Alienware m9750 Notebook Review - SLI, RAID and Gaming on the Go
Exterior and Features
The raw power of the Alienware m9750 is apparent from the hardware that resides inside, but machines of this caliber are just as often judged on their physical appearance, no matter how vain your mother might tell you that fact is.
At first the m9750 doesn’t look like a far deviation from what you might have seen in other Alienware notebook designs and you are mostly correct in that. The Alienware brand has a pretty style when it comes to notebook design. You can clearly see the classic alien “head” on the back of the LCD with the impression of skeletal- or muscular-lines drawn on the back.
The size of the m9750 is pretty daunting: 15.65 inches wide x 11.75 inches deep even though it is only 1.5 inches tall when closed. It does weigh quite a bit though: they call it 8.5 lbs without the power brick so expect at least 10 lbs total to carry it with you.
Opening up the m9750 reveals a full keyboard underneath that even has a near-standard number pad on it as well.
The entire surface of the notebook, save for the bezel around the LCD monitor (which is piano black), is a flat black and avoids finger prints like the plague. Not as shiny and fancy looking perhaps, but I prefer this style.
Here is a better view of the intimidating view left for anyone watching you work on your Alienware notebook.
The evil glow of the Alienware logo…
Looking at the ports and connections on the rear of the machine we see a wide array of options. On the far left are a few options you probably won’t see on most notebook computers: stereo audio input, coaxial antennae/cable input, S-Video input and a standard modem connection. The m9750 turns out not only to be a gaming machine but also a pretty good multimedia or media center system too.
At the center of the rear connections you see the large power input plug, a USB 2.0 port, an S-Video output, DVI output and standard VGA output. Again, with three different types of video output here the Alienware m9750 machine is proving to pretty versatile for custom usage applications.
The two large venting areas on the back here should also tip you off to the other thing the m9750 has a lot of heat: heat. More on that later.
On the left side of the notebook we have a Gigabit networking connection, two more USB ports, a small Firewire / IEEE 1394 jack, an SD/MMC memory card slot, a PC card slot and two mystery divisions. Those two areas that look like they could slide out in fact do: they are where the dual hard drives on the m9750 are located.
The front of the m9750 consists of two speakers on either side of the DVD-RW drive included in our build. Having the optical drive on the front of the machine might be problematic for people that are used to working on their machines close to their body, like on an airplane but then again this system probably isn’t the best choice for travel.
Finally, on the right side of the system we find the audio connections including standard headphone jack, microphone input, and support for analog 6-channel output as well as an optical digital output. There is also a wheel-type volume control and another USB port bringing the total to four: three more than the Macbook Air.