The Throbbing Brain

Technology musings for the modern pragmatist

Alienware M15x Laptop

I ordered a new laptop from Alienware last Monday and found over the weekend that I’ll be getting it over a week early!  I’m really excited for it to arrive since it will replace my extremely aged Dell Inspiron 8600 and decouple me from my home built gaming workstation, and it will be nice to have a single machine for gaming and programming.

My Alienware M15x Configuration

  • Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6GHz (2.8 GHz Turbo Mode, 8MB Cache)
  • 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz 2 x 2048MB
  • 15.6-inch Wide FHD 1920x1080 (1080p) WLED
  • 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M
  • 500GB SATAII 7,200RPM
  • Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate, 64bit, English
  • Primary - 6-cell (56Watt) Lithium-Ion Battery

I’m not a believer in cutting edge hardware, so I usually spec my machines with the highest end componentry at the point where the price starts to dramatically increase, but isn’t out of hand.  I find that you get the best bang for your buck when buying your hardware with this in mind.  I could have spec’d the machine with the highest end stuff available, and it would have cost around $3600 without any extended warranty or accidental coverage.  Instead my laptop came in at $2100.00 for the hardware configuration, $2600.00 ish when you factor in the 3 year extended warranty with accidental damage coverage.  Since I am somehow prone to having other people wreck my stuff, I figure I can’t go wrong with the accidental coverage…

The processor is a good example of getting good bang for the buck.  This was only a $100.00 upgrade from the stock processor, while the next one up cost $400.00 and only gave you a nominal core speed increase.  Considering the applications that I run are not CPU bound, this was a choice that saved quite a bit of money and still gave me a fast quad core processor that can be upgraded at a later date if I find the machine lacking in horsepower.

I decided on 4GB of memory rather than my initial instinct to max the box out at 8GB.  While more RAM would be great, I generally don’t find myself running out of memory.  When I do, the machine will take 8GB and upgrading should be fairly inexpensive in a year or two.  Going with 4GB saved me $300.00 over the 8GB upgrade.

Finally, I elected to stay with the stock 6 cell battery rather than upgrade to the 9 cell version.  After reading reviews I found that the 9 cell only gave about 90 minutes of battery life; a moderate 30 minute increase over the stock 6 cell battery.  For a $100.00 upgrade, this just didn’t seem like that great of a deal considering this laptop will rarely find itself in a starbucks or any other scenario where I don’t have access to power.  I’ll plug the box in when in my living room; it will be faster that way anyway.

I’ll do a more detailed write up after I get this thing set up and get some time to poke around.  I can’t wait!