Alienware M11x R3: Portable Powerhouseby Dustin Sklavos on July 22, 2011 1:15 AM EST
Battery, Noise, and Heat
We've already established that the updated Alienware M11x offers substantially more processor and graphics performance than its predecessors, enough to hang with and oftentimes even beat last generation's mainstream notebooks. With the same battery as the previous two generations, is it more frugal in power consumption as well?
While we would've liked to see a healthy improvement of battery life across the board, only the idle running time gets a big boost; everything else is status quo. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as the M11x line is capable of a respectable 6+ hours of running time surfing the internet and 4+ hours of high definition movie playback. The R3 is at least on par with the Penryn-based first-generation model, and the slightly reduced battery life of the Arrandale-based R2 is nowhere to be found. In two years we've basically doubled performance in the M11x without increasing power consumption.
Thermal performance is frankly excellent, too, and unlike the troubled M14x fan noise isn't as big an issue as long as the intake's noise is muffled by the table. The M11x R3 isn't as powerful as the quad-core-equipped M14x and doesn't enjoy as nice a screen, but it runs cooler, lasts longer on the battery, and is quieter. Gamers looking for a portable solution are going to have to seriously consider whether or not they want the added size, noise, and performance of the M14x against the M11x R3; personally I'm not even sure which one I'd go for.