Alienware Area-51 m17x review: Alienware Area-51 m17x

The combination of the Core 2 Extreme X9000 CPU and Nvidia GeForce 9800 makes the m17x nearly unstoppable in our benchmark tests, easily besting other high-end multimedia desktop replacements such as the HP Pavilion dv7-1025nr (and, of course, the Gateway P-7811FX). In all honesty, the difference will be hard to notice in casual Web surfing or office apps, but gaming performance is impressive. The twin GeForce 9800 graphics cards got us an amazing119.5 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 3 at the extremely high resolution of 1,920x1,200. The Gateway got about half that score (also, that's still nothing to sneer at).

With this much power under the hood, we weren't expecting much from the battery, and we were right. The Alienware Area-51 m17x ran for a mere 1 hour and 27 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. That's about average for a high-end desktop replacement, and explains why these systems spend most of their time plugged in.

Alienware includes an industry-standard one-year, parts-and-labor warranty with the system, which includes onsite service. Upgrading to a three-year plan will cost an extra $300, and Alienware includes its excellent binder that contains system and support info. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and driver downloads.

Multimedia Multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Alienware Area-51 m17x
700 

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Alienware Area-51 m17x
143 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Alienware Area-51 m17x
133 

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,200, 4X AA, 8X AF  
Alienware Area-51 m17x
119.5 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Alienware Area-51 m17x
87 

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Alienware Area-51 m17x
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GT (x2); 500GB Samsung 5,400rpm (x2)


Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeFOrce 9800M GTS; 200GB Seagate 7,200rpm


Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT; 320GB Western Digital 5,400rpm


Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9700M GTS; 200GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

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    Where to Buy

    Alienware Area-51 m17x

    Part Number: PC-LT-AREA51M17X-GC Released: Aug 1, 2008
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Release date Aug 1, 2008
    • Color Blue
    • Weight 10.5 lbs
    • Installed Size 1 GB