Impressions and Conclusions

The Aurora m9700 is a bit pricey for an average consumer, but these aren’t average laptops. The Aurora m9700 is highly configurable through the Alienware website with different hard drive, graphics, and display options. You can get the m9700 for as low as $1600 with 512MB RAM and a single Go 7900 GS, and up to $4000 USD for the top of the line with the fastest CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 2x160GB HDDs in RAID, and two 7900GS’ with 512MB buffer on each. At $2400 USD, you can get one configured with SLI and RAID 1, and just last week Alienware was running a promotion where you can get the 2x256MB Go 7900 GS SLI option for free! There are definitely deals to be had by keeping an eye on their website (better yet, subscribe to their email alerts).

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 78

Pricing and Suggestions

Perhaps the most significant hurdle for the Aurora m9700 is its price! The one we reviewed here today retails for over $4000 USD — that’s a lot of milk money! In the end the consumer needs to prioritize their features before buying, and I have a few tips that may make owning and affording this Alienware laptop a bit more enjoyable.

Go for SLI
There’s no real point in getting an m9700 without SLI. So I consider getting multiple GPUs a priority, otherwise you can find cheaper laptops with a single Go 7900 GS for less. The 256MB Go 7900 GS’ will be sufficient for most games and gamers.

RAID 1 with Cheapest Drives
Somewhat an exclusive feature of the Aurora m9700 is the RAID option. Since you can only get RAID 0 or RAID 1 when ordering, you need to decide which to get. RAID 1 I recommend over RAID 0 since RAID 0 fragments your data across two discs. Going with the cheapest HDDs allows you to upgrade to larger discs for RAID later.

Go with the Best Bang for the Buck
For RAM and CPU, go with the best bang for the buck configuration. Currently this means either the ML-34 1.6GHz or the ML-40 2.2 GHz depending on your need for speed. 1 GB RAM is your minimum if you want to play games well. 2 GB is a bit excessive for a laptop, especially since it commands a $390 USD premium at the moment.

Adding it up
If you follow the above tips you will end up with a $2400 USD system that comes with SLI, 1 GB RAM, and RAID 1. This is actually quite a tolerable price when compared to GeForce Go 7900 GTX systems being sold by other vendors.

Conclusion

Above all the graphics performance is blistering hot. Two 512MB GeForce Go7900 GS’ make the m9700 the fastest game performer we’ve tested here on PC Perspective. It rips through even the most intense games like Prey and FEAR without much problem, and it keeps cool while doing it.

I’m very impressed with the Alienware m9700 in many respects. The performance is excellent despite being an older AMD Turion single-core CPU and it’s more than capable of holding its own against Intel Core Duos in real-world tests like World Bench. The customer and technical support I received from Alienware’s 24/7 help line was snappy, concise, and thorough. They asked the right questions and gave the right answers when queried. Then there are the small things like an assuringly sturdy construction, a choice of three colours, and an installation free of bloatware. Battery life is a bit short, but what do you expect for a hardcore gaming laptop?

Warranty is perhaps one of the major reasons to get the Aurora m9700. They offer the best dead pixel policy I’ve seen from any manufacturer, and they cover the battery from defects up to 1 year which is much longer than most manufacturers.

The Alienware Aurora m9700 gets a Gold Award for offering incredible performance, features, and the best support and warranty options I have seen for a laptop.

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Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 79

You can purchase the Alienware Aurora m9700 directly from the company. Currently they are offering a $200 discount on certain configurations, so check out their site for the details! Of course we have our Price Grabber service so you can compare your options.

 

 

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