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|
|Platform||Intel PGA988, PM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel 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|
|RAM||4 GB (2 x 2 GB) Samsung M471B5673FH0-CH9 SODIMM DDR3-1333, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Dual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870, 1 GB GDDR5, CrossFire|
|Display||17" Glossy TFT, 1920x1200|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Face Detection Software|
|Hard Drive||2 x Seagate ST9500420AS, 500 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, RAID 0|
|Optical Drive||LG CA10N Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo Drive|
|Media Drive||8-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s|
|Wireless PAN||Internal Bluetooth V2.0 +EDR Module|
|Gigabit Network||Built-in 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Integrated IEEE-1394 FireWire 400 controller|
|Telephony||Integrated 56K V90/92 Fax/Modem|
|USB||5 x USB 2.0 (One shared with eSATA)|
|Expansion Card||1 x ExpressCard 54|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||220 W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V 4650 mAh (68.82 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 12.3 lbs, AC Adapter 2.1 lbs, Total 14.4 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||Standard 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?