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Alienware M17x 2012 review

Gaming goliath that now boasts an Intel Ivy Bridge quad-core chip

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If you've been waiting for a next-gen Intel Core gaming machine to land then there's really no need to hang around any longer. The Alienware M17x is a significant improvement on what was already a brilliant machine.

The Ivy Bridge CPU boosts performance to almost unseen-before benchmark scores, and the latest Nvidia and AMD graphics tech packed in means that you'll have no hassle when it comes to playing the latest must-have games.

Its bulky frame and ostentatious exterior may make the M17x a specialist laptop but, within the 17-inch gaming notebook market, when it comes to the functions that it specialises in there are few, if any, rivals that come close.

We liked

The Alienware M17x's gaudy chassis screams high-tech performance, and you won't be disappointed when you fire it up and get it purring.

It handles HD media and high-end gaming with aplomb, and the build quality is a reassuring reminder of the impressive tech that's hidden deep within the rugged chassis.

It's difficult to get lost in a laptop like you can with a big screen TV, but the Alienware M17x manages to completely absorb you using a combo of its lightning-fast, vibrant HD display and the incredibly loud surround sound setup.

We disliked

Although falling into the category of a mobile PC just by virtue of being a laptop, you wouldn't want to be carrying the Alienware M17x around with you for a long period of time. Tipping the scales at a shade over 4.4kg and measuring almost 5cm at its thickest point, it would be the equivalent of lugging around four Ultrabooks with you, or seven iPads.

Battery life still isn't great, despite the Ivy Bridge update - although you're likely to want to be near a mains socket when using the Alienware M17x, anyway.

Final verdict

Despite its chunky frame and weighty anatomy, the Alienware M17x is the perfect gaming machine and also a fantastic desktop replacement, thanks to its impressive HD media features.

The performance is lightning fast, there aren't many (if any) demanding tasks that seem to bother it and you needn't worry about longevity, since it's packing a wealth of cutting-edge, latest generation technology.

While not cheap, its price tag is certainly comparable to its main rivals, such as the Ivy Bridge-packing MSI GT70, and buyers will be investing in one of the best laptop gaming experiences - if not the best - that there is.