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Specifications & Features
I said it once, I’ll say it again, the Alienware mALX is massive measuring in at 1.4” high, 18.75” wide, 13.5” deep and weighing 15 pounds with the battery installed you will never confuse this monster for a ultra-portable system. A full size keyboard with a separate number pad makes the Alienware mALX one of the easiest notebooks to work on that I have used and the typing feel is excellent.
The screen is 19” wide and has a WSXGA resolution of 1680 x 1050. I admit to being disappointed with the screen resolution, not because games look bad at this resolution, but because the Alienware Aurora m9700 I reviewed last year had a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution on a smaller 17” display.
Visually the Alienware mALX is a very cool system with the green-blue color shifting paint and the airbrushed graphics on the lid. Alienware uses an AMD Turion 64 Mobile CPU with an 800MHz FSB and 1MB L2 cache. The CPU is certainly the weakest part of this gaming rig and could only muster 833 points in 3DMark06. Graphics on the Alienware mALX are just superb with a pair of NVIDIA Go 7900 GTX graphics cards running in SLI, you can also option the system with a pair of 7950 GTX cards as well.
Storage is with a stripped array giving a bit over 298 GB of storage space from a pair of 250GB 5400 RMP drives, 200 GB 7200 RPM units are optional. While you can get versions of Windows Vista on the Alienware mALX, my test machine was running Windows XP Media Center. System memory is 2GB of DDR at 400 MHz.
The Alienware mALX has one of the best notebook onboard sound systems I have heard with four speakers and a sib plus the mALX ships with a pair of Alienware’s Ozma 7 headphones for gaming in silence. Wireless connectivity is vie optional Bluetooth and internal 802.11b/g WiFi. You can also opt to connect to a network with an integrated gigabit LAN adapter or in dire circumstances; you can opt to use the internal dialup modem to get online. A built-in webcam is also included.
Scattered around the Alienware mALX you will find a DVI output, five USB 2.0 ports, a PCMCIA slot, 4-pin FireWire port and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD/MS/MSPRO/MMC). Optical storage is on the left side of the mALX in the form of an 8x DVD+/-RW DL burner that also writes CD-RW at 24x.
With all the specs out of the way, we can talk performance. Battery life for a notebook with these specs and a huge 19” screen is not what you see in a smaller power sipping portable machine. I got about 1:15 minutes of use out of the Alienware mALX with WiFi off. Several runs with 3DMark06 gave me 5665 total 3DMarks, which is very good for a notebook, the Alienware Aurora m9700 I reviewed scored 5049 3DMarks. The final performance test I ran was with FEAR which I maxed out settings wise with soft shadows on, 4x AA and 16x AF at a screen resolution of 1400 x 1050. The results were as follows:
Percentage wise frame rates never dropped below 25 fps, 10% of the time, frame rates were 25-40 fps and a full 90% of the time frame rates were above 40 fps.
With the exception of the screen resolution and the 7200 RPM drives, the Alienware mALX notebook has everything that a mobile gamer could want. The only real drawback is size, but I think gamers won’t mind hefting the best around considering it will outperform many desktops and is much easier to carry in the included backpack than your desktop is to your next LAN party. If price isn’t an object here, this is the best portable gaming machine around.
If what you want is the best gaming notebook around, the Alienware mALX is what you want to buy. This thing has huge everything, huge performance, huge screen size and a huge price tag coming in at over $4500. If your budget will handle the MSRP and you want a gaming laptop, buy this beast. You won’t be sorry.
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