Alienware is a name synonymous
with high performance machines. We've had a fair
few come in for review and almost every one has
been a fantastic kit to use. In fact myself and
Driver Heaven’s Editor in Chief (Zardon)
use Alienware systems for review and design work
as they generally provide first class performance
and great stability. Often these high performance
systems come with a downside, that being size
and weight, whilst the Area 51m desktop replacement
is an amazing machine it is not great for using
on the move.
Alienware do offer more
portable machines though and that's where today's
product is aimed. The M5500 will try to be portable
whilst still providing some excellent performance,
the question is though … can it be done?
The M55 –
As with all Alienware laptop
systems the M5500 comes with a very stylish top.
The rubber sections look pretty cool and also
make the machine easier to grip. The Alienware
badge lights up when the machine is powered on.
This cover is also responsible for protecting
the 15.4inch 1920x1080 resolution screen.
Along the right of the
chassis we find various forms of connectors. Firstly
there is a mini-firewire port and this is followed
by 3 USB 2.0 ports. Nearer the back the power
connector can be seen and finally there is the
Generally when building
a laptop, manufacturers place as many outputs
and so on along the back edge of the unit. This
isn't the case with the M5500 and instead we have
a single VGA out only.
Along the left of the unit
we have the network connector and telephone line
socket both of which allow connection to the outside
world. Also along this edge is a slimline DVD
writer (Liteon). Liteon make good drives however
it has to be said that this one has proven to
be less than stellar and on occasion the front
panel of the drive tray has came loose.
Along the front of the
unit we find the memory card slot (SD / MS / MSPRO
/ MMC) audio outputs/inputs and a very special
button... this button allows you to choose whether
the Alienware M5500 uses the Mobility Radeon X1600
graphics or a second option, on-board Intel graphics.
Undoubtedly the Radeon will always be the choice
for gaming however if the system is being used
on the move for simple office work or maybe even
to surf the net, battery life can be extended
by switching to the Intel chip.
The keys are all low profile
and adequately responsive. To the top of the picture
are function buttons which control mail, wireless
and power. Also pictured is the units touch pad
and mouse buttons.
Vents and labels are about
the most interesting things here. You can also
see the battery along the top edge, and for those
interested it is a 4400mHa model made by Panasonic.
TechHeaven design based on BlackTeal
adapted by craig5320 & Zardon.
Review coding Zardon.
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