Are you sure you want one today?
First off, I think the M17X is a smart looking laptop with edgy style, cool lights and backlit keyboard. The Sandy Bridge cpu is a must have, the GTX 460m is a strong video card and with the 3D package and Blu Ray what more could you want? Both have HDMI and USB3.0, Sager gives you an added DVI port and fingerprint reader as well. At AVAdirect you can choose no operating system and save $109 if you want to use that old copy of XP, Red Hat or the OS from your soon to be retired unit.
I need a high end video capable laptop that won't struggle in three years like my current Asus G1S is, at the time I bought it, it was a high end unit and I can still play Crysis on low settings but some of my work apps demand too much and rendering times are getting longer, it is time to replace the little engine that could.
Here is the problem with the M17X, the 320gb hard drive is way too small for a $1800 laptop, 4gb of system memory is on the short side as well and the entry level 2630qm if you want a step up is grossly overpriced!
Here are the things I have determined that are neccessary for a Gaming notebook that will still be worth $500+ in three years;
"i7 2720m,GTX470m,1080p 17",16GB mem, Blu ray, 256 SSD with high end speed like @250read/200write".
My reason is simple, the majority of laptops are going to bought with minimal extras so in three years there will be used 2630's and 460m's everywhere, plus the performance gains for the two upgrades are substaintial. If you look at the fastest mobile CPU's today out of the top 16 ranked the last one on the list is the i7-740m, the first and fastest is the #1 Sandy 2920xm 3rd is the 2720 with only a 233 point 3dMark06 score less than the 2920xm, the 2630qm falls in at #5 and not too shabby but for $50 I'll take the 2720qm any day. Out of the top 20 rated mobile video cards, 20th is the 460m falling in at #12 is the 470m and the fastest solo card is at #6 and is the 485m. The 485m is $492 more than a 460m and the 470m cost's $212 more than the 460m, the $212 is realistic for a 22%boost in performance(the 485m has only a 8% gain over the 470m), fps and a WEI of 7.5 vs 7.0 for the 460m. The 470m will play Metro 2033 on High at 34.4fps, the 460m will stutter at 24.3fps. The 470m plays Black ops on Ultra settings at 63fps vs 50fps for the 460m and these numbers are with Clarksfield processors not the new Sandy Bridge. Power comsumption for the three cards are 100 watts-485m, 75 watts-470m, 72 watts-460m so portability stays a constant with the 470m as well.
At AVAdirect a base model G2 form factor Sandy Bridge CPU upgrade from the 2630qm to the 2720qm is $52.52, so what is the extra $100 for at Dell? The 2820qm is a $260.18 upgrade, Dell wants $350.
4GB of 1333mhz DDR3 Corsair memory on "one" stick cost around $50 at best buy, so why is 16gb of memory a whopping $500 for $200 worth of memory? And they keep the 4gb that you traded up for? AVA charges $166.39 for 16GB Mushkin 1333mhz memory upgrade That's a $333.61 difference!
Blu Ray is a $150 upgrade at Dell and only $89.60 at AVA, $60 diff.
If you want to upgrade your wireless it's $50 from dell for the 6250 but ava only wants $11.20 $38.80 diff.
AVA charges $365.05 for a 256GB SSD from Mushkin with 250/180 R/W speed that is very fast, I don't know what brand the dell is or how fast, Hmm, Dell price $600, $234 difference
To sum up, I really want a M17X R3, so what should I do? I want the 2720qm, SSD, 16GB ram and a better wireless card.
1) Buy the $1699 M17X and add no options? Go to Best Buy and purchase the high quality options for Memory and SSD and save hundreds?
2) Add the 2720qm and pay $150 extra for a $52 margin? Go to Best Buy and purchase the high quality options for Memory and SSD and save hundreds?
3) Pay $3174 for the laptop I want and quit whinning....? And wonder what I could've done with the extra $766.41 that I would over pay????? I guess the lighted keyboard was worth $293, NOT.
4) Pay $2303 for the same spec'd out notebook from Sager/Clevo
Alienware M17X R3 - $3174+$158.70 tax =$3332.70 That is a $1030.70 difference.
"Apples to Apples". "DELL"Please stop overpricing hardware changes and just sell more computers....If I buy the $1800 M17X Dell still makes a few hundred bucks, if I get what I need in it thay boost me for another grand!
I still love the M17X just don't want to get ripped off or have to run all over town to get it right