Video and Audio

Video

The Alienware Aurora m9700 comes with a glossy coated LCD screen for excellent contrast. The sample we received is the top-end 1920×1200 resolution display, and you can order the Aurora m9700 with a 1440×900 display which will make your overall configuration cheaper. Since this laptop is SLI, you may want to get the 1920×1200 display since the GPUs are capable of handling those resolutions well.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 78
Alienware m9700 17″ LCD Display.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 79
Asus W2J 17″ LCD Display.

But how does it compare to the Asus W2J laptop which we reviewed a few weeks back? Once again the Asus W2J proves to have the much brighter display, but the deeper tones of the Aurora m9700 make it seem richer, so I guess it boils down to personal preference. The display is very good when I sampled a few movies on the m9700 and did I did not find anything lacking.

The 1920×1200 native LCD resolution is really great for gaming especially since the dual GeForce Go 7900 GS video cards do a fine job at rendering at that resolution. We will get more into gaming performance later in this review.

Audio

Alienware has done audio justice on the Aurora m9700 by giving you all the jacks you need to properly hook up a surround sound system and more. There are dedicated analog output jacks for your front, center/bass, and surround speakers. Most laptop manufacturers double up the front speakers with headphones which isn’t always convenient especially when switching between speakers and your headset. With that said, microphone and headphones get their own jacks as well.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 80

For digital audio, Alienware also gives you a standard optical jack (TOSLINK) instead of a mini-optical jack found on other notebooks. Having a standard jack makes it a lot easier to bring the m9700 around to other places without having to bring your own cable.

Getting the digital audio working properly on the m9700 is a snap. All you need to do is make sure AC3 and PCM SPDIF options are selected in the SoundMax driver software and that’s it! Of course you need a digital sound source in order to get full surround sound.

The integrated speakers are fairly decent but not the best I’ve heard on a laptop, but certainly not the worst either. I would classify the speakers as being average at sound reproduction with your typical laptop speaker pitfalls, but I did not find that audio was too metallic or too flat.

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