Alienware M14x review

Price when reviewed

Just when you thought all laptops were looking the same these days, Alienware’s arresting M14x grabs the attention. It oozes brooding menace, finished all in soft-touch matte black and illuminated by its backlit keyboard and glowing chassis lights. Its sculpted figure owes as much to supercar design as to the average PC hardware.

Alienware m14x - AlienFX lighting array

It doesn’t only trade on its looks, either: at 2.87kg the M14x weighs more than some 17.3in desktop replacements. That will put a serious dent in plans to lug it around in a bag, but the heft also makes for a resoundingly sturdy chassis. There isn’t a hint of give in the base and all we could grapple out of the rest was a slight flex in the display’s hinge. It’s a monster.

That such design comes with a daunting price tag is hardly a surprise, but don’t write it off yet: the M14x is a class act. The quad-core Core i7 CPU powered it to an overall score of 0.81 in our Real World Benchmarks, and the 256GB Samsung SSD makes for a system that boots into Windows with impressive haste.

This isn’t the main focus, though. The M14x is designed with power-hungry gamers in mind, and they’ll be delighted to learn that the Alienware doesn’t disappoint. Thanks to an Nvidia GeForce GT 555M chipset, the M14x eased its way to 45fps in our Medium Crysis test at 1,600 x 900, leaving room to up a few settings while keeping things playable. It was only once we pushed up to a Full HD resolution and High detail that Crysis slowed to a juddery 21fps.

Alienware m14x - front

Despite all that power, the Alienware M14x also has stamina. Optimus graphics-switching technology allows Intel’s integrated graphics to take the helm during less frantic moments, so the M14x lasted a surprising 6hrs 17mins in our light-use battery test. With every CPU core running flat-out with our looping Cinebench test, and the Alienware’s display pushed to its maximum 290cd/m[sup]2[/sup] brightness, the M14x lasts just 1hr 10mins.


Warranty1yr on-site

Physical specifications

Dimensions337 x 257 x 40mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-2630QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM67 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 3000 / Nvidia GeForce GT555M
Graphics card RAM3.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSamsung PM810
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Battery capacity4,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 17min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 10min
3D performance (crysis) low settings108fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.81
Responsiveness score0.82
Media score0.84
Multitasking score0.76

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedN/A

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