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Alienware M14 vs MSI GS70

by msalmank83 / October 16, 2014 6:26 PM PDT

Hi,

I am trying to decide between two laptops; the Alienware M14 & the MSI GS70 Stealth. From the reviews that i've read, both are highly recommended but I'm having a difficult time coming to a decision.

The Alienware M14 model that I've looked at includes:
Intel i7-4710MQ
Windows 8.1
16 GB DDR3
1TB HDD + 256GB SSD
14" FHD display
Nvidia GT765M 2GB Graphics Card
Approx Cost: $1850

Whereas the MSI has the following specs:
Intel i7-4710HQ
Windows 8.1
16 GB DDR3
1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
17.3" FHD display
NVidia GTX860M 2GB
Approx Cost: $1700

MSI GS70 offers more value for the money (better graphics card + larger display, though half the SSD), but Alienware is... well, it's Alienware. Happy

How reliable are both machines?

I am not a hard-core gamer, and I only see myself trying out the occasional games though I will most definitely be installing games such as Call of Duty or BioShock. My main purpose is getting a robust machine that will be powerful enough for my programming needs. I am a .Net developer and most of the time have more than 4 or 5 instances of Visual Studio running simultaneously on my machine... Along with that, I install the Standard/Enterprise edition on my machine as some of my databases are too large for SQL Express - and the standard/enterprise edition of SQL takes more processing bandwidth. I also use other heavy-duty software including Adobe Photoshop, Media Encoder (for rendering of Videos), WMWare with 1 or 2 virtual machines, etc.

Based off of my requirements, I'm considering both the MSI and Alienware as both are seemingly powerful machines but since neither are available locally in my country (Pakistan), I am having the machine purchased and delivered from abroad by my brother who's coming to Pakistan end of this month. I know that these are gaming series, and I sort of love that about them. For this money, I couldn't find a better deal... Especially considering both options have SSDs and Quad Core i7 Processors. (HP would've cost less, but I've had bad experience with HP in the past... and Dell XPS 15 is within my range but since it costs somewhat more or less the same as the Alienware 15 or the MSI... I'd rather consider these laptops over the XPS)

Which machine would you recommend?

Regards.
Salman Khalid.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by msalmank83

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For gaming laptops we figure 2 years then
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2014 1:54 AM PDT

Well, the first 2 years are usually fine irregardless of make. The problem of cramming all that into this form takes it's toll in time and you may see repairs in years 3 and later. So we would have to define what you mean by reliable. Inherently Windows is unreliable so there's that.
Bob

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Gaming Laptops - Confirmed lifespan of 2 years only?
by msalmank83 / October 17, 2014 4:10 AM PDT

Why is it that gaming laptops are totted as having 2 years life only? I started considering the Alienware + MSI because I was of the opinion that gaming laptops are rigged for hardcore performance and thus would make the perfect development machines.

I don't know why Windows is considered such an unreliable operating system by so many! I had a HP for 4 years followed by a Dell XPS that's been in use since 4 years as well... There've been incidents of spyware/viruses and other random issues, but with a little care, they've been bare minimum. The XPS has performed exceptionally well for me.. and the only reason I am considering replacing it is because of the capped out 8GB Ram and somewhat dated processor which don't meet my programming needs at present.

Apart from the Alienware 14 and the MSI, I also have the option to purchase the much-praised Dell XPS 15 Ultrabook Touch - it's QHD is enticing, but i've never trusted touch-screens on traditional laptop structure (i.e. non-convertibles). Granted that the Dell XPS 15 offers superior battery life... it's the Alienware & MSI's overall performance that has me inclined towards it.

Thoughts?

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Not at all.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2014 4:19 AM PDT

It's something of what you see at the service counters that lead us to write about this. You'll see longer and shorter so to keep folk from exploding you check to see if they are on board with this.

Let's talk about one item that is built in that rarely gets to year 3. The battery. At 300 cycles, many wear that out in 18 to 24 months. So right there is a reliability or life span issue.

-> Guess what the office set me up on? A gaming laptop. Nice. 16GB i7 Haswell, the works. A y510p. Not perfect but what is.

In parting the worst owners ask "What is canned air?"
Bob

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Canned air...? No I won't ask about it!
by msalmank83 / October 17, 2014 4:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Not at all.

Yeah, I hear what you're saying. My current XPS had no issues, but i did have to change it's battery after 3 years. (no idea how it lasted that long Wink

I see that you're a moderator here... If I may, would you recommend a developer to opt for a gaming laptop knowing that my main objective is programming/work and gaming will be very limited, if any?

My current choices stand at Alienware 14, MSI GS70, or the Dell XPS 15 QHD Touch. What would you personally recommend? Any other?

Regards.

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Those are good choices IMO.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2014 4:56 AM PDT

The Dells are numerous at the office so it goes to reason that failures follow the highest numbers (so folk can't wrap their head around that.) It doesn't mean there is a problem.

I like 16GB RAM, i7 Haswells and if the budget allows a 500GB or so SSD. The GPU helps of course.
Bob

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To be or not to be...
by msalmank83 / October 17, 2014 5:14 AM PDT

I'm now inching towards the Alienware or the new XPS 15... It's killing me! Plus apparently, i only have an hour to make the decision as my brother's headed to the store right now and he's shipping it over to me within the next day or so.

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For me, screen size is a balance.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 17, 2014 5:27 AM PDT
In reply to: To be or not to be...

I like the 15.6 inch size but 14 was too crammed for my taste. It's OK I guess for some but 14 and less is great for travel but work? 15 it is.

17? Tried those over the years and came back to this size.

Goldilocks size?

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Alienware 14 it is...
by msalmank83 / October 17, 2014 8:32 PM PDT

Though i like the Dell XPS 15 a lot and would probably go crazy over the QHD screen... I've decided to move ahead with Alienware 14. It seems like the best choice - and ironically Alienware being considered a more expensive line, the 14 is costing me a little less than the XPS!

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I bet you'll like it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 18, 2014 2:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Alienware 14 it is...

Parting tips.

1. Get a cooling pad. Even if you don't turn on the fans on it, your laptop will be a little cooler.
2. In a few months get some canned air. Since it's new start with seasonal vent cleaning (3 month schedule.) You'll avoid the usual dust buildup I see all too often.

3. BACKUP what you can't lose. Here I have the usual collection of external drives and memory sticks but those few things that can't be lost are on yet another memory stick off site and in the cloud (both places.)

Bob

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Thanks for the help!!
by msalmank83 / October 18, 2014 10:54 AM PDT
In reply to: I bet you'll like it.

Thanks! It turned out the Alienware 14 was the only option available at the shops that my brother had access to, as the Dell XPS 15 Ultrabook, as per the salesman, wasn't selling well in their city and thus was no longer being imported. It's like fate just wanted me to fulfill my boyish dreams! Wink

I am planning on getting a good cooling pad for sure as well as an external drive for backups. I tend to create backups on the cloud as well as on external drives as frequently as possible. Thankfully we use SVN and other backup services at the office, so anything that's important at work automatically gets backed up as well.

On a side note: which company would you recommend when it comes to external drives, and what storage? I've had a 256 GB WD drive for the longest time than i can remember and though it fails to connect at times, it's been working without issues mostly. I purchased a WD 1 TB drive three years back for some serious backups, but it failed right when its warranty expired and was never recovered. (It was the My Passport device which needed to be powered separately). Which manufacturer and store sizes would you recommend based off of your experience?

I'll get the Canned air for sure. However, if the Alienware has plastic sheet protecting/covering the keyboard, i probably won't remove it right away. My current Dell XPS 15 (L520X) still has the little protective plastic on the embossed dell logo on the lid, but also the keyboard - yup! after 3.5+ years... And that too even when i used the XPS's keyboard almost daily - whereas I will most likely be using an external keyboard on the Alienware most of the time (as i changed my desk to accommodate two monitors and since it is a little high now, i use an external keyboard on the keyboard sliding tray on the desk instead...)

Thanks again!!

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Most externals are dandy. But...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 18, 2014 3:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks for the help!!

USB powered drives can be iffy. Try this. Get one of those USB Y power cables for ..more power..
Bob

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