Alienware 17: AMD's R9 M290X Goes Mobile

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Metro Last Light, BioShock Infinite, and Hitman: Absolution

Note:  In order to synchronize our testing, we had to take a slight shift on resolutions. The desktop cards are tested in 1920x1200 instead of 1920x1080, but the performance difference between those settings is typically tiny -- on the order of 2-3%.

Metro Last Light is your typical post-apocalyptic first person shooter game with a few rather unconventional twists. Unlike most FPS titles, there is no health meter to measure your level of ailment; rather, you’re left to deal with life, or lack thereof, more akin to the real world with blood spatter on your visor and your heart rate and respiration level as indicators. Metro Last Light boasts some of the best 3D visuals on the PC platform and includes a DX11 rendering mode that makes use of advanced depth of field effects and character model tessellation for increased realism. This title also supports NVIDIA PhysX technology for impressive in-game physics effects. We tested the game at resolutions of 1920x1080 with its in-game image quality options set to their High Quality mode, with DOF effects disabled.

Metro Last Light
DirecX11 Gaming Performance

Metro Last Light

The R9 M290X is slightly faster than the GTX 750 Ti, but the R9 270X has a 10% performance advantage by virtue of being a desktop chip with a less-constrained thermal environment.



Bioshock Infinite
DirectX Gaming Performance

Bioshock Infinite

BioShock Infinite is clear game-of-the-year material. The floating city of Columbia is one of the most evocative, intense, and gorgeous environments we've ever seen in a PC game -- but how much you like it may depend on what sort of visual wizardry you prefer. BioShock Infinite is built on Unreal Engine 3, and while it pushes that framework's capabilities into the stratosphere, there's a clear difference between BioShock Infinite and, say, Crysis 3. BioShock Infinite emphasizes light, color and motion, and while the characters look more exaggerated and cartoon-like than some other games, they still look great. We tested the game at 1920x1080 with its DX11 code path with DOF effects enabled.

Again, the M290X keeps pace with the GTX 750 Ti (Nvidia cards have historically held an advantage in BioShock Infinite. The R9 270X is faster than the le AMD card by about 15% in this test.


Hitman: Absolution
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution follows Agent 47, a cold-blooded assassin, who takes on his most dangerous contract to date. Betrayed by those he once trusted - and now hunted by the police - he suddenly finds himself at the center of a dark conspiracy and must embark on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world. We tested the game at 1920x1080 with all in-game options set to their maximum values and global illumination and 4X anti-aliasing enabled.


Hitman: Absolution shows the Alienware 17 landing midway between the GTX 750 Ti and the Radeon R9 270X on the desktop. Again, we see a fairly sharp difference between the desktop and laptop chips -- Alienware actually does a good job of keeping the laptop cool, but it's hard to cool a desktop card in a mobile form factor.


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