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Alienware M11x Notebook Review

Alienware M11x Notebook Review

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Alienware Software/BIOS

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The first screenshot above shows the software installed on the M11x before it leaves the factory. It is a good build with very little extras, ensuring the system is bloat free. Items of note are PowerDVD 8 and Nero 9. We would still like to see Dell/Alienware move to PowerDVD 9 but that is less of an issue on a machine with no optical drive… Nero 9 could be removed completely due to how well Windows 7 handles iso images (and again because there is no optical drive).

Also installed on the M11x is Steam, Valve’s online game distribution service. This will no doubt be the user’s primary source of games as it allows them to run software without a disc. For anything that’s not available on Steam companies such as EA offer their own online distribution service.

In the second screenshot above we have the system rating for Windows 7 64-bit (the default OS choice on M11x).

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Also bundled with the M11x is Alienware’s Command Centre. This software application handles a number of features with the first being system lighting. Through the FX screen within Command Centre we can select a number of colours for each area of the machine and it even goes as far as to allow various themes.

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In the Fusion screen we are able to configure the power saving and performance aspects of the machine. Essentially this is a better presented version of the Windows power profiles but it is good to have everything in one place.

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The next aspect of the Command Centre on our build was the Sense function. This uses the built in camera for facial recognition. It can be set to automatically log on a user when their face is recognised, to switch users or to provide continuous security. When using the final option any time the camera does not see the users face the machine locks and once the operator returns it automatically unlocks.

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The final screen within Alienware’s Command Centre is Touch. In this section of the software we can configure options such as touchpad sensitivity and scroll setup.

Alienware M11x – BIOS

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Alienware use a Phoenix BIOS for the M11x. This version offers all of the standard functionality such as choosing boot order and enabling/disabling components such as wireless. One aspect of note is that the default SATA option is set to AHCI.

There is also an overclocking option on the Advanced Screen. Setting this to enabled increases the CPU speed, we will look at the performance increase of this feature later in the review.

Also worth mentioning is that BIOS updates on the M11x are performed in Windows, we run the flash file, it backs up and flashes the BIOS then reboots for us. It is a simple process with very little user interaction, ideal for novices.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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