I thought I was going to have to give up playing MMORPGs for a couple of years or so, what with my frequent travels.
From the perspective of a rabid MMORPG fan, that is the equivalent of a regular person having to give up drinking water or breathing air.
Yes, it’s very serious. I was stuck in England for two whole months without access to a gaming machine so when RIFT launched, I couldn’t join my friends in it. That was almost criminal.
But I came prepared this time!
The Alienware M14x
What a beauty! I borrowed a set from the fabulous people at Dell in order to play RIFT while visiting England for a month this time.
It’s very comforting to know that I can instantly boot up a game any time I feel like playing an MMORPG, and not have to wait till I return to Singapore.
It’s quite graphically intensive, RIFT is, but a piece of cake for the Alienware.
On the M14x, I can play RIFT on maximum graphics with no problems. The gameplay is smooth and it’s beautiful, even when I have my regular applications all running in the background: Photoshop, Firefox, Tweetdeck, MSN.
Running on Intel Core i7 processors, Turbo Boost 2.0 technology and NVIDIA GeForce graphics, there can’t be any other 14″ laptops better for gaming.
But because of its supreme processing power, the battery life of the Alienware M14x is not as long as I’d like it to be. On a full charge, RIFT gaming lasted 75 minutes.
It does last three to five hours when doing less intensive tasks such as word processing or web browsing, which is decent. When not needed, the Nvida Optimus technology switches off the GPU to rely on the default Intel integrated graphics. Some users have even reported usage of six hours.
But I see the M14x as a portable second-home PC so the battery life is not too crucial for me. It’s great for taking to the office for some lunchtime gaming, or for overseas trips, or having LAN gaming sessions at your friend’s place.
In these cases, you want something small enough to carry comfortably but powerful enough to play intensive games and you can always leave it on AC power.
If you want more portability off the AC, there’s always the M11x, but then you’re giving up the 1600×900 resolution HD screen of the M14x. (Although I’m at 1366×768 for RIFT, which is good enough.)
The M14x gets quite hot after about half an hour of intensive gaming, although not to a degree I would be concerned with. What’s more noticeable is the noise the cooling fan makes when it kicks in. But even that doesn’t bother me too much when I’m engrossed in a game, which is good. (Although the fact that I get too engrossed in games isn’t so good.)
What really thrills me is that the M14x is also a model of stylish perfection. I think you can up your cool factor a lot just by being seen with this gorgeous piece of killer machine.
I feel great using it everywhere because it at once identifies me as a gamer and as a person of discerning taste.
Here’s Ringo the cute dachshund (belonging to Charlotte, who is Piers’ sister).
You can immediately tell that Ringo is a fashionable gaming dog.
Ringo’s favourite game is Pet Society.
I tried to introduce him to the fantastic world of MMORPGs, but it might take him a while to get there.
In the meantime, he really enjoys playing on the M14x.
Still on style, the colour-customisable backlit keyboard is just amazing. I’ve got my lights all in red to match the lid, but each section of the keyboard, even the touchpad, speakers and Alienware logos, individually, can be any colour you like.
It’s kind of fun changing the colours every few weeks or so, too. Makes you feel like you’re using a brand new machine.
I really love the keyboard. I think Alienware makes the best keyboards ever. (I’m also using an Alienware keyboard and mouse with my home PC.)
On Alienware laptops, the keyboards have a traditional tapered design which provides more space between individual letters. That makes it a lot easier and very comfortable to type and play games. Quite a welcome feature for FPS and MMORPG players who rely on the keyboard a lot for movement.
Now you want to know specs and prices, of course. The Alienware M14x starts at S$2,299 for the regular machine, which is what I’m using now. You have the option to pay more for improved processors and graphics cards and RAM and so on.
Oh, don’t forget that there’s now an Alienware concept store in Singapore. I think it’s slightly cheaper to buy from there than from online.
The store is at Suntec City Mall, #02-010C.
Or go to the PC Show this weekend. If you buy any Alienware laptops there, you can get free gifts with your purchase!
By the way, RIFT is a really great game. I don’t want to give my Alienware M14x back now!