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....
Aurora – External
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.
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.
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.
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:
Rate Write (DVD): DVD-R:8x, DVD-R DL:4x, DVD-RW:6x,
DVD+R:8x, DVD+R9:4x, DVD+RW:8x
access speeds are also good with 24x Read on CD,
8x read on DVD and a 130ms (CD) and 160ms (DVD)
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…
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
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…
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.
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
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.