In a first for Alienware, the company has introduced a CrossFireX-capable gaming notebook for mobile gamers looking to pack some added heat (figuratively, though likely literally as well) in time for the holiday gaming season. Wealthy fraggers can outfit the new M17 with a pair of ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 3870 videocards for plenty of pixel-pushing power on the notebook's 17-inch WXGA+ or optional WUXGA widescreen display.
"By incorporating the all-out performance of CrossFireX graphics and quad-core processing into Alienware's award-winning notebook lineup," says Frank Azor, executive vice-president for Alienware's Product and Marketing Group, "the M17 delivers an impressive feature set at a price point that doesn't break the bank."
Gamers can also double up on storage with up to 640GB of hard drive space in a RAID 0 array (2x320GB), or up to 1TB in RAID 0 for those willing to drop down to a 5400RPM spindle speed (2x500GB), enough to hold 250,000 songs according to Alienware. Other specs and options include Intel Core 2 Duo, Quad, and Extreme processor support, PM45 chipset, up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, RAID 1 support, ATSC HDTV tuner, Blu-ray optical drive, three USB 2.0 ports, eSATA port, WiFi, and other goodies.
The hardware comes wrapped in a "Stealh Black" soft matte finish bearing Alienware's logo and trademark aesthetic flair. But the real surprise is in the price. A base configuration starts at a comparatively modest $1,400, with less than a $2,000 investment required for a configuration consisting of a Core 2 Duo processor, dual-videocards, and 3GB of DDR3 memory on a 1920x1200 HD display.
AMD surprised the gaming community by releasing its HD 4850 a full week ahead of schedule, and with the HD 4870 only days away from an official debut, its too late for an encore. That's okay because AMD might have another trick up their sleeve, this one more surprising than the last. Keep reading to see what magic the the sorcerers from Santa Clara have in store.
AMD’s Radeon HD 3870 is a fine GPU for the money. It doesn’t outperform Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 GTX, and it lags far behind the extravagant 8800 Ultra, but it does deliver a phenom— er, make that a tremendous price/performance ratio.
This is the second Radeon HD 3870 we’ve reviewed, and we like it just
as much as the first. It doesn’t outrun Nvidia’s G92-based 8800 GTS 512
(reviewed above), but it’s a great value among midrange videocards.