Alienware M18x R2 Gaming Laptop: Dual GPUs Attack

Introduction & Specifications

Calling the Alienware M18x R2 a laptop is like referring to a Harley Davidson as a bicycle. Both have handlebars and ride on two wheels, but when the rubber hits the road, the Harley's going to leave a Schwinn in the rear-view mirror. So it goes with the Alienware system we abducted from Dell. Technically, it's a gaming laptop, but more accurately, it's one hell of a desktop replacement that leaves lesser systems in the dust.

Large and in charge, the 2012 model M18x retains the same spacious 18.4-inch LCD panel from last year. The display features a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) screen resolution, which is nothing to write home about compared to the Retina Display Apple's been putting in its latest MacBook Pro systems, but underneath the hood it's an entirely different ballgame. Now sporting Ivy Bridge hardware, the system Alienware sent us came equipped with an Intel Core i7 3820QM processor clocked at 2.7GHz (up to 3.7GHz via Turbo) and two Kepler-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics cards in SLI. It's a potent one-two combo made all the more powerful by a pair of Samsung PM830 256GB SATA 6Gbps solid state drives (SSDs) in RAID 0 and 16GB of fast DDR3-1600 memory.

This isn't a system designed for boardroom meetings or jaunts to the local Starbucks, not unless one or the other is hosting a LAN party. At right around 12 pounds, portability is sacrificed to the gaming gods in exchange for pure pixel pushing power, with a price tag that reflects its beastly innards. As configured, the M18x runs in the neighborhood of $4,400, though cost of admission into this elite club starts at $2,000. Either way, it's an expensive proposition by today's standards.

Is it worth the coin? Whether you're genuinely interested in learning the answer to that question or simply want to lust over an audacious luxury in the land of mobile, keep clicking, we have plenty to show you.

Alienware M18x R2 Gaming Laptop
Specifications & Features
Processor Intel Core i7 3820QM processor (2.7GHz to 3.7GHz, 8MB cache)
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Chipset Intel HM77 Express Chipset
Graphics 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M (SLI)
Memory 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz DRAM
Display 18.4" (1920x1080) WLED WideFHD
Storage 512GB SSD RAID 0 (2 x 256GB SATA 6Gbps SSD)
Optical Slot-loading dual-layer Blu-ray reader
Networking Killer Wireless-N 1103a/g/n 3x3 MIMO
10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN
Bluetooth 4.0
Interface 4 x USB 3.0 ports
1 x eSATA 3Gbps + USB 2.0 combo port (with PowerShare Technology)
1 x Mini-Display port
1 x HDMI 1.4 output
1 x HDMI 1.3 input
1 x VGA port
9-in-1 memory card reader
2 x audio out
1 x combo S/PDIF optical output / Analog headphone out
1 x Line-in microphone
1 x Security lock port
1 x RJ-45 GbE port
Battery Li-Ion (96WHr) 12-cell
Power Adapter Alienware M18x 330W A/C adapter
Dimensions 2.09 inches (H) by 17.17 inches (W) by 12.70 inches (D) inches
Weight 11.93 pounds
Manufacturer Warranty 1-year in-home
Pricing: $4,379 (as configured)

There isn't much Alienware neglected to include in the M18x we received. If forced to nitpick, a Blu-ray burner (as opposed to a reader) and large mechanical hard drive for storage chores would have rounded out an otherwise obscene spec sheet. And by the way, both of those items can be configured into the build.

One thing we should note is that Alienware is no longer offering the Intel Core i7 3820QM processor. Since receiving this system, that option has been bumped up to a Core i7 3840QM, also a quad-core part with 8MB of cache but clocked 100MHz faster at 2.8GHz to 3.8GHz (Turbo).

Related content