Dell Alienware Area-51 M17X
The coolest notebook in the galaxy
- Great looks, illuminated keyboard, HDMI, Blu-ray, SLI graphics, RAID 0, high-definition screen
- Blu-ray drive sometimes had problems closing, touch buttons didn't always work, indicator for 'stealth' status isn't immediately clear, no e-SATA, expensive
High frame rates and fast performance are hallmarks of this high-definition notebook, but it also looks fantastic. If you don't already have the funds for it, you might want to start saving like you've never saved before!
Price$ 6,995.00 (AUD)
When the gaming stakes are high, you need a laptop with components that can deliver a high level of performance. Alienware's Area-51 M17X is one of those laptops, but you'll need to empty your mattress of your life savings in order to buy it.
It's a high-definition laptop equipped with a bright, 17in, 1920x1200-resolution screen, a Blu-ray player, an HDMI port and an optical audio output. But it's the Area 51's looks that'll garner most attention. It has a smooth matte black finish, a backlit keyboard and an outlined touchpad, as well as illuminated shortcut buttons and logos.
You can customise the colours of the illuminated areas using the supplied AlienFX Editor software, so you can give the unit a fresh look every time you get bored of a particular combination. The unit's illumination is sure to turn heads at LAN parties, giving you an advantage over those who are distracted by it; it's also a practical design for using the laptop in a dark environment, as the lights won't tire your eyes.
But for $7000 you want a lot more than a cool-looking keyboard and touchpad, and below the surface of the Area 51 lie components that are almost of the highest order for a notebook. An Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 is the CPU of choice; this is a dual-core CPU that runs at 2.8GHz. It's partnered with 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, but this isn't quite fast enough to match the 800MHz front-side bus speed of the CPU. Still, in the Blender 3D rendering test these components combined to finish a two-threaded rendering job in 1min 4sec; in iTunes they took 1min to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s. Both results are on the money for a 2.8GHz CPU such as the X9000, so you'll definitely get a lot of grunt out of this notebook when it comes to content creation.
With two NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX graphics cards installed in SLI mode, you'll also get a lot of zip when gaming. The unit scored 12,348 in 3DMark06, which is about 25 per cent higher than it would have scored with only one graphics card. In Battlefield 2 it averaged 80 frames per second, while in GRID it averaged 27fps. GRID was very smooth during regular gameplay, so the slightly slow rate didn't hinder the movement and control of the cars. These results were obtained while playing at the native 1920x1200 resolution of the monitor, so you'll get even more performance if you play at a lower setting.
The unit's keyboard is comfortable to use, but does feel a little wobbly towards the middle. The touch-button shortcuts above the keyboard are a little hard to manipulate, and it sometimes took us a few goes to get them to change settings. The shortcut buttons can be used to toggle the unit's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules, as well as bring up the editor for the colour schemes and notebook performance profiles.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- macOS High Sierra ‘root’ security issue allows admin access to your Mac—but there's a fix
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Lenovo ThinkPad celebrates 25 years of cutting edge technology
- Crowdfunding campaign to bring wireless charging to the Macbook
- Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, Google Home Mini & Max: Everything Announced At Today’s Google Event
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTApplication Support SpecialistVIC
- FTC++ Analyst ProgrammerOther
- CCProject Delivery Lead - Oracle Banking Platform - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCLinux Platform/Development SpecialistQLD
- CCDynamics CRM Functional Consultant - BrisbaneVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Public Sector Health ProgramQLD
- FTSenior .NET Engineer - Back-EndNSW
- CCDynamics CRM Functional Consultant - BrisbaneNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorOther
- FTHealthcare Systems Support Specialist - HL7QLD
- CCJava LeadVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- TPLead User ResearcherACT
- FT.Net Technical / Team LeadOther
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperOther
- FTProject Manager/- Accommodation / Facilities ManagerOther
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperWA
- FTSystems Engineer (UC)QLD
- FTTest Analyst (SAP)SA
- CCSenior Analyst ProgrammerVIC
- FTNetwork Data AnalystOther
- TPBusiness and Test Analyst | Student Management SystemQLD
- CCTechnical Solutions ArchitectVIC
- CCJava Developer - BrisbaneSA