transdimensional shifts). Of course, we wouldn’t even bother discussing the finish outside unless hardware inside made a compelling case for a full system review. Not surprisingly, it does.

Alienware M17x Component List
PlatformIntel PGA988, PM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-920XM Quad-Core 2.00-3.20 GHz 2.5 GT/s DMI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 45 nm, 55 W TDP
RAM4 GB (2 x 2 GB) Samsung M471B5673FH0-CH9 SODIMM DDR3-1333, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsDual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870, 1 GB GDDR5, CrossFire
Display17" Glossy TFT, 1920x1200
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityFace Detection Software
Hard Drive2 x Seagate ST9500420AS, 500 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, RAID 0
Optical DriveLG CA10N Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive8-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s
Wireless PANInternal Bluetooth V2.0 +EDR Module
Gigabit NetworkBuilt-in 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Integrated IEEE-1394 FireWire 400 controller
TelephonyIntegrated 56K V90/92 Fax/Modem
Peripheral Interfaces
USB5 x USB 2.0 (One shared with eSATA)
Expansion Card1 x ExpressCard 54
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
VideoVGA, HDMI, DisplayPort
Power & Weight
AC Adapter220 W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19V DC
Battery14.8 V 4650 mAh (68.82 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 12.3 lbs, AC Adapter 2.1 lbs, Total 14.4 pounds
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
WarrantyStandard 1-Year Warranty (Add $299 for 3-Year Extended)

Delivered more than two months ago, Alienware’s Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire update languished while we collected hardware that'd serve as a suitable comparison. The new M17x looks great in both photos and specifications, but does it really outperform its $3000+ rivals?