Alienware M17x R4 (2012), Ivy Bridge and Kepler Refresh

SiSoft SANDRA and ATTO Disk Tests

Test Methodology: As you'll note in the following pages of benchmarks, we've compared the Alienware M17x to a few different machines. In every test case, we tried to leave each notebook as delivered to us from the manufacturers. This meant, after any pending Windows updates were installed, we disabled Windows update and also disabled any virus scanning software that may have been installed, so it wouldn't kick in during benchmark runs. That said, it's virtually impossible to ensure identical system configurations between notebooks; so we'll caution you that reference scores from the various test systems are listed in order to give you a general feel for performance between these similar class of machines and not for direct, apples-to-apples comparisons.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CPU, RAM, HD

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2011, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2011 suite (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth and Physical Disk Performance).

SANDRA Processor Arithmetic and Multimedia Performance

SANDRA Memory Bandwidth and Physical Disk Performance

The M17x performed admirably in the CPU tests, and it posted a downright impressive score in Memory Bandwidth with 20.31GB/s, a score that borders those we saw from full-size custom gaming rigs not very long ago. In the Physical Disks test, we see a weakness in the M17x--that notebook-size hard drive isn't as hot as the rest of the rig's components, even with the mSATA SSD helping out.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
Storage Subsystem Read/Write Throughput

ATTO is another "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure raw bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc. This test was performed on formatted drives with default NTFS partitions in Windows 7 x64.

Just for kicks, we ran the M17x through ATTO's read/write test to see how it would fare. It's interesting that the read/write speeds are so similar. While these scores are respectable in their own right, they don't come close to matching the numbers we've seen from some of the latest ultrabooks; again, the storage configuration is letting the M17x down.

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