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Buying an m17x r4 - need help - pretty please!!

rosh3r

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
5
so i have decided to buy an alienware m17x r4

specs are:

i7-3610
6gb(will add 4-6 gb separately in dec)
500gb hdd (will buy 120 gb ssd separately)
gtx 660m
1920x1080p

this amounts to 1649$ on dell.com

my questions are:
1)IS HD 7970 really worth the added 200$ ? cause budget is an issue for me ...
I CAN buy the m17x r4 with hd 7970.... but barely and if i buy this i cannot buy an ssd and a razor mouse for the next 3 months ...

2)if i downgrade my screen to 900p ... i can buy the hd 7970 easily ... but is that worth it as well? .... cause i REALLY do like the 1080p display ..

3)also alienware's build quality - is it very good ?

4)if i stick with 660 and after two years i would want to upgrade the gpu - make a 660 sli or get a gtx 680 or an hd 79xx ... IS THAT POSSIBLE?

ANY help in this regard would be appreciated, guys!
 

BlackJair

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Mar 8, 2012
Messages
340
I use the ATI Radeon HD 5870 and there is no game i can't run, a better GPU is for those who REALLY need it or for hardcore gamers, and i will always prefer a better display.

Alienware (at least for me) have a pretty good build quality, but there is always exceptions. But if something fails, call support and they almost always replace the malfunction part.
 

Maelstrom

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Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
698
The 1080p display is the only thing that should be a must because that's the only thing that can't be upgraded in the future. I would go with the SSD because it's a huge performance increase than getting a slightly better graphics card (assuming that you put your OS on it).
 

rosh3r

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Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
5
yes i would definitely be putting windows on ssd:
the thing is: i really like to game but i m afraid i wouldn't be able to play more than an hour and a half or so each day because of my studies ... keeping that in mind ... i should just go with a 660 .... and play watever time i have with lower settings ... thoughts??
btw .... 660 is a good card right ...?
and there is only one slot for ssd or can i place a second ssd in the 2nd sata port?? (i am a hardware noob)
 

rosh3r

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Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
5
in ur opinion is it better to decrease the resolution or decrease the settings to achieve greater frames?
 

Maelstrom

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Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
698
I think that the M17x only has 2 slots for SSD/HDDs. As for what settings you should play; you should put it on the max setting first and then slowly decrease the settings first to get the the FPS you want (normally you want 60 for the best picture). Depending on the game you probably can just have the settings at max. You can decrease the resolution if you really need to but that will cause the game to look drastically worse than simply changing the settings.
 

n13L5

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
45
specs are:

i7-3610
6gb(will add 4-6 gb separately in dec)
500gb hdd (will buy 120 gb ssd separately)
gtx 660m
1920x1080p

this amounts to 1649$ on dell.com

That configuration is good, you avoided adding any overpriced RAM or HDD/SSD upgrades! The GTX 660 is the new Kepler architecture and not the crummy, hot running Fermi like the 670m or 675m, but the GTX 660m is a bit weak for a giant gaming laptop like this, as you can see below.

Remember to check for rebate coupon codes on the web! You could shave more than $200 off your order. Also, if you find no rebates, call Dell and ask the sales rep for a discount, they will! I got my M17xR4 with 3D screen, GTX 680m and Killer wireless for $450 less than the official price.


my questions are:
1)IS HD 7970 really worth the added 200$ ? cause budget is an issue for me ...
I CAN buy the m17x r4 with hd 7970.... but barely and if i buy this i cannot buy an ssd and a razor mouse for the next 3 months ...

The HD 7970m is very close to the GTX 680 in performance. I have the GTX 680m version and have benchmarked and overclocked it.

3DMark 11 for the GTX 650m . . . . . . 2150 points (TDP 45 Watt - kepler)
3DMark 11 for the GTX 660m . . . . . . 2312 points (TDP 70 Watt - kepler)
3DMark 11 for the GTX 670m . . . . . . 2729 points (TDP 100 Watt - fermi)
3DMark 11 for the GTX 675m . . . . . . 3260 points (TDP 100 Watt - fermi)
3DMark 11 for the HD 7970m . . . . . . 5542 points (TDP 100 Watt) (can of course be overclocked too, but I don't have it to try)
3DMark 11 for the GTX 680m . . . . . . 5918 points (TDP 100 Watt - kepler) (with Alienware overclock: 6130 points. With my aggressive overclock: 6813 points)
for comparison:
3DMark 11 Desktop GTX 670 . . . . . . 9310 points (TDP 175 Watt - kepler) (overclocked it breaks 10.000 points)

(the more points per Watt TDP, the more efficient the GPU is)
Also take note, that the desktop GTX 670 is Kepler, while the mobile GTX 670m is Fermi...


If you look at how close the $170 HD 7970m is to the $550 GTX 680, its hard to deny what a great deal that card is.
Also, the GTX 680 artificially gimps your HDMI output capability if you want to hook up a 3D television. (See my other post about details on that)


2)if i downgrade my screen to 900p ... i can buy the hd 7970 easily ... but is that worth it as well? .... cause i REALLY do like the 1080p display ..

yes, try to get both and finance it by getting a discount from Dell. I think the GTX 660 will be weak in a lot of games. Even mmo's are getting demanding. With my GTX 680m, in "The Secret World" game, using 3D vision with settings on Ultra, but not everything maxed, I end up at only 20-30 fps, unless I either reduce resolution or eye candy.

Thats the only reason I started messing with overclocking.


3)also alienware's build quality - is it very good ?

Alienware's build quality is partly good, partly bad:

+ Aluminum outer Shell for display and sides of the case
+ good quality keyboard
+ excellent trackpad, though thats lost on me
+ great selection of connectors
+ 3D screen at least is very bright and has rock solid viewing angles, even though its only a TN panel
+ sound is good
+ hinges are both easy to move yet hold stable
+ built in HD webcam and stereo mics are excellent
+ very astute cooling system: quiet when idle or just browsing. acts quickly when stuff gets hot, noise is not bad under load, but could have less high frequencies in it (with better fan blade design), to sound less like a tiny jet engine.

- wrist rest is so deep, you have to take off your watch not to ruin the gummed surface
- the main deck of the laptop is all plastic and so is the bottom, with resulting compromise in stability, but no worse than other manufacturers
- the multimedia button bar is set in a plastic pane above the keyboard, where the buttons are tongues cut out of the plastic, so you have to bend down the plastic to push a button, which is not great.
- large gaps between case and the keyboard panel - expect dust, food, everything to accumulate.
- a cheap, extremely reflective plastic pane is mounted in front of the display.
- the disk eject button doesn't work for a lot of people



4)if i stick with 660 and after two years i would want to upgrade the gpu - make a 660 sli or get a gtx 680 or an hd 79xx ... IS THAT POSSIBLE?

a) you can only do SLI in the M18x

b) Upgrade CPUs bought separately are very pricey anywhere I found them, unless they're old and decrepid.

I think if you make a good effort to get a discount, it will cover your HD 7970m, which is an excellent choice, except that AMD needs to fix the Enduro GPU switching application. But thats only a software issue and will be fixed eventually, and there's work-arounds.

also great about the HD 7970m is, that AMD does not artificially limit your HDMI options to large screen televisions, thus enabling you to play in 3DS mode on a big screen, if you like.

I'd even live without the SSD for a while to get the better Graphics card, cause thats easier and cheaper to upgrade any time later. Also, the SSD will mainly shrink the duration of load screens, but do very little for your fps


One more thing you should think of: with the GTX 660m, your performance is so low, its not really worth toting this humongous and heavy laptop around. Also, I think among laptops with a GTX 660m, the Asus G75 is better built, better keyboard and more quiet cooling system. For me, getting Alienware over other options had to do with availability of the GTX 680, which is not nearly good enough for the giant price jump over the 7970m.

The standard advice is still this: if you want to play games, get a desktop... I'm not saying you should, but you gotta know if it really needs to be a laptop. Cause for the same price, you can build a much faster desktop including a nice 27" 3D screen with LightBoost support.
 
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