The Intel Core i7 upgrade for the Alienware M11x is well worth it (in some games)

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Clerarly the older processors are OK for most games, but I was amazed by the performance improvement of the Core i7 640M processor over the older Pentium SU4100 (even overclocked at 1.7 GHz) in some games, namely Shattered Horizon and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. So if you can afford it and don’t mind losing some battery life (45 min of Internet use), go for the Core i7 option.

Update: Looks like Dell has released a software update that gives an extra 45 minutes of battery life, so the Core i5/i7 models get much closer to the original Pentium/Core 2 Duo version.

Short news: new AMD platform for laptops, more ATI graphics in Alienware notebooks and Macbook updated

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

During the week I was at Chicago without my laptop (!!!) there were some interesting news:

109 new laptops with AMD’s latest platform

The 2010 platform for notebooks has better energy efficiency and includes quad-core Phenom II processors and low voltage Neo processors. In addition the integrated graphics Mobility Radeon HD 4250 are a good improvement over the older HD 3200, but still far from low-end dedicated cards such as the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 or Nvidia GeForce 310M. This platform has been embraced by many notebook manufacturers and is being used in 109 new laptops, such as the Dell Inspiron M301z and many Pavilion laptops from HP.

More ATI graphics in Alienware notebooks

It is not yet clear if the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFireX is actually available for the M17x or not (until now most orders have been cancelled by Dell), but now the M15x is available with the HD 5730 and 5850 in addition to the older Nvidia options. Have a look to the graphics cards comparison.

Apple Macbook updated

The plastic Macbook has been updated with the same hardware than the 13-inch Macbook pro blanco, but the price has gone up too, so it’s now much closer to the aluminium model.

Finally! Alienware M17x available with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFireX

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

While the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is already available in other laptops such as the Asus G73JH or some Clevo models, the Alienware M17x is first with the CrossFireX dual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870. As usual, let’s wait for some benchmarks, but the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is the fastest graphics card for laptops, and by a good margin, so the CrossFireX configuration can be awesome…

Update: As Portables4Gamers points out, the dual 5870 option has disappeared!

Alienware M11x launched and reviewed

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

So the 11.6-inch gaming notebook Alienware M11x is finally here! This is a very powerful beast for so tiny a size (4.5 pounds)!

Alienware M11x

It’s already available for preorder from 799 USD in the US and from 749 GBP in the UK (for other countries have a look at the official announcement) with the basic configuration of an Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100, 2 GB RAM and 160 GB HD @5400 rpm (320 GB @7200 rpm in the UK). Going for an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, 4 GB RAM and 320 GB HD @7200 rpm is going to cost you 1024 USD (868 GBP in the UK). And of course, the Nvidia GeForce GT 335M 1 GB GDDR3 in all configurations.

The small gaming laptop has already been reviewed at Hardware Heaven and IGN Gear, and both are very impressed by the machine, that ran all the games thrown at it flawlessly at high settings, and battery life was almost 6 h of general use!

In my opinion it’s a great, great product. But I’m concerned about the ability of these CULV processors of running CPU-intensive games and scenarios, such as GTA4, Battlefield Bad Company 2, 25-man WOW raids and so, that maybe you would considering to do in thes ultraportable.

For more information, the forum members of Notebook Review have compiled a good amount of info about this small laptop in the Alienware M11x official thread.

Core i7 processors available for the Alienware M17x

Monday, January 18th, 2010

So the Alienware M17x has been updated with Intel Core i7 processors (and Core i5; please note the i5 and the i7 620M are dual-core processors). You will have to wait a bit more for the update to ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870, probably until mid- or late-february, at least that’s the ETA of the Asus G73JH according to Xotic PC.

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5800 series to be launched at CES 2010 (starts January 7th)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

At least Fudzilla says so, and it seems reasonable based on earlier rumors. Alienware is expected to release a Core i7 refresh of its M17x in the first half of 2010, so if you are looking for the fastest gaming laptop, save your money a bit longer.

Update: Acer has confirmed one model with the 5850.

Is Alienware preparing a 23-inch laptop?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I seriously doubt it, but a Dell agent at the Dell US Chat seems to have mentioned a 23-inch Alienware laptop to be announced in a month or so. It could be only an attempt to distract the customer. In addition, I can’t think about many reasons to need such a big laptop (well, maybe using desktop graphics cards). The biggest ones I have seen are 20-inch, and they were really huge, anything bigger would be mad.

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 in the Alienware M17x is GDDR3 instead of GDDR5

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

It seemed some kind of typo because in some countries it was stated as being GDDR3 and in some others as GDDR5, but at the moment all the users that have got their M17x with CrossFireX 4870s have GDDR3 modules on it.

Performance data is very scarce at the moment, but it seems that the performance of the 4870 GDDR3 CrossFireX is very close to that of the GTX 280M SLI. If the ATI configuration is cheaper than the Nvidia one in your country, that’s OK.

Update: Dell has confirmed they are GDDR3. GDDR5 memory seems to generate too much heat.

Laptop reviews: Acer Aspire 5738PG, Alienware M15x, Toshiba Satellite T135 and others

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

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Dell Latitude Z600 with wireless dock and charger, HP Envy 13 reviewed, Alienware M17x gets Mobility 4870, ATI Radeon HD 5850 reviewed

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Many interesting news while I was away… Here you have a few of the most interesting:

Dell launches the Latitude Z600

I’ts a very slim 16″ business laptop (4.5 lb) with some innovative features:

  • Wireless docking station: you can use an external monitor, keyboard and mouse without actually plugging them or a conventional docking station to the laptop, the laptop is connected to the docking station wirelessly. It is a costly upgrade (349 USD), but very convenient and innovative.
  • Wireless charging: you don’t have to plug the laptop to a power outlet to charge it, you just have to put it on the charging base. It is expensive also (349 USD).
  • 2 internal SSDs: so you can choose 2 256 GB SSDs inside, for a total of 512 GB of ultrafast (and very expensive) storage.
  • Latitude ON: a more advanced version of older instant-on Linux-based minimal operating systems such as Splashtop, focused on business applications.
  • On the negative side, RAM modules are soldered to the motherboard (so you are bound to 4 GB DDR3, but that is enough for most business users), and the videos show some keyboard flex (but the Engadget folks found it excellent).
  • More information: Dell USA, Dell UK, Direct2Dell, Engadget

HP Envy 13 reviewed

The first reviews are appearing. It seems an awesome laptop, but with weak spots such as an awfull touchpad. Read them at:

Alienware M17x gets ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 GDDR5 option

Both single and CrossFireX. In some countries the pricing is very good (cheaper than the GTX 280M but providing similar or even higher performance). Also the card can shown as a 4850 instead of 4870 but seems to be a typo. In case you are interested on this configuration, wait a bit so possible typos are fixed and some benchmarks appear.

More information: Dell USA, Dell UK, Notebook Review forums

ATI Radeon HD 5850 reviewed

It is not a laptop card and I am not going to upgrade soon (I purchased a 4670 Ultimate recently), but according to the reviews it has an excellent price/performance ratio and idle power consumption, so maybe in the future… I hate not being able to play Crysis on High :) Read the reviews:

Some places to buy the ATI Radeon HD 5850: