Alienware M14x review

£1810
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.

Warranty

Warranty 1yr on-site

Physical specifications

Dimensions 337 x 257 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 2.870kg
Travelling weight 3.6kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-2630QM
Motherboard chipset Intel HM67 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000 / Nvidia GeForce GT555M
Graphics card RAM 3.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 256GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung PM810
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Battery capacity 4,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 17min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 10min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 108fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.81
Responsiveness score 0.82
Media score 0.84
Multitasking score 0.76

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied N/A

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