The first screenshots above show the software installed on the M17x before it leaves the factory. It is a good build with very few extras, ensuring the system is almost bloat free (We wouldn’t include the Roxio bundle). Items of note are Flash and Java being pre-installed as well as a recent NVIDIA driver and Creative audio software. In the second screenshot above we have the system rating for Windows 7 64-bit (the default OS choice on M17x).
Also bundled with the M17x is Alienware’s Command Centre. This software application handles a number of features with the first being system lighting. Through the FX screen within Command Centre we can select a number of colours for each area of the machine and it even goes as far as to allow various themes.
In the Fusion screen we are able to configure the power saving and performance aspects of the machine. Essentially this is a better presented version of the Windows power profiles but it is good to have everything in one place.
The next aspect of the Command Centre on our build was the Touch function. In this section of the software we can configure options such as touchpad sensitivity and scroll setup.
Alienware also offer an application to aid in creation of recovery media.
Finally we have webcam software which allows is to add various visual effects, for example placing a wolf head on our shoulders which moves as the person on camera does.
Alienware use an InsydeH20 BIOS for the M17x and this version offers all of the standard functionality such as choosing boot order and enabling/disabling components such as wireless. There is also an overclocking option on the Advance screen which allows us to select memory overclocks, XMP and tweak our BUS speed, though Sandy Bridge CPUs are not known for non-multiplier overclocking.
Also worth mentioning is that BIOS updates on the M17x are performed in Windows, we run the flash file, it backs up and flashes the BIOS and is a simple process with very little user interaction which is ideal for novices.