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back to article Alienware Area-51 m9750

One word can describe the Alienware Area-51 m9750: big. It's as if the person designing it thought they were in Burger King and decided to Go Large at every opportunity. It's got two hard drives, two graphics cards, two processor cores and a whopping 17in screen. There's another thing that's big about the m9750 - its price. …

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Silver badge

Bit odd

Why load this up with everything under the sun, then "just" stick 2gb of RAM in it? Seems like cutting costs for cutting costs sake.

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Anonymous Coward

Pointless waste of money

That's a ridiculous amount of cash. For half that you could buy a high-end Shuttle gaming system and flat-panel monitor which would be suitable for someone who doesn't have much desk space.

And for that matter, who out there has £2k to drop on a notebook but doesn't have enough space in their home for a desktop?

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Heat?

It is all interesting, but how hot does it get after 5 hours of gaming? Will it only burn palm of your hands or will it burn through the table top as well :) ?

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn

What a hunk of junk. Pointless, overpriced, ugly, underperforming thing for rich kids who "need" to game on the go and know that mommy gets them a new one once this one's outdated in 6 months or so. Despite this thing being so thick that it has *vertical* USB-ports there was no room for 6pin FireWire, let alone FW800? Cannot handle 1080p Quicktime? What?

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Anonymous Coward

Probably not hot

Cooling is likely to be very good. A predecessor of this (which I own) stays considerably cooler than most other, lesser, laptops. This looks much the same: big vents on the sides to blow out warm air and, I expect, fans sucking cool air from underneath.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bit odd

At least 1Gb of 4Gb RAM is lost on a 32-bit operating system, sometimes more than that - you could find you've got as little as 2.5Gb accessible - so it's a bit of a waste.

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Not necessarily pointless

Just because you can afford a desktop gaming rig, that doesn't mean it's the best option. I hated moving a desktop between home and university at the start and end of every term, so by the 2nd year I had switched to a high-end laptop, even though it generally sat on my desk for eight weeks at a time.

Similarly, for the business traveler with a gaming habit, this looks like just the ticket - ample power for a spot of Oblivion in a hotel room, and fits fine in a wheely suitcase, unlike a desktop plus monitor.

The only question is how to claim it as a legitimate business expense... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Security...

I hope it also comes with Lojack. This thing costs more than I paid for my car...

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Anonymous Coward

DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

I PAID 2 GRAND FOR A VERY SIMILAR ALIENWARE A YEAR AGO AND IT DIED. BIGTIME.

build quility = crap

service/support = crap

Thermal managment = crap

after sales support = crap

weight = Will give you a month or two off work with a bad back

Performance = Very good if it is used in a very, very cold room.

If you have 2 grand to spend on a personal computer buy a MAC or a SONY.

Really, you will regret it!!

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Questions questions!

Why even bother with a battery?

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Rob

For that money, you expect more.

I evaluated an Alienware 17" laptop half a year ago, and found to my surprise a number of corners that were cut on it. I rejected it at the end on the basis that the IEEE1394 port didn't support isochronous streaming (a requirement at the time). You couldn't import DV video with it.

What I can't understand with this unit, is that if the hard-disk storage is so amped up, why are there still problems with HD video playback? If silicon-junk AppleTV can manage it, a £2.5k PC should do.

....I've heard that Alienware is a Dell subsidiary.....

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Silver badge

My Desktop

My desktop system cost 1/4 or less than that piece, and Doom3 does 60fps @ 1280x1024. I don't really dig those widescreen formats, and most of my gaming needs are covered by my MXN$ 9,200 (880 USD) home-built desktop PC. IF I wanted more horsepower (I have a 7600GT) I could buy another one (180 USD) and set them up in SLI mode. Still cheaper than this.

The only reason I would want a laptop like this would be LAN parties, but I'd rather take my colossal PC over there than spend my life savings on this thingy.

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Anonymous Coward

Called my Alienware the Craptop

I had a predecessor of this as well- I am a business traveller who has to build databases and such (and game, yes) on the road weeks or months at a time.

So it seemed like a good idea.

Screen flicker problem- never solved, despite them even sending a dude to my location (though he did manage to break the little LEDs in the alien's eyeballs.)

Hard drive problem- never solved. System halted (utterly-not even Winders Event Viewer knew it happened) every time I tried to access my secondary drive.

Told me I could send in my machine and they would send it back in a month or so. Even though, since it was my work machine, I paid for the uber bidness support.

They got bought by Dell. Their build quality and support both went straight down the drain right about then. I wouldn't buy an Alienware at this point if they moved the decimal to the left a place.

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Gold badge

Happy to see

Happy to see people being negative about expensive PC kit as well. Makes a change from bashing Apple hardware all the time.

I do wonder why people spend such money on a laptop to play games?

It's nowhere near pocketable for on the move, get a Nintendo DS lite :)

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Title

I picked up a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo D 1845 from the bargain bucket at ebuyer instead of this beasts predecessor. By the time I'd specced up what I wanted the Fuji cost me about £750 as end of line. The Alienware equivalent was still current, featured the same motherboard (Intel 915P based), processor and graphics, but would have cost me more than 2000 quid. Once I'd cured the spontaneous bsod's with a BIOS upgrade it gave tremendous service. Still does.... There are high performing Lappie bargains, just not necessarily with fashionable cases and badges. That particular Fuji had a pretty poor name at the time, but I've found if you keep the cooling system clean it's a heck of performer for the price of hack.

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Doh.....

That is hack as in cheap, plain vanilla, not at all exciting. Jeez after this long in the biz....

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Yes, you're right Rob...

...Dell DOES OWN Alienware.

Yes, it has for a while now.

And yes...that does mean that Dell actually competes with itself (XPS vs Alienware).

The truth is out there...

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Moo

No PC can handle..

As far as I know no PC can handle stupid quicktime without stuttering or occasional hiccups with dreaded quicktime+itunes independent from clock speed, ram amount or GPU.

There are many free alternatives which can correctly decode h264 in .mov container. Coreavc, ffdshow, CCCP...

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Re: No PC can handle..

"There are many free alternatives which can correctly decode h264 in .mov container. Coreavc, ffdshow, CCCP..."

CCCP (complete community codec pack) + MPC (media player classic)

After years of trying alternatives, it's *still* the best combination. ^_^ Now if only they would port this to Windows Mobile 5, I'd be in hog heaven.

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@Geoff

...and the other question, which is how anyone's going to take you seriously in a grown-up business context with a klingon-head grey-alien-face laptop.

Having said that, I may be overcompensating for this morning's "standardise-your-email-signatures-individualism-will-be-crushed" round-robin email from HR. Ah, the corporate whirled...

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Dam

Don't buy from alienware

I myself got an alienware laptop, and I've run into a TON of problems:

-heavy

-overheating, which caused more problems:

* instability

* reboots, shutdowns, blue screens

* slow mode (CPU slowing down a lot to cool)

* noisy

-graphics card went boom

-DVD burner went boom, I sent it back a month ago, I'm still waiting for the replacement

The support is quite slow and the shipping delays are even more.

I'm very disappointed at Alienware and am having a MUCH better time with my Asus.

Never buying from Alienware again, ever.

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Sager, meh.

Alienware and Dell are not the same.

Dell is it's own ODM, whereas Alienware used Clevo. You can actually purchase an Alienware laptop under a few different names, one of which is Sager.

I've had kind of a mixed exerience, with one Alienware ( a friend's) and one Sager. While both were good enough at the time of purchase to replace a desktop gaming PC, bot had issues related to the hardware.

And by hardware I don't mean the electronics, I mean the actual cases themselves. Both developed stress crack in the corners of screen casing, eventually breaking and needing to be replaced. This is largely due to too-tight screws, and flimsy material. I read on notebookforums.com (I'm not sure that still exists really) that this was somewhat common. For me it was 2/2.

Also, the Sager (a 4380 from 2004 by the way), had very loud fans. It sounded as though the fan was off-center or loose and occasionally slightly scraping the fan casing or something. Rather than send it in to get fixed (work PC, so that was inconvenient), I basically waited it out, and the fan making the most noise mellowed out, although overall it was still loud.

Heat-wise, the Sager is phenomenally hot, such that the case south of the keyboard is permanently satined with wrist/palm sweat...yeah...

In addition, on hot days, the temperature is such that the CPU needs to ramp down, adversely impacting game FPS quite a bit. I have since mostly solved this with a cooling pad, and another fan focussed on the rear exhaust port, but I'm seriously amazed that the components still work after being exposed to those temperatures regularly over the past 2.5 years.

So basically, in terms of bang for the buck, I did pretty well, since Sagers are a fair amount cheaper than Alienware, without the brand recognition. If you really need a high-end gaming laptop, and are willing to work with it a bit, and don't want a Dell, this is the way to go.

If you don't absolutely need a laptop, obviously a desktop is better and cheaper.

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Why bother

When you can get a mac for twice the price.

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Quicktime on Vista

Official Quicktime on Vista is still quite remarkably poor - since upgrading from XP my machine won't even play 480p files completely smoothly in it. And yet Nero's player can get the 720p versions of the same files running fine, so it's not an insurmountable problem.

Not much use for iTunes-purchased content, though.

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