It's allegedly the "fastest laptop in the universe". It's got 8GB of RAM, two dedicated Nvidia graphics cards and the horsepower of Intel's Core 2 Extreme chips. It's called the Alienware M17x, and after a very brief prod earlier this month here at CNET UK, Alienware took us out to the land of three strikes (France, yo) to spend time with the final version.

This laptop is, quite frankly, insane: insanely big, insanely specced and insanely heavy. You could beat whales to death with this thing. Its spec maxes out with a 17-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel display (yes, higher than 1080p HD), up to a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300 CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, two Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M in SLI config -- each with 1GB of GDDR3 RAM -- 1TB or storage and an internal Blu-ray.

And, with that configuration, it'll cost you just over £4,500. The base configuration, however, will cause fewer panic attacks with its starting price of £1,699.

It looks beautiful though, and the LED-backlit screen, running at its native resolution, was stunning -- like a 20m-tall real-life Gundam watching over Tokyo at sunset.

Unlike previous Alienwares, the M17x's chassis is built from thick, anodised aluminium. And with gamers in mind the area beneath the W, A, S and D keys has been reinforced with a plate of titanium.

Sadly, we weren't able to do any benchmarks, so performance commentary will wait for our full review in the coming weeks. But after fingering a hand-built prototype earlier this month, our resident PC editor Rory 'fingers all the laptops' Reid felt the M17x was "a pretty stunning machine". And this is coming from a man who ditched a PC paired up to two 30-inch monitors in favour of using an even more powerful one that was hooked up to -- and we're not kidding here -- an actual TV.

We're got a mountain of photos over the next few pages. Of the Alienware, not Rory's desk.

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Speakers sit on either side of the front of the M17x's chassis.
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The keyboard resembles a desktop keyboard, rather than a flat-keyed laptop.
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And the keys glow in one of many, many colours.
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Ports around the left-hand side: FireWire, eSATA, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI...
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A smart slot-loading optical drive around here, card slot and audio ins and outs.
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The screen, although gorgeous, is highly reflective thanks to its all-glass design.
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The trackpad.
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The back of the system, featuring a power input and one of many, many ventilation areas.
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The lid. More restrained that many of the 'ware's previous efforts.
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The base reminds us of the original Xbox, a similarly hefty beast.
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