I currently have an XPS M1730 Extreme X9000(2.8GHz, 800Mhz 6M L2 Cache), 4GB DDR2, Dual 8800M GTX in SLI, 400GB SATA 7200 in RAID 0, running Vista Ultimate SP2.
I am looking to purchase an Alienware M17x, and I have a few questions that I am hoping some of you with recent M17x builds can help me with. My first questions are in regard to performance and satisfaction of recently purchased M17's, and my 2nd set of questions regard to configuration questions I have in as what to buy.
Firstly, my M1730 has been mostly fine and has relatively few problems (unlike my prior M1710 which was a nightmare). Aside from a dead battery and power cord that each had to be replaced, and some minor Vista complaints, the only problem I have with my current system is how hot it gets and heat dissapation.So I am familiar with this type of gaming rig already, but not the Alienware per se.
In regards to the M17x in comparison:
~Does it truly run much cooler than the Dell branded XPS systems? I use a CoolerMaster cooling station under my M1730, and it still runs extremely hot, has this been somewhat cured/corrected on the M17x?
~Is battery life on the M17x comparable to what I am used to on my current M1730? Is the AC (brick) adapter of comparable size and weight?
~Has the M17x done away with the Logitech LCD screen in the upper right corner that the M1730 came with? Does it have a similar upper bezel webcam?
Secondly, in regards to the configuration I am looking at to purchase for the M17x: I have decided on Windows 7 Professional 64bit, 4GB of the DDR 3 1333 MHz RAM, the 1200p display, Dual 280M GTX in SLI, and the Blu Ray combo drive for HDMI hookup. The couple areas I am undecided and questioning are in regards to the processor and the hard drive. (Please note for below questions that I use my laptop for light video/photo editing and gaming primarily: Everquest 2, Crysis, Bioshock,etc. Older games in XP mode such as Links LS golf, etc)
~Will I really see that much difference in processing between the Core 2 Quad Q9100 and the Extreme Quad QX9300 running primarily one application at a time? For cost purposes could I even drop down to the Core 2 Duo T9800 and still notice an upgrade for gaming vs my current setup of the X9000, as the 280M's are a significant upgrade over my dual 8800's? I have gone back and forth and sideways over which of the 3 processors to choose T9800, Q9100, and QX9300. On mu current M1730 the X9000 is only overclocked one step and I have played with no overclocking since this beast runs so dang hot. I have never had any real gaming/FPS problems (except for some quirks on Bioshock) as it is, so how much of an upgrade will I really notice?
~If I just get a single 250GB 7200RPM HD can I buy a 256GB SSD from a 3rd party and easily swap it out to gain better performance than having 2 SATA drives in RAID? I have a 3rd party source where I can get a better deal on an SSD than through Dell and would just upgrade first thing. Would a SSD be the best configuration for the above mentioned system I am looking to purchase, as far as load-up/speeds?
~I assume there are only 2 slots for RAM on the M17x. Is 4GB still sufficient in this day and age for normal gaming applications, until prices come down and there are kits to upgrade to 2 X 4GB DDR3 1333MHZ at a reasonable cost?
~Lastly, have the majority of kinks been worked out for new/recent M17x orders? If I order tomorrow estimated completion/ship date is Nov 11th. Can any very recent orders tell me if that is accurate? Has any recent purchased M17x been DOA? Hardware probs? Any Windows 7 problems?
I know I have asked a ton of questions and posed multiple scenarios. Any and all help from recent M17x owners would be appreciated. I spent a ton on my M1710 when it first came out, and I had a ton of problems with it. I waited until the M1730 in my configuration had been out for awhile before I bought it to alleviate my prior problems, and I don't want to jump the gun on this M17x purchase and kick myself for not waiting longer, or for the configuration I chose.
Thanks so much!