Alienware Area-15 m9750 - A Dream Comes True

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better... we bring you this!
Most of you might be wondering what this things is, something related to aliens, from another world? You are almost right, ‘cos there is almost nothing in this earth which can compete with this bad boy! It’s the most recent edition to my gadget collection, and the most priced one too, my new laptop. I cannot entirely say its brand new, ‘cos I’ve had this baby for around a month.

From a Bad Start
I would say, I added this buddy to my collection at a really bad time, at the beginning of the first semester of my Masters. I had some problems getting right ordering and support and also with the factory installed software and drivers. Also I still haven’t got time to play around with it, the way I want to. But I can’t wait to write this entry for so long. ‘Cos its one of my dreams coming true.

My Alienware Area-51 m9750

The Spec Stuff
You can get a usual round of review from any review site in net, but I am going to present the details of my system. In short, it’s awesome. Better than the best machine I have seen and used so far. (that includes desktops also, since I haven’t used any desktops with the Ge-Force 200 series GPUs). Armed with GeForce 8700m GT GPU - “the world's first Microsoft DirectX®10 supported high performance enthusiast gaming notebook GUP”, after which any serious gamer started to think about gaming on a laptop, with a core clock speed of 625MHz, memory clock of 800MHz, dedicated 512MB video memory and a total of around 1269MB (including ~700+MB shared memory), 32 stream processors, and a 128bit memory interface, this baby flies with almost all the latest games. Other specs of this machine includes a Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0 GHz processor, 2GB DDR2, a 17” LCD Display with a resolution of 1920x1200 @ 60Hz, 5.1 surround speakers with sub woofer, 160GB HDD, blah blah blah...

The combination of the big display and the 8700m GPU give you the best imaging quality you have ecer experienced. With digital vibrance technology, I have realized that images were this colorful and vibrant. And with that high resolution, you mostly never have to use the scroll function, since a 100% zoomed MS word page will fit in one screen.

As some of you may have already guessed, this is not the newest laptop or the best configuration available in the market. I wanted to have an SLi with the 9M series, a 4Gig RAM, an SSD HDD etc, but I had constraints on my ‘pocket size’.

I have included screenshot of the System requirements Lab Analysis report of Tomb Raider 8 and Halo 2 here. The recommended requirements for Tomb Raider 8 are shown failed ‘cos they expect to have a CPU with 2.2GHz speed and also a GPU which is Ge-Force 9800GTX/ATI HD 4800 or higher. For a DirectX 9 based, previous generation game like Halo 2, this system passes both the tests.

Gaming Gaming Gaming! - “Seeing is Believing”
As I have stated earlier, I haven’t got enough time to play around with this baby. But I somehow managed to test it with Crysis and Tomb Raider 8. I don’t want to explain the experience. Just see it for yourself.

You could see the expression in Lara’s face. Gaming in this machine is not just fun or entertainment, but it’s an experience. [You may have already guessed it, I am waiting to finish Tomb Raider 8 and write an entry on it ;-)]

Best Machine (with some glitches), Worst Support
Event though the laptop is the best of its class, there is no excuse for the continuous bad support (or lack of support) I am receiving from Alienware. I had to wait for more than 2 months to get my order shipped. Of course it was an international order. Even then, whenever I call them, I got overall really bad experience. (Exceptions are there).

I am having trouble with the integrated webcam. When I received the system, the cam was working fine for 2-3 days. Now it’s not at all showing anything other than a dark screen. I have tried updating my driver. No result. I found that others also had the same experience from some forums, but no idea how to rectify it. I have already sent 3 support request mails to the Alienware team, but no replies. Also, my wireless adapter stops abruptly sometime. The problem used to occur frequently in the beginning, but after driver updates, its working fine.

From my experience, I seriously urge anyone who is thinking to go with an Alienware machine to reconsider your decision, if support is of utmost importance to you.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly
- Amazing graphics, fast gaming performance
- Awesome screen resolution and large display
- Cool, Solid Design
- Best laptop in its class and worth every penny you spend

- Weight = Min 3.5Kg/8lbs, Portability = 0, Not for travelers.
- Pricing. I went for the relatively low configuration. But it cost me $1716 + my long distance calling charges for tracking the laptop updates.
- Bad Support

Summary - “Neighbor’s Envy, Owners Pride - Onida”
This machine is not for the ‘casual, light hearted’ people, who’s concept of a laptop is ‘just’ another portable electronic gadget. This is the real thing, custom built for enthusiasts or gadget geeks who are performance hungry, who likes to stay in the bleeding edge of technology. Its not all about performance alone, but about the brand also. Most of the people whom I have come across have no idea what Alienware means or which company made this laptop. But for the few who know what it means to own an Alienware machine, I have seen the mixture of respect and envy in their eyes at the mere mention of the term Alienware or when they see that blue eyed alien shining on the lid of my laptop. I can read their thoughts from their expression - which is something I used to have before, “I wish…”

Links and References

Valentine’s Day in Singapore

This time it’s a Saturday and in the even me and my friends planned a small outing since its really pathetic to spent a valentine’s day, idle at home. The place is called, Marina Barrage, which is a dam in Singapore built across the Marina Channel between the reclaimed lands of Marina East and Marina South. Since we all stayed at different places, we decided to get together at the Marina Bay MRT (Mass Rapid Transit which is the domestic Train service in Singapore) by 5:15 pm.

I got in to the MRT by around 4:30pm. What more can I say, love was in the air. Everywhere you looked, you could see happy couples chatting or hugging or kissing. Most of them had bouquets or gifts or heart shaped symbols with them. I noticed a young couple in particular. They entered from the next station after I boarded the MRT. They were young and really vibrant. They were so happy that soon after the moment they entered the train, they became the focus of most of our passenger. The girl was slender and thin, resembled an angel from fairy tales and anyone who looked at her could easily say that she was in some other world. She firmly held the guys hand as it was her life source. I could read the pride in the guys face, like the king of the world. The atmosphere was so full of love. I felt happy for them. I don’t know any details of anyone in that train, but the way I felt after spending some time in that atmosphere was really different.

Suddenly I thought about a news link my cousin sent me today morning. The news was related to a group opposing Valentine’s day celebrations in India. I discussed it with my friends when I met them and I really felt sad/sorry for the group. In other words, in India, Valentine's Day is not the day to celebrate your love, but its the day to stop people from being happy for their love and conducting protests related to it. The way I see it, a person can have his/her own views and believes and practice them (as long as it doesn’t interfere with other people’s believes) and he/she can advertise about their views. And they can advice others to adopt your views. But the moment when it reaches the point when a person forces others to follow some believes, that’s the end of democracy or freedom. Valentine’s is the day when you can celebrate your love. But what if that right is forcefully denied? Also, I feel, the more you try to keep things wrapped up, the more others want to have it.

Anyway, by the time I met my friends, I left behind all these thoughts and worries and we all spend some quality time in Marina Barrage. You can have an amazing view of Singapore’s skyline and since it was a Saturday and a special day, so many people were there and the place was really lively. I am attaching some photos here.

Marina Barrage

A view from the top of Marina Barrage

Happy moments...

Singapore Gaint Flyer

ps: The views I have expressed here are my personal views only.

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