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Laptops Reviews
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Alienware M17x review

From £1748.99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Alienware

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Alienware may have lost some of its street cred since it was taken over by the Dell corporation, but by the looks of the new Alienware M17x review, it still turns out some pretty impressive gaming gear. Read our Alienware M17x review to find out more.

The Alienware M17x certainly looks the part. It’s built like a tank – big, sturdy and heavy, with the gratuitous glowing lights and glaring speaker grills that are Alienware’s eye-candy trademark. The 17.3in screen pushes the weight of the unit well over the 4kg mark, so you certainly won’t be carrying it around on your should very often. See Group test: what's the best high-end laptop?

Despite that, the M17x is well-designed and comfortable to use when you’re settling in for a long gaming session. The large screen provides full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, with excellent image quality – although the glossy, reflective screen coating can be annoying.

The size of the screen also means that there’s plenty of room for a large, comfortable trackpad and keyboard, along with a handy set of additional buttons for controlling media playback and activating the AlienFX utility that provides a range of customisation options. We were also pleased to see that the M17x ran quiet and cool through all our tests. The only minor disappointment was the speakers – which are fairly loud, but produce a rather tinny sound at higher frequencies.     

There are plenty of build-to-order options for the M17x on Dell’s web site, including a variety of graphics cards from either nVidia or AMD. We tested a model that costs a hefty £1749 that comes equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i7-3210QM running at 2.3GHz, 8GB RAM. A 500GB hard disk is given a bit of a boost by an additional 64GB solid-state module. Dell also tell us that they’ll be giving that processor an Intel speed-bump to 2.4GHz early in the new year  at no extra cost.

The i7 chip includes Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000, and our unit included a separate AMD Radeon 7970M, a graphics processor that produced the best all-round results in our various performance tests. The M17x managed a strong 57fps when running Batman: Arkham City at 1920 x 1080 resolution with DirectX 11 and High graphics detail plus anti-aliasing (AA).

It also hit 59fps when we dropped to 1280 x 720 resolution and Medium quality settings, as well as taking top place in our other tests with Stalker, Hard Reset and the more general-purpose PCMark 7.

Battery life isn’t too bad either, given the size and power of the M17x. We got 2.5 hours when streaming video using the built-in Wi-Fi and the AMD Radeon graphics card. You could also extend that significantly by switching to the integrated Intel graphics for non-gaming tasks. It’s a shame, though, that you have to reboot to switch between the two GPUs – most laptops that have switchable graphics can do so on the fly.

Alienware M17x Expert Verdict »
Dell Alienware M17X i7 500GB 4GB Scores 8.7 out of 10 based on 103 reviews
Processor: 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, quad-core (3.3GHz Turbo)
Graphics: Radeon HD 7970M, 2GB/Intel HD 4000
Display size and type: 17.3" (1920x1080) glossy LCD
Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Storage: 500GB HDD + 64GB SSD
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
Ethernet: Gigabit
Optical drive: Blu-ray/ DVD±RW combo
Video out: VGA, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n (Intel 2230)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
Webcam: 1080p
Speakers: Klipsch stereo speakers
USB: 4x USB 3.0
eSATA: 1
Trackpad: 97x55mm, two-button
Other software: Alienware Command Centre
Battery: 90Wh, Lithium-ion, removable
Dimensions (WxDxH): 410x304x44.5mm
Weight: 4.26Kg
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

There’s no doubt that the M17x is one of the most powerful gaming laptops currently available. However, in the form we tested it, it’s also one of the most expensive, with a price tag well over £1700. The machine’s sheer size and weight may also deter anyone looking for anything portable.

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