The Alienware rumor mill got it right on most counts about Dell’s updates to its gaming laptop lineup. The M14x and M11x R3 are now available from the Alienware website and the M18x has been officially announced.
As expected, the 11.6-inch M11x gaming “netbook” gets updated with Intel’s 2nd generation Core platform with a choice between an Intel Core i5 2537M (1.4GHz) or an Intel Core i7 2617M (2.6GHz). In the graphics department, the machine now comes with a GeForce GT 540M with 2GB of DDR3 video RAM.
You can also equip it with an entire 16GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM. Another new addition are a couple of USB 3.0 ports for faster external transfers, which comes in handy since the laptop does not include an internal optical drive. All in all, these are major improvements on the R2. To Dell’s credit, however, they are still offering the cheap Core 2 Duo version of the M11x.
As for the even more interesting Alienware M14x, this is a real beast in a convenient package–the “most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop in the universe” according to Dell. I wouldn’t know about the universe, but it’s certainly the most powerful 14-inch laptop on this planet. The CPU options are all quad-core Sandy Bridge Core i7 variants–2820QM (2.4GHz), 2720QM (2.2GHz) or 2630QM (2GHz), all of which reach higher clock speeds with the Turbo Boost feature.
It can house up to 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM. On the GPU side, the M14x comes with the high-end GeForce GT 555M with 144 CUDA cores and a 192-bit memory bus as well as 1.5GB or 3GB of DDR3 video memory (yes it plays Crysis 2). The rumors and the illegitimate review was wrong about the screen resolution though. The M14x comes with a 1600×900 panel, which is arguably a better fit for a 14-inch laptop. A lower-resolution 1366×768 display is also available. Just like the new M11x, it is also equipped with two USB 3.0 ports with considerably faster transfer rates. Cnet has already played with the M14x and produced a rudimentary review:
Dell is not taking orders on the M18x yet, but the laptop has been officially announced and as expected it’s a huge desktop replacement with exceptionally fast components under the hood. As noted from the notebook’s Canadian appearance, it does indeed come with an optional (and probably very expensive) upgrade to a factory-overclocked Core i7 Extreme Edition that runs at 4GHz. The 18.4-inch panel offers Full HD (1920×1080) resolution and should have no problems running all of your games at native resolution thanks to its dual GPU CrossFireX or SLI setup. It should also be a sturdy machine as it’s encased in anodized aluminum, but not overly portable considering its size and weight.