The last incarnation of the Alienware M17x was dogged by feeble battery life and a high price. The new version is perfected in every department, doubling the performance of its predecessor. Let’s first take a look at some pictures.
The distinctive grille is present again, and the lid now proudly sports a soft-touch finish. The new M17x is slimmed down at 16 x 11.9 x 1.8 inches, partly explained by the need to accomodate just one discrete graphics card instead of its predecessor’s two. It weighs in at 9.6 pounds, down from 11.6.
Backlit media buttons form part of the lightshow that is the Alienware M17x – the keyboard, logos, fromt grille and even trackpad circumference can all be changed to a variety colors to suit your fancy.
The 17″ 1920 x 1080p panel renders perfectly vibrant, sharp images and viewing angles are very near 180 degrees in either direction.
The 2MP webcam produces smooth and accurate video.
The Alienware M17x’s stereo speakers deliver very good if not fabulous audio. They could use a little more bass.
The keyboard is largely unchanged, with large responsive keys, and the touchpad is a roomy 3.9 x 2″ with a smooth surface for unimpeded gliding. Multitouch gestures are of course supported.
The built-in WirelessHD transmitter allows you to beam Blu-Ray movies or games to a large-screen TV, streaming data at up to 4GB/s across a 30-foot range.
For connectivity the Alienware M17x offers a prodigious selection of ports. VGA and HDMI sockets, miniDisplayPort, a S/PDIF jack, and microphone and two headphone jacks. Then there’s the Blu-Ray drive, 3-in-1 moemory card slot, eSATA/USB, and two each of USB-2 and USB-3 sockets. Oh and an HDMI-in port so you can use the screen for PS3 or XBox 360 gaming.
The Alienware M17x is powered by a Sandy Bridge 2.3 GHz i7-2820QM CPU, with the new 32-nm single-die architecture which makes for much-improved integrated graphics performance, whenever you should use it. The second-gen i7 CPU is backed by 8GB RAM and a big fat 256GB Samsung SSD. Overall performance on benchmarks is phenomenal, three times the category average for multitasking, and the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OS boots in an unmatched 29 seconds.
Opening, minimizing or closing apps, movies or anything else is instantaneous on the Alienware M17x and the 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card means gaming frame rates are double the average for its sector. Even the integrated graphics solution can manage current games on ‘good’ settings! There’s auto-switching between discrete and integrated graphics when unplugged, though lack of NVidia’s Optimus gives a brief blackout on the display during switches.
5 hours of battery life under moderate usage, thanks in part to the said switchable graphics, was fine for a notebook with such high specs.
To sum up, an extremely handsome notebook with stunning performance. The Alienware M17x is quite simply magnificent. Priced at $3300.
Please check our our review of Alienware M11x as well.
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