Alienware has been hinting at the release of its new gaming laptop with a cryptic "All Powerful" campaign. But it looks like someone at the company didn't speak to marketing, and released info on the M17X anyway. It's a monster.
And I really do mean monster: from its aggressive design lines, to its built-in lighting effects, to its specifications. Though you can choose the level of gear that's inside, at the top end there is: An Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core CPU, dual 1GB nVidia GeForce GTX 280M graphics cards, 8GB of 1.3GHz RAM, a 1TB hard drive, slot-load dual-layer Blu-ray drive, and 802.11 N Wi-fi. Those specs are actually worthy of many a desktop machine, as are the list of ports: 4 USBs, an eSATA/USB combo, Firewire, Displayport, HDMI, VGA, ExpressCard, audio sockets for 6.1 Dolby sound, and an eight-in-one card reader. Topping it off is a 1920-by-1200 edge-to-edge LCD, and user-controllable lighting effects.
An innovation on the basic laptop, the M17X is designed to appeal to high-end gamers, and could almost be classified as the direct opposite of a netbook. Think about those machines—rarely designed for gaming needs, with paltry processor power and limited graphics, tiny hard drives, small displays, cramped keyboards, limited connectivity options, no optical drive and little memory. They're also tiny and light, since they're designed to be ultraportable...which is where the Alienware device kind of falls down. All that tech crammed into a laptop-style box has resulted in a machine that measures 16-by-12-by-2.1 inches, and weighs a monstrous 11.7 pounds.
In fact the only non-monstrous thing about the M17X is its price—though you won't get all that whizzy high-end spec gear inside, the starter version goes for $1,800. That's just $100 more than a MacBook Air, Apple's ultraportable. Though, honestly, you're unlikely ever to compare those two machines on anything other than price: While the Air might be good for karate-chopping your enemies with its thin edge, it's not good for gaming. Whereas the M17X is a fragging master, and could probably double as a handy cudgel.