UT3, Quake Wars, Crysis, Far Cry

(Max quality settings, DX9)

It looks more and more like the Alienware Area-51 m15x notebook delivers a similar level of gaming performance as an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 desktop PC running a GeForce 9600 GT graphics card. This is not all that bad really, though it is also far from impressive.

When testing with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars we found that the Area-51 m15x was only slightly slower than our E7200/9600 GT desktop test system. At its native resolution (1920x1200) the Area-51 m15x was just 6fps slower on average.

(High quality setting, DX9)

Crysis is a game known to bring high-end desktop computers to their knees, so we were not expecting much from the Area-51 m15x, and well, we didn't get much! At the native resolution of 1920x1200 the Area-51 m15x rendered just 17fps, while the E7200/9600 GT test system was only slightly faster averaging 20fps.

Clearly more modern games such as Crysis are going to require serious tweaking and reduction in quality to play on the Area-51 m15x, which is probably not something you want to hear after having spent in excess of $4000.

At the same time, Crysis seems to be a special case where it has become its own worst enemy with gamers in even the most powerful desktop systems struggling to get fully playable frame rates with all that eye candy turned on.

(Max quality settings, DX9)

An old title such as Far Cry is way more manageable, with frame rates above the hundred mark when plugged in, and even when running on battery power we were able to achieve perfectly playable performance using maximum in-game quality settings at 1920x1200.

Most surprising is that the Area-51 m15x outscored our quad-core Phenom system using a GeForce 9800 GTX graphics card.