Even before you unleash the Alienware M18x from its packaging, you get an extremely good idea of its size. It’s a beast, there’s no other way to put it. That doesn’t mean it’s hideous though, far from it in fact. The Alienware brand is synonymous with easy on the eye high-end gaming laptops, and the M18x only further strengthens that particular notion.
How does it look?
As soon as you unsheathe the M18x from its casing and power it up, you’ll be dazzled by its aesthetics. The coloured lights emanating from the keyboard and the speakers will instantly grab your attention, with the latter looking almost like the glowing eyes of an alien being. Alienware products are well known for being fully customisable, and that remains the case with the M18x. The colour of lighting on the keyboard as well as the speakers can be fully adjusted to your liking. Want a manly looking keyboard with pink lights seeping through it? The M18x will allow you to make that rather bold move with considerable ease.
If the lights don’t manage to grab your attention (can’t imagine why they wouldn’t), the 18.4 inch WLED backlit screen certainly will. Boasting a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, everything you do on the M18x – whether it be watching videos on YouTube or playing one of the latest first-person shooters – will look amazingly sharp and crisp throughout.
What is it packing?
The basic specifications of the M18x are listed below, but most parts can be upgraded and/or customised during the checkout process. With the basic specification the M18x is priced at £1,699.
Processor: Intel Core i7 Processor 2630QM (2.0Ghz, 6MB, 4C)
Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
Memory: 4096MB 1333MHz Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM [2×2048]
Video card: 1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M
Audio and speakers: Internal High-Definition 5.1 Performance Audio with WavesMAXX Audio
Hard drive: 320GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200RPM)
Optical drive: Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
Wireless: Intel Advanced N 6200 a/g/n 2×2
Can it run…?
As expected, the M18x handled pretty much all the latest games (and a few older ones) without any trouble at all. It saw off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Portal, Portal 2, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, StarCraft II, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at their highest graphical settings with ease, running them at 60 frames per second or more in the process. The beast of a gaming laptop even managed to swallow up Crysis and Crysis 2 at their top graphical settings like they were minor snacks before an epic meal.
The only two titles the M18x had some trouble running at their highest graphical settings were The Witcher 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV (with the recent iCEnhancer mod applied). Both titles ran at around 20 to 30 frames per second, which is still decent, but a little disappointing when you take into account the power of the machine. Lowering or turning off a few the more advanced graphical settings made both games run a little smoother, but not quite as well as you’d expect.
That being said though, the M18x should be able to run the majority of AAA PC games due to be released over the next few months at high graphical settings without any problems. Battlefield 3 is probably the only upcoming title that might provide a bit of a challenge, but given how well Bad Company 2 ran on the M18x, one can only hope the Frostbite 2.0 engine is as well optimised as its predecessor.
As far as high-end gaming laptops go, the M18x is as good as it gets. It might not be the most portable gaming laptop currently available, but it more than makes up for that when it comes to sheer power. The fact that it laughed the away the challenge of all but two titles (even they ran quite well) whilst glowing ever so brightly, speaks volumes.
If you have the money and lust for high-end gaming on the go, you need the M18x in your life. It’s a beast, but what a glorious beast it is.