Field Testing Features
With such a ridiculous amount horsepower at its disposal for a notebook, it is no surprise to see that the Aurora m9700 had no trouble handling general usage applications with ease. Thanks to its Turion64 processor and to the graphics ability of SLI, nearly any application was a breeze for this system. Overall, the actual components were more than up to the task of testing. However, somewhat ironically the Achilles' heel of the system was actually a feature which initially received great praise by all those who saw the system. Here, the glossy finish on the system's WUXGA LCD panel acted more as a mirror than a monitor. This is unfortunate as the glossy finish gives the unit a very rich feel and seems to enhance contrast significantly. Regardless, using the high resolution 17" panel was a pleasure as there was always ample real estate to manage multiple windows at once without sacrificing one or the other. The combination of a solid widescreen LCD with a 1920x1200 resolution was ideal and maximized productivity.
In terms of gaming, we quickly see why the Alienware Aurora m9700 was created. In every respect, this system is the ideal gaming notebook. Beyond the benefits of having a potent Turion64 processor, 2GB of memory, and 200GB worth of a RAID array it is the sheer presence of two discrete graphics cards that makes the Aurora m9700 such a gaming monstrosity. With two GeForce Go 7900 GS GPU's each with 256MB of memory, we were able to play games at resolutions up to 1920x1200 with relative ease. With the GPU's supporting both DX9 and Shader Model 3.0, there is little worry that upcoming games will be anything but smooth at high resolutions. Thankfully, the rest of the system was up to par for gaming as well with no ghosting or trails seen with the LCD and no immediate bottlenecks anywhere in the system.
Armed with such a strong hardware foundation and a gorgeous 17" LCD, viewing DVD's and movies on the Aurora m9700 was an absolute pleasure. The combination of High Definition audio with the system's surprisingly competent speaker system (complete with "subwoofer") made for an unusually good experience for a notebook. With regards to options, consumers have a great deal of flexibility in terms of working with multimedia as the system fully support both Windows Media Center and the upcoming Vista operating systems. In addition, the fact that the Aurora m9700 uses NVIDIA's GeForce Go 7900 GS GPU's means that the system also fully supports NVIDIA's PureVideo technology giving users yet another option.