Alienware M18x Gaming Notebook: Tale of Two GPUs

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Battery Life

The Alienware M18x is an enormously large desktop replacement notebook that is not built with battery life performance in mind.  The M18x configurations we tested packed some of the most powerful GPU and CPU technologies on the market currently with only what could be considered an afterthought for power consumption.  Regardless, we wanted to see what battery life was like under moderately strenuous workloads.  Here are the results from our Battery Eater Pro tests.

Battery Life Test
Heavy and Light Workloads

The first thing you should consider here is that these test results are not absolute and vary based on battery size and possibly different power gating profiles at play, depending on how each configuration was setup.  Regardless, these tests were conducted with "out of the box" setups, with simple test constraints configured like screen brightness etc.  Here the M18x is at a disadvantage right out of the gate.  Though it has a rather stout 12-cell battery, it also must power an LCD that is considerably larger (and dare we say brighter and more vibrant) than the other notebooks we're showing in this test group. 

Beyond that, the times we pulled from Battery Eater Pro were about as expected.  These results are more representative of a modest strain on the entire system, including the graphics subsystem, hard drive and CPU.  Believe it or not, you could realize slightly better times under modest gaming conditions, though we experienced much lower frame rates with both CrossFire and SLI disabled and GPU clock gating in effect when on battery power.  Also, we measured well over 3 hours of up time with our standard web browser test at medium display brightness and running on the system's Intel IGP. 

Finally, with respect to power consumption, under heavy gaming testes, the dual Radeon HD 6990M powered machine pulled about 220 Watts at its peak consumption. The M18x, configured with a pair of GeForce GTX 580M GPUs in SLI, pulled about 240 Watts at its peak draw.  Both machines spiked an additional 60+ Watts if the machine was under a game load and also charging the battery.

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