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Alienware M14x R2 Review

By on November 20, 2012
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A powerhouse in a small package.

Good: Great design; Runs mostly cool; Powerful specs good enough to play current games at high settings; No bloatware; Lighting system is fun to play around with; Hybrid drive is fast enough to not miss SSD.
Bad: Rubberized body easily catches dust.
Price: AED 6,999
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Benchmarks

In terms of competition, we haven’t reviewed a laptop that has a graphics card like the GT 650M. The Acer Timeline M3 had a Nvidia GeForce GT 640M which is too weak compared to the M14x R2, while the Razer Blade’s GTX 660M is too powerful, designed more for 1080p gaming. Still, given the 1600×900 resolution of our test M14x R2, we I thought let’s see how to the two perform with the same settings on native resolution.

Again, this is not a apples to apples comparison, given that both gaming laptops approach the design philosophy in a different way.

Keeping in line with some of the more recent game releases, we have decided to add some new games to our benchmarks list, taking out some of the older ones. As such, below is a description of the benchmarks used, allowing with the settings used.

The exact same settings were used for both the Razer Blade and the Alienware M14x R2, with both laptops running games and benchmark at native resolutions of 1080p and 900p respectively.

Temperature & Noise

The M14x R2 is a surprisingly quiet machine, with the fan kicking into high gear usually 15 to 20 minutes into a game. Of course, it depends from title to title, like Torchlight II for the most part is a rather lightweight game with the fan scarcely going up to full speed. Meanwhile Battlefield 3 will spin up to highest RPM a few minutes into the game. It’s not as loud as the sound can be easily drowned out by the speakers, but playing slow paced games does make the noise very obvious.

Given the 1.49-inches thickness of the M14x R2, it comes as no surprise that the temperatures are so low when the machine is idling of you’re just browsing the net. While playing games the palmrest area is warm to touch, as is the underside. Bottom line is that you can easily play games with the M14x R2 on your laps.

Conclusion

Given its limited resolution of 1600×900, the performance on the GT 650M is slightly better than what you would get on a GTX 660M at 1080p. And if you opt for the basic level 1366×768 screen, the M14x R2 will give you even higher frame rates.

The Alienware M14x R2 isn’t as powerful as its elder siblings, the M17x and the M18x, but given its small and relatively lightweight chassis, it’s a great machine for truly portable gaming on the go. Ideal for students or people who need to move their gaming machine constantly on a daily basis.

It may not have the impulse buy appeal of the M11x, but as a whole system keeping performance and size in check, it’s one of the best 14-inch gaming laptops around.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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