Alienware updates gaming laptop lineup for 2012, doesn't refresh M11x

Alienware updates gaming laptop lineup for 2012, doesn't refresh M11x

Summary: While the usual suspects get the requisite upgrades, one notebook no longer seems to fit into the company's plans.

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Despite Intel's new Ivy Bridge mobile chips coming very soon, Alienware has stuck to its Sandy Bridge guns with its announcement of the 2012 refresh for its gaming laptops. While the usual suspects get the requisite upgrades, one notebook no longer seems to fit into the company's plans.

Alienware rolled the dice with its M11x portable system, which attempted to bring gaming power to a 11-inch laptop. Gamers typically prefer a beefier notebook with a bigger screen and more powerful graphics cards, but the M11x earned good reviews despite its tiny form factor. Nonetheless, Alienware's parent company Dell told The Verge that the laptop no longer fits into its lineup, as its customers prefer full-sized keyboards and built-in optical drives, neither of which the M11x possesses.

Those customers will be able to buy new M14x, M17x, and M18x machines with Nvidia GeForce 600 graphics, complete with PCI Express 3.0 support for additional bandwidth, a minimum of 6GB of 1600MHz dual-channel RAM, and, according to Engadget, Sandy Bridge Core i7 processors, not the improved -- though still unavailable -- Ivy Bridge ones. Audio will also improve thanks to integrated Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di High-Definition hardware, and there are numerous additional storage options.

For the moment, you can still purchase the M11x on the Alienware website, though given Dell's comments, enough people weren't interested in it in the first place to keep the company motivated to update its specs.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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3 comments
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  • A single review by CNET.

    "Gamers typically prefer a beefier notebook with a bigger screen and more powerful graphics cards, but the M11x earned good reviews despite its tiny form factor. "

    A single review by CNET - a non-gaming company. I imagine most gamers are going to their gaming websites and magazines for reviews of their gaming machines, not CNET.

    Also, looks like that "review" didn't get any attention from readers, judging from the fact that there are no comments on the review.
    CobraA1
    • M11x Reviews and Gamers

      More places than CNET reviewed the M11x (just Google "M11x Review"), and it did garner excellent reviews, as well as a loyal following among enthusiast gamers who want more portability in their gaming machines than is generally offered by larger, heavier systems. (see: http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m11x/ )
      Gendou
  • I guess this highlights . . .

    I guess this highlights the disparity between business and non-business use of computing today. Tech publications like ZDNet and CNet are largely business oriented, and they usually assume that what's good for businesses is often good for everybody else.

    Truth be known, that's not true. The average machine in the home sees different use cases than the average machine in a business, and the average gaming machine even more so, since gamers tend to be a very picky bunch.

    CNet probably judged the machine based on the ideas of size and battery life, just like they'd rate any other business machine.

    However, it's the exact opposite to a gamer, who wants to be immersed in the game, so they want a larger screen and a high end graphics card. They'll just plug into an electrical outlet when playing GPU heavy games.

    Indeed, I imagine that Alienware machines tend to be LAN party machines. You take a gaming laptop to a LAN party, not to an airport. Since LAN parties are arranged ahead of time and give you plenty of space to sit down and plug in, battery life isn't really an issue.

    And yeah, the optical drive is yet another example. It's true that businesses don't care much for optical drives anymore - because businesses just deploy their software over the network anyways.

    However, gamers often want to run old games and such, and many older games still require it (although that is changing thanks to Steam, GOG, and other online stores). So the optical drive is still somewhat important, especially if the gamer has a good library of older games.

    Full size keyboards tend to be important because of how games map the keyboard controls. If you can't access a certain key that a game uses, then you're going to have a tough time playing it. A lot of games are not designed with notebooks in mind.
    CobraA1