A Brief History of the Alienware M11x

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A Brief History of the Alienware M11x

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CES has come and gone, but Dell's announcement to launch the world's most powerful 11" gaming laptop seems to have created quite a buzz in the blogosphere. During the show, the M11x won CNET's coveted "Best of CES" award in the gaming category. Shortly thereafter, IGN awarded the M11x with its own Best of CES award for "Best Computer." It is undeniable that the M11x's small form-factor is a big leap for PC gaming, especially when it can play hardware-intensive games like Crysis flawlessly. Beyond gaming, the M11x is like the Mighty Mouse of ultra-portable computing, making it a great option for students and professionals who like to play as hard as they work.

Since the M11x coming soon, I thought it would be interesting to give a little background on it. When I joined Alienware in 2005 (about a year before Dell bought Alienware), I remember hearing whispers in the hallway about a small form factor concept called "Phantom." At the time, the best gaming notebooks were equipped with desktop processors and traditional desktop gaming (with a monitor, mouse and keyboard) reigned supreme. As much as Alienware's engineering team wanted to bring "Phantom" to market, the reality of the situation was that the technology needed to develop the platform wasn't available at the time. For example, CULV processors hadn't hit the market yet and digital distribution, through avenues like Steam, hadn't reached prime time, which made optical drives a necessity. Alienware has always had a long history of innovation, so I knew that I'd hear more about the mysterious "Phantom" when the time was right.

Fast forward to 2010 and "Phantom" is almost here in the form of the M11x. Recently, I had a chance to play with a pre-production unit at Dell's engineering lab in Austin and was beyond impressed with its ability to play Left 4 Dead 2 with ease. 

 

With Dell, the Alienware brand continues to push the envelope in terms of design and performance, and the M11x is no exception. The original Alienware mantra of "built by gamers, for gamers" still holds true today and Dell's decision to make "Phantom" a reality is a game changer (pun intended!). The official launch is right around the corner, so stay tuned!

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  • Just watched the YouTube video of Left 4 dead. the frame rate was big and the action was extremely smooth. the platform is solid. Way to go Alienware team!
  • You mention the fact that Alienware has a "long history of innovation" and that the brand " continues to push the envelope in terms of design and performance, and the M11x is no exception" yet Alienware are releasing the M11x with old technology in the form of a low-voltage Core 2 Duo processor. The M11x is hardly "innovative" when other manufacturers are already releasing similarly sized and in some cases even smaller portables with the new low-voltage Core i5 and i7 processors. I was excited about it's release but I'm definitely not prepared to invest in old technology. It's a pity because the powerful GPU and design of the machine is appealing.

  • thanks for the blog.  Can you comment on the settings you were running Left 4 Dead 2 at?  I assume native resolution, high settings?  Anti-Aliasing on or off?  Thanks!!

  • Can you possibly get the Alienware guys to breathe on the cripplingly-throttled 1645? That doesn't *play* Crysis, it *is* a crisis :-(

  • This looks very sweet.  At $800 I'll have to pick one up when it's launched.... how long will that be?

    S

  • I was playing at a native resolution of 1366x768 on high settings without anti-aliasing.  I have to say that I have been managing product reviews for Alienware for almost five years, and this is hands down one of my favorite systems because of the portability and power.   

    It's one sweet rig! 

  • I imagine the processor can be upgraded to at least a quad core, even if it won't be an official upgrade option.

  • So, compared to the Alienware M7700, which is my current gaming machine, how would you rate this performance-wise? Also, can it be hooked up to an external monitor to play games? I know some laptops make it difficult when you have dual view turned on

  • Please help i have had nothing but problems with this inspiron 1525! today i went to get on the internet and i can only get the computer to open internet explorer in safe mode! (which is where im typing this) I look on my network and it shows my laptop the wireless router and then no access to the internet. help!

  • But why use the Core 2 Duo? The ULV processor and Intel chipset could easily be replaced by the new Core i7 640UM or 620UM with on chip graphics (Arrandale) and still remain within the same TDP if not lower...

  • Mu suggest is to turn to nearest DELL rapair service, which you can find among the huns yellow pages online. Best regards!

  • A non ULV cpu would defeat the form factor goal of the M11x and the i7 ULV is too expensive and not yet a full mass production item yet.  The SU7300 is the best option ATM.  Then again the CPU should have been clocked at 1.73ghz like the Asus 30VT.  Minimal heat and power impact since the SU7300 has a high ceiling.  The SU9400 is actually the same basic chip, but clocked accordingly.

    Dell is trying to create a new product segment "Gaming netbook" and should succeed with the M11x.

  • It's already been confirmed that the m11x can be "overclocked" to 1.73 ghz.

  • The Alienware m11x is an awesome computer, however, what I don't understand is why Dell Hong Kong has decided to charge up to a 60% premium for the Alienware m11x (when equipped with the same specification) when compare to Canada, USA, and Singapore... I try to email Dell Hong Kong for an answer, but they did not responds. I understand price varies from country to country, usually due to import or sales tax requirements... However, Hong Kong being a free port (no import tax) and a city with no sales tax, I can not understand why Dell Hong Kong decided to charge up to a 60% premium compare to other market? It also makes it feels like Dell Hong Kong is taking advantage of the Hong Kong customer and trying to rip them off badly! I was looking for an answer from different Dell department, but no one answer me, so I am giving this forum a try. Because a 60% premium is a lot, I hope someone at Dell can give me an answer why? If Dell decided to charge a premium in a certain market, and add a 10 to 15% premium, like what they did at Singapore, I can say it is acceptable, but a 60% premium is just criminal really... I hope someone at Dell can give me a respond to this issue really.

     

    Example price for Alienware m11x with the follow specs:

    SU7300 core 2 duo
    4gb ram
    500gb 7200rpm harddrive
    1gb Nividia GT335M
    (the rest is all standard items that comes with the machine)

    You will see that in Canada (www.dell.ca), it will cost about CAD1249... which is HKD9031 (57% cheaper than Hong Kong)

    You can also see in Singapore (www.dell.com.sg), it will cost SGN1881... which is HKD10273  (38% cheaper than Hong Kong)

    You can also see in USA (www.dell.com), it will cost USD1119... which is HKD8659  (63% cheaper than Hong Kong)

    BUT IN HONG KONG (www.dell.com.hk), the exact same system... will cost HKD14199