back to article Alienware ships 'most powerful' 15in laptop to Brits

Alienware's first gaming laptop designed from the ground up by the company itself, the Area 51 m15x, is now on sale to British gamers. The 15.4in machine ticks all the right technology boxes: 45nm 'Penryn' Intel Core 2 Extreme processor and Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX graphics, up to 4GB of 667MHz DDR 2 memory and the ability to …

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  1. Si
    Alien

    I'm typing this on an m15X

    I went a little spend crazy and bought an m15X, it's a great laptop although it does have some faults, like the track pad which is integrated into the surface of the casing. It's hard to use because it's the same shiny material as the rest of the case, your finger doesn't glide smoothly over shiny plastic. You also can't feel when you've reached the edge of the trackpad and in fact the actual sensitive area ends before you reach the edges, making it even harder to learn how to use.

    The touch sensitive volume control is also hard to use and varies wildly in how well it works, sometimes deafening you with a sudden jump in volume. On the subject of volume, since it's Vista with individual volume controls for each application the touch volume control only changes the volume of the current app. This is useless if you want to turn up the overall system volume when you're in a game. Turning the game's volume up to full is useless if the main volume is still set to a whisper!

    IIRC Alienware only offered 32-bit Vista, which means the 4GB of RAM they'll sell you will be a gigabyte short too...

    It might sound like I hate the laptop, but I don't, if you're a gamer it's excellent for games, it's incredibly powerful and very fast. Of the games I've tried so far (Gears of War, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, Sega Rally, Portal) all run with everything on maximum. It also gets over 10,000 in 3DMark06 if you're into that sort of thing. I haven't tried Crysis, but I'm sure it would make a decent job of it.

    I went for the 1440x900 screen as it has the shiny X-Black type finish that gives a much nicer picture. The hi-res screen Alienware offer doesn't have that, plus at 15" I think the hi-res screen might be hard to read. The m15X also has a non-MatSHITa DVD drive, so DVD Region Free works again (my last laptop was cursed with a Matshita drive meaning I couldn't watch any of my Region 1 DVDs).

    It also has the latest MXM slot so when the next generation of laptop graphics cards comes out it should be possible to do an upgrade. If you're a gamer, the laptop is definitely worth it, but if you don't need the horsepower for games, then you don't need anything near as powerful as this.

  2. Lee Sexton

    The most basic

    Is absolutely rubbish!. I know gaming laptops are expensive but just buying a half decent gaming setup on this laptop is ridiculously expensive. Priced me out for sure :)

  3. Moo

    Whose inefficiency is it?

    I wonder who is to blame (Alienware or Windows) for not being able to switch between the two GPU's on the run.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    Not "boy racer"!

    If it were:

    1) The lights would be underneath, reflecting off the desk.

    2) It would have an antique Celeron processor inside with a "Core 2 Extreme" logo glued over the "Celeron" one.

    3) It would have a *really* noisy processor fan so that it would sound like it had a powerful processor.

    4) The speakers would be bigger than the screen and keyboard combined, but completely incapable of reproducing frequencies above 400Hz.

    5) The keyboard and touchpad would be aftermarket leather-look items that didn't fit properly.

    6) The BIOS splash screen would be a picture of a pair of fluffy dice.

  5. Reid Malenfant
    Unhappy

    Computer games

    come somewhere between watching paint dry and waiting for planks to warp in the list of utterly pointless and futile ways of passing that, all to brief, time between birth and death.

    What a waste of technology!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Real mobile gaming means...

    a handheld which in turn means...

    The Pandora http://www.openpandora.org/

  7. Oscar

    re: I'm typing this on an m15X

    I agree with what you say on the trackpad and the volume control .. they suck goat .. err .. horns.

    Totally disagree on the screen though ... i've got the 1920x1200 and its FAT! :D Used to have an acer Ferrari with a 1680x1050 screen and, tbh, it just wasn't high enough res for me. Its not hard to read the text unless you are seriously short sighted ... Even then you can up the size of the fonts. I like having the ability to see small details as well as larger details.

    That said i do a lot of software dev and am a total whore for fitting as much info on screen as possible ...

    I do have a couple of problems .. one of the laptop speakers has started to sound dangerously like its blown and every time i come out of sleep mode ... MSN hangs good and proper ... Beyond that ... its actually a joy to use Vista on one of these beasts :)

  8. Troy Shanahan
    Flame

    RE: Computer games

    And movies come where? Between watching grass grow and people watching?

    Wait, both of those things are better than the stuff hollywood puts out. Honestly, 90% of games have better stories than movies these days.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Whose inefficiency is it?

    its neither, its an architecture issue. computers were never designed to have hot-swappable graphics cards

  10. Turbojerry

    re:I'm typing this on an m15X

    Actually it should be useful for more than games as the Nvidia 88000GTX can be used for parallel processing under CUDA.

  11. Tim

    RE:RE: Computer games

    Good films generally dont come out of holywood so you are right there but you simply cant compare computer games and films.

    You take a girl on a date to see a film. You dont take her round your mates house and watch him playng GTA4 for 10 days straight then discuss the amazing plot as you walk her home.

    Game plots are written to make interesting gaming, They are not a deep interesting story that you recommend to a friend.

    "ah mate, you have to buy gta4. its got the most amazing twist at the end"

  12. Reid Malenfant
    IT Angle

    @ Troy Shanahan - RE: Computer Games

    Curious riposte that change of direction - its the classic politicians' response. Well done, you completely evaded the issue.

    I'm sorry but, irrespective of the relative merits of Hollywood movies, TV, novels, Neolithic cave paintings or anything else you care to come up with. Computer games are still a mind numbingly futile waste of time.

    Hmm, perhaps I'm going to be told I need get in more?

  13. Greg

    @Tim

    "Game plots are written to make interesting gaming, They are not a deep interesting story that you recommend to a friend."

    Not true. It depends on the game. One of the things I look for in a game is an immersive narrative, as that's my kind of escapism. That's why I think Future Shock and Deus Ex are superior to other more modern games.

  14. Darren Lovell

    Adding to TeeCee

    7) Second hand, it would be worth less than the accessories purchased for it

    8) Brand new, it would be offered with 1 year's free insurance to attract young gamers

    9) Aftermarket additions to the bodywork would be made from half painted MDF/fibreglass

    10) It would run on a bigger screen than in was originally designed for

  15. Gerard Krupa
    Alien

    @Reid Malenfant

    Nobody's going to tell you to get in more if you're spending your time sifting through blog entries looking for things to preach about - quite the reverse in fact. Tell me which is more a waste of technology, entertaining millions of people who find computer/video games fun or venting your spleen at random audiences merely because you don't share their interests?

    Why the alien? That's (arguably) the closest icon to a troll.

  16. Will
    Go

    RE: Whose inefficiency is this?

    To be fair, what they're doing is attempting to yank hardware out on the fly, hibernating is a pretty good attempt at this; I bet if you reached into your desktop and pulled out the graphics card while it was still running it'd not go so well.

  17. Paul
    Boffin

    Also typing this on a m15x

    I've had the same problem with the volume control, but apart from that it's been okay. Except...for the slight issue when I first got the laptop after waiting a month only to find out it wouldn't charge the battery, so needed to go back in for a motherboard swap.

    Since I've had it back it's been fine, even Vista runs fast.

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