No surprise here. Alienware’s MX 11X R3 powered with a new 17W miracle Core i7 2617 UM and equipped with decent Intel HD graphics and Nvidia’s GT 540M is the best gaming rig you can get in the compact 11.6-inch form factor. You will play just about any game available at decent settings. This includes Crysis 2, something that we honestly didn’t expect to run that fine on such a small notebook.
The SSD definitely speeds up the whole system and every installation of a 10+ GB big games, copying, reboot and waking up from hibernate can get much faster than with any HDD I’ve seen to date. One can argue that choosing the 256GB SSD drive might be a good idea, and to some extent we don’t disagree. However, Alienware wants some 500 USD for it and Alienware has even decided to drop the SSD option in Germany altogether, probably due to a low demand. Mind you, for 500 USD you can get a decent drive better than Samsung you get from Dell.
The machine with this particular SSD and configuration will set you back some 1800 euro, or exactly 1700 USD, while the same machine with 250GB to 320GB mechanical drives will cost close to 1300 euro or 1200 USD. The basic model based on the Core i5 2537M with 1.4GHz core clock and 2.3GHz Turbo clock, with a 2GB DDR3 GT 540M, 4GB of memory and a 320GB HDD goes for $999 with free shipping and German Alienware wants 1049 euro for a similar configuration. It’s a great notebook even without an SSD drive and if you can afford one, it might be a good idea.
This is the smallest notebook that can play Crysis 2 and get decent frames and get good scores in almost all DirectX 11 games around. It’s by no measure the lightest notebook around, but bear in mind that its beefy battery offers close to 13 hours in airplane business mode with WiFi off and low brightness.