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DELL Alienware M15X laptop batteries

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DELL Alienware M15X laptop batteries
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Alienware announced a compact high performance notebook a long time

ago. But although it was already available in the USA for quite a

while, it is just now finally coming to Europe. The Area-51 m15x

notebook makes Alienware the first producer that offers a 15″ gaming

notebook with a 8800 GTX graphics card and Intel Core 2 extreme

processor. This is also the current maximum of what’s possible in

the compact multimedia class. Compared with other Alienware models we

tested so far, the Area-51 m15x looks very simple and discreet

(fujitsu battery), at least as long as the various LED lights aren’t

activated. The display lid and the base unit are kept in a silver-

grey plastic frame. We especially liked the seamless workmanship of

this part, which creates a compact impression of the notebook.

The geometrical and simple shape perfectly fits the colour scheme.

The most outstanding details are firstly the two openings on the left

and right of the keyboard, which contain the loud speakers, and

secondly the central display hinge. But the Area-51 m15x becomes the

center of attention only after turning on the LED illumination. The

LEDs are very effective due to the unobtrusive case design, (Cheap

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especially if other light sources are dimmed.

One can tweak the illumination of the Area-51 m15x with the Alien FX

Lightning software in the command center. Various different colours

or separate areas can be chosen for the light effects. The laptop

distinguishes different areas of illumination, like the light pipe

around the display in the shape of a small gap that emits light, the

illumination of the hot keys, as well as the touch pad and keyboard.

Our test sample had a keyboard without illumination however.

Another interesting gadget to personalise the m15x is the aluminum

plate on the bottom of the notebook, on which up to 23 characters

chosen by the soon to be owner (FUJITSU LifeBook M2010 laptop

batteries), are engraved by laser. The text is translated into alien

characters and also added to a foil which is put on the touch pad.

Ah yes, don’t forget the well known alien face on the display lid,

which is illuminated as well. It starts to pulsate if the notebook is

put into standby mode, which is also called “breathing” by Apple.

The Alienware m15x unfortunately fails to do this smoothly, so that

it looks more like it is clearing it’s throat.

We also had to clear our throat on closer inspection of the case,

which makes a compact and robust impression at first due to the

design, but clearly disappoints in the actual test (Cheap F310J

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notebook, lifting it, or applying a bit of pressure, always results

in creaky noises, which seem to be the norm with the m15x. Especially

bad in this regard are the display and display hinges.

Although the display is with 12 millimeter not exactly slim, it seems

to be very susceptible to any kind of pressure or twisting. Just

opening and closing the display is apparently already too much for

the notebook and results in loud creaking and squeaking. Furthermore,

deformations and even colour changes on the display are noticeable.

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The hinge itself failed to make a good impression as well. Even

though the resistance while adjusting the display is acceptable, the

noise it creates and the wobbling of the display after it is put into

the desired position is clearly not. Considering it is a compact

notebook, which can be carried around, those problems are rather


Especially the creaking noises while working with the notebook

overshadow the impression of the m15x. The only average haptics of

the plastic parts also fail to change this fact. The low quality is

particularly hard to understand if one considers the current price of

the Alienware Area-51m15x in our configuration of 2.799.- Euro.

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The front and the back side of the notebook stay clear of

connections. On the front right side of the notebook is a card reader

(7in1) followed by an ExpressCard slot (54mm). Both slots are closed

by well shaped flaps. Rubberplugs or plastic dummies are thus

Further back is a HDMI port, which allows a full digital transfer of

image and video data. After that comes an USB 2.0 port and a Firewire

1394b (9-Pin) interface, which is a bit unusual for notebooks.

Completely at the back is a Kensington lock.

The left side of the m15x is occupied by the power supply, LAN port,

two USB 2.0 ports and audio connections (microphone, earphones). All

those ports were located at the back half of the left side, which

concentrates various cables and prevents annoying cable tangle. The

Area-51 m15x has thus not only an extensive enough interface

equipment, but also very good alignment of the available ports.

– According to Dell it’s the most powerful 15″. WRONG. Clevo

released a 15.6″ laptop with a i7 and GTX280m.

– Stealth Mode doesn’t work but a bios update may fix this.
– The battery life is only around 2 hours with a 9 cell battery.
– The body isn’t Anodized aluminum like the M17x. It’s Magnesium.
* Touch controls are subpar – volume slider is not responsive and

others require too much pressure
* Fans at full load are louder than expected
* The speakers are unimpressive – more volume and bass would be nice
* The screen wobbles – it should have stiffer hinges
* The touchpad is not the best – too slippery and scroll zones are

visually undefined
* The keyboard flexes on the bottom right side around the arrow keys

* The price – adding options brings up the price quickly


* Available with Blu-ray and Windows XP

* Wide variety of ports – the usual plus HDMI and a 9-pin powered

* Nice keyboard – it is backlit, plus it feels great
* Beautiful display – high-resolution WUXGA screen is a gem
* Smart Bay functionality – use it for an optical drive, extra

battery, or another hard drive
* Sleek, striking design and AlienFX customizable lighting – this

machine turns heads everywhere
* Stealth mode keeps the m15x silent
* Great hp battery life for a gaming notebook: two graphics cards

give the best of both worlds – integrated for battery life, and

dedicated for performance. Standard battery life is about 2.5 hours

and with the Smart Bay battery, 4 to 5 hours are possible
* Ability to transform from a high-performance gaming machine to a

practical on-the-go companion

* Fabulous gaming performance – packs power typically only found in

large 17-inch desktop replacements into a slim 15.4-inch form factor


The integrated graphics chip also helps to extend the battery life of

the Area-51 m15x to acceptable levels, which makes mobile usage


Another important point that speaks for the m15x is the low noise

level in office and internet mode, because the notebook offers the

possibility to switch between dedicated and integrated graphics ,

which significantly reduces the noise. This obviously doesen’t help

in high performance mode, which results in a very loud notebook when

using demanding programs.

There is not much more to say about the performance. An increase in

the 15.4″ class would currently only be possible, if a producer

managed to put two Geforce 8800M GTX graphics cards in one 15.4 inch

notebook, which seems highly unlikely for several reasons (hp mini

series laptop battery). The m15x offers thus awesome gaming

performance, although a reduction of the detail levels in DirectX10

games might be necessary, if one wants to play at native resolution.

A strength of the Alienware Area-51 m15x is certainly the display,

which offers a high resolution, good brightness and illumination, as

well as excellent contrast and a matte surface, which prevents

annoying reflections.

Although the m15x only offers a small amount of ports, everything a

gamer needs is available. Especially the alignment of ports impressed

during the test. So did the excellent keyboard, which is ready for a

successful gaming career.

The biggest weakness of the Area-51 m15x is the case of the notebook.

The plastic parts don’t convey high quality, neither regarding feel

of the surface nor stability , not to mention the constant creaking

noises when handling the notebook.

Alienware makes with the Area-51 m15x a big step forward in the

compact gaming segment. Somebody who is looking for high performance

among 15.4″ multimedia notebooks will quickly notice a distinct lack

of competition for the m15x .

Even better is the result in the practical WLAN test (integrated

graphics,energy saving mode, brightness level 6 out of 7), with a

battery life of 170 minutes.

Acceptable is the laptop battery life when watching DVD’s. The m15x

runs for 124 minutes with integrated graphics card, and is thus able

to show a complete movie with average length.

Battery lifetime under load with dedicated graphics card

(BatteryEater classic test) is only 77 minutes.

Important in this regard, apart from acceptable case size and weight,

is the DELL Alienware M15X laptop battery life. The m15x has an ace

up it’s sleeve that helps a lot – the option to switch to

integrated graphics. The test of the maximum possible battery life

(BatteryEater readers test) shows the difference: While the notebook

runs for only 138 minutes with activated Geforce 8800M GTX graphics,

despite having all energy savings activated (energy saving profile,

stealth mode activated, minimum display brightness, WLAN and

Bluetooth deactivated), it manages 223 minutes with the same settings

after switching to integrated graphics.

Although mobility isn’t so important for a gaming notebook like the

Alienware m15x, it is actually capable of mobile use away from the

power plug as long as only undemanding applications are used.

The m15x offers two speakers, located on the left and right above the

keyboard, which produce clear sound. Although we wished for a bit

more sonority and more bass for music replay, the sound quality is


The surface temperature also reflects the performance of the Area-51

m15x. Although the upper side of the base stays with 43.4°C at

reasonable levels, the situation looks different on the bottom side

around the central area, which heats up to a very hot maximum of 51.4

°C. It is thus important to always put the notebook on a flat and

solid surface to guarantee proper airflow, especially if the notebook

is often under load.

This quietness quickly changes to loud fan noise under load without

any attempt to reduce performance and activated 8800M GTX graphics.

The noise level of the m15x ranges, depending on game or application,

from 43.3 dB(A) up to a maximum of 50.6 dB(A) if both cores and

graphics card work at the limit. The fan noise can be described as

unpleasant loud at this point. But gamers will probably be able to

ignore the fan screaming, considering the performance the notebook


Depending on how the Area-51 m15x is run, it has two completely

different noise levels. In office mode with little load it is

possible to run it virtually silent. Two options make this possible:

Either the stealth mode, which lowers performance of the m15x and can

be activated by pressing a hot key above the keyboard, or by

switching from powerful Geforce graphics card to the slow integrated

Intel graphics chip. These options significantly reduce the noise

level during undemanding tasks like internet surfing or typing, to

quiet 32.8dB(A), which is an excellent result.

Our test sample already had the Bios version vX30P3, which should fix

the issues and we also didn’t notice anything during the game tests

(DELL F310J Notebook Battery). Just in case some users still have

problems, Alienware offers another Bios update to version X32RC1. For

more info and download, go here.

Note: Various forums discuss currently about a Bios update of the

m15x, because the first m15x notebooks that appeared in the USA had

apparently problems with heat sensors, which caused performance


Our last test sample was Supreme Commander – Forged Alliance. In the

practical test of the real time strategy game we played a four player

multiplayer game with a resolution of 1024×768 and medium details,

and observed a frame rate of 25-30 fps. The game was even with the

maximum resolution of 1920×1200 pixel with 20-25 fps playable.

The Alienware Area-51 also successfully passed the Unreal Tournament

3 practical test. The observed frame rate (map Heat-Ray, details

standard – level3) with a resolution of 1024×768 and native

resolution of 1920×1200, stayed between 60-65 fps. Only an increase

of the details to level 6 (world and textures), slowed the frame rate

a bit down to 40-60 fps. But the game is still smoothly playable with

those frame rates.

An increase of the resolution to 1920×1200 pixel reduced the frame

rates slightly to 40-90 fps. But even with those settings the game

was smoothly playable and looked excellent.

A mandatory test candidate is of course also the currently very

popular multiplayer first person shooter Call of Duty 4 – Modern

Warfare . The practical test of the first single player mission with

a resolution of 1024×768, anti-aliasing deactivated, other settings

on default, resulted in frame rates between 50 and 90 fps.
This result changed in the practical test of a multiplayer game (2

vs. 2, map Seaside), which was sufficiently playable with 20-40 fps,

despite DirectX10 and native resolution. But for LAN battles with

more opponents it would be a good idea to reduce the resolution or

detail level.

Changing to DirectX10 on the other hand, puts even the well equipped

Alienware m15x under pressure. While it manages acceptable 31 frames

per second with a 1024×768 resolution, it drops to 19 fps in native

resolution (1920×1200).

The m15x also achieved good results in the performance test of the

real time strategy game World in Conflict with medium details

(DirectX9). It managed an average of smooth 47 fps even on the

maximum resolution of 1920×1200 pixels.

The Area-51 m15x provided a good impression of it’s performance.

With a resolution of 1024×768 pixel and medium details, it achieves

about 45 frames per second (fps) in the benchmark. Increasing the

resolution to high details lets the result drop to below 30 fps. When

playing the first single player level with 1024×768 and high

details, it ran with 20 – 40 frames per second . The game was

playable, but had frequent frame drops.

Probably the most important advantage of the Alienware m15x is the

performance when running current games – at least this is what

Alienware says. We obviously take this announcement as an invitation

to immediately test Crysis performance on the Alienware m15x.

This result is supported by the Cinebench R10 benchmark test. The

Alienware Area-51 m15x manages top results in rendering and shading

again. Actually, the Alienware m15x could also be used professionally

for graphics and calculation intensive applications, but it’s main

strength will always be games.

The performance of the test sample convinces in the PCMark 2005

benchmark test as well. The m15x moves with 7669 points ahead to the

top of the multimedia class once more. But that is not all. Even

performance giants like for example the Dell XPS M1730 (still with

Merom processor) are beaten by the m15x in this test. The main reason

is the powerful Core 2 Extreme processor, which is fully utilised in

this test.


Apart from all the pushing to achieve maximum performance, the m15x

also has a very interesting feature: The user can switch between the

Geforce 8800M GTX and an integrated Intel graphics chip (BinaryGFX),

by simply pressing the key combination FN+F7 (lenovo laptop battery).

Even though this makes a system restart necessary, it gives all the

benefits of an integrated graphics card, like significantly lower

temperatures, and thus quieter fans, as well as much lower energy


The m15x uses both available memory slots for RAM, which can hold up

to 4096MB and supports dual-channel mode. Our test sample contained

two 1024MB DDR2 PC5300 memory modules. Additionally, a Intel Turbo

Cache module is available.

This result is not very surprising, and a comparison with various

all-round multimedia notebooks seems almost pointless . The Alienware

Area-51 m15x is a high performance machine, which would sacrifice

everything in favor of performance. This idea was also applied when

choosing the hard disk : A Hitachi (HTS722020K9A300) with a speed of

7200r/min and a capacity of 200GB. The most outstanding feature is of

course it’s performance. In the HDTune test it achieved excellent

transfer rates of up to 70.5MB/sec and an exceptionally low access

time of only 15.2ms. This result makes the hard disk one of the best

of it’s class.

A first glimpse at the impressive performance gives the 3D Mark

benchmark tests. 15805 points in 3D Mark 05 and 9217 points in 3D

Mark 06, catapult the Alienware notebook to the top. Even the former

top dog in the ranking, the Dell XPS M1530, has to content itself

with the second place far behind the m15x.

The hardware of the Area-51 m15x reads like the wish list of a gamer

to Santa Claus: nVIDIA Geforce 8800M GTX with 512MB GDDR3 video

memory and Intel Core 2 Extreme processor with 2.8GHz and 6MB L2-

cache are the fastest possible configuration of the m15x. This not

only marks the top components of the m15x series, it is also the

maximum possible performance of 15.4″ notebooks. No series notebook

is currently available that matches the performance of the Area-51


Alienware praises the Area-51 m15x to be the first 15″ notebook with

Geforce 8800M GTX graphics. This is correct, but it is very likely

that other producers will follow soon. Clevo for example, exhibited a

15.4″ model at the last Cebit, which is planned to be equipped with

a Geforce 8800 graphics card. We look forward to a direct competitor

to the m15x, but it will play in a separate class until then.


The dim WUXGA display offers enough viewing angle stability in

vertical and horizontal direction for a sufficiently large working

area. The image does hardly change even if the horizontal viewing

angle is very flat. Deviations from the optimal viewing angle in

vertical direction have a bigger effect however, and overshadowing of

the display happens quickly if the viewing angle gets flatter. But

this shouldn’t be much of a problem in stationary use. (Cheap

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Rather untypical for a gaming notebook, but possible nonetheless, is

the outdoor use of the Alienware Area-51 m15x . The dim display

surface and the high brightness of the display allow outdoor usage

with proper image quality.

The measured minimum brightness (black value) of the display was

0.37cd/m2. This, together with the maximum brightness of 191.3cd/m2,

resulted in a maximum possible contrast of good 517:1 . Subjectively,

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Fears that the matte display might not be able to compete with glossy

displays regarding brightness, colours or contrast, quickly

disappeared after a couple of tests. The WUXGA display achieved a

very good maximum brightness of 191.3cd/m2 in the central display

area. The illumination of the panel is with 87.6% significantly above


Our test sample was equipped with the high resolution WUXGA display

(LPL1801) and was instantly loved because of it’s non reflecting

surface. This is unfortunately rare, since multimedia notebooks

hardly ever offer matte surfaces. It is thus impressive that

Alienware went against the common trend, and offers their high end

display with an eye friendly surface.

Alienware currently offers two different displays for the 15.4 inch

models. They differ in supported resolution and type of display

surface. The choice is between a 1440×900 pixel WXGA+ display with

ClearView technology (glossy surface) and a 1920×1200 pixel WUXGA

display with matte surface and HD compatible resolution. (ASUS Eee PC

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Especially annoying in this regard is the adjustment of the volume. A

lot of patience is required to get the desired volume.

A touch sensitive panel above the keyboard of the m15x provides

additional control of the notebook. The term “touch sensitive” is

in our opinion not very accurate however, because the symbols require

the finger to rest on them for a rather long time to actually react.

The single touch pad key was apparently also produced to please the

eye, and not to be user friendly. The continuous button has a very

large dead area in the middle (about a third of the total width!),

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-1005). We thus highly recommend to use an external mouse, which

should be the not a question for a real gamer anyway.

The touch pad is optically very well integrated into the look of the

Alienware m15x. It is evenly built into the surrounding case and

offers a single continuous touch pad button. The main weakness of the

pad is the smooth surface. Alienware included two stickers with rough

surface with the notebook that can be put on the touch pad, in order

to improve handling. Most users will probably prefer the rough

surface, which leads to the question why the pad wasn’t equipped

with that surface from the beginning. Compared with the original

surface, handling was clearly better after putting the sticker on the

touch pad.

The individual keys seem a bit overloaded, because of the coloured

border every key has, which emit light on models with integrated

keyboard illumination (38.- Euro extra).

Typing on the keyboard, which offered a soft stroke and good

resistance, was very pleasant as a result. Another positive feature

is the quiet typing. The keyboard was also robust, even punctual

pressure didn’t cause much deformation of the keyboard unit, which

is especially handy when playing fast games that often lead to strong

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The Alienware Area-51 m15x offers a standard keyboard without

additional number pad, which is not surprising for a 15.4 inch

notebook. The lack of layout experiments, 18×18mm standard keys and

the generous enter and space keys, make typing intuitive and

adjustments unnecessary.

Included in the shipment of our Alienware m15x test sample was a

small leathercase containing the rather short user manual, a thin

protection cover, recovery and driver CD (Cheap UM09A75 11.1V,6 cell

9 cell Laptop Batteries,battery for ACER UM09A75), as well as Nero 7

Essentials. Further included was a mouse pad in Alienware design made

by Func, which turned out to be very suitable for gaming in our tests

(in combination with a Logitech MX510 mouse).

Alienware offers only a Kensington lock regarding security, but at

least this allows to fix the notebook to a table or other heavy items

on LAN parties, to prevent thieves from stealing the notebook.

The m15x has also various integrated communication modules. The

gaming notebook offers a Gigabit Ethernet module made by Broadcom for

fast transfers over local networks, as well as a wireless LAN card by

Intel, standard4965AGN. A Bluetooth 2.0 module provides wireless

communication with various extra devices.

As opposed to other drives, the Optiarc AD-5540AD doesen’t have a

reject button on the drive itself. Instead, it can be opened with the

key combination FN+F8.

The DVD multi drive is located on the left side on the front. The

SmartBay slot could also be equipped with another optical drive, like

for example a Blu-Ray drive . Another possibility would be to put an

additional hard disk or SQU-724 battery into the SmartBay slot of the


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