Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review of Alienware m15x

I have always wanted to get an Alienware computer. I heard about them in 2000 and thought man those are sweet, but expensive. Never was down with the desktops. I am not saying they suck, it's just I have always built my own and that's what I prefer to do with my desktops. Thought the laptops were fu-gly, until i saw this silver, Ripley design. I fell in love with it. So about a month and a half ago I ordered one.

First impressions. Well I must say when you get this thing via FedEx, becomes quite the un-boxing. At first the box is black (go figure). When you pull it out it is securely bundled up. I could have probably thrown this off my roof and it would have been fine (kids don't try that at home). So in the box is the laptop (obviously) a leather case which holds the documentation, software disks and an "Agent ID" card. I felt very much like I was one of the Men In Black. You can now call me Agent L. Anyway, the box also has a hat (which I would never wear) and the power supply. So far I am very impressed with my experience thus far.

My setup is as follows:
  • Design & Display: Silver Ripley Design
  • Display: 15.4" WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD (1200p)
  • System Lighting: Alienware® AlienFX® System Lighting
  • Video/Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® Series - 512MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8700M GT
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz (6MB Cache 800MHz FSB)
  • Operating System: Windows Vista® Ultimate (64-bit Edition) with Service Pack 1
  • Memory: 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz - 2 x 512MB
  • System Drive: 320GB 7,200RPM (16MB Cache) w/ Free Fall Protection
  • Optical Drives : 8x Dual Layer Burner (DVD±RW, CD-RW)
  • Wireless: Internal Intel® Wireless 4965 a/b/g/Draft-N Mini-Card
  • Sound Card : Internal High-Definition Audio with surround sound
  • Keyboard Options: AlienFX® Illuminated Keyboard
This thing is heavy, but it has a lot under the hood. The screen is amazing. I have been playing Crysis & Unreal Tournament 3 on this thing. Everything is set on high and this thing does not skip a beat. For those gamers who don't like bringing the whole rig to a Lan party this is for you. The lighting system is cool looking. You can change all parts of it to change colors for different things. Let's say when I open Ableton Live 7 I want the keyboard to turn green, and the screen trim to turn yellow. I can set that profile up in the software that comes with it. It has many configurations and many colors to choose from. Now the motherboard can handle 8 gigs of ram but at prices ranging from $240-$350 per 4 gig stick, well I will hold off until that number drops.
One disappointing thing about it is the case of the laptop seems very weak and thin. My assumption will go to the fact that to probably keep the weight of the laptop down this was necessary. Another part I don't really care for is the screen/lid part. When I type it kind of bounces a little if that makes sense.

Over all I liked it so much I got a friend of mine to get the 17 inch version. For me the 15 was good enough for my needs. If I need any bigger I would just use my desktop because that sports dual 22 inch monitors. It did live up to all the hype for all these years of waiting. One thing for sure is that whenever I pull this thing out at a coffee house, people do look.