Alienware M11x Ultra-Portable Gaming Notebook Sneak Peek - HotHardware
Alienware M11x Ultra-Portable Gaming Notebook Sneak Peek

Alienware M11x Ultra-Portable Gaming Notebook Sneak Peek

During the Consumer Electronics Show which took place in early January of this year, we showcased a myriad of upcoming products in our coverage of the event. Of the literally thousands of things we saw at CES, however, we'd consider only a handful of them to be truly stand-out products. One of those geek-lust worthy products, at least in our opinion, was the slick Alienware M11x.

We gave you somewhat more than a glimpse of the M11x in our
close-up look at the machine at Dell's display at the show, but we've now got one in house and will finally get to put it through its paces on our home turf...

  
Alienware M11x: Top and Bottom Views

Our initial thoughts on the final production model of the Alienware M11x is that it is even better than the engineering sample shown at the show. The metal casing of the machine is as sturdy and rigid as any we have seen on an ultra portable notebook, the backlit keyboard is excellent, with minimal flex, the touchpad is large and responsive, and the screen is top notch.

 
Alienware M11x: Right and Left Sides Views
 

 
Alienware M11x: Front and Back Views

The particular sample we'll be evaluating sports an 11.6" WideHD display, with a native resolution of 1366x768, a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M GPU, an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz CPU, 4GB of Dual Channel DDR3 RAM, a 500GB SATAII, 7200RPM hard drive, HD audio, and an integrated 1.3MP Web Cam.

  
Alienware M11x: Opened Up and Keyboard Views

In the shots above, you can see all of the various connectors, vents and lighting on the Alienware M11x. The lid is adorned with a lighted / pulsating Alien head, while the underside is home only to a few decals and perforations for the cooling system and front-mounted speakers. The nose of the machine also has some perforations for speakers and lighting, while the back houses only the power connector and an air-vent. The right-side of the M11x features two USB ports, two headphone outputs and a microphone input. And the left side has one more USB port, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs, an RJ45 LAN jack, a mini-Firewire port, and an integrated flash card reader.

We'll save more of the finer details and performance information for the full review, which will be posted in the not too distant future. For now, enjoy the geek porn while I put my feet up on the deck outside and fire up some Left 4 Dead 2 on this puppy...

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That vent on the bottom of the laptop is huge! Way better than the narrow vents that my friend has on his old Alienware laptop. His overheated a lot by the way...

 

I really like the backlit keyboard. Looks really clear, unlike most of the stand-alone USB keyboards you see out there.

 

By  the way, does anyone have the specs of the GeForce GT 335M and knows how it compares to other GPUs (both desktop and laptop)?

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I wouldn't qualify this as a laptop, mainly because you'd catch hell actually sitting it in your lap when running intensive programs. 

I've known about Alienware products for a while now, but I have been repeatedly told that they are a waste of money for various reasons. 

At laptopspec.net, they said the following: 

The Dell Alienware M11x most powerful 11-inch gaming. The Alienware M11x has 3D Mark benchmark scores ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 points. And playing Crysis at 50FPS, Call of Duty at 30FPS on High Settings. The 8-cell lithium ion polymer battery is non-removable, 6 1/2 hours of battery life (battery mode) and 2 hours of [...]

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This is hands down the best gaming laptop out for purchase today. Again with Alienware DNA in this portable beast you know it's not going to disappoint on the gaming and movie front. With laptops you really have no choice as upgrading is not as simple as a desktop would be so if you want a serious portable gaming laptop that will run with the baddest rigs out there today,,,,look no further as this is the one. As a side note I am quite surprised they went with a core 2 duo as I would have expected a core i5 or core i3.

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Well, they probably figured that since most games are still optimized for Core 2 Duo rigs that there wasn't really a point. Of course I could be wrong, and this could be just the first of several lineups they are going to offer with different CPU's. 

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Marius Malek:

Well, they probably figured that since most games are still optimized for Core 2 Duo rigs that there wasn't really a point. Of course I could be wrong, and this could be just the first of several lineups they are going to offer with different CPU's. 

 

I think there will be several offerings in their new line-up. I think a Core 2 Duo works fine because this is their "ultra-portable" model that sports an 11" screen. With less space to work with and therefore less cooling, they probably could only work with a Core 2 Duo. And it shouldn't be that bad for gaming because as Marius Malek pointed out, games aren't really optimized for that many cores. Then again, an i3 would have been nice and possible in my opinion.

They will probably put the i5 in their bigger notebooks, like in a 15" or something.

 

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I would still choose the Origin EON15 over this one any day!

I mean a 11.6" display...Come on! who can really game on that? Plus it goes with Nvidia and an old core2 Duo. About the only thing it has going for it is the flashy design, like all other Alienware products. What good is a Ferrari if it has a Honda 2.2 engine in it? Yes it has HDMI, but where is the blu-Ray. This is basically a netbook that can play games, yet the only games being played are the customers.

I do like the Metal case? Is it really metal, because I am an eighties Metalhead :) Now if they take the cool blue keyboard and metal case and stuck it on the Origins EON and gave it a 17"WS display that would totally rock. because nothing would be cooler than hooking something like that up to a projector and playing AVP on it!

Once again Alienware trots out something flashy and makes it overpriced, in hopes that people will be in awe over the flashing eyes! I can tell you this, that the next time I am abducted I will be telling my alien brethren how much this company is messing with their good name. Then maybe the folks at Alienware will be taken and reprogrammed into giving its customers alot more bang for their bank :P

Since this thing will be outdated before the summer. I am glad to see that the folks at Origin are not only giving them a run for the money, but providing customers with a refreshing alternative with the power and technical longevity gamers deserve.

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animatortom:

I would still choose the Origin EON15 over this one any day!

I mean a 11.6" display...Come on! who can really game on that? Plus it goes with Nvidia and an old core2 Duo. About the only thing it has going for it is the flashy design, like all other Alienware products. What good is a Ferrari if it has a Honda 2.2 engine in it? Yes it has HDMI, but where is the blu-Ray. This is basically a netbook that can play games, yet the only games being played are the customers.

Well the 11.6" display does makes sense as this is a truly portable unit. If you travel and stay in hotels, many hotels have nice 26"-42" LCD HDTVs in their rooms which you can easily hook up to for big screen gaming. Personally if someone fired up an RTS or FPS game in a Starbucks I would be inclined to smack them, particularly if they didn't have headphones on or if they were yelling into a headset.

 

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I don't see what is wrong with a 11" gaming laptop. Alienware is just offering a selection. They do have laptops with bigger sized screens and are paired up with better components. They do offer a 15" gaming laptop with a base price of $1199.

The better product to product comparison would be the Alienware M15x to the Origin one posted in the other thread. Between these two, the Origin is better in the fact that you can customize it with higher components. The Origin has the option of the GTX 285m while the highest offering on the Alienware M15x is the GTX 260m.

Alienware will probably add more options later.

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This thing is awesome, and pretty affordable too considering what you're getting. If I had $800 (or maybe $1000 to make room for upgrades), guess where that's going? Anyway, I have one question to Dave and Marco, the testers (or anyone here who owns one of these things): How is the edge of the palmrest? I mean, it's an 11-inch laptop, so it's gotta be pretty small, but on top of that you've got the sharp corners from that front edge cutout, placed exactly where my palms would be, so I was wondering if that gave any trouble by digging into your hands during long-term use.

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Corners don't look sharp to me at all. They aren't like a 90 degree angle like most laptops.

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