Alienware M17x Performance, Benchmarks and Conclusion

September 2, 2009 by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (189,142)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance and Benchmarks
Our M17x has the Intel Extreme QX9300 processor that can be user-overclocked. We ran each benchmark at the stock 2.53GHz clockspeed, and also at an overclocked 2.93GHz speed. Pressing [F2] at startup enters the BIOS and allows for overclocking. We used the stock Nvidia 179.85 video card drivers for all testing.

CPU-Z Processor Readout
Below are the specifications of our M17x?s QX9300 processor when overclocked to 2.93GHz.

wPrime Processor Performance Benchmark (lower scores mean better performance):

The QX9300 is the fastest mobile processor in the world ? these results are exceptional for a mobile processor. It is possible to get notebooks with faster desktop processors (the AVADirect Clevo D900F), so the M17x will not win every battle.

HDTune Hard Drive Performance Benchmark

The 1TB drive is actually two 500GB 7200RPM hard drives running in a RAID 0 array. The performance results are amazing but these performance benefits do not materialize in everyday tasks. I noticed no difference between the 1TB RAID 0 array in the M17x and the traditional 500GB hard drive in my own laptop.

PCMark Vantage Overall Performance Benchmark

PCMark Vantage x64 Stock 2.53GHz Overclocked 2.93GHz % Difference
Score 5614 6010 7.1

PCMark Vantage x64    Stock 2.53GHz    Overclocked 2.93GHz    % Difference
Score    5614    6010    7.1

Overclocking the processor yields a 7.1% performance improvement. A 6,000+ point score is more than double what a typical mainstream notebook gets.

PCMark05 Overall Performance Benchmark (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark05 is an older benchmark and gets more of a boost from the processor overclock than PCMark Vantage, which is newer.

These are extremely impressive results, but the Clevo D900F soundly beats it thanks to its faster Core i7 processor. Almost 10,000 points is nothing to be ashamed of though!

Synthetic Gaming Performance using 3DMark06 (higher scores mean better performance):

Gaming applications will not benefit as much from a processor overclock as an overall system benchmark like PCMark Vantage, so the performance increases we see here are accurate. These scores are the fastest we have seen on a notebook.

We patched Crysis to v1.21 and ran it at a 1920×1200 resolution with all settings at ?Very High?

Crysis 1.21 Stock 2.53GHz Overclocked 2.93GHz % Difference
Average FPS 28.45 28.43 0.0

Talk about insane ? running Crysis on any machine two years ago at Very High settings was near impossible. Today, the M17x can do it at the ultra-high resolution of 1920×1200. Wow!

Stalker: Clear Skies
We ran the Stalker: Clear Skies benchmark at a 1920×1200 resolution, default settings, and full DirectX 10 lighting.

Stalker: Clear Skies Stock 2.53GHz Overclocked 2.93GHz % Difference
Average FPS 47.6 50.9 6.9


Stalker CS results (default clock speed)

Stalker CS results (overclocked)

Overclocking the processor boosts the already excellent performance by seven percent.

Devil May Cry 4
We used the Devil May Cry 4 Demo?s built-in benchmark and ran it at 1920×1200 in DirectX 10 mode, maximum settings, and 8X anti-aliasing.

Devil May Cry 4 Stock 2.53GHz Overclocked 2.93GHz % Difference
Average FPS 115 112 -2.6

The M17x destroys this game; the slight performance decrease when overclocking the processor can be attributed to benchmarking error.

As our benchmark numbers show, the Alienware M17x is the fastest gaming notebook on the market. It is not as fast as the Clevo D900F in processor-dependent applications since it has a much more powerful Core i7 desktop processor, but for gaming, the M17x with dual GTX 280M video cards is as fast as it gets.

The M17x is without a doubt a superb gaming notebook, leading the desktop replacement market in build quality and design. The M17x has an effective cooling system that kept it cool during our testing, and we liked the AlienFX lighting system and different case color options. The switchable graphics are handy and equates to good battery life (2:15). Our biggest issue with this machine is the subpar screen, which is out of place on a machine of this caliber. Other than the screen we found it difficult to fault the M17x and give it our recommendation.


  • Great design and superb build quality
  • Stellar gaming performance
  • AlienFX lighting system and case color choices
  • Effective cooling system
  • Decent battery life (2:15)


  • Subpar screen
  • Options add up quickly



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