Conclusions and Final ThoughtsMost users reading this article already know that the majority of Alienware’s systemlineupis not for everyone; if you are looking for a bargain PC you might has well start looking at your local brick and mortar. If you want a top of the line, pre-built and supported system, then Alienware makes much more sense.
From a features stand point, the m9750 brings more to the table than most other notebook of this size, or any. Built on the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, it doubles as both a great gaming notebook as well as an overall good selection for media features like DVR, movie watching and presentations. This machine has more audio and video inputs than nearly all the desktop PCs in my lab, including things like S-Video, stereo audio and even coaxial inputs, as well as VGA, DVI and 6-channel analog or digital outputs, really make it a multimedia powerhouse – if that’s what you are going for.
From a pure hardware perspective, the machine has support (though you can build it on their site without it) for SLI graphics, RAID SATA hard drives, and Intel’s latest dual-core processors. The screen itself is vibrant and with a resolution of 1920×1200 you’ll have more than enough desktop space to get your work done when you have to, and game when you want to.
Users fretting over the Macbook Air’s single USB port won’t have that problem here, as the Alienware m9750 has lots of connectivity options: but you’ll need a much larger and stronger envelope.
As you might guess based on the specs of our test sample, the m9750 is about as fast as you can get a notebook machine configured today. Fast dual-core processors, RAID 0 hard drives, SLI graphics – it all adds up to great system performance that is nearly on par with some our desktop setups and gaming that is nearly unmatched in the mobile sector.
Our benchmarks in PCMark05 as well as the few games we threw at it proved the m9750 can stand up to most users’ demands, no matter what they are. The large 300GB of storage might seem a little smaller right now since larger mobile drives have been released since we received our sample, but have no doubts you can configure them in now. If you are a gamer heading out school or looking for a gaming-ready desktop-replacement machine, this could be a great choice.
Appearance and Extras
Alienware systems comes with the name attached, and that can be a positive or negative depend on your political aspirations, but most of know Alienware as a proponent of the high-end enthusiast platform. The style of their systems has become a little drab recently – even after the Dell/Alienware deal the look and feel of the systems has remained pretty consistent. The systems aren’t ugly by any means, but they just seem stale in comparison to what the HP/Voodoo merger has produced.
The look of the m9750 will definitely turn heads at the LAN or at the airport: glowing alien heads tend to do that. The flat paint finish on it is also less conducive to scratches and finger prints for those users that find a dirty notebook to be a sin as I do.
The extras that Alienware included are few, but are pretty high quality. The leather binder with all your information keeps warranty and support info easily at hand while the mouse pad and T-shirt cement your place in the Alienware family. The lack of software on the desktop when you turn it on should be included as “extra” as well, just in an inverse definition; less is definitely more there.
Pricing and Availability
The total build price on the laptop that I tested here, configured at Alienware.com, is going for $3,258.00. That’s actually significantly lower than we originally thought it was going to be, partially because prices have dropped since we received our sample.
If you want top this baby out, you can still add in a pair of 8700M GPUs, a 64GB solid state hard drive, Blu-ray burning optical drive and more. Upping the warranty to three years with all that, you can easily break $5.300 on an m9750 system.
So yes, the Alienware m9750 is expensive – getting desktop performance in a mobile form factor is always going to cost noticeably more, so just get over it. Compared to other high end mobile gaming system, the m9750 seems to be right in the thick of things as you can find both cheaper and more expensive models from other boutique builders.
Warranties are something of a pet peeve of mine – I don’t think anyone but the GPU vendors like BFG Tech and the power supply vendors like PC Power really get it. When you are shelling out this much for a PC or notebook, you shouldn’t have to price in another $500 for support after the first year.
The Alienware m9750 gaming notebook is in a select group of computers that allow you to mobile and game ready at the same time. It’s not cheap, you won’t want to carry it around for very long in a backpack and it won’t fit in your purse; but it never pretends to be any of those things. The m9750 is unapologetically a high-end gaming laptop; with some bonus multimedia features for good measure and a sense of value, Alienware has built an excellent example of gaming-on-the-go. It’s not a selection that many are going to make, going with a notebook of this style, but those that do will surely keep the m9750 on their short list of options.
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