Well, my earlier skepticism about the M14x aside, I’ve pulled the trigger on a nebula red model with the following specs:
- Intel Core i7 2630QM 2.0GHz (2.9GHz Turbo Mode, 6M cache)
- 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
- 14.0 High Def+ (900p/1600×900) with WLED backlight
- 1.5GB DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M using NVIDIA Optimus technology
- 500GB 7200RPM SATA 3GB/s
- Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner, DVD+-RW, CD-RW
- Soundblaster X-Fi Hi Def Audio – Software Enabled
- Intel Advanced-N WiFi Link 6250 a/g/n 2×2 MIMO Technology with WiMax
- Internal 60GHz WirelessHD Transmitter
- Internal Bluetooth 3.0
Image gallery from Laptop Magazine:
Yes, I’ve abandoned Thinkpad and have been seduced by Alienware as I predicted. I started at the website and configured it as above, for a total of $2071, including 4 year basic warranty. I also had added the external Vizio kit for Wireless HD. Then I called in to Dell to see what kind of a deal I could swing. My rep’s name was Eric Morales and I gave him my EPP number for UW (hoping to get 2-3%), and agreed to use a DPA account (another 3%). I also mentioned the Farmer’s discount of 21% that runs until April 28th.
Eric put me on hold and went to crunch the numbers and he came back with 30% off and free shipping! The only downside was that they were out of the Vizio kits, but he could still include the internal wireless transmitter. No big deal there – it’s on Amazon for about the same price.
At this point my total with tax was down to 1494.26. That’s $400 off! (after accounting for the wireless kit). The total includes the Orion backpack, I do need to lug this thing around after all.
This is when my rep blew my mind by saying he could add a wireless printer/scanner … for -$6. Dell would pay me six dollars to take the printer in other words.
(obviously, I agreed)
Bottom line: just confirmed my M14x for $1486, which includes the 4 year warranty, backpack, bluetooth, upgraded audio, wimax, and wireless HD. Ship date 5/13 arrives 5/18 (I’ll call may 1st and see if I can get NBD).
Some thoughts btw on the cpu, gpu, ram and hdd:
If you look at Anandtech’s review of SNB mobile chips, you see that the base option (2630QM) is an OEM part and the upgrades (2720QM, 2820QM) are retail chips with minor baseline frequency advantage (0.2 or 0.3 Ghz). Not a great value unless you’re intent on overclocking. All are 4/8 core with HT and the same TDP.
further, the upgraded chips support DDR3 1600 memory, whereas the baseline supports DDR3-1333. However, the only RAM available for the M14x is DDR3-1600, which will get downclocked to 1333 by the 2630 anyway. So if you choose the 2630, there’s no point in paying for more 1600 RAM – it’s better to get the 4GB they give you, and then upgrade to 8 or 16 GB with 1333 modules for cheaper off of NewEgg.
With respect to the GPU memory, paying for 3GB is a waste of money with the GT 555m. If it were a 460 GTX like on the M17 it would be a different matter. But the 3G ram upgrade is a pure profit play by Dell. Avoid. 1.5 GB is plenty.
Finally, the base HD of 500GB is decent, but I do want to go SSD eventually. But the cost of $600 for the upgrade is nuts, especially since the M14x only supports SATA2 (3 GBps). Better to pay $200 for 128 GB SSD on Newegg; all I will put on the laptop is the OS, apps, and games – I’ll use Dropbox to sync whatever data and or files I need for work from my desktop. Even if I wanted a 256GB SSD, by the end of the year these will be at $400 due to all the new SATA3/6GBps drives coming out.
Bottom line: performance wise, the low-end configuration for the system core is perfectly defensible, and frees up budget for the bells and whistles (wirelessHD, wimax, bluetooth, and most importantly 900p screen).
My sales rep was Eric Morales (Eric_Morales@DELL.com, 1-800-695-8133 x4167526) and I can’t recommend him highly enough. Am really happy with this deal and will be doing business with him again.