Alienware M17x
Alienware M17x

I recieved my new Alienware M17x on Friday, just in time for the weekend. Got it home and even though World of Warcraft came pre-installed it was missing all the patches we’ve had since last October when the last expansion came out – so that took awhile to get through.

I also installed Sims3 and transferred over my saved games only to find my last saved game on the main family I had been playing was corrupted (not during the transfer either – it was corrupted already before that happened apparently). That would be the 2nd Sims 3 saved game my Sony VAIO corrupted. Thank goodness I will not play games on that machine anymore!!

The games unfortunately played very slow … which was confuzzling – they should not have been so slow considering the massive power of this system. I also noted the system was running very quietly too – far more quietly that I would have expected for such a beast of a laptop.

I ended up going into the BIOS and noting that the “Hybrid SLI” was disabled (Hybrid SLI is required in order to tap into the discrete dual GPUs installed). So the entire system was running only on the integrated graphics card on the motherboard (a decent card, but not one designed for gaming).

Once I enabled the Hybrid SLI all of a sudden I could hear the system cranking up its fans and my games were up to a sweet 60 frames per second and playing smoother than butter.

Only one other hiccup occured when I stated to explore all the things on the machine and basically trying to figure out “what does this button do?”. One of those buttons enables something called “Stealth Mode” which is a special Alienware feature – it underclocks your GPUs and goes into a low power state so that you can conserve power in case you need to unplug the beast. Nice feature but one I don’t see myself needing to use – and its a pain to turn off and switch back to normal graphics card function (took my engineer boyfriend 30 min to figure out). If I can I’ll try and disable that feature because if I accidentally touch that button, all my games will slow down to snail speed, which is no fun.

The other fun bit I played with is the custom backlights – you can see in the photo that a lot of areas on this machine have a red backlight – well each one is configurable with a different color – a total of 10 different customizable areas with a choice of 12 colors. When I get a chance I’ll post a photo of mine with the color scheme I opted for.

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