The M11x handled everything, even Crysis. On medium settings with no AA it averaged a respectable 37FPS. And with 2xAA the frame rate never dropped below 27. Mass Effect 2 ran at an average of 43FPS with everything on, and ran for long periods of time around the 60FPS mark. Even more impressive, the far busier COD: MW2 never dipped below 32FPS with 2xAA and everything on.
For those inclined to journey beyond the blasting couch
Even when hooked up to a 37in HDTV, the graphics and frame rates still impressed, although understandably began to chug when the resolution was raised to anywhere near full 1080p.
The Alienware M11x is difficult to score comparatively. Significantly cheaper ultra-portables perform better at everyday tasks, and most 15in+ dedicated gaming notebooks perform better at gaming. But the M11x deserves the niche it's carving for itself with the forthcoming Core i5 and i7 models adding to its appeal. Considering its weight and dimensions, this is, indeed, a truly mobile gaming notebook with an excellent battery life for such a capable machine. ®
More Notebook Reviews
Dell Alienware M11x 11in gaming notebook
My brother has an ION netbook, it can't even manage World of Warcraft let alone Crysis on low. Maybe the 1201N is more capable because it has a dual-core CPU to help, but it's still not going to be anywhere near as powerful as the M11x.
Plus, most console ports won't have a low detail option like Crysis, they'll only go as low as the console assets allow, which the ION won't be able to handle.
Dead on Arrival
I have one of these sitting in my living room waiting for Dell's lamentable customer service organisation to accept I am owed a refund after it came DoA four weeks ago (and it looks like that won't happen until small claims, ho hum).
It's a shame that there's nothing comparable at the moment tech-wise, though I guess the competition will be racing to catch up.
I was not sure which to go for when i was looking, the m11x or the m15x.
The only thing that really wound me up, was the vastly larger selection of customisations available from the US site compared to the UK site. Especially when they are all shipped from the same warehouse.
I've got one
I've been fairly pleased with my M11x, it certainly does play plenty of games at high detail settings without any real drawbacks. The facial recognition login is a fun if useless feature too.
My main complaint would be that many units (including mine) are unable to overclock thanks to the BIOS undervolting the CPU when overclocked. Apparently this is to help save battery life but the knock-on effect is that weaker chips are unstable. I should have returned mine but I was expecting Dell to knock out a simple BIOS update, which they haven't bothered with. Now that the i5/i7 model is out they'll likely not even bother now.
Still, even at stock it runs everything very well, with only CPU intensive RTS games being hampered by the low clocked 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo. Games like Mass Effect 2, Arkham Asylum, Mirror's Edge, SFIV, Devil May Cry 4, etc all run perfectly. You can tell from that list I basically use it as a portable Xbox 360, and it excels at that.
The timing of El Reg's review is a little odd considering the i5/i7 model has been out for a couple of days. It would be nice to see what sort of performance difference is to be gained by the new CPUs. Plus from what I understand the new model has Nvidia's Optimus onboard so you don't need to worry about switching GPUs for simple browsing tasks (I never bother with mine).
Where as being able to play crysis on medium settings is nice, if you want a portable gaming machine netbook thing, something like the 1201n from asus would be better suited. Or any ION netbook. They are quite capable of crysis on lower settings. The only game I haven't been able to play is GTA IV (no surprises). And its almost half as cheap as this.