February 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Whilst we wait for the 11.6-inch Alienware M11x to start hitting consumer’s hands, the folks over at HardwareHeaven have reviewed one of the first models off the production line. To say they were impressed is an understatement. According to them, the M11x is “without doubt one of the best laptops we have tested… if not the best. Not only that, it’s right up there as one of the best products we have ever tested, in any category.”
High praise indeed. The design carries on the aggressive lines of its larger brothers in the Alienware range, it also felt sturdy and robust. The backlit keyboard is comfortable to use as is the touchpad with near silent mouse buttons. The 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) display is bright and speakers have a good amount of volume.
However, the M11x is all about gaming and it doesn’t disappoint in this regard. They were able to play some of the latest games such as Dirt 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 at native resolution with average frame rates between 27-33fps. HD video was also no problem and certain applications will benefit from CUDA such as media encoding.
Battery life was also good managing 5 hours and 46 minutes under general use. Although this drops back to 2 hours and 5 minutes when gaming. To top it off, temperature and noise were kept to a minimum. Overall it sounds like a very worthwhile machine if you enjoy gaming.
Key review points of Alienware M11x:
- Exterior similar to larger M15x and M17x laptops, with a grill covering the front edge.
- Connectivity includes Kensington Lock, VGA, 3 x USB 2.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, Card Reader and Ethernet.
- Contains 65w PSU, barely warm to the touch when powering the M11x.
- Glossy (1366 x 768) WLED display with webcam and mic placed above screen.
- Keyboard is slightly more cramped than larger Alienware models. The Home, End and Delete buttons are found in the top right of the keyboard.
- Alienware use a Synaptics touchpad. The right and bottom edges can be configured as scroll bars. Mouse buttons are near silent in operation with a “deep action”.
- Comes with two RAM slots (tested unit had 2 x 2GB memory sticks).
- Tested 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor.
- Lighting: When power turned on and lid closed, the alienhead on top and front grills illuminate. Keyboard is also fully lit.
- Packaged software includes PowerDVD 8, Nero 9 and Steam interestingly.
- Windows Experience Index score of 4.1 (limited by processor). Graphics score was 6.4.
- Alienware’s Command Centre application handles lighting, power saving, touchpad sensitivity and sense function (using webcam for security).
- BIOS allows overclocking – easily moved from 1.3GHz to 1.6GHz. This moved benchmarks up by 20%. Temperature increase when overclocking is small.
- Benchmark tests conducted for Photoshop CS4 64-bit, Cinebench, CUDA tests (media encoding), SiSoft Sandra.
- Game test settings (1366 x 768 Medium no AA or AF):
Dirt 2 – 27fps
MW2 – 34fps
L4D – 33fps
- 1080p MKV playback:
With CUDA – 24% max (15% avg)
CPU – 94% max (73% avg)
- 6-cell 63Whr battery good for 8.5 hours according to company. Real world battery test results below:
General: 5h 46m
HD Playback: 3h 48m
Gaming: 2h 05m
Charge Time: 2h 48m