Alienware M17x

Most hardcore gamers could care less about a gaming laptop's looks. Give them the fastest processor and most powerful 3D graphics card and they're off. Most gaming laptop manufacturers would agree with this, but Alienware goes against the grain. The M17x is now the benchmark of gaming lap¬top designs. But the company didn't forget about its processing roots: An Intel Extreme Quad core processor and the ability to switch between a low-powered and a ridicu¬lously powerful Nvidia graphics card deliv¬ers a gaming punch like no other. Yeah, it costs a bundle, but it's the current top of the heap. And if this configuration is too steep for your pockets, Alienware's Web site will let you add and remove parts until you get to a desired price point.

The M17x's bezel looks like the front grill of the "Batmobile," completely covered in metals and more elegant than any other gaming laptop I've reviewed—though not impervious to scratches and smudges. Every vent, button, and key is implanted with LED lighting you can coordinate with up to 20 colors. It's also a heavy system, at 12.5 pounds. Oddly, the 17-inch glass-covered widescreen, usually a sight to behold on gaming laptops, is a weak spot on the M17x, because of the glare. But its other components are top-notch.

SPECS 2.53-GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM; two 500GB, 7,200-rpm hard drives; Nvidia GeForce 280M GTX SLI and GeForce 9400M graphics; 17-inch widescreen display; 12.5 pounds (14.7 pounds travel); five USB ports; one FireWire port; 85-Wh lithium ion battery; Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit).

Alienware M17x
PROS: Fantastic all-metallic design. Fastest mobile proces¬sor available. 8GB of memory. Fastest Nvidia graphics cards in SLI mode. Customizable LED lights. HDMI and Displayport technologies. Excellent screen resolution.
CONS: Glass screen is highly reflective. Price is very steep.
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