Back in January, Anandtech previewed the entire Sandy Bridge lineup, including the mobile LV/ULV parts, and commented:
Whatâ€™s interesting to note about the ULV parts is that even the slowest i5-2537M (yeah, those code names are going to be easy to remember!) comes clocked higher than the outgoing i7-640UM, with more aggressive Turbo modes and a 1W lower TDP. Perhaps weâ€™ll see an M11x R3 with 400M (or 500M?) graphics and one of these ULV chips?
It’s amazing to think that Alienware’s M11x has achieved such mindshare among gaming laptops that the first thing people think about is the R3 when presented with a new chip! But this is also a commentary on how badly the M11x is due for a refresh. Well, looks like the wait is over – here are preliminary specifications for Dell’s new Alienware M11X R3, due out in April:
LCD: 11.6″, 1366×768, TrueLife glossy panel, White-LED backlight
RAM stick options: 1GB/2GB/4GB/8GB, 1333MHz, DDR3
i5-2537M, 1.4GHz up to 2.3GHz
i7-2617M, 1.5GHz up to 2.6GHz
i7-2657M, 1.6GHz up to 2.7GHz
Check out the comparative stats on those LV/ULV CPUs from Anand’s January post. No word on what discrete GPU will be used yet, but nvidia is a good bet for Optimus.
But the more interesting news is that Alienware is also releasing a M14x version – not an M13x as previously assumed and lusted after:
RAM options: 1GB-4GB, DDR3, 1333MHz or 2GB/4GB, 1600MHz
CPU options: i3-2310M all the way up to i7-2820QM
14″ Full-HD 1920×1080
The downside is that battery will be the same 8-cell, 63 Whr used in the M11x R3 above, which is a real problem since the CPUs are the OEM/Retail ones not LV/ULV. The TDP is 35W-45W for these CPUs versus 17W for the CPUs in the M11x R3. Between the more thirsty CPUs and the larger screen, expect battery life to be the Suck for the M14x. It doesn’t make much sense to go for a M14x when you could wait a bit and get an M15x instead (also overdue for a Sandy Bridge refresh).
The M13x would have been far more reasonable, with LV/ULV and a 63 Whr battery, than the M14x. I think I’ll stick with the M11x – can’t wait until “early April” !
UPDATE: Eric at Dell-Lab blog responds to my critique of the M14x:
Currently, I have no information on an M15X refresh. It could be that the M14X is the successor to the M15X. Dell must have figured that going for a 14″ form factor would be better overall.
I agree, that would make more sense. But the current lineup of 11, 15 and 17 is well-spaced out, and has a natural opening for a 13. If Dell is instead going to have 11, 14 and 17 then that is also evenly spaced, but fewer options. Maybe that is deliberate, easier to have three models in the lineup than four. But the discrepancy between the midrange and high end will be greater. It remains to be seen how the pricing goes.