Fans of the Alienware M11x gaming laptop were essentially told to go pound sand when Dell announced Ivy Bridge upgrades to its 2012 Alienware notebook range, which didn't include the 11.6-inch notebook. Dell apparently decided to pull the plug on the M11x, a system we liked so much that we awarded it a 9/10 verdict back in 2010. But is it really the end of the road for the M11x? A tipster who spoke with Dell tells us otherwise.
Dell may be all finished with 11.6-inch gaming notebooks, at least as it pertains to the Alienware M11x, but if you're a fan of such powerful pint-sized PCs, don't feel obligated to cry yourself to sleep. The 11.6-inch form factor for gamers lives on, not only with Maingear's recently announced 'Pulse' laptop, but also via Eurocom, which is now selling its Monster 1.0 laptop starting at just $817.
Dell's Alienware M11x proved it's possible to play real games on a little laptop, a concept that flies over the head of every Atom-based netbook in existence. We were so impressed with the pint-sized system's gaming prowess that we awarded it a 9/10 verdict when we reviewed the system, but that was nearly two years ago and unfortunately for fans of the M11x, Dell reportedly isn't planning to refresh it's 11-inch gamer.
With a growing number of Alienware M11x notebook owners complaining about faulty hinges on the machine, Dell is now planning to introduce a “hinge fix program” in a bid to placate these worried, and often indignant, M11x-R1/R2 customers.
“We apologize for this process taking so long. We have an ETA around March for when the M11x-R1/R2 Hinge fix program will be started,” wrote Chris M, Dell’s forum liaison, on the Alienware forum. However, a start date range for the program has yet to be finalized and depends on a third-party vendor.
“When it does begin, all who have the hinge defect will get it repaired regardless of the warranty end date. We know that you deserve the re-designed Hinge and we will make it happen.”
While this latest announcement from Dell is sure to comfort worried customers, the fact is the company has already taken far too long to come up with a fix. The last time the PC vendor assured everyone that its “relevant internal teams” were looking into the matter was back in November, 2010. As it turns out, they are still at it.
The terms petite and gaming notebook are about as incongruous as self-restraint and Wall Street, so our curiosity about Alienware’s M11x was naturally mixed with skepticism. Could this sub–five pound, 11-inch rig do much more than play aged or anemic titles?
Small as it is, the M11x indeed has substance. The first sign of hope was the GeForce GT 335M graphics card—a slightly faster kin to the GT 325M we found in Asus’s N61J 16-inch notebook (reviewed in May). Also stuffed into the wee chassis: a 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo overclocked to 1.73GHz (which can be turned off in the BIOS), 4GB of DDR2/1066 RAM, and a 7,200rpm 500GB hard drive. That’s a lot of gear to cram into an 11.25x8.25x1.25-inch body—so much, in fact, that there’s no room left for an optical drive.
Just about everything you could want to know about Alienware's M11x 'sorta-netbook' has been leaked to the Web, including when the 11.6-inch notebook is supposed to launch.
It looks as though the M11x will land first in Japan this Friday, February 5th, and then in Malaysia sometime later this month. According to a leaked slide, Dell has decided to bump up the price from $799 to $899, putting the M11x further away from traditional netbook territory.
Not that there would be any mistaking the M11x with a traditional netbook. Rather than an Atom processor with integrated Intel or Nvidia Ion graphics, the M11x will come configured with either an Intel Pentium 1.3GHz chip or Core 2 Duo 1.3Ghz processor, and Nvidia's GT 335M graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, giving the notebook enough power to play 720p HD video
The M11x was originally scheduled to launch in the U.S. sometime this spring, but given that it's being released in Japan later this week, we wouldn't be surprised if Dell released it stateside much earlier.
Leave it to Alienware to put 'gaming' and 'netbook' in the same sentence, let alone the same room. But that's basically what Dell's gaming venture has done with the unveiling of Alienware's 11.6-inch M11x ultraportable.
Of course, netbooks are all about battery life, and towards that end, the M11x boasts switchable graphics. Want to browse the Web or compose an email? Then there's no need to tap into the Nvidia GT335M GPU. But once you're finished being productive and ready to kick-back with a bit of small-screen gaming, just flip the hot switch to turn on the faster graphics (complete with a 1GB frame buffer), which will load in under two seconds, according to Dell representatives. And by doing so, Dell claims you'll be able to run Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at over 30fps in full-HD mode and settings cranked up to high.
Other details remain elusive, such as what kind of supplementary hardware the M11x is packing. We do know it comes with a DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA ports, but other than that, we'll have to post an update when more details emerge.
Dell says it plans to ship the gaming netbook sometime this spring for under a grand.