Alienware M11x "gaming netbook" ready for pre-order at $799

Dell's gaming arm is introducing some heft into the pipsqueak world of netbooks with its M11x system, which was introduced at CES a couple of weeks ago. Alienware won't call the laptop the "n" word, but it's clearly marketing it to those who find the usual Atom-based portable lacking in the ability to play games more visually complicated than Solitaire.

Dell's gaming arm is introducing some heft into the pipsqueak world of netbooks with its M11x system, which was introduced at CES a couple of weeks ago. Alienware won't call the laptop the "n" word, but it's clearly marketing it to those who find the usual Atom-based portable lacking in the ability to play games more visually complicated than Solitaire.

Though the M11x won't be available until March 1, Dell has decided to let folks pre-order the machine on its site. The base config is priced at $799, which includes an Intel Pentium SU4100 1.3GHz processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Most notable is the new nVidia GeForce GT 335M graphics card with 1GB of graphics memory, which will power the 11.6-inch LED-backlit display. Dell claims that the M11x will deliver "the graphics power of a 15-inch laptop in an 11-inch form factor."

Upgrades include a beefier Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU for $100 more, 2GB more RAM for an extra $50 (or 8GB total for a whopping $350 extra), and larger hard drives (250GB, 320GB, or 500GB) or a 256GB solid-state drive for a staggering $570 more. Color choices include black or silver, and as is Alienware's way, you can choose different color options for the system's LED lighting.

Will it play Crysis? Supposedly to the tune of 50 frames per second at high settings. Until it's benchmarked by third-party reviewers we can't be sure about that claim, but you have to give Alienware a little credit for rethinking the Windows-based low-cost laptop. Does that mean you'll buy one at a price at which you can get a 14-inch or 15-inch notebook for the same price? Let us know in the TalkBack section.

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