It's worth noting, however, that, when we ran this final, punishing 3DMark06 test, the fans occasionally ramped up to a hurricane noise level. Slip on a set of headphones and you won't notice it, but anyone in the same room most definitely will. At all other times, the fans are still audible, but at a more acceptable level.
We also hurled Far Cry 2 at the M17x. With all detail settings at their highest level and the resolution at 1,920x1,200 pixels, it still managed just over 25 frames per second. Make no mistake: in terms of gaming performance, the M17x is the business. Thanks to its quad-core processor, the M17x also smashed our PCMark05 record, with a score of 8,724.
On a behemoth of a laptop such as this, battery life is relatively unimportant. For the record, though, in Battery Eater's Classic test, which runs the laptop at full pelt until the battery dies, the M17x lasted just 64 minutes, which, coincidentally, is about how long your arms would last before dropping off when trying to lug it around.
The Alienware M17x configuration we tested is undeniably expensive, and a clear case of overkill for all but the most enthusiastic and wealthy of gamers. Given the calibre of components used throughout, however, we can't criticise it in terms of value for money. It's a killer gaming laptop. Opt for a slightly slower processor and scale back some of the other components, and you can get the price down to a more realistic level.
Edited by Charles Kloet