Alienware M14x Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction & Specifications

There's something about the allure of a gaming notebook. Even mainstream users, not necessarily hellbent on frame rates and decked-out designs, can relate to a powerful notebook with striking good looks. It's no wonder that products like Asus' G73 series of notebooks and Alienware's M series, have been some of the most viewed pages of our mobile computing section here at Similarly, Dell's recent announcement that they were expanding the Alienware M series line, to flesh out 14-inch and 18-inch versions, was met with a fair bit of buzz as well.  The 14" model especially caught our eye, striking a nice size and weight compromise between the soon to arrive 18" behemoth and the rather svelte M11x we looked at not long ago.

So, of course we reached out to Dell for a review unit and Dell was good enough to respond in short order with their new middleweight contender.

The Dell Aienware M14x is a 14-inch notebook designed in typical Alienware fashion, with rugged, impeccable build quality, adorned in custom lighting with a striking design that's driven by the latest CPU and GPU technologies from Intel and NVIDIA.  Here's the spec sheet rundown for our eval unit...

Alienware M14x
Specifications & Features

2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2360QM Processor 2.0-2.9 GHz, 3MB Cache
Operating System
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
14" Glossy Display 1600X900 (1366X768 option)
Intel HM67
NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M with 1.5G GDDR3
Internal High-Definition 5.1 Performance Audio with WavesMAXX Audio (Standard)
2.1 Speaker configuration audio Powered by Klipsch®
4GB DDR3-1333
500GB SATA 7200RPM Samsung HDD
Optical Drive
8x SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Slot Load Optical Drive
10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet
Built-in 802.11b/g/n WLAN Card
Wireless HD Video
Vizio Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit, Wireless HD Compatible
Card Reader
9-in-1 Media Card Reader
2.0 Megapixel HD Video and Picture Camera with dual digital microphones
USB 2.0 Port with PowerShare Technology, USB3.0 X 2
Bluetooth Option
Internal Bluetooth® 3.0
Video Port
VGA (15-pin, D-Sub), HDMI 1.4, Mini-DisplayPort
Audio Port
(2x) Audio Out 1/8" Ports, (1x) Audio In / Microphone 1/8" Port (retaskable for 5.1 audio)
4-Zone, multi-color RGB, 82 key keyboard with AlienFX lighting controls
Battery Pack
8 Cell Lithium Ion 63whr
10.17”(Depth) x 13.27”(Width) x 1.49”(Height)
Manufacturer Warranty
1 Year Limited Warranty (Optional up to 4 yrs.)
$1,747.99   (As Tested - $1099 Base Price w/ Core i5 CPU)

The Alienware M14x bundle, complete with Vizio Wireless HD Transmitter Kit

Intel's latest Sandy Bridge-based Core i7-2630QM quad-core processor powers the M14x we tested and it's backed up by NVIDIA's GeForce GT 555M mobile graphics processor with 1.5GB of discrete GDDR3 video memory. The combination of these two amigos should power the machine nicely under gaming workloads, even at its panel's native resolution of 1600X900, and of course with HD video content as well. 

Speaking of which, our system came bundled with Vizio's new Wireless HD video/audio transmitter kit, which is capable of outputting up to 1080p signals from the notebook's HDMI port, wirelessly to an HDTV, with less than 2ms latency.  And since the technology is embedded in the M14x unit itself, there is no bulky dongle to mess with.  However, the notebook we tested didn't have this feature enabled, so we unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to test it out.  If the technology works according to its specs and is anything like the WHDI kits we looked at not long ago, it should be a really nice add-on to get your multimedia and gaming moves on with a big screen HDTV.

Let's get a closer look at the M14x itself...

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