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Alienware M11x Notebook Review

By on March 8, 2010
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Its a hallmark moment for the Alienware family with the arrival of their new baby.

Editor's Score

Features:
Performance:
Value:
The Verdict:
If you're looking for a tiny gaming machine then you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than the M11x


One of the interesting things on the M11x is the switchable graphics mode between the Intel Integrated and the discreet NVIDIA GPU. This is done through software on your taskbar where you can select either mode. Surprisingly, Dell chose not to use NVIDIA’s Optimus technology which changes between the GPUs intelligently depending on the task at hand instead of you manually doing so. With the NVIDIA GPU selected and benchmarks running, we noticed the unit getting a bit on the hotter side and the fan kicking in producing audible but not necessarily to disturbing levels of noise.

Lets take a look at the benchmarks posted by the M11x. For comparison, we’ve selected the Acer Ferrari which doesn’t necessarily have a discrete GPU like the M11x as well as the HP dv6 that we looked at recently which is a bit and heavy notebook but features a decent CPU and GPU to compare the M11x against.

CPU (PCMark Vantage) Graphics (3D Mark 2006) Disk (PassMark)
Alienware M11x 2861 5458 684
Acer Ferrari One 998 368
HP dv6 3989 6401 388

As you can see from the tests, the M11x certainly outpaces the Ferrari One by a shot but is a bit on the shy side compared to a decently equipped Core 2 Duo notebook with a dedicated mainstream GPU. Separately, we ran some games on the M11x and while anything not extremely demanding such as World of Warcraft and Left 4 Dead played ok, we don’t think the little one is capable of running Crysis or Shattered Horizon at playable speeds. 3Dmark 2006 posted a score of 5458 points as seen above which is just a bit shy of the 6000 mark Alienware advertises. If you’re more of a movies buff, we had no issues playing Hi-Def 720p movies with either the Intel or NVIDIA GPU but 1080p suffered from a lot of stuttering with either of these GPUs.

Battery life on the M11x depends on weather you’re using the Intel GPU or the NVIDIA GPU. With the Intel GPU, I was getting over six hours of usage on a charge which is pretty awesome but with the NVIDIA GPU switched on, I got about three hours which is decent as well. In short, the M11x will allow you to use it for extended periods when needed for work yet allow gaming for a decent while.

Available locally for AED 4,499 (US$1,200), the M11x is priced reasonably for a gaming notebook. Whether gaming on an 11″ screen works for you or not is something you need to decide. Personally, I would love to see a M13x that is slightly thinner than the M11x and with a bigger keyboard.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • secoh2000

    Where those scores (especially 5458) with or without the laptop overclocked?

    I've seen many video reviews of the system playing crisis reasonably well on modest settings (29/30-ish frames per second), I've even seen it play mass effect 2 on high settings and have also read reviews saying that they were able to play 1080p video content without issue. Perhaps it's the codec your using?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/tbreaknet tbreaknet

      The scores posted were at stock speed- did not overclock it at all. For 1080p and 720p tests, we use VLC Player on all the notebooks we test.

  • Stoeltafelkleed

    then do your research :( it can play crysis at medium settings no problem at all.

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  • Thricenice03

    what're u talkin about? i'm playing crysis right now at medium settings as well and its pretty smooth. u gotta overclock dummy.

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  • khalid

    Thanks for the great review.
    Hope u can answer some questions.
    Do you know where/when I will be able to find this in dubai, and which spec will be priced at 4500 AED?

    Many thanks and keep up the great tech reviews !!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/tbreaknet tbreaknet

      Hey Khalid- the AED 4500 price is for the configuration we have reviewed and it will be the only model available in the UAE. Expect it in Dell stores next month

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  • http://www.outsidecontext.com basho

    I **LOVE** my M11x! I got it a few weeks ago and have been hammering out a review while playing COD4:MW2 and Fallout 3, which both run at high FPS – very nice! I also hooked it up for some Blu Ray playing and film making duties. I noticed a bug in playing Blu Rays out of the box and the fix is in my review at Outside Context. See: http://www.outsidecontext.com/2010/03/08/dell-ali… for all the details!

  • Colin

    "we don’t think the little one is capable of running Crysis or Shattered Horizon at playable speeds"

    Apologies, but this is a pretty crap review. I don't read reviews for idle speculation. I can do that myself at home. I have an M11X and it does play Crysis at medium settings with good framerates. Now, that is a fact.

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  • Daniel W

    To the reviwer:

    Using VLC for testing HD video playback does not use the DXVA feature for accelerating video playback. If you intend to test 720p and 1080p video on these kind of notebooks, you'll need to switch to a player/codec combination that supports DXVA. CCCP+MPC with DXVA enabled for example.

    Netbooks such as the Asus N10J, and ION based netbooks have no trouble with 1080p video using this method with Atom CPUs!

  • joseph

    thanx 4 the review , i want to ask about the price in uae .. does anyone know the exact price ?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/tbreaknet tbreaknet

      Its about 5500 Dirhams

  • bryan

    Thanks for the review. Do you know where in abu dhabi, UAE can i buy this?

    • http://www.ahmedsleem.com Ahmed

      where can i buy alienware laptop in UAE?

      • http://www.megamers.com Hitesh Uchil

        Hi Ahmed,

        Try the Dell/Alienware store at Dubai Mall.

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