Alienware 18 Notebook: Haswell, GeForce GTX 780M

PCMark & 3DMark Tests

First, we fired up some benchmarks by Futuremark. The company, which is based just outside of Helsinki, Finland, started publishing benchmarks in 1998. Since then, Futuremark has developed tests for evaluating standard PCs and mobile devices and continues to update its flagship 3DMark gaming benchmark suite, and PCMark as well.

Futuremark PCMark 7
Simulated Application Performance
Futuremark’s PCMark 7 benchmark includes a suite of tests designed to measure the way your computer would perform during typical tasks. It includes an Entertainment Suite, which offers gaming scenarios and tests its media playback capabilities. The benchmark also has a Creativity Suite, in which the system processes images and video. Other tools include the Computation Suite and the Storage Suite. The latter is capable of measure SSDs and hard drives, either individually, or as a whole.

Of all the gaming notebooks in our test bank, the Alienware 18 takes the top spot with its overclocked Core i7-4900MQ and dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M GPUs, although it just narrowly edged out the CyberPowerPC Fangbook. Note that this machine is pretty much a generational update to the Alienware M18x R2, so you can see the performance advantage over the earlier model clearly.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Simulated Gaming Benchmark
As a gaming benchmark, 3DMark 11 puts extra emphasis on your system’s handling of DirectX 11. But it measures more than the graphics card’s performance (the processor can make a big difference to a score, for example) and is a good way to get a feel for a system both as a gaming PC and as a general-use computer. Futuremark recently updated 3DMark 11 to support Windows 8, so if you plan to run this test on your own Windows 8 system, be sure to get the latest version.

In 3DMark 11, the performance enhancement afforded by dual GPUs is apparent, with 4 of the top 5 scorers sporting more than one graphics card. In a field where there’s a lot of disparity, the Alienware 18 solidly won.

Futuremark PCMark 8
Simulated Application Performance
Futuremark recently launched PCMark 8, which has several separate benchmarks. The Home test measures a system's ability to handle basic tasks: video chatting, web browsing, photo editing, an similar day-to-day activities. The test is designed to be run on just about any Windows 7 or 8 computer. The Creative test offers some of the same types of tasks, but puts more stress on the system and is meant for mid-range and higher-end PCs. The Work test simulates the workflow of a typical office user. And the Storage test - you guessed it - benchmark's your computer's data storage performance.

Because the benchmark is so new (the free version isn’t even available yet) we don’t have comparison data for PCMark 8 just yet. All the data from the benchmark's separate tests, which provide plenty of detailed feedback, is available in the images above.

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