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Alienware M18x Laptop Review

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

Alienware M18x Laptop - Internal

By removing the large panel on the base of the M18x we can see some of the main components. At the back edge we can see that there are three cooling fans, one for the CPU and two for GPU cooling. Between these are two memory slots, populated on our sample by two Samsung DDR3-1333 modules, one 4GB and one 2GB. To the right of this is an unpopulated mini-PCIe location and further over the Intel based, dual band wireless N card. The last component of note is the hard drive, populated on our review sample with a Seagate Momentus unit that is rated for 7200RPM, just like a desktop model. Interestingly the caddy used by Dell/Alienware can hold two drives here and we noted that the BIOS is set to RAID by default.

There are a couple of options available for the second generation Core i7 in the M18x. Our sample uses the 2720QM which turbos up to a maximum of 3.3GHz. This CPU, using the 32nm Sandy Bridge core, runs on a 100MHz Bus and uses a 22x multiplier to achieve its 2200MHz speed. As with other recent processors it is 64-bit capable, runs SSE 4.2 and supports Intel Virtualisation Technology. There are 4 cores in this CPU with Hyper-Threading and cache levels are set to 2x32KB of L1 Data and Instruction, 4x256KB of L2 and 6MB of L3.

There are THREE GPU's in our M18x; the first is an integrated (on the CPU) Intel HD based GPU. The second and third GPUs are the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M. The GTX 460M is built on a 40nm manufacturing process and features 192 CUDA processors with 24 ROPs. The 460M uses 1.5GB of GDDR5 on a 192-bit memory bus and supports DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, CUDA, PhysX and Blu-Ray Acceleration. On the M18x the 460M is set to 675MHz core, 625MHz memory and 1350MHz Shader.

NOTE: The M18x does not support Optimus, favouring dual GPUs over a compatible option. In addition to this AMD GPUs will also be available as an alternative configuration.

The final component of note within the M18x is the battery, this Sanyo branded model is Li-ion based and has a capacity of 96Wh and is a 12-cell model. As a comparison, the M17x R3 uses a 9-cell 90Wh battery. Finally, as with many of their other batteries this model has an LED section on the base which illuminates to show the charge level.
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