Every now and then, I forget what kind of hardcore machine this little laptop is.
My Alienware M11x is a gaming laptop (as Alienware machines tend to be), and I definitely bought it because it was on sale. I don’t really use my laptop for gaming – I have a perfectly functional desktop computer which I prefer for my game-playing experience.
Well, that is, I HAD one… until my power supply blew out over the weekend. I wasn’t about to let a little thing like a nonfunctional desktop computer stand in the way of experiencing the latest content release in World of Warcraft, which would cause me to miss out on an excellent data-collection opportunity. I have a laptop! No problem, I figured… it won’t be ideal, but at least I can still be there.
I thought back to my first experiences playing online games on a laptop – 5 frames per second, lowest graphic settings, no other concurrent programs, frequent freezes and crashes. This is the bulk of my laptop gaming experience – and this was on a 17 inch multimedia laptop. I didn’t have high expectations.
So I loaded the game. The screen on the M11x is, as you would expect, 11 inches. That’s pretty small. But the resolution on the screen is incredible – I didn’t feel like I was staring at a small screen at all. Feeling brave and curious, I connected my desktop’s monitor into it through the HDMI cable. BOOM, beautiful high resolution on the monitor, no problem. The fans on the laptop are barely running, no sound is being emitted… like this is a walk in the park.
So I connect everything. Gaming keyboard and mouse, speaker setup, headset. Run Ventrilo, Skype, instant messenger, and two browser windows. No problem.
I turn up the graphics settings – higher than I could ever do on my regular desktop gaming machine. No problem.
60 frames per second, no lag, no crashes, no freezing, no delays in loading.
For kicks, I load Dragon Age: Origins at the same time as World of Warcraft. No problem, no delay, no lag. I could have played both games simultaneously if I had the dexterity and mental ability to do so. I load ELAN, the video transcription software I use for my data analysis. I could have played Dragon Age, World of Warcraft, AND done transcription simultaneously… well, if I could figure out a way to put them all on the same screen, and had several sets of hands.
This is easily the most powerful machine that I have ever owned… and it’s small enough to fit in my purse and weighs less than my cat.