Alienware is back with a bang with the latest Alienware M17x R4. The name Alienware is synonymous with their trademark style, audacious lighting and out of earth performance. The latest version is no exception to this. The new Alienware M17x R4 looks exactly like its predecessor. It’s a shame that we included this device under laptop cos this is a 9.39 lbs monster. Alienware M17x R4 comes with a 17.3 screen, latest Intel Ivy Bridge Processor and the powerful HD 7970M graphics card. This article covers what makes Alienware M17x, one of the most powerful laptops in the gaming as well as high performance category.
Alienware M17x R4 Specs:
- CPU: 2.3Ghz Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor, 6MB cache
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
- LCD: 17.3-inch WideFHD 1920 x 1080 60Hz WLED
- Chipset: Intel HM77
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000/AMD Radeon HD 7970M
- Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di HD 5.1 w/THX Tru Studio Pro
- Speaker: 2.0 Speaker configuration audio powered by Klipsch
- Memory: 8GB DDR3-1600MHz
- HDD / SSD: 500GB SATA Hitachi 7200RPM, 32GB mSATA Samsung PM680 caching SSD
- Optical Drive: Slot-Loading Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader (BD-ROM, DVD±RW, CD-RW)
- LAN: Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet NIC
- WLAN: Killer Wireless-N 1103 a/g/n 3×3 MIMO with Bluetooth 4.0
- Card Reader: 9-in-1 Media card reader
- Webcam: 2.1MP full HD camera with dual digital microphones
- USB: USB 2.0 /eSATA 3Gbps combo port with PowerShare Technology, USB3.0 x 4
- Video/Audio Port: VGA (15-pin, D-Sub, HDMI-1.4 output w/ audio, HDMI 1.3 input w/ audio, mini-DisplayPort
- Audio Port: (3x) Auto-sensing jacks for Line-out (2 line out; 1x SPDIF/Headphone), Microphone Input jack
- Keyboard: 4-Zone, multi-color RGB, 82 key keyboard with AlienFX lighting controls
- Battery Pack: High Capacity 9-cell Lithium Ion (90whr)
- Dimension: 11.97×16.14×1.75 inches (DxWxH)
- Weight: 9.39lbs (starting)
- Manufacturer Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty (Optional up to 4 yrs.)
- Price: $2,469 (as configured)
M17x case is built like a tank constructed from high strength rock solid aluminium. The sides, bottom and back of the case have a smooth anodized aluminium finish with a smooth dry palm rest area. The aluminium lid is so sturdy that it is difficult to create ripples on the screen by pressing hard the lid. However the aluminum tough shield comes with a weight starting from 4.26Kg (9.39lbs) which is one of the heaviest for any notebooks in the market. This can still go up based on the upgrades that you decide while purchasing. The casing comes in 3 colors – Black, Silver and Red, in which Red case comes with an additional $99.
Alienware M17x R4’s display gives a full bodied luscious experience. The screen is gorgeous with a glass to glass bezel less design. It comes with 17.3 inch display with a resolution 1920 x 1080 60Hz WLED. Contrast ratio is 621:1. The color depth and richness is very good. The text is crisp and easy on the eyes. HD videos play without a hitch. No videos are perfect without good sound effects. The speaker offer rich full sound with plenty of bass. There is no tininess which you usually hear on laptop speakers. The sound volume is not loud enough to fill an entire room, but works well with a speaker connected. The gorgeous screen combined with the rich sound provides gamers and avid movie lovers a unique experience.
The Alienware M17x is powered by Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor. It comes with a nominal 2.3GHz clock speed and can be over clocked to 3.3GHz-3.6GHz speed. The Intel Ivy Bridge Processors dye is shrunk to 22nm combined with Intel’s Tri-Gate transistors is capable of even more performance per Watt. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is upgraded to HD Graphics 4000 which is integrated into the processor. It adds DirectX 11 and 16 execution units to the chip. The Alienware is also equipped with a high end AMD Radeon HD 7970M graphics card which compliments the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. The AMD GPU is a beast with 1280 pixel shaders and 2GB RAM. In short, Alienware M17x is powered by two GPU’s, one internal and the other external.
To compliment the powerful processor and graphics card, Alienware M17x R4 is outfitted with 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM. Hard disk is a 500GB (7200 rpm) SATA drive which is paired with a 32GB mSATA drive for SSD caching for maximum performance. The hard disk space is a mere 500GB in these times, but customers have the option to upgrade while placing the order.
Around the Alienware M17x R4 huge chassis, you can see plenty of space for connectivity such as 4 USB 3.0 ports, VGA, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, D-SUB, 9 in 1 media reader, Gigabit Ethernet, an optical digital output, microphone jacks, separate headphone and a dedicated headset output. There is also a dual layer Blu-Ray reader/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW drive. It seems everything is readily available there and there is no need of any add on connectors unless you are using any device which use older technology.
The keyboard area is spacious with flat keys and good tactile feedback making it very comfortable to use. Above the keyboard are a dedicated row of media buttons, Wi-Fi button and AlienFX button. Below the keyboard is a large trackpad with two discrete mouse buttons. The touch area is wide and provides lag free cursor control and responsive two fingered scrolling and pinching.
Another feature of M17x is the fully customizable LED lighting system named as AlienFX. The AlienFX button on the keyboard takes to AlienFX editor where you can customize lighting. These customizations can be done on 10 lighting zones including the Alienware logo, Alienware logo on the back of the lid, 4 zones inside keyboard, touchpad, speakers, power button and media keys. This can be customizable by the user. Alienware is currently working with game manufacturers to incorporate AlienFX into games, so that the lights can indicate ammunition, health, different stages and so on. AlienFX is also easy to switch off just by using the [Fn] + [F11] key.
A test was conducted to check the heat generated and efficiency in handling it. The system was made to work at 100% load for several hours. It was pleasant to see the core temperature didn’t exceed 83 degree Celsius. The only negative effect was the battery drained out quickly because of the load. The bulky structure leaves plenty of space for sizeable internal heat sinks, large twin exhausts and a pair of room for internal 2.5 inch hard drive bays. The rear exhausts provide the processor and GPU with dedicated cooling. With so much dedicated exhaust and fans, the noise created was bearable. The fan is almost quiet when the load is low to moderate, but it did create more noise while playing intense games.
Alienware M17x R4’s high performance components take a tool on the battery life. In the test conducted, it lasted for only 4hrs and 12mts with all the resources utilized to the maximum. Not bad for a notebook with power hungry components such as two 7200 RPM HDD and Intel quad core processor. M17x has a feature “Stealth Mode” which allows using the internal graphics card and disabling the high performance graphics card. In this case, Intel HD Graphics 4000 is activated and AMD Radeon HD 7970M will be disabled. With less bright screen, it gave me an additional 1hr 54mts.
Alienware M17x R4 Review
Alienware M17x R4 is a heavyweight in the world of laptops. This one is not cheap. With a powerful processor like Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor which can clock up to 3.3GHz and powerful internal and external GPUs and with 8GB DDR3 RAM, this model is definitely to going to blow your mind. So if you are looking for a powerhouse which don’t take desktop space and you have enough money to invest, Alienware M17x R4 is well worth buying.