Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Alienware M18x

Superior in every way. Tired of the typical desktop computer sits on the table? Do you want a replacement running? The new Alienware M18x fits the bill. This 18-inch model is not only visually impressive, also packs the latest hardware under the hood. A complete desktop replacement of daily life?

18-inch laptops are usually a lot of attention to Garner. However, thanks to the simultaneous release of 14-inch Alienware, M14x, and a massive 18-inch M18x, advertising is not a problem. As usual, the M18x can generally be defined in the manufacturer's website, before buyers make a purchase.

The latest generation of Intel quad-core (Sandy Bridge) is located within the M18x. The basic configuration, the Core i7 2630QM installed laptop. However, buyers may want to update 2720QM, 2820QM or very expensive fee 2920XM. Video: Three options for buyers.

The first is a GeForce GTX 460M, which is a bit 'slow for hardcore gamers. Dual-GPU would be more suited to the buyers. Collection CrossFire Radeon HD 6970M (faster), or two GeForce GTX 460M GPU SLI, to meet the players crazy.

DDR3 RAM does not drag down the rest of the system. RAM 4096 MB of sums ranging from over-the-top to 32 GB (8 GB, although there are more than enough). What is difficult to choose the most difficult decision. With a classical-7200 rpm to fight for users 'attention' to hybrid models (combination of magnetic storage flash storage) and a modern SSD (Solid State Drive).

Two RAID drives are possible. 64-bit Windows 7 Home Basic, Professional or Ultimate operating system are available. Film lovers should choose the optional Blu-Ray drive (for burning CDs and DVDs). WLAN and Bluetooth does not require a fee, and is already installed on your notebook.

Basically, M18x is designed for gamers with thick wallets. Base configuration costs € 1999. Our well-equipped 4449 model was equal to - the updates are usually very expensive.

Specifications Alienware M18x :

  • Processor : Intel Core i7 2920XM 2.5 GHz @ 4.2 GHz
  • Mainboard : Intel HM67
  • Memory : 8192 MB, 2x 4096 MB DDR3-RAM (1333 MHz), max. 32 GB, four slots
  • Graphics adapter : AMD Radeon HD 6970M Crossfire - 2x 2048 MB, Core: 680 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, GDDR5-VRAM, 8.800.6.1000
  • Display : 18.4 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, SEC5448, FHD, WLED, glossy: yes
  • Harddisk : Samsung SSD PM810, 256GB
  • Soundcard : IDT 92HD73C1 / 92HDW74C1 / 92HDW74C2 @ Intel Cougar Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
  • Connections : 1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 2 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: 2x jack, 1x Line-out/headphone (incl. S/PDIF), 1x Line-in/microphone, Card Reader: SD,SDIO,SDXC,MMC,MMC+,MS,PROxD,SDHD,SDHC,
  • Networking : Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (agn), 3.0 Bluetooth
  • Optical drive : HL-DT-ST DVDRWBD CA30N
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 54 x 436 x 322
  • Weight : 5.64 kg Power Supply: 1.54 kg
  • Battery : 96 Wh Lithium-Ion, 12 cell
  • Price : 4449 Euro
  • Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
  • Additional features : Webcam: 3.0 Megapixel, Power adapter: 330 W, Manual, Mouse pad, Kappe, Samttasche, Sticker(Alienkopf), Recovery-DVD, Resource-DVD, Resource-Media-DVD, Applications-DVD, Roxio Creator Starter, PowerDVD 9.6, 12-48 Months Warranty.
CaseAlienware laptop out from the crowd with its fabulous luxury event and optical (a crowd pleaser). Buyers can choose to order the model is in red (Red Nebula) or black (Black area).

The surfaces of cases (Notebook Cover, sides and bottom) are supposed to be made of anodized aluminum. But the region has a hand rest comfortable rubber coating. All in all surfaces, leaving a high-quality printing. The finish is generally good, although it has some minor flaws. However, it is only visible if you take a magnifying glass to the laptop.

The case gets dirty easily, thanks to its durable surface. Only the glossy screen is a victim of fingerprints and dust. Robustness of the case leaves no criticism, although a strong case, pushing down does not make it to bend. Only a very tightly wound hinges could have been designed better. Although the opening of the access point swing in one screen and shaking the base station to cause the screen to wobble.

Alienware is commended for its extensive lighting elements. Keyboard, touchpad, and many other items can be transformed into all sorts of colors. So even working in the dark, will not be a problem. Transport frequently the case will be impossible because of its size (43.6 x 32.2 x 5.4 inches) and weight (5.64 kg).

Connectivity and communications

Alienware M18x is equipped with the latest ports in order to make a good desktop replacement. It includes comprehensive connectivity options on the left side, four audio jacks, three video ports (VGA, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort), Kensington lock, an RJ-45 Gigabit LAN port, two fast USB 3.0 interface.

The right side has two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA / USB 2.0 combo and an HDMI port. Alienware has a 54 mm ExpressCard slot and a 9-in-1 card reader above the optical drive. The front is free of ports and the rear exit only. We would have been completely satisfied if a FireWire port had been included.

The location of the interfaces is good. Like most ports are located relatively far back, use an external mouse to be possible without problems. However, the placement of some ports in the back were nice.

Wireless Communication
WLAN / b / g / n and Bluetooth 3.0 are installed beginning M18x. Optional Centrino Ultimate N-6300 module provides 450 Mbit / s, while the cheapest 6200 module provides 300 Mbit / s.

Software installed
The buyer need not fear that the M18x will be delivered with tons of bloatware. With the decision not to install unnecessary software Alienware, the laptop is able to start out of the box to its maximum speed. The included CyberLink PowerDVD 9.6 can be used to play Blu-Ray directly, without requiring expensive additional software.

The heart of the software installation is called the command center. This power saving option (AlienFusion), lighting (AlienFX), touchpad (AlienTouch) and macro keys (AlienTactX) configurable.

The provision includes lots of extras. The package includes, besides the 330W power supply (1.54 kg) and 12-cell battery, in-depth manual, black hat, a good mouse pad, and a nice sticker. The same notebook is hidden in a nice cover. Delivery is packaged in round five DVDs (including DVD creation tool).

The lifetime warranty can vary from 12 to 48 months. Hardware support in the following working day is an interesting option. In addition, the company also offers accident insurance for a premium.

Input Devices

Please input devices are a gaming notebook. An external keyboard is not necessary for M18x, such as the white keys is limited, which is a nice size 18x18 mm, giving a feeling of comfort while typing. Pressure and stroke are also some good distance and the type of noise is acceptable.

The presentation is nice. Alienware included five macro buttons on the left side of the keyboard. The user will need time to get used to these keys as a result of their location, the main part of the keyboard is also slightly shifted.

This will cause a lot of mistakes while typing at first, but the user will soon become accustomed to the expulsion. The robustness of the keyboard is unfortunately not good. There are many locations where the keyboard can be pushed inward.

The touchpad can be somewhat sunken and disabled are good. We really like the large size (99 x 56 mm) and smooth surface. The touchpad is very easy to use and comfortable.

The accuracy is great and vertical scroll bars and horizontal function without any problem. Multi-touch input is not activated by default and must be activated using the system commands. The two mouse buttons should also be improved. Click the method seemed rather indefinite.

Alienware laptop uses 18.4-inch WLED screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and glossy surface. Resolution of 1920 x 1080 is not surprising, and a branch of the Full-HD entertainment talk. Thank you for your big screen diagonal (46.7 cm), movies and games you can really come to life.

The quality of images has been installed SEC5448 panel is great. An average brightness of 221.9 cd / m², is more than enough for indoor use. Due to the low value of 0.36 black cd / m², dark areas are not the ugly gray stripes. Contrast with the value of 736:1 to win the competition that offers very little equipment.

The image was of exceptional quality, and all media can be displayed well on screen. The test of the color space M18x is good sRGB space is completely covered. Only the lighting was second-rate: 74% is rather poor, but in practice this does not seem to be a problem.

Surface glossy screen can provide a better quality of color, but then the user must deal with a variety of distracting thoughts. Incorrect positioning of the laptop can cause strong reflections. In extreme cases, the user must move or darken the room. Personally, a matte screen is a better choice.

However, a good viewing angle stability to compensate for the reflections. Horizontally, the picture remains perfect even large angles. Vertically, the distortion of the image appear more quickly, more and most of the competition is worse stability.

The best performance "- which seems to have been motivated Alienware had during the creation of this laptop's wide range of high-end hardware available for the M18x is proof of that Alienware completely ignores the dual-core processors and quad takes - .. hearts of the generation of Intel Sandy Bridge to the future value.

Core i7 and Core i7-2630QM 2720QM quad-core CPUs provide a good return sufficient for most applications. more expensive models provide little benefit. equipped Alienware our test model with the fastest quad-core CPU they had.

The Intel Core i7 Extreme 2920XM series is produced and, like all other processors Sandy Bridge, in the form of 32 nm. The extremely high performance delivered by this process is due to its large 8 MB L3 cache (usually processors are among 6.3 MB). Some programs even use the "hyperthreading" which simulates virtual cores, four cores and more real. This means that the processor can simultaneously process up to 8 threads.

The best feature is the view of the high clock speeds. The CPU is running a respectable 2.50 GHz, right off the bat. Until the internal temperature of the truck and stay within the limits of the laptop, the CPU clock speed can be increased up to 3.50 GHz - 1000 MHz for growth! This is all thanks to a large overclocking BIOS is set, the Core i7-2920XM can be accelerated even more.

There are three aspects of practice, increasing the processor speed, as our test model, up to 4.20 GHz. Power consumption is also a TDP of 55 W. weaker upper quad-core processors have a TDP of 45 W.

Super: Alienware does not forget the integrated graphics chip (HD Graphics, 3000). Fn-key combination can be changed, this chip that saves power and therefore increase battery life. Unfortunately, the switch will require restarting the laptop.

CPU Performance

Deals with the M18x CPU benchmark as the walk in the park. In single-core Cinebench R10 rendering test 64-bit reference value, the popular Core i7 2630QM (Alienware M14x), it is not possible with 6346-4574 points, the Core i7-2920XM is led by 39%. Even in multi-core rendering, a higher clock speed played a big role: 23134-16545 points - plus 40%. Of course, at stake every day, the impact on CPU is less.

Graphics: AMD Radeon HD X2 6970M

The M18x has to offer a pair of faces of the latest graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire (Nvidia and AMD, respectively) to match the performance of the fastest desktop GPU.

ATI Radeon HD 6970M CF is currently the fastest dual-GPU combo after the 485m GTX SLI. AMD DirectX 11 6970Ms are ready and are code-named "Blackcomb XT". They are made in 40 nm process. The graphics cards are more than 960 Unified Shaders, and at the same time the core is 680 MHz, RAM 2048 MB of GDDR5 video memory clocked at 900 MHz memory bus is a well-designed 256-bit. This is almost never used in full.

Dual GPU configurations offer many advantages, the most important is the higher performance (up to 100%). However, these high performance configurations also come with some drawbacks. For example, the "micro stuttering" caused by a dual GPU system (caused by the difference between the two images created by the graphics card), can be quite annoying in some cases.

Subjectively, you can see in the M18x, as the Radeon HD 6970M FC runs fast enough to handle most of the time (micro stutters are clearly visible when the frame rate drops below 30 fps). Another problem with SLI or CF systems is their heavy dependence of the drivers. This is usually clearly visible with the latest games, they still lack the proper drivers.

The result: the second graphics card does not improve performance or even slow down performance. Furthermore, the use of energy and temperature increase in emissions, which also leads to the loudest noise emissions.

SLI or Crossfire systems are generally for buyers with an obsession for the best possible performance and to achieve this objective, which are often willing to put more money and download the latest drivers on a regular basis.

GPU performance
M18x GPU performance is above the levels of other phones. GeForce 6970M FC offers excellent performance and is currently only GeForce GTX 485 SLI can beat him. Bech field in 3DMark Vantage (1280 x 1024), the system scored 20,126 points CF, while SLI combo (Schenker XMG U700 Ultra) scored 23,082 points with a desktop processor in the same test (15%).

Nvidia architecture "Fermi" offers a better "mosaic" of performance (a vital part of DirectX 11). This statement is confirmed by the results of Heaven Unigine 2.1 benchmark (1280 x 1024). NVidia GeForce GTX SLI placed 485 m above the Radeon HD 6970M FC with 78.5 to 63.9 fps (23%).

SSD Performance
As mentioned above, if the M18x can accommodate up to two hard drives. Alienware offers a wide range of storage solutions: everything from hard drives, SSDs and hybrid models, is available for purchase. Buyers can further customize storage devices together in a RAID level (0 = performance increase, reflecting =).

Our test model included the PM810 Samsung, one of 256 GB SSD (Solid State Drive). The SSD provides great performance as evidenced by the SSD as a reference point. Hard disk can only dream to read and write the types of 253.95 MB / sec 246.22 MB / sec. The access time of a typical SSD is about 0.5 ms (hard drives around 20 ms).

Verdict performance
The implementation of the desktop PC M18x tremble with fear. All tasks are performed quickly and accurately, and pushing the notebook to its limits is very hard. A quad-core processor and two high-end graphics cards to ensure a high quality performance and lasting value.

Thanks to the built-in SSD, the M18x very few records broken. 18,908 points in the PCMark Vantage is a clear sign that Alienware has done something good. That's what buyers should expect portable desktop replacement par excellence!

Gaming Performance

Wie Wir Testen - Leistung
It has been opposed to the Radeon HD 6970M SLI CrossFire system against GeForce GTX 485 m times, a detailed comparison. So in this test, instead of trying a variety of games, we tested four popular games and the last.

Crysis 2
The game performance hungry ego shooter, Crysis 2, has set many standards and is one of the main obstacles to a mobile graphics card. A resolution of 1920 x 1080 and the "Extreme" will force most laptops to their knees. But GeForce 6970M FC beat fiercely, and manages to deliver an average framerate of 43.3 fps, a very good result. The use of a single GeForce 6970M showing lower rates to 30 fps.

Call of Duty: Black Ops
The M18x dealing with the slightly outdated graphics engine of the popular Call of Duty easily. 4x anti-aliasing (AA), 8x anisotropic filtering (AF), Full HD resolution and detail level "Extra" has no problem with the GeForce 6970M FC: the laptop runs the game at 94.8 fps . Nvidia GeForce GTX 485 SLI manages a score of 119.0 fps (26%).

Starcraft 2
Blizzards sequel to successful players to enjoy the splendor of the M18x. Intro scene of the operation, "To Swarm," has gone well, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and set the "Ultra". ATI Radeon HD 6970M CF to run faster than the GeForce GTX SLI in this game 485m: 82.3 to 65.9 fps (Nvidia GPUs to run 25% slower).

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Even the eternal call of duty DICE competitor failed to break M18x. The game was removed from the park with a chassis 93.4 fps, despite the high values ​​of 4x anti-aliasing, 8x anisotropic filtering, full HD resolution and high detail. The competition SLI is a bit faster with 96.8 fps.

Verdict gaming performance
Players will cry with joy when they see the completion of this 18-inch beast can deliver. AMD Radeon HD 6970M FC has enough juice to run the latest games at maximum resolution and medium detail. Graphic enhancement features such as anti-aliasing can be enabled without any problems. The two graphics cards promise to deliver great performance for the next few years, so that the buyer does not have to worry about future games.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485 SLI AMD Crossfire solution beforehand, but the AMD graphics offer a better price-performance ratio. However, potential buyers to take a good look at jobs, before deciding on this laptop because there are many computers that offer just as good results at a much lower price.


Noise Emissions
This is one of the few weaknesses in the M18x. Under load (3D games and applications), the cooling fans operate at a clearly audible. The noise emission level, you can even drown in the noise of the quiet kind of games (adventure or strategy). At full load, the M18x is extremely noisy - at a distance of 15 cm, which is about 54 dB (A) (serious).

The notebook is a nice, quiet performance, while less demanding programs (office, internet, video, etc.) are underway. Radiator fans even turned off completely at times. When the laptop is in sleep mode, the fans run cooler temporarily resealed. This can be annoying, and prefer to have them always running, but a quieter level. Noise-sensitive users are not likely to be very satisfied M18x.

M18x good results in this test. In standby mode (off the dedicated GPU), the surface heats up the base station to a modest 31 ° C. What is surprising: the average temperature sinks indeed when the Radeon HD 6970M CF are active and the handset is loaded. However, the surface heats up a bit 'of about 32 ° C, which is still relatively low. Hand Lay-bys are a lot of heat, and so is suitable for M18x gaming sessions longer.

The team had to be tested in a test of stability, a few hours later (Furmark and Prime). While the processor has performed as expected, one of the two graphics cards to reduce their clock speed of 680 / 900 MHz at 100/150 MHz temporarily. This "limitation" only occurs under realistic conditions (at full load for several hours), so the user does not have to fear a loss of performance in everyday use.

The sound system of the M18x was created in cooperation with the company of Klipsch. Alienware has installed two speakers (in front of the laptop) and a subwoofer (in lowercase). The sound quality of this 2.1 speaker system is good enough. Compared to other laptops, the sound is big and strong.

The bass is clearly audible. The high volumes helps to increase the audio experience. In short, the external speakers are not necessary. All users who still want to connect external speakers, no doubt be happy with the output of "surround" sound (5.1 analog and digital over HDMI 7.1 or S / PDIF).

Battery Life
Most gaming laptops can not deliver the run-time high. Fortunately, the M18x is not part of this group. Thanks to the sharp 12-cell battery (96 Wh) and the design of automatic switching technology, the laptop can also operate without the electrical outlet for long periods of time.

The life of the battery when the laptop is idle, is particularly impressive. We used the test of Battery Eater readers and found a rate of six hours and 16 minutes (minimum and all power saving options enabled).

The laptop only lasts 3.75 hours when used to browse the Internet via WiFi module, with an average maximum brightness and energy saving options. Mobile Movie playback is also possible with the M18x. Our DVD test ran a total of 3.5 hours.

However, when Crossfire is enabled, the battery life runs away. The dining room of conventional battery test showed a result of 57 minutes with a maximum brightness and minimum energy-saving options. Therefore, the use of high-definition graphics Intel 3000 is recommended for users who are constantly playing.

The power consumption varies greatly depending on which of the two graphics solutions are currently active. Intel HD 3000 Graphics makes the laptop consumes 19.2 to 28.2 watts at idle, and 67.1 to 132.1 watts in load. AMD Radeon HD 6970M CrossFireX system lead to higher power consumption of 39.9 to 53.0 W (idle) and 182.7 to 315.9 watts (peak). This level of power equivalent to a desktop PC.

At first we were skeptical about the M18x. Alienware 18-inch "monster" does not really fit into any of the current trends, and most buyers do not go beyond 17-inch range. However, when the depth tested this handset, we must conclude that the M18x is a great potential.

Of course, the laptop large and heavy (more than 5 kg!). As a mobile gaming platform is out of question. However, the performance offered by this laptop has no equal in the world laptop. Whatever the task, he can do M18x. Thank you to Sandy Bridge Intel and AMD Crossfire system (two Radeon HD 6970Ms), gamers play all games in more detail.

M18x offers much more than a good result. Screen and sound system are both very good and extensive contacts are offered high quality necessary to ensure that work well M18x to replace the computer desktop every day. Another positive feature is the large battery, which is achieved by switching technology graphics.

The M18x has very few errors. In addition, its heavy weight and large, the noise is a problem for noise-sensitive buyers. Otherwise, this laptop luxury office replacement is very well designed by Alienware. The M18x sets standards for other phones. But if Alienware M18x is more useful than a desktop PC is an issue that can not be answered by the buyers themselves.

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