View Full Version : UWL Tech Review: Alienware M11XR2

01-16-2011, 11:48 PM
Today I will be doing a follow up review to TGS's M11X review.

The model I will be reviewing contains an Intel i5 Processor clocked at 1.07GHZ, with turbo boost, an Nvidia 335M graphics card, 4GB of DDR3 ram, and a 320 GB hard drive. The packaging looks the same as TGS's M11X, so I didn't take any pictures of it. One big change from the C2D version is the addition of a matte Soft touch outer shell. The coating is soft, and doesn't smudge, although i have since covered the lid in carbon fiber vinyl.

The M11XR2 has done away with the VGA port on the left side, leaving an HDMI port, a display port, one powered USB port, an Ethernet jack, card reader, and 1 mini 1394 port.


The Right side of the M11XR2 has 2 usb ports, 2 headphone jacks, and a microphone jack. It still has a large blank space that would perhaps be better put to use as a DVD drive or an airflow slot.

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The top of course has the Alienware logo


The bottom shows that the computer is well organized, and upgrades should be easy to do, I also noticed that the battery has an indicator on it that allows you to check the battery status without turning on the computer.

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It appears that dell includes a different power supply now, as i have not had any troubles with the included one.

The lighting is as awesome and customizable as ever.


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My biggest complaint is a distinct lack of a good purple in the color pallet, the closest is a kind of bright fuscha that is just nasty looking.

Moving on to the overclocking, I found that when I overclocked the chip I actually experienced lowered performance than when I let Intel's built in turbo feature take care of it. my 1.06ghz i5 tends to run in the 1.8 range almost all the time.

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Battery Life on the computer suffers a bit compared to it's C2D counterpart, with normal putzing online, iTunes running on and off I find I get about 4 hours, that can be stretched to 6 if I dim the screen to half brightness.

Gaming battery life is a different story, I picked Supreme Commander 2 to test my little lappy, I unplugged at 6pm, and around 8pm I began to get low battery warnings, at exactly 8:07 Pm I was warned that if I did not plug in that Windows would shut down. Settings were all maxed within the game, and the AlienFX was hooked into the game. By the way, Supreme Commander 2 can apparently take over your Alienware laptop's FX lighting and use it to give you various warnings, for example the entire keyboard turned red when an enemy launched a nuke, and when my ACU was getting hit it flashed back and forth between blue and red. A neat little feature, but overall not a big deal.

The 335M handles most of my games at medium to high settings, and is surprisingly able to push decent frame rates in most games. I played BFBC2 for a couple of hours on a non PB server, which leads me to one of my biggest complaints, although it is not the fault of the computer. Nvidia Optimus technology will not allow you to play on a punk buster secured server. Basically that means BFBC2 and many other games are difficult if not impossible to get online and play multilayer with. Thats a big black mark in my book. Nvidia claims that there will be a fix for this in the upcoming driver release.

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I ran Furmark and Heaven on this laptop, and here are the results.

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It earns a respectable score, especially for a laptop, a 5850 rig only gained ~200 points on this little guy.

The downside to all this power? Heat... and when I say heat I mean CPU ~85*C and GPU *75*C while gaming, so long as I keep the computer on something where it can really breathe it doesn't seem to be an issue though. If I had to change one thing about this laptop it would be the body. I would really like to see better airflow, maybe side air intake, or maybe an aluminum body, it just seems like plastic holds the heat close to the parts, I don't agree with Alienware's decision to switch all their laptops back to plastic bodies, especially when the aluminum chassis was one of the luxuriant items that originally attracted me to the brand.

I also have to say that the laptop seems all around fast, I don't have problems opening word, or doing normal tasks with the computer.


The M11XR2 is a solid gaming laptop when you need something portable that you can throw in a backpack and just run with, but the heat issues, and Optimus issues leave me only able to recommend it as a secondary computer, not as a main gaming rig. If you want something light, powerful, with great battery life however, this is defiantly the way to go. I absolutely love this machine, and its defiantly a screamer. I let my roommate use it when we play LAN games together, and coupled with a cooling mat we have never had the slightest issue with graphics glitching, and every game we have thrown at it will run with medium to high settings, (including Crysis). Overall I give this little guy a 4.5/5 rating, with a 5/5 if Optimus and Punk Buster ever kiss and make up.

01-17-2011, 01:48 AM
nice review buddy. very informative. i want one.

01-17-2011, 01:09 PM
Looks like your lid doesn't sit quite level either, though it doesn't look as off as mine.

I wonder if the i5/i7 run hotter than the C2D. Most likely as they draw almost double the power so it goes to reason. My m11x hardly breaks 40C on the cpu and gpu. Only goes to mid 40's after a bit of gaming. But the cpu probably runs a bit cooler, so that makes sense. Either way, I was impressed with the temps after using another Dell that would hit 90-95+C.

Is the ethernet port still 100mbps? I don't know why they didn't use 1000mbps on the original. Then again once I setup my server under WHS with DE it didn't matter anymore anyway.

I agree with the plastic. I wish the build quality was a bit higher. If I can't get my hinge issue worked out I'm thinking of just ripping the motherboard out of mine and converting it into a slim pc.

01-17-2011, 05:19 PM
it registered as gigabit on my router, i would have to check though.

01-18-2011, 04:23 PM
not gigabit, 100MBPS

03-20-2011, 08:24 PM
Alienware has released new part numbers for the hinges for all models of the m11x. According to Dell/AW it is an entirely new design for the hinge that will stop all the hinge problems from happening again.

I just called this afternoon, and seconds after telling them about my hinge problem that has been ongoing since ~6 weeks after buying it, they told me about the new hinge and got started on getting me setup. They sent out the box tonight and I get to send it in to get an entirely new LCD + hinge assembly.

I didn't want to send it in before just to have it break again. I will be happy to finally be able to use this laptop again.

03-20-2011, 09:16 PM
lol. i havn't had a hinge problem yet, but im happy to know that when i do they will repair it for me... i hope they put a better LCD in, because the stock one is terrible for viewing angles... any chance i could bribe them to slip in an ips panel?

03-21-2011, 07:48 AM
There's supposed to be two different panels, but it is a tossup with what you get. The only difference is one is supposed to have better black levels, but lower brightness. I've never experienced anything but TN panels, so I never really noticed, and I don't do color critical work.

Sometimes the graininess catches my eye though. I'm not sure if that is just the panel, or that the pixel density is ~40%+ higher than my regular monitor. Then again, you also sit closer to a tiny laptop. Never bothered me too much. Sometimes I had wished that the lcd part had a cutout in the plastic, so you could see the screen itself without the plastic cover. The glossy/glare can be annoying sometimes.

03-21-2011, 11:46 AM
i agree.... the problem for me lately is it's apparent desire to set its own gamma. its nbd, it'll probably go away with a fresh install, but its a teeny bit annoying... Still a fun little laptop though. I have it folding for me and its throwing up about 4000 ppd, so I can forgive it.

03-24-2011, 07:58 AM
I'm really glad the gentleman I talked to knew about the problem and helped expedite the repair process. Back in august I got tossed around from person to person, then to a supervisor. I gave up on it, and put it aside.

The box was overnighted to me and is already gone out through Fedex to the repair center. Now to hope that they give me the new hinge part like the gentleman stated he was making sure they had and put away for me, and not the old faulty design.

Can't wait to have a laptop again.

04-01-2011, 11:40 AM
Got it back in. Took about 10 days total. Not bad.

Screen looks good. They replaced the whole thing. Hinge feels nice. I'm a little concerned about whether or not they used the new part, but in order to figure that out I'd have to tear the screen apart.

I'm worried a bit as the left hinge has a bit of sway that the old one had. I guess I just have to use it and wait it out and see if it starts to break down. Or I could just be paranoid.

I can't easily slip a piece of paper between the lid and the base either when the screen is closed. I hope I'm not going to have the same problem with the keys scratching and rubbing the screen.

Edit: Bought a Razer Kabuto mouse pad. It fits perfectly for this laptop. But even though it is only 1mm thick, the screen is so close to the keys its putting pressure on the hinges. Blargh. I love the idea of this little laptop but I think this is the last time I buy a Dell. I'll try calling back and trying to confirm if they put the new hinge in. The new one isn't supposed to have the movement this one does, and it was supposed to help fix the screen being too close to the keys. The one I got seems to be doing neither.