At E3 2013, Alienware is launching three new laptops (14″, 17″ and 18″) along with a refresh of the Alienware X51 compact gaming PC. The stars of the show are the laptops which come with a brand new industrial design. This is a big deal since the last big laptop design change was introduced in 2009. I had the new Alienware laptops in my hands for a short while, and I can say that they do feel extremely solid and durable. Of course, it’s hard to “test” this and I wasn’t going to drop one on the floor, but from what I could see, I would expect these new laptops to easily withstand a busy “mobile gaming” lifestyle.
I’ll let you look at the actual design aesthetics yourself, but here are a few things that you can’t really see on the photos: the speakers are certified by Klipsch and Alienware has worked with Dolby on the audio processing. If you are really picky about the Ethernet controller (a detail often overlooked), it is from Killer Networks and it has been designed to prioritize the proper gaming-related network packets.
For all models, the displays can optionally be upgraded 1080p at order-time if that’s not already the default option. While this is not surprising on the 17″ and 18″, the 14″ also gets the full HD option, with a little bonus in the form of an IPS panel which should provide wide view angle and great color rendering for that form-factor.
Inside, the laptops are powered by various versions of Intel’s latest Core i7 processor backed by 8GB to 32GB of RAM, depending on the model. The differences between those CPU options are frequency (3.4GHz to 4.0GHz and cache size which go from 6MB to 8MB). This time, Alienware has selected the NVIDIA 700-Series graphics processors and options vary from the GT 750M to the dual-GPU GTX 780 (dual-gpu is only available on the 18″). This type of graphics performance blows away your average $900 Ultrabook by miles.
In terms of storage, Alienware has showed us that for the first time, they are supporting up to 3 drives on all three laptops, and the high-end configuration would be something like 512GB of SSD and 2X750GB of HDD (+ optical drive), which is kind of crazy for a laptop.
To provide power, Alienware has opted for relatively large battery capacities: 69Whr for the Alienware 14 and 86Whr for the 17″ and 18″. When asked, the company told me that it expects the 14″ model to last 7hrs in a simple depletion test, and the 18″ may get 3h to 4h. When gaming all bets are off, but don’t expect any kind of magical battery life: gaming is simply the single most intense thing that your laptop can do, and that requires lots of energy.
Yes, those laptops are not thin, but that’s not their goal. These machines have been built to provide the highest possible performance for demanding gamers in need of mobility. They provide plenty of ports, and storage options that are not even imaginable on most laptops. These are not for everyone says Alienware, but the company hopes to please its hardcore customer base once again. What do you think?
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