Our review unit M17X R3 is a beast of a machine, equipped with the latest Sandy Bridge second-generation Core i7-2860QM 2.5GHz processor, Intel HM67 chipset, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M (the fastest for an NVIDIA mobile GPU) and 16GB of RAM. We put it up against two comparable second-generation Core i-7, 17.3-inch 3D gaming notebooks, Toshiba’s Qosmio X770, and Samsung's Series 7 700G7A. Of course with the specs of the Alienware machine, we naturally expect it to top the charts.
|Specifications / Notebook||Alienware M17X R3||Toshiba Qosmio X770||Samsung Series 7 700G7A|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2860QM
|Intel Core i7-2630QM
Intel Core i7-2670QM
|Chipset||Intel HM67||Intel HM65||Intel HM65|
|Memory||16GB DDR3||8GB DDR3||8GB DDR3|
|HDD||1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 7200 RPM||1TB (2 x 500GB SATA) 7200 RPM||1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 7200 RPM|
|Video||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M||AMD Radeon HD6970M|
PCMark Vantage is an overall test of performance, testing all aspects of the machine. The M17X R3 proved that it doesn't just rely on its graphics card, performing well in all tests, resulting in an impressive overall score of 10907. One limiting factor for our review unit is its 1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 7200RPM hard drive. Upgrading to an SSD drive would show significant performance gains. You could choose to splurge on an SSD option while spec'ing out the machine, or you could upgrade that later on your own if you don't mind voiding the warranty.
In our 3DMark06 test, the M17X R3 scored outstandingly, beating both of its competitors. The M17X R3's GTX 580M showed massive performance gains compared to the X770's GTX 560M, and also managed to outperform the Samsung's 700G7A's AMD Radeon HD 6970M.
While Far Cry 2 is more than three years old, it’s still more than capable of bringing even powerful DTR machines to their knees. We ran the benchmark at Very High settings, using a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, which represents the best visual settings you can expect in-game. The M17X R3 was more than up to the task, easily achieving the target 60FPS average, and even surpassing it with an impressive average frame rate of 74.21. Any improvements over 60 FPS are generally unnoticeable in games, so you can expect perfect, smooth gaming, even at very high settings with the M17X R3.