Games are essentially what got me interested in computers in the first place and unfortunately without them I may have never taken the time to appreciate all what computers can do. After becoming especially interested in the hardware that drives the PC gaming experience, I soon found myself testing and reviewing various components. However, gaming is still a huge part of the experience and excitement for me, and without the urge to play I would probably lose interest in testing the latest and greatest PC hardware out there.
Like many gamers out there I enjoy multiplayer games a lot. This requires packing up my gaming computer along with my keyboard/mouse and LCD monitor, then heading off wherever the LAN party is being held. While the gaming side of things is a huge amount of fun, the packing up to go and then packing up to leave aspect is not all that much fun! Recently, quite a few friends have taken the plunge and forked out the dough for a tricked out laptop. What they end up with is good enough to play the latest games, such as 'Prey', but unfortunately not in all their visual glory.
If you were to build a well-equipped desktop gaming system these days you would be looking at purchasing a last-generation processor along with a possible RAID0 setup and most would go with either an ATI or NVIDIA multi-GPU configuration. These components alone could cost up to $2000 and beyond. So what would you say if Alienware, one of the pioneers in the industry of high-performance gaming computers, had managed to fit all this into a laptop?
The Alienware Aurora m9700 is a serious gaming notebook and is the first of its kind to utilize NVIDIA's SLI technology. It achieves this by using two GeForce 7900GS (256MB) graphics cards smartly positioned inside the casing delivering stellar results. Driven by an AMD Turion64 processor, the Aurora m9700 can also come outfitted with dual 100GB SATA 7200-RPM hard drives set up for RAID0. Finishing all this off is a 17” widescreen LCD outputting a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels with Clearview Technology.
As is to be expected, the Aurora m9700 is not exactly an affordable notebook computer, nor is it all that compact, it is however insanely fast. With all the optional extras the Aurora m9700 we received for review can be bought for around $3700, according to the configuration page over at the Alienware website. Because this model does feature two graphics cards and two hard drives, it also weighs roughly 5 kgs (11 pounds), which by laptop standards still puts it in an acceptable range among the desktop replacement models. The base configuration costs just $1800, though it is far less equipped than the version we have here today.
There are so many features found lurking in the Aurora m9700, that for the first time ever I am going to find it difficult to include them all. When you first remove the Aurora m9700 from the box instinctively you should want to boot it up and run some kind of timedemo as soon as possible. However, for some strange reason I could do nothing but admire how impressive the notebook looked for the first few minutes. It was not until I had examined every inch of the exterior that I then proceeded to boot into the pre-installed copy of WindowsXP.