The Dell Alienware M18x, like its smaller siblings M11x and M14x, is stuffed with all the most up-to-date and powerful components. An Intel Core i7-2630QM is installed as standard although the hardware is fully customizable. The basic Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M is somewhat run-of-the-mill for most serious gamers, who might prefer the twin-GPU solution – two GeForce GTX 460M cards yoked together in SLI mode. Possible memory ranges from 4GB to – wait for it – 32GB. Available hard drives range from various 7200rpm models to hybrid systems to pure SSD rigs, or even two RAID hard drives. The test unit came with Windows 7 Home Premium, but Professional and Ultimate are also configurable. The basic config starts at 1999 euros. Our test unit came in at 4450 euros.
The show-stopping anodized aluminum case is offered in either Nebula Red or Space Black. For comfort, the palm-rest is coated with soft rubber. Workmanship is faultless, and the M18x feels solid and durable. Enjoy these Alienware M18x pics:
The Alienware M18x measures a herculean 17.2 x 12.7 x 2.1 inches and weighs a whopping 13 pounds.
Connectivity options for Alienware M18x are first-class, no less than four sound jacks, three external display options (VGA, HDMI and miniDisplay port), an HDMI-in socket, two USB-3 sockets, two USB-2 ports, an eSATA/USB-2 combo, an Express card slot and a 9-in-1 card reader. No Firewire interface, though. WiFi/n and Bluetooth are standard, and the optional Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 delivers 450MB/s, whereas the cheaper 6200 gives 300MB/s download speeds. Check out these Alienware M18x pics depicting the ports and a keyboard:
The familiar light show means the Alienware M18x keyboard, touchpad, and various sidelights are configurable in 16 million colors.
Bundled software is kept to a minimum. There is a restore DVD for a good, clean manufacturer’s settings wipe, should you need it, and the standard guarantee is extendible to 48 months.
The large 18 x 18mm white-trimmed keys offer good travel and feedback, so even marathon keyboard sessions on an Alienware M18x laptop are pleasant. Five macro keys are included up top, for defining your own shortcuts.
The roomy 99 x 56 mm trackpad features a smooth surface and is precise and responsive. The 18.4-inch full HD 1920 x 1080p glossy WLED display renders films and games vividly and crisply. Blackness and brightness are both excellent, giving an unobjectionable 736:1 contrast ratio. The RGB color spectrum is fully covered on M18x, and good viewing angles mean the glossy display isn’t a problem for outdoor use.
M18x Audio output – two speakers and a subwoofer – was developed in conjunction with Klipsch, giving good volume with audible bass. Surround-sound 5.1 provided in case you want to connect external speakers.
The 2.5GHz i7-2720QM CPU on the test model will satisfy all but the most dedicated gamers. BIOS overclocking options allow it to be further accelerated to 4.2GHz. The test unit featured a 256GB SSD, delivering transfer speeds of 250MB/s. Rating this set-up in benchmarks is tough, but at HD resolution and extreme settings Crysis2 plays smoothly at 43fps with the SLI config, and even with the Radeon HD 6970M Crossfire extreme settings are no match for the M18x.
M18x 12-cell battery and Optimus switching gave 4 hours 45 mins with moderate use. Three and a half hours of video looping is darned impressive.
Ability to play the newest games at maximum settings and resolution is probably to be expected for over 4000 euros, and all in all the Alienware is about as future-proof a notebook as money can buy. So what is there to complain about with? Lack of Firewire? Not really. Perhaps the price. Amazon sells nicely loaded
Dell Alienware M18X laptop with case for $2,349.
Enjoy this promo video courtesy of notebookcheck
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