The Alienware M17x R3 has an external appearance which is similar to the other models in the range and as with those systems this has received some styling tweaks to refine the overall appearance. These refinements include small tweaks such as the grill bar for the front surface lighting being more curved and larger changes such as the updated lid which has a more angled cut-away but we still have the Alien logo including light up eyes. Also worth noting is that this new model, in black, features a rubberised external shell.
At the left edge of the machine we find the majority of the connectivity. This starts near the back with a Kensington Lock slot then runs through GB LAN (IPv6), VGA, HDMI out, mini-DisplayPort, 2x USB 3.0 and Intel based, Creative certified 5.1/7.1 audio in/out which includes a S/PDIF socket. Turning the system round we find two further USB ports (2.0 speed), eSATA/USB combo charge port, our 9-in-1 memory card reader, slot loading optical drive which in this case was a Blu-Ray drive and finally there is the HDMI IN
. This means we can connect external devices such as the PS3 to play on the inbuilt high spec screen.
Round at the back of the M17x R3 we find two exhaust vents and almost in the centre is out power in socket. The base of the system is almost entirely flat and over 3/4 is made up of one single panel. We have two perforated sections which allow air into the system and between these is Alienware's plaque which is etched with the consumers name prior to dispatch. As with the previous models this design allows the M17x R3 to draw air in and exhaust it away from the user, allowing more comfortable use on their lap. Also worthy of note is the Klipsh logo on the base, they supply the speaker design for this system.