Home' LAPTOP Magazine : October 2010 Contents OPTIMUSNOTEBOOKS
GAME ON THE GO
When the Alienware M11x first came
out, the only thing we didn't like was
having to manually switch between
the discrete and integrated graphics. With Nvidia's
Optimus technology---which does the switching for
you---it's automatic. But that's not all: This 11.6-inch
machine boasts an Intel Core i7 processor that gives
it tons of power. Despite some heat issues, this rig
blows away other machines in its class.
The M11x looks as if the company sent its M15x
through Willy Wonka's shrinking machine. A prominent
Alienware logo on the lid glows when the system
is turned on. Our all-black system was coated with
a soft rubber finish (known as Soft Touch Stealth
Black). Its front edge has an angled design like the
newer Chevy Camaros. The deck is a matte black
plastic that doesn't pick up fingerprints, but the
glossy black screen bezel does.
The two front edge corners, which have a
honeycomb pattern, are backlit, as is the keyboard
and Alienware logo beneath the screen. Each
key shares this treatment, making them really
pop in dark rooms. The colors of the lights are
Weighing 4.6 pounds, the M11x is considerably
bulkier and heavier than other similar-size laptops.
The keys have a slightly glossy coating, which didn't
cause our fingers to slip but picked up oil from our
skin. The slightly narrow keys are very responsive.
Gamers will find the touchpad large for a system this
size, although most will use an external mouse.
The 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel display on the
M11x is one of the better we've seen. We enjoyed
deep blacks and bright colors whether watching
videos or playing games. The glossy finish tended
to kick back reflections, though.
Audio on the M11x was stellar for a system of
this size. Deeper bass sounds had enough room
to resonate, and higher tones were crisp without
For such a small laptop, the M11x's ports include
DisplayPort, Ethernet, FireWire, and HDMI.
This new M11x has a 1.2-GHz Core i7-640UM
CPU and 4GB of RAM, simply demolishing other
notebooks in its class. Its PCMark Vantage score
is about 2,000 points higher than the average
ultraportable. Surprisingly, it was only 11 seconds
faster than the original M11x when transcoding a
114MB MPEG-4 video file to AVI.
The M11x's 7,200-rpm, 500GB hard drive was plenty
fast, copying a
in 2 minutes
and 45 seconds,
a rate of 30.8
score of 6,976,
which is in the
as much larger
it even bested
the Sony VAIO
Z by about 700 points. Still, the 18-inch Toshiba
Qosmio X505 scored 9,801 on the same test.
The M11x had more than enough oomph for
the latest titles. With resolution set to 1366 x
768, we averaged 74 frames per second in World
of Warcraft and 60 fps in Call of Duty: Modern
Warfare 2. We connected the M11x via HDMI to a
32-inch Samsung HDTV and were able to notch a
frame rate of 44 fps when playing C.O.D. at 1920
x 1080, an improvement of about 14 fps over the
After playing C.O.D. for half an hour, the touchpad
and left palm rest reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit,
and the temperature by the vent fan was a scorch-
ing 120 degrees. Don't game on your lap.
This M11x improves upon the original with the
inclusion of Nvidia's Optimus technology, which
switches between discrete and integrated GPUs
on the fly. The newer M11x lasted just about 6
hours on a charge, which is quite good. When
the Nvidia GPU is active and backlighting is on,
though, battery life will suffer.
The M11x comes with virtually zero software.
AlienSense lets you log on using facial recognition,
and can be set to automatically log off when the
webcam no longer sees you; AlienTouch adjusts
the touchpad controls; AlienFusion lets you modify
power settings; and AlienFX lets you change the
The Alienware M11x with Optimus really satisfies.
Coupled with a Core i7 CPU, the Nvidia graphics
produced the highest frame rates we've seen
in a system this size---not to mention almost
6 hours of battery life. Overall, the M11x is an
ultra-powerful and ultra-stylish PC you can take
Innovative lighting features
Faster new Core i7 processor
Excellent gaming frame rates
Good battery life
Fan gets loud
LAPTOP | October 2010
The M11x's matte black plastic
deck doesn't pick up finger-
prints, and you can customize
the keyboard lighting.
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