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  • GeneVostok - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I wish you'd have reviewed the 14 instead upgraded to 1900x1080 matte IPS and the 765GTX. But you've already done two of them :). Reply
  • ananduser - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    So what? They've reviewed 3 macbook airs one after another. There's nothing stopping them reviewing their 3rd Alienware, the 14"-er.

    Sorry for the troll.
    Reply
  • stacey94 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Because the Air is a trendsetting product will have much wider appeal than any Alienware? What's wrong with that?

    There's nothing new about this Alienware model...it's just a spec bump. The new MBAs bring some insane battery life numbers, while sporting a better chipset than most competitors.

    I'm expecting a very detailed review of the Zenbook UX301 from Anandtech as well. It's the bellwether for HiDPI ultrabooks.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Silly fanboy: "The new MBAs bring some insane battery life numbers, while sporting a better chipset than most competitors."

    Reading Anand's own review, the MBA barely has a chipset that is equally performing to their own last gen version. Where did you get the better chipset from ? It's more frugal but it's not faster.
    Oh and btw, Anand didn't review any other ultrabook so you cannot make your comparison, not yet.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - link

    Ugh, that's depressing if the Air actually has wider appeal. I hope that's not the case.

    These Alienware systems actually just seem like good mid and high end systems, back before the race to the bottom of everyone offering low end CPUs with no GPU.
    Reply
  • gandergray - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I second the motion for a review of the Alienware 14. (As always, thank you producing quality content.) Reply
  • blanarahul - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Name one person who has bought this Portable Desktop. Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    A lot of people will. Just because you do not see a need does not mean others wont. I bought the original M18X on day one and never looked back. Was a great system for 15 months when a GPU died and Dell refunded the entire thing for me since they would not have a replacement part for a month - extremely high quality customer service. I did not have to fight, bicker, waste time, or anything with them - they just said "yep, we are not getting more for a month so will give you a 100% refund", keep in mind that was on a 15 month old no longer cutting edge system that was heavily used. The Next Business Day On-site warranty on the Alienware notebooks continues to wow me and keep me an Alienware customer (I have my 4th one now). Reply
  • SniperWulf - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Me. Except I went with a Sager for this buy. I bought last years NP9370. GTX 680M with an i7-3630QM, 16GB RAM and all the trimmings. Cost came in at around $1800. Some months later I bought the second 680M for another $600. At $2400 its hard to beat, especially when compared to the Razer Blade (awesome engineering, total waste for the $ if your after performance). Couple that with the fact that I can throw it in a bag and head over to a friends and get damn close to the performance out of this that I do out of my desktop and its a win/win. Reply
  • stacey94 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    12 bounds? I think you're going to have some back pain issues later in life. Reply
  • stacey94 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    pounds* Whoops Reply
  • SniperWulf - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Maybe so, maybe not. I frequent the gym enough for it to not be an issue. I've carried military equipment that was much heavier further distances that I'll ever carry this thing. Reply
  • SniperWulf - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Oh, and the machine itself doesn't weigh 12 lbs. Maybe my bag with all my crap it it does. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    @blanarahul

    I bought the M18x R2.

    Specs: CPU i7 3920XM, which I've had up to 4.7GHz, but typically run @ 4.4 or 4.5GHz for everyday use. Dual 240GB SSDs in RAID0, dual 7970Ms, 16GB 1866MHz (clocked at CAS9), and 1TB for storage.

    With all graphical settings maxed-out, I hit the 200fps limit in Black Ops 2, frequently.

    Ignoring than the initial AMD drivers we had, and the glossy non-IPS display I have, I'm absolutely loving it. Looks wonderful on the big screen.

    As mentioned, the customer service is w o n d e r f u l, and most importantly for me - worldwide. As a frequent traveler, I cannot have a desktop, and this fits my needs wonderfully.

    Nice talking point in the office with new clients too.

    I will definitely upgrade to the newest M18(2, whatever) when Broadwell is released - Just so long as the IPS panel is still available.

    And that is voting with your feet.
    Reply
  • punko - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Bought one in February. I need a portable workstation, not an ultrabook. If you want something to sit cooly on your lap while you flip through facebook at an airport lounge, this isn't it. If you want to have something with serious chops, then this works. Myself, I find the screen a tad lacking in quality in comparison to my other 18", ASUS W90 VP , but performance is top drawer. Reply
  • Mondozai - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Comparing it to a mini-ATX kind of misses the point. Good luck taking a big desktop monitor with you in a handbag. It is for people who move around a lot and game on the go. Judged as that it is a great piece of hardware but most people would never buy it (including me) but that is beacause we do not have those needs. Comparing it to a mini-ATX does make me suspicious of your judgement, though. It is not a desktop PC, so why do you fail that test of common sense? Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    The mITX comparison is aimed at lan party gamers. A monitor and an mITX system can easily be carried in two trips; and if that's all you need your portable gaming for a few extra minutes walking for a thousand dollars savings. Unless your portability needs include being able to fly with it, or to troll coffee shop workers a tiny desktop is able to match most of the usecases for something like this. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Um...did you read the final paragraph? All we're saying is that if you just want a really fast and somewhat portable PC, there are alternatives to a maxed out SLI notebook that cost a lot less. "You lose a healthy amount of portability, but we're talking about thousands of dollars, too." A review done in a vacuum (i.e. not looking at other potential alternatives) is missing the point of a review, and so we include some desktop performance figures and mention the pricing of desktops so that readers who may not be as versed in the hardware scene at least get an idea of where performance stands. Reply
  • tim851 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I'm with you, Jarred. Desktop numbers need to be in the benchmark IF ONLY to give one a reference point. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Agreed. I'd like to see a desktop equivalent performance card in more mainstream gaming laptop reviews too. I could dig through bench or multiple articles to figure out what the closest desktop equivalent to a single 770M is; but being able to put it in context easily would be nice. Reply
  • Pathfindercod - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Ive had my 18 for a month and my 14 for 3 weeks. My 18 has the 4800 cpu, 780 sli, 16gb ram, I took out the stock 750gbd hd, put two 512gb Samsung 840 pros' and a Plextor 256gb mSATA. I absolutely love this 18, it is pretty amazing for a laptop. My 14 is quite impressive for a 14" laptop, the 1080p panel is great IMO. I did calibrate them with my Spyder 4 Elite, but they are great panels in both of the machines. Reply
  • Pathfindercod - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Oh and Alienware cant seem to keep up with demand... This is my first real Alienware computer and im happy i decided to get one. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Conspiracy!

    Notice how the 780M scores 7,970 points in Fire Strike? 7970. Yeah, right!

    (tongue planted firmly in cheek)
    Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I wish the panel was 2560x1440 or something high-res in that respect. Even a 120hz panel would have been better than the IPS. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    In most games it looks like 780m SLI wouldn't be fast enough to feed either of those options reasonably well. Only half the games scored well above 60 FPS, and since going to 2560x1440 would roughly double the amount of work very few would be playable at the higher resolution.

    Depending on what, if anything, the new consoles do to put upward pressure on the performance of top level systems we might be able to do that with next years die shrunk mobile GPUs. Then again if new games end up doubling the amount of GPU they demand we'll still be stuck in the same situation. Maybe nVidia/AMD will get 3way GPU support working well enough to create even more massive laptops that could do it in that case.
    Reply
  • kogunniyi - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    How does your impression of the build quality of the 17/18 stack up with that of any of the workstations you have tested? Reply
  • boeush - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    In concordance with what xTRICKYxx posted previously, I also find the measly 1080p resolution on an 18"+ laptop monitor, just plain offensive. Never mind that it's a glossy monitor, and with a rather ho-hum color gamut and contrast to boot -- in a system that (when fully tricked out) costs $4,000+ (not including tax and shipping...) The monitor on this thing is nothing short of a flat-out insult.

    Never mind that the chassis is over-sized for both the monitor and the keyboard (or, conversely, the monitor and the keyboard are under-sized for the chassis.)

    And really, who the hell needs 32 GB or RAM? And who'd need the hard drive when there's 512 GB of SSD available? These seem like pretty stupid choices to me. I'd rather have that space taken up by a larger battery (maybe something like 50% larger): lord knows, the chassis is big enough to accommodate it!

    On the whole, this design seems like a bunch of cost-cutting compromises and design block reuse, in a system that's supposed to be a top-of-the-range, aspirational, halo product. FAIL
    Reply
  • boeush - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Oh and also, forgot to mention: why, WHY, would anyone configure a premium performance-oriented system like this, with DDR3L-1600 memory??

    Seems to me, 2400 ought to be the minimum here (and yes, 16 GB of RAM would still quite suffice at least for the next 5 years or so...)
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Probably because that's the fastest sodimm widely available. Mobile memory isn't generally available in faster than official JDEC speeds. I just checked Newegg, they had 84 sodimm items at 1600, 9 at 1833, and none at higher speeds. The low number of available sodimms at that speed means Dell would probably be concerned about sustaining availability if they offered them. The lower voltage doesn't really do much in laptop as power hungry as this, but it doesn't hurt either; and it's probably significantly cheaper for Dell to use the same 8GB dimms in this beast as the other 99% of 16GB laptops where the lower voltage is a benefit. Reply
  • boeush - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Well, DELL being an OEM (with rather large production volumes), ought to be able to source the memory it needs directly from manufacturers -- without having to go through retail channels (and eat the retail markup) like Newegg. Apple does it, and its customers pay the premium for the resulting premium products. That arrangement makes sense. Alienware wants to charge a premium for its product, but cuts corners on design costs? FAIL

    Also, even if 2400 is for some reason impractical using today's manufacturing processes, at least provide 1833 if not 2133 -- both of which are actually available even through the retail channel (and really, there is no point in going with low-voltage memory on a performance-oriented laptop with friggin' SLI...)
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Considering that Dell didn't have the 780m's in the review model available to order when the article was published due to a supply shortage any argument that begins "Dell ought to be able to source X" is clearly suspect. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Yes, not far off pal.

    2133MHz is availabe in sodimm, but runs at a lazy CAS12. That I can do with my 1866MHz sodimm, but I keep it at 1866MHz, and CAS9. I do however have to run it at 1.6V.

    Here:

    Manufacturer Kingston Technology Company

    Manufacturer Part Number KHX21S12P1K2/8

    Manufacturer Website Address http://www.kingston.com

    Brand Name Kingston

    Product Line HyperX PnP

    Product Name 8GB 2133MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL12 SODIMM (Kit of 2) HyperX Plug n Play

    Product Type RAM Module
    Reply
  • madmilk - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    DDR3-1600 is fine. The big bandwidth hog is the iGPU, but no one cares about a couple extra percent in iGPU performance on a laptop with discrete graphics. Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    I read some German magazines who have the tendency to run gaming benchmarks every year or so, and its been a long time since you could get any relevant performance boost out of higher than normal DDR speeds with an INTEL CPU. All you get from 2400 vs 1600 is about a 2% to 4% boost in performance, if you're lucky.

    As far as what kind of memory you will need in 5 years, that is total guessing on your part. Game developers will use what is widely available, and with the new generation of gaming consoles getting a big increase in memory, and PC systems starting to look at 8GB at the low-end configuration, it is entirely possible that a game released in 2015, 2016 will happily use up 16GB of memory when set to high settings. Nevermind the fact that a lot of people have plenty of background tasks running on their machines when gaming. Personally I am happy with 16GB right now, but I would not mind getting 32GB on a laptop which I would plan to use for 3-5 years.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    While the amount is debatable, I'm almost certain the type answer for 5years from now will be DDR4 for anything new. It's expected to finally launch with Haswell-EX next year; with Skylake bringing to the mainstream in 2015/16.

    Having recently bumped against 12GB in my aging LGA1366 box, I'm intending to go directly to 32GB in my Haswell system and hope that continued CPU stagnation will let me just buy new GPUs until 2017 or 18.
    Reply
  • Pathfindercod - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    the low voltage 1.35v ram is the ONLY ram the mobile haswell chipset supports, they had no option. Reply
  • Pathfindercod - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Glossy is the only option available from lcd manufacturers in the 18.4 inch size. Reply
  • prophet001 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Why do they put all these weak resolution screens on notebooks nowadays. Reply
  • brucek2 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    a) on a gaming machine like this, you can't exceed the resolution your GPUs can drive. So 1600p is out.

    b) on mass market machines sold at retail, consumers will in part base their decision on how the screen looks to them. The default approach of Windows and its applications to a high resolution screen in a tiny amount of space is just to make everything look really, really tiny. So the customer moves on to the next unit.

    c) Cost. Always a factor. Even if just to draw the customer in to a discussion that will soon result in upselling to a better display, you need that base model with the lowest possible cost to even get started.
    Reply
  • boeush - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    a) You can always scale down the resolution while playing games. However, the resolution would really come in handy when surfing the web, playing back UHD movies (which will start showing up over the next few years), working with documents, etc.

    Why is it that people insist on $4,000 super-beefy notebooks being used *only* to play games? If you're going to spend that much money, wouldn't you want to maximize the utility of what you get??

    b) This is definitely **not** a mass market machine! It is a highly-specialized, niche product for hard-core enthusiasts with a lot of money in their pocket.

    c) Are you serious? This is Alienware we're talking about. Cost is not a factor here, since it's a foregone conclusion that you'll pay way more just for the brand alone, relative to comparable designs from any other company...
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Your original question asked about "all these weak resolution screens on notebooks nowadays", so it sounded a lot more like a question about the industry in general than this about particular machine. Reply
  • cjb110 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Sorry but (a) is a terrible suggestion, given the lack of upgradability the machine should be built as a whole unit. For years gaming laptops have always suffered as they couldn't drive the panels they were paired with. Downscaling looks obviously crap, so kudos to Alienware by sticking with a panel their machine can actually game on. Reply
  • boeush - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    "Downscaling looks obviously crap..."

    Why should it? In reality, it is upscaling. For instance, you render the game at 1920x1080, then scale up the result to 2560x1440 (if that's the actual display resolution, which IMO is what should be the case on an 18''+ high-end notebook!) As long as the aspect ratio is the same, the up-scaling will work well without any image distortion (and if done right, may even provide an additional antialiasing effect.)
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    re: win7/8, I just now got a sales email from Dell. The big promo in the subject line? the usual Not -X% off, or +X% power, or FREE <gizmo> -- but

    "Want Win 7? Swap it out for free during Summer Clearance"

    Promos of course are about telling customers what they want to hear, not necessarily about establishing truths. But still very telling that their research convinced them that this would be the most important selling point in a new system now.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - link

    Looks to me like a play at getting a few extra bucks by selling some old Win7 keys they have lying around to people who don't realize that Win7 offers nothing over Win8. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    The m18x is a truly superb machine if you like to goto your buddies and lan party it up. In that respect it is very portable. But like the article suggests it's much better building a mini itx system. I sold my m18x and used the proceeds to build a mini itx bitfenix prodigy setup.

    I got a i7-4770k OC'd to 4.8Ghz on all cores HT and turbo disabled. With the awesome Asus z87 mini itx boards. Cooling the CPU is a simple corsair h100i with 4 fans in push pull. 140mm exhaust in the rear and large 200mm intake fan in the front. 4 rad fans are the high static pressure noctua 120mm's and the rear is a 140mm noctua. Always use noctua fans they never let ya down. I've had the same 120mm noctuas for 4 years now and they are still as silent and deadly as the first day I got em. Xigmatek fluid circulative bearing 200mm fan for the intake is also dead silent.

    PSU was a tough find. The problem is 160mm just barely fits and if you want a modular psu you need to go down to 140mm. The only modular psu with atleast 600 watts at that size was a silverstone. Luckily it does exist. I'm not a fan of dual GPU setups but I splurged and got a titan. If it wasn;t for getting a titan the sale of my m18x would of covered the whole build and a more modest gtx 770 but with next gen gaming around the corner and the new systems using up to 5GB V ram per game the Titan was the best future proof choice.

    For storage we have the wonderful 512GB Samsung 840 Pro and a 4tb Seagate NAS model drive for its superior noise level. Paid only 250 dollars out of craigslist for the SSD it's also where i got my dell u3014 for 515. No optical drive installed the radiator on the top blocks it but who needs an optical drive really. Hvae an external usb 3.0 dvd burner in the house somewhere if I really need to use a disc.

    As you can see selling the m18x r1 (I had it upgraded with gtx 680m in SLI and the triple pipe heatsink from the R2 extreme edition up from the single pipe the r1 came with and it had the i7-2960xm overclocked to 4.1ghz) led to me having a WAYYY better mini ITX set up. The single gpu titan with an overclock to 1067mhz and memory at 6.2ghz performs more fluid than the gtx 680m setup and even with the gpu's fan cranking up it's still much quieter than the laptop. CPU speed is a very large increase as well. So dustin is very much correct you can just build a mini itx system and put to rest the large heavy gaming notebooks.

    The future of gaming notebooks is something like the razer blade 14 3rd generation. 6.5 hour HD video battery rundown time and impressive 1600x900 native resolution gaming in a package at about 4 pounds and 0.66" thick all the way around, no fatter bumps. It can have longevity like an ultrabook but also have gaming muscle. For 2000 with a 256GB mSATA SSD it's the way to go if you must have a gaming laptop. Other then that usage get a mini itx system + a cheaper haswell ultrabook with a good 8 hour battery life.
    Reply
  • thesavvymage - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    why would you buy the 4770k and then disable HT? Might as well have gotten the i5.... Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I second that question. Especially for somebody who was looking for cost-efficient gaming, the 4670K would have made more sense.

    Then again, working hard to get an ITX gaming system, and then taking a 30", 24lbs monitor along with it doesn't make a whole lot of sense either.
    Reply
  • 5150Joker - Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - link

    Hate to break it to you but if you compared benchmark results of your 680M SLI OC'd with an unlocked vbios, it would be nearly as fast as the bitfenix mini-itx system you built while being much better for portability. Furthermore, you could have upgraded that M18x with 780M SLI and when OC'd matches a Titan. Reply
  • 5150Joker - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    This review lost all credibility when the author tried comparing the M18 to an ITX desktop. Reply
  • scook9 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Was wondering where you were ;)

    Ya, it is apples and oranges. But with the expensive desktop replacements people always make the comparison. He left out the screen, UPS, mouse, keyboard, speakers, lighter weight, can be started up anywhere not just at a wall, etc. The list goes on and on. Can you carry on a Mini ITX desktop and use it in flight? There is also a nice benefit to not having to sync your digital life between a laptop and desktop (assuming that most people still want/need some element of mobility) since you can have one high power system that is also mobile.

    It is actually surprisingly easy to make the choice to spend $4k on a laptop :)
    Reply
  • cjb110 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    For a certain market (that your obviously not in) its a valid comparison point.
    Also utterly harmless to the review as a whole.
    Reply
  • Trippynet - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who's disappointed by the appearance of a glossy panel. Matte panels FTW! Reply
  • Pathfindercod - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    I am a photographer and use the 18 for gaming and photo editing. I generally hate glossy screens. But this one on the 18 really isnt that bad. its glossy but not over the top wet paint type gloss. It actually is nice IMO and im coming back over from the Mac side back to windows 7..... Reply
  • Maiphet - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    It would be more applicable to most people if manufacturers sent review configurations that were more in the middle of the spectrum. There's a huge gap between the base model's $2k and the review model at almost $4k. Manufacturers want people to know what their high end systems can do, but most buyers won't spend that high. Maybe companies could send 2 models, and the reviewer could touch on all the same points, but include the second set of benchmarks for anyone without $4,000 burning a hole in their pockets. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - link

    Man, if I win the lottery I'm getting an 18 lol. Sooo crazy but I can barely afford the 17. Reply
  • katherine0james - Wednesday, October 02, 2013 - link

    my parents in-law recently got an awesome red Lincoln MKS Sedan just by part time work online. site here...>.. http://CuttR.it/tvtmbce Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, November 08, 2013 - link

    Ugh, I'm soooo tempted by this. Obviously cost is the main factor (might as well get two GTX 780s if you're doing it) but also I'm worried about finding a bag that fits it. My M17x-R4 was tough enough to find a bag for. And the thing is, mine is perfectly portable, it's not the size or weight, it's just most bags fit 15" and that's about it...

    So awesome to see that a second 780 can actually come close to doubling performance in some games. That's sure different from how SLI started out!
    Reply
  • orlbuckeye - Monday, February 10, 2014 - link

    Dell has a bag specifically desinged for the Alienware 18. It's also desinged to be TSA security friendly. Reply

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