The Alienware M18x has a metal casing and has an external appearance which is similar to the other models in the range with the same grill used on the front surface. That said it is interesting to see that the top surface, featuring light up alien logo, has more in common with the original M17x than it does the more recent R3 edition.
To give the system some scale, because it is huge, we have placed the M11x on it for the above image. The M18x measures 43.5x 30.5x 5cm and weighs 5.4kg
At the left edge of the machine we find a large amount 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 3.5mm audio 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, express card connector, slot loading optical drive which in this case was a Hitachi/LG DVD-RW drive and finally there is the HDMI IN
. this means we can connect external devices such as the PS3 to play on the inbuilt 1080p screen.
Round at the back of the M18x we find two exhaust vents and in the centre is power in socket. The base of the system is almost entirely flat and over 2/3 is made up of one single panel. We have several perforated sections at the back edge of the system which allow air in to the fans and between these and the battery is Alienware's plaque which is etched with the consumers name prior to dispatch.
As with the previous models this design allows the M18x to draw air in and exhaust it away from the user, allowing more comfortable use on their lap. Also worthy of note is the Klipsch logo on the base, they supply the speaker design for this system as was also the case with the M17x R3 and M11x R3.