Alienware M15x Performance, Benchmarks and Conclusion

November 18, 2009 by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (133,428)

Performance and Benchmarks
The M15x makes an impressive showing thanks to its state-of-the-art components. The Core i7 920XM is an extremely expensive option but also the fastest mobile processor at the moment. The GTX 260M is one step down from Nvidia’s top-end GTX 280M card.

Wprime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

Crysis gaming benchmark (1600×900 and high settings):

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo benchmark (1920×1080, high settings, and 4X MSAA):

Borderlands benchmark (1920×1080, high settings):

HDTune storage drive performance test:

The M15x produces high numbers all around and is a potent gaming notebook. It can play the latest titles at high settings with ease thanks to the Nvidia GTX 260M graphics card and Core i7 processor. This is one of the very fastest machines reviewed here at NotebookReview.

Heat and Noise
A high performance notebook like the M15x needs a high performance cooling system to match. Heat is expelled from the notebook through two large vents on either side of the back. At idle the M15x is essentially silent; under load it makes a considerable amount of noise; the noise is a combination of rushing air and fan whirr. The fans fortunately do not have an annoying tone; it can generally be ignored as background noise. The M15x gets no more than lukewarm on the surface; the bottom and sides around the vent get borderline hot the touch but nothing concerning. Component temperatures measured with HWMonitor are more than acceptable:

Battery Life
Six- and nine-cell batteries are available. The nine-cell is required for the Core i7 920XM processor and has a rating of 85Wh. With minimum brightness and “Stealth” low-power mode enabled, I achieved one hour and fifty-five minutes of battery life. To give an idea of how much power the M15x consumes, a traditional Dell consumer notebook with a 15.6-inch screen and an 85Wh 9-cell battery lasts over twice as long.

I estimate the six-cell battery will last around one hour, so for any unplugged freedom the 9-cell is a good option. Note that the nine-cell battery sticks out the bottom, which makes it somewhat inconvenient to carry but raises the notebook up slightly into a more ergonomic position.

Conclusion
The M15x is a well-rounded 15.6” gaming notebook with extreme performance. Its physical appearance and AlienFX customizable lighting system are truly unique. The full HD 1080p screen is terrific. The keyboard feels good and the build quality is generally top notch. We have some reservations – the poor touchpad surface, heavy and large form factor for a 15.6-inch notebook, and lack of HDMI – but for those willing to swallow the price tag ($3,274 as configured), the M15x is sure to deliver a rewarding experience.

Pros:

  • Unique design and lighting
  • Stunning 1080p display
  • Very high performance and build quality

Cons:

  • Mile-high price tag as configured
  • Larger and heavier than typical 15.6” gaming notebooks
  • Poor touchpad surface
  • Has DisplayPort but HDMI would be preferred


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