Fittingly enough, performance from the Alienware M18x R2 is out of this world. Born into this world as a notebook, its creators turned the M18x into a burly desktop replacement that trounced all over the competition. No big surprise considering it's crammed full with two of the fastest mobile GPUs on the planet (2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
in SLI), a speedy Intel Core i7 3820QM processor, 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory, and two Samsung 830 256GB SSDs in RAID 0. This thing was built for the fast track, and it delivered across the board.
Straight and to the point, if you're looking for a no-compromises desktop replacement, the Alienware
M18x R2 has your name written all over it in big, bold, neon letters. This is the system to get if you don't care about trivial things like portability (it weighs 12 pounds, after all), price (and costs around $4,400), and battery life (dual GPUs...'nuff said). Make no mistake, this is a gaming PC that's every bit as powerful as a high-end desktop, but with the benefit of a built-in display and form factor that makes it relatively easy to lug to LAN parties. Yes, it's four or five times as heavy as an Ultrabook, but its shape and weight are both far less unwieldy than packing up a desktop tower on a trip across town.
We'd also be remiss not to point out that Alienware's M18x R2 line begins at $1,999, which is less than half the price of the one configured here for this review. The hardware in this configuration is comparably tame, but still rather potent, consisting of an Intel Core i7 3630QM processor, 6GB of DDR3-1600 memory, 500GB hard drive, and GeForce GTX 660M GPU with 2GB of graphics memory. The point is, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to game on an 18.4-inch laptop; you can spend just an arm, maybe.
As configured, obviously price is a negative, and it's one of the few. Our only other complaints deal with the hollow sounding speakers, and the fact that the keyboard could be a tad more comfortable, though it's a serviceable plank for daily typing chores. Otherwise, the Alienware M18x R2 is a fine, if not rare specimen.
- Solid construction
- Mammoth LCD panel
- Two of the fastest GPUs in the universe
- Lots of I/O ports
- No bloatware
- Desktop-like performance in a mobile (technically) form factor
- Expensive (as configured)
- Short battery life
- Speakers sound slightly hollow