Alienware M17: First laptop with ATI CrossFireX graphics

The M17 -- not to be confused with the slightly cooler M17x -- is the first gaming laptop to ditch Nvidia SLI in favour of ATI CrossFireX dual graphics card technology

Rory Reid

Alienware has just announced a new addition to its fleet of outrageously quick gaming laptops. The M17 -- not to be confused with the M17x -- is the first gaming laptop to use ATI CrossFireX dual graphics card technology.

We'll have to wait and see whether ditching Nvidia's SLI system reaps dividends, but it's always good to have a choice. By default, the M17 ships with a single ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB of RAM. For an extra £182, Alienware will install a second HD 3870, which it believes will boost your graphics performance by as much as 80 per cent.

Bearing in mind CrossFire works best at high resolution, you'll probably want to spend an extra £145 upgrading from the 17-inch 1,440x900-pixel screen to its 1,920x1,200-pixel big brother. But why stop there? If you're lucky enough to have a bottomless pit of cash -- or an extra £868 -- Alienware will let you swap the entry-level 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 for an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300 quad-core CPU running at 2.8GHz.

The other specs make for good reading. The M17 supports up to 4GB of DDR3 1,066MHz memory, 1TB of hard disk space courtesy of twin 500GB hard drives, and an optional Blu-ray drive. Prices start on the Alienware Web site from approximately £1,000 and go all the way up to around £3,350 for the all-singing, all bankrupting 'ultimate gamer' model.