For any gamer who’s been waiting for Alienware to (again) offer an extremely powerful desktop replacement with dual graphics cards, the wait is finally over. Dell is now taking orders on the M18x and the starting price is $1,999. The CPU options are all quad-core, 2nd-generation Intel Core i7 alternatives and as previously announced you can get it with a factory overclocked Core i7 Extreme Edition running at 4GHz, as well as dual-GPU setups from either Nvidia or AMD.
Unless you count the pseudo-laptops that use desktop parts, this one is–at this writing–the most powerful gaming laptop in the world. This, of course, requires that you are willing to spring for at least some of the optional upgrades, which are by no means cheap.
For example, if you want the overclocked 4GHz-capable Core i7 Extreme Edition, that upgrade alone is $975. On the other hand the SLI/CrossFireX upgrades, which are much more relevant to gaming anyway, are more humbly priced at $200 for dual GeForce GTX 460M in SLI and $400 for dual Mobility Radeon HD 6970M in CrossFireX. The base model comes with a single GTX 460M.
Up to 32GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM is also available, or up to 16GB if you want faster 1600MHz memory modules. An upgrade to 32GB is as expensive as the laptop itself at $2,000, but it is probably safe to say that very few users are going to “need” 32 gigs of RAM in the foreseeable future. There is also room for two hard drives or SSDs in the M18x that will be set up to run in RAID 0 by default, for close to double the performance of a single drive. Interestingly, there is also a “hybrid drive” option, which has to be the Seagate Momentus XT (seeing as it’s the only one on the market). The dual SSD setup in RAID 0 should max out the SATA 3 interface nicely.
Just like the M14x, the M18x also has an option for a WirelessHD–a transmitter that lets you stream Full HD video and audio to your HDTV or projector without losing quality and with a latency below 10ms. There is no mention of a 120Hz 3D version of the 1920×1080 panel, though. Two USB 3.0 ports are also included along with another two USB 2.0 ports.
On the whole, it’s no understatement to call this an extremely powerful laptop. No compromises have been made and the result is a big laptop that weighs in at 5.41 kg (11.93 lbs). On the other hand it will handily outperform the average gaming desktop.