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Reviewing an Alienware is always a fun experience due to the fact that you are almost guaranteed a super high specification system which is designed to hit 0-60 in a few seconds. With the case of Alienware’s high end laptops they create systems with the goal of being desktop replacements with no compromises. This review focuses on one such product with a mouth watering specification list comprising a 7800GTX backed up with 2gb of DDR400 ... and did we mention a FX-60 dual core CPU? Please take a moment to clean the drool from your keyboard before you read on....

The Aurora – External

Alienware’s systems are not all about the internal specs, they also take care to provide you with a well designed and stylish exterior. This particular model comes with some exceptional paintwork.

The paintwork, in average light, is a solid blue colour which makes the unit stand out from the norm however if in direct sunlight or a well lit room (as the above picture shows) the paintwork really comes alive and there is in fact a metallic effect throughout which catches the light and makes the system look that little bit extra special.

The top of the Alienware is similar to past models we have reviewed with the Alienware logo and rubber sides.

You can also see the external indicators which show the battery, AC power and wireless Lan status.

We have the usual Alienware face on the front also, and as expected the eyes light up when the system is powered on.

Moving to the front of the unit we can see a familiar design for anyone who has looked at a high end Clevo based machine before. We have the LED panel which gives the time when the laptop is powered up and CD track information if we decide to take advantage of the standalone CD player functionality. We also have numerous disc options like play and skip etc. Two of the unit’s speakers are also located on the front.

Along the right side of the unit there isn’t much to talk about; the main feature is the DVD rom drive (although there is space for two). The drive in this particular model is the NEC-6650A. We’re always pleased to see NEC drives as they are incredibly stable and very rarely (if ever) give a bad burn. The 6650 is of course a dual format drive handling + or – media. Performance (writing ) of this particular model is very good for a notebook drive:

Transfer Rate Write (DVD): DVD-R:8x, DVD-R DL:4x, DVD-RW:6x, DVD+R:8x, DVD+R9:4x, DVD+RW:8x

Read and access speeds are also good with 24x Read on CD, 8x read on DVD and a 130ms (CD) and 160ms (DVD) access time.

The back of the unit features standard connectivity in the form of a power connector, serial and parallel port as well as a single PS2 connector for either mouse or keyboard. What is slightly out of the ordinary is the DVI connector, many laptops still come with an analogue-out so its nice to see the higher grade output included here.

Down the left side of the Alienware we have the next set of connectors. At the back edge we have an s-video out, 4 USB 2.0 slots and 2 firewire (mini) connectors.

We then find some audio sockets…

Finally a PCMCIA card slot and memory card reader which accepts all of the standard memory card types such as MMC/SD and Compact Flash. Complimenting this is an infra red receiver for connecting to devices such as a mobile phone.

That’s the outside of the unit covered and we’re sure you’ll agree that this system has just about every connector you’ll find on your desktop PC. Let’s take a look under the lid…

By opening the laptop we get the first glimpse at the 17” widescreen display, unfortunately this model doesnt have the high bright "glass" screen coating, that said the images are still vibrant and crisp with noting to complain about. We checked our unit for dead pixels also and none were found. You can also see that the battery/power and W/Lan LED’s from the top of the case also show on the inside.

Beneath the screen there is an almost full size keyboard and touchpad, both feel nice to use and are a good size for day to day use. There are also some shortcut buttons for internet access if you’re into that sort of thing. Finally there are two further speakers.

Closing the lid of the Alienware and turning over we can see the base of the system. In the picture below you can see the various component compartments as well as four fans and a speaker. The fans actively cool the memory, GPU and CPU and can get a little noisy when running on full however not annoyingly so and certainly quieter than many desktop coolers such as those provided by Intel as stock coolers.

 

 

 


 

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