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Alienware Netbook Review
Be sure to check the tip at the end of this article on how to save money when you buy an Alienware netbook.
If you are into playing the top computer games, you probably own a powerful desktop, but what if you need to travel a lot and need something portable. While many laptops are suitable for high level gaming, there are only a few that are small enough for someone who travels a lot. This is the market that gaming netbooks are aimed at.
Many companies market their netbooks in the gaming niche, but most of these use on board video graphics. To truly be a gaming netbook, you require a discrete GPU Chip (at least until the Fusion processors come out). There are only a few netbooks with that can play games like Starcraft 2, Crysis, and Diablo 3 (to be released at the end of 2011) with a decent frame rate. Out of these few netbooks, the leader of the pack is the M11X.
The M11X has many options. Available processors include a 1.3 ghz Core 2 Duo, a 1.8 ghz i5, or a 1.06 ghz i7. I would strongly suggest avoiding Core 2 Duo option as the next option, the 1.8 ghz i5, is significantly more powerful and uses less power. Available memory is 2, 4, or 8 gigabytes of ram. I would suggest getting 4 gigabytes, since Windows 7 can use up to half a gigabyte and many games are now running over a gigabyte footprint. It won't be long (if not already) before many games will require 4 gigabytes of ram to run smoothly. This netbook comes standard with a 160 gigabyte Sata II hard drive, but you can upgrade to either a super fast 256 gigabyte solid state drive or a 640 gigabyte Sata II drive. The solid state drive is best for fast loading if you mostly play games, but the 640 gigabyte drive is necessary if you want to bring a video library with you. As for video graphics, you have only one choice and that is the NVIDIA GT335M GeForce with another gigabyte of ram dedicated for just video processing. Luckily, this is a very powerful on board video card.
This is a very powerful combination of parts and works great with the 11.6 inch display and its 1366x768 resolution. The display uses the new LED backlighting and looks absolutely great. The netbook comes with Windows 7 home premium, but is upgradable to professional or ultimate if you need.
Gaming performance (i5 processor, 2 gigabytes ram)
- Crysis (720 pixels) --> 30 to 60 fps
- Starcraft 2 --> 32 fps average
- Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2 --> 48 to 60 fps
- Left 4 Dead 2 --> 32 to 52 fps
- Resident Evil 5 --> 36 to 50 fps
I love these numbers, sure they are nothing to brag about in a high end desktop system, but in a netbook or even a laptop, they are more than enough to thoroughly enjoy a game. Overall, this is a great little netbook that will not only run today's games, but upcoming games for a long time.
How to Save Money On This Netbook!
Amazon sells these Netbooks at a discounted price compared to buying them directly from Dell or Alienware. I have some of these Amazon links below. If you are really on a budget, Amazon also sells used and refurbished Alienware netbooks. Have fun gaming!