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Alienware M18x Laptop Review


by Stuart Davidson - 19th April 2011
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Alienware M18x Laptop Review

Media Playback


Blu-Ray Playback: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is encoded in High Definition 1080p format using MPEG4 AVC compression and comes on a dual layer (50GB) disc. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is used with letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the 16:9 image. This portion of the movie has an average video bitrate of around 30MBPS and regularly peaks above this making it one of the most demanding Blu-Rays on the market. For comparison, a movie such as Casino Royale has a bitrate of 24MBPS.

Results

YouTube HD
In our second playback test we look at 1080p video on YouTube using Google Chrome and the latest Flash Player.

Results

HTML 5 Web Performance
On our last performance test for this review we have taken a look at HTML 5 performance using Google Chrome and the Wilderness Downtown project page. This ultra-demanding video page is a stern test for any processor/GPU and is an interesting indication of future performance in web content.

Results

For this set of tests we enabled the NVIDIA GPU rather than Intel, our reasoning being that the M18x is likely to spend most of its life attached to the mains so battery life is not a consideration.

Blu-Ray playback is a relatively simple affair on recent NVIDIA hardware, just install the latest drivers then tweak the display settings to the preferred level and run PowerDVD 10 (Or WinDVD) which features support for GPU acceleration. Essentially, if we want to pass some of the video processing to our GPU we can do so by going into the software options and ticking the hardware acceleration option. With GPU acceleration in place the CPU usage statistic for Blu-Ray playback never rises above 8.8% on this configuration, leaving plenty of resources free for other tasks. The same can be said of web playback which isn't quite as low as for HTML 5 but still offers good CPU usage statistics.
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