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Alienware Area-51 m9750 review

Alienware’s 17in, 4kg gaming monster might put your back out – but living horizontal will just give you more time to lap up its hi-def gaming and Blu-ray films

For years, gaming on a PC meant having a hulking great big desktop computer with water-cooled processors and other high-tech frippery that took up most of your bedroom. But it’s finally safe for hardcore gamers to come out into the light – thanks to the Alienware m9750.

Okay, Alienware has produced good gaming laptops before this, as have some other manufacturers, but this beast really takes the biscuit, dunks it in a cup of very strong coffee and then squashes it into the face of the competition.

The m9750 has got pretty much everything the dedicated gamer could want, starting off with a stunning design that will mark you out as different from the Mac-flashing or the IBM drones.

Back breaker

It’s a bulky beast, mind, and is more a desktop replacement than a standard notebook, weighing around 4kg. Still, much of that size and weight is down to the absolutely stunning 17in, 1920×1200 display. This cracking high-definition panel is not only perfect for fast-paced action gaming, it’s also ideal for viewing the latest HD movies via the m9750’s Blu-ray disc drive.

Our sample also sported dual graphics cards in the shape of two 512MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX GDDR3 and coupled with the panel it provided the best gaming experience we’ve encountered in a laptop. Size apart, there’s little discernable difference between gaming on this than on some of the best monitors out there, with little in the way of motion blur even with the most demanding software.

Awesome power

But it’s not only about pretty pictures, and this laptop has the power to back up its video credentials, with Intel Core 2 Duo Processors and options for bags of RAM. There are also lots of hard drive options, with dual drives providing 500GB of storage.

The only weak point was the audio via the on-board speakers. We’d recommend buying something a bit better for home and using a decent pair of headphones when you’re travelling as this provides excellent sonics.

Do that and you can forget about your Xbox 360 and PS3 – the m9750 is all you’ll need for gaming and films, and you can even do your work on it. Not that you’ll get much done with Half Life 2 running in the background.


Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5