Where to start with the M18x? Well it probably has to be the size… this system is a desktop replacement without doubt and has a significant weight to it thanks to the tough, metal outer shell and large display with high end components/cooling inside. These factors do count towards build quality in a positive way though because the M18x feels well build, looks great and has an epic feel to the screen. Watching a movie on this system is perfectly enjoyable, especially when we take into account the good quality speakers installed in the chassis that provide plenty of volume, bass and clarity.
The inclusion of HDMI IN as well as HDMI out, DisplayPort and SPDIF alongside our USB 3.0 ports ensures we have a future proof and flexible design. Really the only negative we can find with the system is that the keyboard could have a little too much flex for exceptionally picky users… or that MSI offer slightly better audio quality on their range.
In terms of performance, even with a single GPU the M18x offers a good gaming experience, allowing us to play the latest titles with medium detail at 1920×1080. For those who configure the system with SLI the performance improves significantly, ensuring we can take advantage of high detail settings in new releases. CPU performance was a real highlight though as the i7-2720QM excelled in each processor dependant test. Performance can be enhanced further through the use of a second drive in RAID, additional memory in the free slots beneath the keyboard or through the purchase of an SSD.
Everyone will have their own opinion on the value rating for a system like this but with a base price of significantly less than £2000 for a 18" screen with exceptional chassis quality and the latest platform/features we feel the M18x is priced appropriately.
The use of an 18" form factor allows Alienware to pack the M18x with as many high end components as the consumer requires. It therefore offers great performance, good features and huge flexibility; an ideal mix.