Alienware M18x Gaming Notebook: Tale of Two GPUs - HotHardware

Alienware M18x Gaming Notebook: Tale of Two GPUs

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Maxon's Cinebench R11.5 benchmark is based on the company's Cinema 4D software used for 3D content creation and tests both the CPU and GPU in separate benchmark runs. On the CPU side, Cinebench renders a photorealistic 3D scene by tapping into up to 64 processing threads (CPU) to process more than 300,000 total polygons, while the GPU benchmark measures graphics performance by manipulating nearly 1 million polygons and huge amounts of textures.

Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
3D Rendering Performance

We should note that, though Cinebench doesn't actually benefit from multi-GPU configurations currently, we did test the systems with the technology enabled.  You can see the CPU scores are all pretty tight between the configurations but perhaps AMD has been a bit more diligent on tuning drivers for this application versus NVIDIA.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Synthetic DX11 Gaming Performance


Futuremark 3DMark11

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark11, is specifically bound to Windows Vista and 7-based systems because it uses the advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 11, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows. 3DMark11 isn't simply a port of 3DMark Vantage to DirectX 11, though. With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated four new graphics tests, a physics tests, and a new combined test. We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark11's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1080 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

 


M18x - AMD Radeon HD 6990M CrossFire


M18x - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI

3DMark 11 is squarely targeted at gaming performance obviously and we felt it best to give you the direct results page data in each of the tests as well.  As you can see it's a nip-and-tuck battle between the two M18x configurations, though versus the rest of the field it's a total blowout for the M18x.  Note multi-GPU scores are nearly two times that of their single GPU scores with the M18x, though in this test, AMD's CrossFire setup seems to scale a bit better.

 

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wow that is one powerful laptop. Makes my desktop look sad.

However some one is going to have to be a huge gamer to need a portable laptop this powerful.

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"I'm not a fan the the Desktop Alienware machines, but on the mobile side, The M18X is a pieces of art and craftsmanship that I would be willing to pay a premium for. One downer is the fact that Optimus is no available on the single GTX 580M configuration, but your'e not buying this to stray away much from the desk, good to know though. "

"I dont like glossy screens but the ones on the Alienware are beautiful, seen it in person. To my linking, I would go for Nvidia's offering, its more powerful. '

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Absolutely spectacular and beautiful machine. Great job on the video too.

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Great review Dave. I haven't seen one of those screens up close so I don't know if it's true or not but the other specs look good, the laptop looks like a piece of art and it's even got a decent warranty/customer service.

Although I would go with the ATI due to it being more reasonable then NVIDIA's setup. I mean sure, you're getting better single GPU performance but those things take up power, run hot and don't offer much of a benefit over competing cards. (except for PhysX and CUDA but I doubt anybody would really need it.)

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ATI cards in laptops (and in general) are really terrible. I bought an Asus with 5870M in it and it would green-screen, blue screen and get terrible FPS in many games. Even after 2x RMAs, a ton of OS wipes and 50 beta / legacy / new driver trials, all with same problems.  Turns out it's just ATI's sub-standard driver support that causes problems.

Switched to an Nvidia gaming laptops, and all games run great.

As for the power use on nvidia cards. It's a non-factor. No gaming laptop can game for more then a couple minutes unplugged, and when not gaming, both have decent battery life (ati and nvidia) so it's a nonfactor when picking a GAMING laptop. I owned an Asus, SAGER and an alienware laptop, if you think you're going to play on battery power, you got another thing coming to you LOL.

Gaming laptops are for traveling gamers / LAN partiers. They need to be plugged in to game, but it's a LOT easier carrying a gaming laptop around then it is a monitor, desktop case, and keyboard/mouse.

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Good review,....I'll take one of each please.

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Nice Benchmarks with Metro 2033 still requiring a beastly setup. Still definitely playable on those resolutions and better frame rates than what I have seen on other laptops.

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Thanks for the review Dave loved the through video. I too would be tempted to go with the CF setup simply because the price difference is so huge for a small difference. I really like the lighting touches that they put into these systems with the speaker grills and around the touch pad.

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Very nice looking laptop and great review. The AMD Nvidia GPU split is interesting, and either one looks very nice to me!

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