Two of the most popular mainstream gaming notebooks come together in our head-to-head battle; we review the pros and cons and pick a winner.
The full NotebookReview.com reviews are found here:
Alienware M17x R4
Those interested in gaming notebooks have performance as a key buying factor. The Alienware M17x R4 comes out on top because it offers a faster video card than the ASUS G75: up to an Nvidia GTX 680M with 2GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory. The G75 by comparison offers a GTX 670M; it's still a fast card but not as fast. Both notebooks come standard with the Nvidia GTX 660M graphics card, a reasonable mid-range performer.
These notebooks are otherwise similar in offerings; up to an insane 32GB of RAM via four memory slots and providing two internal drive bays, making it easy to do a Solid State Drive (SSD) and large hard drive setup for the best of both worlds. They also offer the same selection of Intel Core i7 quad-core processors, the fastest on the market.
The design and build quality argument can go either way, having spent considerable time with these notebooks. The Alienware undoubtedly has a flashier design; its customizable AlienFX lighting system is truly unique and can be configured in an unlimited number of ways. The ASUS is designed to resemble a stealth military aircraft; it has a tapered chassis design and sharp angles. The Alienware's chassis is closer to a spaceship than a stealth aircraft; this is especially evident looking at the front speaker grille design.
The ASUS and Alienware have respectable build quality and are more or less on par with each other. Plastic is the primary construction component; the ASUS mixes in a bit of aluminum in the keyboard surround but that's it. We'll have to call this section a tie.
Top-end multimedia notebooks like these are expected to have all the bells and whistles for connecting to storage devices, TVs and so on. Both ntoebooks include four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports and a built-in optical drive but the Alienware takes the cake because it includes HDMI in and out. The HDMI in port means that the Alienware's display can be used just like a TV with an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 hooked up.
These notebooks include a backlit keyboard with separate numeric keyboard but the ASUS' keyboard has noticeably better tactile feedback. The G75 is improved greatly in this respect compared to its predecessor, the G73. The Alienware's keyboard is by no means bad but has a rather generic feel.
The display is another hugely important factor on a multimedia notebook. The ASUS gets the win here for two reasons; the first reason is that it comes standard with a 1080p (1920x1080) resolution; on the Alienware it's an optional upgrade from the base 900p (1600x900) display. The second reason is that the ASUS' display has an anti-glare surface; this is much more practical than a reflection-producing glossy display as found on the Alienware. Glossy displays attract the eye on a display shelf but that's about it.
The most underwhelming factor of the ASUS is its speaker system; it's terrible and not appreciably different than the tinny speakers most notebooks come with. The Alienware includes two large speakers designed by Klipsch which sound fantastic and can entertain several people in a room.
The ASUS takes the cake here too; it's not that the Alienware's cooling solution isn't effective but it sure makes a lot more noise than the ASUS. Even under full load the ASUS' cooling system remains quiet and unobtrusive. The Alienware's cooling solution can be heard across a small room.
And the winner is?
This is one of the tougher decisions I've made in a comparison article but the winner here is the Alienware M17x R4. It's the faster gaming notebook because it's available with a faster graphics card (up to the Nvidia GTX 680M). Its customizable lighting system and overall design are totally unique. The ASUS wins in some places -- the keyboard, the fact that it has an anti-glare display and a quieter cooling system. It's not enough to make us pick it over the Alienware considering the other game play factors. Despite this conclusion, in reality it's practically impossible to go wrong with either of these notebooks.