Processor 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 2920XM
Memory 16GB, 1,600MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 7,200rpm (x2)
Chipset Intel HM67
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M (x2, SLI)
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 17.2x12.7 inches
Height 2.0-2.1 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 18.4 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 12.9 pounds/16.7 pounds
Category Desktop replacement
At first glance, one thing stands out about the Alienware M18x: it's big. Really big. At a bit over 17 inches by 12 inches, this will have a massive desktop footprint. And, weighing nearly 13 pounds without the chunky AC adapter, it's not easy to pick up and lug around with you, even from room to room. For something that big and hard to hide, at least we can say the most eye-filling part of it, the back of the lid, is a non-gaudy matte black or red (ours was red). Planted right in the middle, however, is the ever-present glowing alien head logo. It's an important part of the Alienware brand to be sure, but after going virtually unchanged for several years, it may be time for a new, more upscale-looking treatment.
The same goes for the slablike body. With its jet-black interior and glowing keys and logos, there's a bit of an '80s neon-powered vibe, including the backlit grilles on the front lip, which always struck us as vaguely automotive, in a muscle-car, Knight Industries Two Thousand kind of way. Worse, those front grilles are cheap-feeling plastic, which is at odds with the excellent construction of the rest of the chassis. For $5,000, you should expect an absolute minimum of plastic on your laptop body.
The familiar Alienware FX lighting and settings control system is still here. It lets you set the color for the backlit keyboard and the other light-up parts of the system, including the logo, front grilles, and touch-pad border. The same software package also provides a fairly comprehensive power control suite, which offers more-detailed options than the basic Windows power settings, as well as a tab for touch-pad control options, including horizontal and vertical scroll zone setup.