Performance and Benchmarks
Performance is the other major buying factor for an Alienware notebook. The Alienware 14 packs a tremendous amount of power for a 14-inch notebook, incorporating a 4th-gen Intel quad-core processor, 2GB Nvidia high performance graphics card, 16GB of RAM and two storage drives. There’s more or less nothing this notebook can’t handle, including all modern 3D games. The specifications are as high-end as the price; our review model ends up being nearly twice as expensive as the base model. Major contributors to the price are the 1080p display, Nvidia GTX 765M graphics card, 16GB of RAM and 256GB mSATA SSD + 750GB hard drive combo. I’d strongly recommend upgrading the warranty to a three-year with accidental damage protection if you’re spending this much on a notebook. The excellent benchmark scores speak for themselves; in short the Alienware 14 packs a crazy amount of power that beats out most notebooks short of the 17.3-inch gaming monsters like its bigger brother, the Alienware 17.
Our review model of the Alienware 14 has the following specifications:
- 14-inch display (1920×1080 resolution, IPS panel, anti-glare surface)
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ quad-core processor (6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz Turbo Boost)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics card w/ 2GB GDDR5
- 16GB DDR3-1600 RAM (2x 8GB; max. supported)
- 256GB mSATA SSD boot drive (LITE-ON LMT-256)
- 750GB 7200RPM secondary hard drive (Western Digital WD7500BPKT)
- Blu-ray slot-load reader
- Broadcom 4352 802.11n/ac wireless LAN
- Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
- Integrated HD webcam
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 13.3″ x 10.7″ x 1.6″
- Weight: 6.1 lbs.
- Starting Price: $1,199
- Price as Configured: $1,949
wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall system performance (higher score means better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher score means better performance):
Crystal DiskMark storage drive performance test (C-drive on left, D- on right):
Heat and Noise
The Alienware 14 has a large fan exhaust port at the back left of the chassis. The fan remains off while performing most basic tasks; at low speed it’s all but inaudible. The chassis remains warm all over, even at idle, but thankfully remains relatively cool on the bottom. One benefit to a thick chassis is the ability to use a larger (taller) fan – it can move a lot more air without spinning at insane speeds (we’re looking at you, Razer Blade). The Alienware 14’s fan has no whine as a result; the fan sounds more like a rush of air at high speeds than anything. Overall the Alienware 14 has acceptable sound levels even running full tilt.
To test battery life, we use our new Powermark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.
Powermark “Balanced” battery life test results (higher scores mean better life):
Most gaming notebooks we test score between two and three hours in this test; the Alienware 14’s time of two hours, 25 minutes is therefore about average. The notebook performed better than expected in the productivity test at four hours, five minutes. We imagine the Alienware 14 could be pushed to six or more hours of runtime in real life with the screen brightness on minimum just performing basic tasks (such as taking notes in class).