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Alienware M18x Laptop Review (with i7-2960XM Extreme Edition)

The InsydeH20 bios is surprisingly good, offering a variety of settings for customising the machine.

The user interface is easy enough to navigate and there are settings for all areas of the machine. If you aren’t comfortable with bios settings, then just leave it as is, there are no glaring problems with the default configuration.

Alienware/Dell explain a little about the overclocking capabilities, but they clearly want users to either leave the machine as is, or to use one of the three built in overclocking settings. The machine was shipped at a ‘Level 1’ setting, but both ‘Level 2’ and ‘Level 3’ offer slight improvements without sacrificing stability. The image above shows our slightly tweaked ratio limits which offer slightly higher performance than the preconfigured settings.

We used MSI’s Afterburner to overclock both graphics cards and settled on a final figure of 825mhz core and 650mhz memory. We found they would overclock slightly higher, but overclocking a laptop system is more delicate than a desktop considering the more constrained airflow. Playing ‘a little safe’ is always a wise long term choice.

The overclocking really helps to boost overall performance, clearly noticeable from both the results above. An increase of 800 points in 3dMark 11 is substantial.

The overclocked settings enable the i7-2960XM Extreme Edition to outperform the reference clocked i7 2600k by a clear margin.

Overclocking the processor enables it to perform at almost identical levels when directly compared against the reference clocked desktop Core i7 2600k. Excellent results.

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