Alienware Gaming Shop

Dell Alienware 18 R1 18.4" Gaming Laptop, Full-HD Display, Intel Core i7-4710MQ Quad-Core 2.5GHz, 16GB DDR3, 1TB HDD + 80GB SSD, AMD Radeon R9-M290X 4GB x 2, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, Win8.1

That machine. 2 Questions

  1. Is the processor user upgradeable or is it soldered in?
  2. Is the Video card user upgradeable or is it soldered in?
  3. The video card says x2, but is it crossfire enabled?

Oh that is 3 questions.

You’ll probably have to do some research on your own for that depth of information. Dell has some info. You may have to contact them for some of your questions though.

About the Dell Alienware 17 R1 17.3" Gaming Laptop, Anti-Glare Full-HD Display, Intel Core i7-4930MX Quad-Core 3.0GHz, 32GB DDR3, 4x256GB SSD, NVIDIA GTX880M 8GB, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, Win7Ultimate

The measurements in the SPECS section are WAY WRONG! It is no where near this big…

16.93"(W) x 1.34"(H) x 11.93"(D)

It’s closer to 16 1/8" wide and it’s less than 11 1/2" deep.

I spent a Week trying to find a case to accommodate that bigger measurement and nearly drove myself nuts until I finally pulled out the trusty tape measure and discovered that the laptop was much closer to the average size for a 17-17.3" laptop.

It’d be great if you could fix the measurements in the listing.

For anyone interested, this laptop’s a BEAST! :wink:

Here’s what’s on the Dell Spec sheet for the Alienware 17 R1:

43.13 mm to 48.46 mm
(1.70 inches to 1.90 inches)

413.60 mm (16.28 inches)
299 mm (11.77 inches)

4.13 kg (9.11 lb)

NOTE: The weight of your laptop varies depending on the configuration ordered and the manufacturing variability.

1 and 2) Except in special cases, neither component is soldered in place. You can replace either/both if you find compatible components. Keep in mind that mobile graphics cards are not a mainstream market. They are typically expensive and don’t have the same level of support as desktop variants. I’d strongly recommend keeping the same TDP parts so you can (more) safely reuse existing cooling and make sure that Dell has offered that laptop with your intended graphics cards first so driver support will be available (vBIOS may need updating to work properly, too). Processors are much easier as long as the socket and thermal/power requirements match. Historically, there is some design margin in the cooling, but you are on your own if you decide to press your luck.

  1. Yes, the dual cards in the M18x are Crossfire enabled. You can confirm in the AMD control panel that CrossfireX is enabled from the software level (if not, change that setting). I am not familiar enough with mobile configurations to determine if the mobile CFX bridge is compatible with Nvidia’s SLI if you opt to go that route.

strongly considering opening a no interest for the 1st year credit card just to get the $2400 alien-ware

I’ve met about 4 people who have alienware laptops. They all have had the same complaint. Early failure due to heat. These things may be a “beast” but googling and personal experience tells me these things are prone to over heating and if your a IT person, heat kills just like cotton… My boss is on his 3rd. I would have walked about after nr 2. If one is going to drop 2500 on a compressed desktop PC, I rather not have to start ripping it open to fix stuff. I’ll stick with a water cooled tower for my gaming and let those on the otherside of the road (the have’s) enjoy.

I have an M17x R2 (back when they still put dual graphics cards in the 17" laptop). The heat has not been an issue with regard to failures, but I did have to manually change the cooling profile when I swapped out the primary hard drive.

The biggest problem I have is with Dell’s default software load. I do not know how it has changed over the last year or so, but driver support was terrible. If you tried to install most drivers from sources other than Dell’s website, the install would fail and a whole rash of problems would begin. Graphics drivers (which require frequent updating to keep up with newer games) were among those with issues. That’s when I swapped out the drive for a clean SSD, installed a fresh copy of Windows, and downloaded those drivers free from any Dell influence; system drivers still came from them, though. Keep a copy of restore media or the original disk image, just in case.

Alienware= good
2GB or 4GB RAM= bad

Need to seriously add more RAM if you’re planning on any extreme gaming.