I have to begin this review with a little confession: I already own an Alienware laptop computer, and it has treated me with the utmost love from the first day it came into my life. We are still together and I’m actually writing this review on it. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I’ve shared some good times with Alienware. The company offers terrific service. If I’m having any problems, they’ll stay on the phone with me until the problem is resolved. The hardware is top notch’then again, when I designed the machine I made sure the components were top notch. So, when I was asked to review the new line of Area-51 m9750 notebooks, I jumped at the opportunity. My previous notebook was already a few years old, so this assignment allowed me to see what advances had been made.
When the notebook arrived, the first thing I noticed was how much lighter it was than what I was used to. I was literally bulking up my biceps carrying my older machine around’which is not necessarily a bad thing! The m9750 is slim, sleek and black. The surfaces feel like a soft plastic-rubber hybrid’I don’t even know what it is, but it feels nice. The lights and indicators are a cool blue color which match the glowing alien eyes on the top of the casing. But enough about the beauty of the machine.
The internal workings are an Intel Dual Core T7600 2.33Ghz proc with 2GB of RAM. So, its no slouch. The video card is an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX with SLI holding a Gig of video RAM. When I first booted the machine, the default resolution was a crisp 1920×1200. The RAID-0 harddrive inside is a beefy 400GB, which I’m doing my best to fill up. Despite all of these components, the box runs extremely cool’which is a change considering that I could scramble eggs on my old box.
Simply put, this baby is a workhorse. I’ve thrown Photoshop, After Effects, Digital Fusion, Maya, Max, RealFlow and you-nameit at the system and it holds up against even more intense shots; from hi-poly 3D rendering to print-resolution 3×6′ posters in Photoshop with hundreds of layers.
On top of the practical features, Alienware has thrown in the webcam, digital surround sound along with an optical jack, multiple USB ports, an IEEE firewire jack and multiple compact and flash card ports. Furthermore, there is a video in to plug your DirectTV or cable box into, making the system a portable DVR. I’m guessing this is why you need 400GB.
My specific notebook configuration runs about $4,000, which might be a little spendy for Best Buy consumers, but the base model starts around $2,000. All in all it’s a very slick machine, with the muscle to back it up.
Price: Begins at $2,099