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Alienware M17 Gaming Desktop Replacement Laptop PC

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Alienware M17 Gaming Desktop Replacement

Alienware M17


The Bottom Line

1/6/2009 - Alienware's M17 is kind of an odd product. It almost feels like a release of their older design with new internals. It does have strong gaming performance thanks to its ATI CrossFire enabled graphics. Outside of the graphics though, the system is only average with other much less expensive systems available that are just as capable. Of course, those who don't care much about cost can also equip it with a quad core mobile processor for added performance.
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  • Very Strong Graphics With Dual ATI Graphics Processors
  • Optional Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • Excellent Port Layout


  • Huge Power Adapter Adds Significant Bulk When Traveling
  • Lacks The Style Of Alienware's m15x and m17x Designs
  • Expensive, Especially If Upgraded


  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 3GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 160GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
  • 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) Wide LCD Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
  • Dual ATI Radeon Mobility 3870 Graphics Processors With 512MB Memory in CrossFire Configuration
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1
  • Four USB 2.0, FireWire, eSATA, HDMI, ExpressCard/54, 7-in-1 Card Reader, Fingerprint Reader
  • 11.8" x 15.7" x 1.7" @ 9.5 lbs.
  • Vista Home Premium 64-bit

Guide Review - Alienware M17 Gaming Desktop Replacement Laptop PC

1/6/2009 - Alienware's M17 is kind of a surprise release. If differs from their other 17-inch laptop, the Area-51 m17x in a large number of areas. The most notable of these is the external case design is more reflective of older, less stylish designs. It would have been nice to see them use the AlienFX lightning like their other models.

The M17 received some significant upgrades in the performance aspects. It uses the newer Intel processors with the Core 2 Duo P8400 in their more affordable configurations with the option of the new quad core Intel processors but they add significant cost. Also upgraded is the memory to the faster DDR3 over DDR2 memory. Storage is a bit smaller than traditional desktop replacements with a base 160GB hard drive but at least it spins at the faster 7200rpm rate.

Of course, the M17 is built for gaming. Previous laptops from Alienware have relied heavily on NVIDIA's graphics. The M17 breaks away from this by using two ATI Radeon Mobility 3870 graphics processors in a CrossFire configuration. This gives it very strong 3D performance required for the high resolution gaming on the 1920x1200 17-inch LCD panel. While not quite as fast as an NVIDIA SLI setup, it is still quite good.

One area that the M17 has an advantage over many laptops in the positioning of the external ports. The VGA, HDMI, eSATA/USB combo, USB and Ethernet ports on the back. This makes using the system on a desktop environment with peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, monitor and network very clutter free of cables typical to most desktop replacements.

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