Application and Futuremark Performance

At this point the Intel Core i7-2630QM at the center of the Alienware M14x is largely a known quantity, but in the 14" notebook class things are different, with quad-core processors being more rarefied. Most of our 14" notebook reviews are from the Arrandale era, but we do have a couple of Sandy Bridge notebooks thrown into the mix to give you an idea of how performance has changed, and we've also got the sample AMD Llano A8 system.

Where possible the SSD-equipped Compal PBL21 and Sandy Bridge quad-core reference system get a comfortable lead, proving that PCMark still skews heavily towards SSDs even in its most recent version. The storage benchmark is particularly brutal, suggesting the Samsung hard drive the M14x ships with may not be as fast as its counterparts from Seagate and Western Digital. Overall, though, the M14x hangs out in the middle of the pack, about where it ought to be.

For some reason, PCMark Vantage doesn't favor the SSD-equipped Compal PBL21 as heavily in our lineup, while Sandy Bridge continues to be a monster, both as a processor and as a reference platform.

The beauty of Cinebench is how repeatable and consistent its test results are, and the Alienware M14x falls in exactly where it ought to be. Our x264 encoding test tells much the same story, one you already knew: the i7-2630QM is mighty fast. Where things get interesting is when you look at how much of a performance boost the i7-2630QM brings for the M14x against competing 14" notebooks that are only able to leverage dual-core processors. While Arrandale and Clarksfield would often compete directly against each other, Sandy Bridge quad-cores produce a clear and consistent performance advantage over their dual-core counterparts.

Finally in 3DMark, the 144-shader NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M offers a substantial performance improvement over the 96-shader GT 540M and its kin, bested only by the more powerful GTX 460M. Keep in mind the form factor that the GT 555M is residing in, because this is pretty much the fastest chip you can conceivably fit in a 14" laptop.

Great Looks, But Some Things Shouldn't Be Universal The M14x Came to Play
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  • etamin - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    just curious, where can I find out more about this 4 GPUs with the same name business?
  • Hrel - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link
  • lunarx3dfx - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    The m14x isn't available with the other GT555M. I have a feeling that it would be significantly slower though.
  • AlexKitch - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - link

    My friend has one of these and struggles to even play Minecraft without the machine becoming so unbelievably hot that it has to de-clock itself, turning his games into more of a slideshow than a game. This happens in my (fairly cool) apartment, on a solid desk with no obstructions to any of the fan intakes/exhausts.

    Personally, I don't like the styling of Alienware machines either. It's all a little over the top and immature.
  • kevith - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    is NOT a lot! It´s terrible to keep on reading, that notebooks that weighs like this one, are heavy!

    I´m 50 years, and I´m working in the woods, and the chainsaw I use weighs around 22 lbs. And not only shall I carry it around for 8 hours every day, I have to toss it arond all the time to obtain access to sawing area.

    I´ve read reviews, where the reviewer has used words like "chiropractor", "immoblie", "desktop only" etc.

    Come on man, I don´t know what kind of workout You do - if any - but I will recommend You to spend more time doing it or find a more effective system.
  • Hrel - Saturday, July 23, 2011 - link

    Yeah, that always annoys me too. Basically as long as the things under 10lbs I'm fine with it. And that's only because of all the other stuff I keep in my notebook bag. But then again, if you're talking about burly men that's totally different than if you're talking about 5'4" women.
  • solracd - Monday, August 8, 2011 - link

    Can someone explain why the 1.5 upgrade to 3Gb video memory is not useful? Is is not helpful 'today' but possible useful in a year or two? The same applies to the CPU option. I would think getting the most is the best (although clearly not the most cost effective).

    I buy laptops and keep for a while so I'm puzzled how more is not better.

    Thanks in advance!
  • Habshockeygrl - Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - link

    I love my M14x, I don't mind the louder rapid cooling although my husband when sitting near me sometimes complains about the loudness of it. My problem as been the sound system. I paid extra for the premium sound package and have had multitudes of problems with it. They tried to have tech support remotely reset drivers, which made the surround sound stop working. They sent a tech to my house, upon taking it apart he somehow destroyed the motherboard and the mouse track pad. So he had to come back with the new parts. Second trip, he brought brand new speakers because he could see a visible problem, replaced the motherboard and the tracker section. Now only either front or back speakers will work separately but not together. Nobody has been able to figure out this problem and I continue to feel I was ripped off in the sound department. Good luck to anyone purchasing the upgrade!

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