Alienware M14x or 15" MBP for graphic intensive gaming?

NateEssex

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 30, 2008
308
8
Hi,
I'm just about ready to take the plunge for a new laptop. I have an old MBP that has been rock-solid. I have an XPS that is now becoming obsolete for gaming purposes. So, I have been researching gaming laptops.

Can anyone make the case for an M14X over a 15" MBP? I know the MBP will be a bit more, but I would be able to continue to use OS X. However, I could continue to use my old MBP for many things and get the Alienware if it's going to be that much better, allowing me to play games like GW2, SW:TOR, or Skyrim(which I haven,t played yet, but I hear is awesome) with good fps and graphics settings turned up. I get like 4 fps in battle zones on my XPS :(

I have read a new MBP may be around the corner, but considering the current models, what would be the value/cost benefit now?

Thanks!
 

The-Pro

macrumors 65816
Dec 2, 2010
1,449
35
Germany
Hi,
I'm just about ready to take the plunge for a new laptop. I have an old MBP that has been rock-solid. I have an XPS that is now becoming obsolete for gaming purposes. So, I have been researching gaming laptops.

Can anyone make the case for an M14X over a 15" MBP? I know the MBP will be a bit more, but I would be able to continue to use OS X. However, I could continue to use my old MBP for many things and get the Alienware if it's going to be that much better, allowing me to play games like GW2, SW:TOR, or Skyrim(which I haven,t played yet, but I hear is awesome) with good fps and graphics settings turned up. I get like 4 fps in battle zones on my XPS :(

I have read a new MBP may be around the corner, but considering the current models, what would be the value/cost benefit now?

Thanks!
Graphics wise the m14x is better. The GT 555M is a little better then the 6750/6770M in the MBP. As standard the M14x is a lot worse CPU wise.
For the m14x to be a nice alternative you would need the higher resolution screen.
If your decision will be made in performance in games then the alienware is better.
If you want a good portable machine with a bigger screen and amazing battery life that can play the games you mentioned without problems (a couple fps less then the m14x) then the MBP is the way to go. It is more a couple hundred more though if you compare both with stock hardware.
I would personally take the MBP. Being able to have both OSX and Win7 is pretty handy I think. And the combination of OSX and quite good gaming performance when i feel like it is great.
 

ninja2000

macrumors 6502
Dec 16, 2010
320
54
Hello mate,

I have owned both a m14x and mbp15 2011. In answer to your question I will try and be as fair as possible when comparing the 2. But the short answer is if money is not an object get a mbp, if you are short of cash get the 14 as its hell of a lot cheaper if you know where to look.

Now to brake it down into sections:

Looks - both have distinctive looks, this is down to personal opinion but the m14x has multicolour keyboard and zones and a nice soft touch finish. mbp has the amazing unibody, nuff said.

Performance - if you get the quad m14x they perform within +/- 10% of each other. Some games prefer ati some nvidia. Both are great overclockers, I run mbp 800/1000 @0.955 and m14x at 750/1050.

Screen - MBP wins everytime, its worlds apart.

Noise - the m14x sounds like a jet engine whilst gaming so mbp wins here

Heat - the m14x is noisy but has pretty good temp control, that said lots of users are having the cpu overheat at 100c on m14x but also lots of mbp users complain of high temps so pretty even here

Weight - mbp is 500g lighter so wins here, even the 17" is on par with m14x

Ports - m14x wins hands down, more usb + usb3, better port layout, mobile broadband option, many wireless options etc. the mbp is quite sparse

Other points - the m14x powerbrick is huge, the mbp has the amazing magsafe. Speakers are slightly better on m14x. m14x has hdd, wifi and caps lock status lights unlike mbp.

Hope this helps
 

cirus

macrumors 6502a
Mar 15, 2011
582
0
Hello mate,

I have owned both a m14x and mbp15 2011. In answer to your question I will try and be as fair as possible when comparing the 2. But the short answer is if money is not an object get a mbp, if you are short of cash get the 14 as its hell of a lot cheaper if you know where to look.

Now to brake it down into sections:

Looks - both have distinctive looks, this is down to personal opinion but the m14x has multicolour keyboard and zones and a nice soft touch finish. mbp has the amazing unibody, nuff said.

Performance - if you get the quad m14x they perform within +/- 10% of each other. Some games prefer ati some nvidia. Both are great overclockers, I run mbp 800/1000 @0.955 and m14x at 750/1050.

Screen - MBP wins everytime, its worlds apart.

Noise - the m14x sounds like a jet engine whilst gaming so mbp wins here

Heat - the m14x is noisy but has pretty good temp control, that said lots of users are having the cpu overheat at 100c on m14x but also lots of mbp users complain of high temps so pretty even here

Weight - mbp is 500g lighter so wins here, even the 17" is on par with m14x

Ports - m14x wins hands down, more usb + usb3, better port layout, mobile broadband option, many wireless options etc. the mbp is quite sparse

Other points - the m14x powerbrick is huge, the mbp has the amazing magsafe. Speakers are slightly better on m14x. m14x has hdd, wifi and caps lock status lights unlike mbp.

Hope this helps
Very True, looking at the Canadian website, a mx14 comparable to a 15" MPB costs only $1380 while a MPB costs ~$1999.
Graphical performance will be different but other than that they both will have very close performance, the gt 555m (1.5GB the 3 GB is not needed for 900p resolution) is about the same as a 6770m with 1GB (the 6750 with 515 MB i'd think is slower because it has less RAM). The 6770m MPB would cost ~2299 but would have a slightly better processor.

dell~1380
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ i7 2670QM 2.2GHz (3.1GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
WIRELESS CARDS Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 a/g/n 2x2 MIMO for Gaming & Video
MEMORY 6GB DDR3 at 1600MHz
VIDEO CARD 1.5GB DDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M using NVIDIA Optimus™ technology
HARD DRIVE 750GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s
LCD PANEL 14.0" High Def+ (900p/1600x900) with WLED backlight
SOUND OPTIONS Internal High-Definition 5.1 Surround Sound Audio

Macbook~2299

2.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x2GB
750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
6770m 1GB


http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Alienware-M14x-Notebook.54257.0.html will help
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
I don't really follow Alienware that much, but I don't believe they've had a major (or even slight) revision in some time. I would maybe research their last update and potentially wait and see.

There's some other brands out there that would potentially offer better bang for your buck. There's the ASUS line if you're looking for a large brand name, there's Sager, and then there's the likes of iBUYPOWER and a few others.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,709
17,829
The Misty Mountains
Hello mate...

Hope this helps
Sounds like an honest comparison. Thanks for posting! For the OP if you want one laptop that does it all, that would have to be a MBP. I travel, use both MacOS (everything) and Windows (gaming) and am only going to carry one computer with me, a MacBookPro. :)
 

lewdvig

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
1,400
52
South Pole
They will perform similarly in Windows if you get the quad core in the Dell. The 555 and 6750 are pretty close. 555 is faster, but when both are over clocked they even out in my experience.

You can't get the OSX experience in the AW.

IMO I would get the base MBP @ $1600 and oc the GPU.

Neither of them will really run 'graphically intensive games' as well as a $1500 Clevo with a RADEON 6990m though. Not even close.

So if you are leaning towards a chunky plastic cinder block like the M14, why not get the best plastic cinder block:

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8150-clevo-p150hm-p-2972.html
 

AeroSatan

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2011
32
0
NYC
I just returned the M14x

and got the MB Pro 15. I think that if your priority is mostly gaming, I'd go with the Alienware and if your priority is getting tasks done in the most optimal way I'd get a Macbook. With that said, I actually returned the AW because I received two lemons in a row, that really just send me over the top and made me bid adieu to the Windows...for now...
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,030
647
Pennsylvania
Just remember, with the MBP you're at the mercy of Apple for graphics card driver updates. At least Alienware uses normal drivers. I would personally never buy a mac for gaming, as they're just not meant for it.

I have a 14" Vostro with a 6630m in it, and it's fantastic. I could only imagine what an alienware could do. I love the fact that you can change the LED colors in them.

Having said that, the MBP will have a nicer screen.

I wouldn't care about the noise. A well venilated computer that isn't going to burn your lap is better than a quiet lap-toaster, especially when you're using headphones or the sound is up and noise isn't an issue.

If it was up to me, I'd go with the Alienware. Mac's are good for getting work done and looking pretty, but I wouldn't ever want to be at the mercy of Apple for Windows drivers.

Of course maybe I'm just bitter as Apple stopped supporting my MBP before they got around to releasing non-buggy keyboard drivers, nevermind graphics card drivers.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
Didn't MSI produce some reasonable gaming laptops?

I would be mostly concerned about the screen and touchpad quality on a non Apple laptop. Dell seems to have some good screens, I'm not sure about the other brands.

I like notebookcheck.net for reviews... they always have a section about the display quality.
 

KingJosh

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2012
431
0
Australia
Alienware is owned by Dell. So no lol

edit: alienware is also the ugliest computers I have ever seen. If you want portable gaming wait for that new Razer project Fiona.
 

lewdvig

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
1,400
52
South Pole
Just remember, with the MBP you're at the mercy of Apple for graphics card driver updates. At least Alienware uses normal drivers. I would personally never buy a mac for gaming, as they're just not meant for it.

I have a 14" Vostro with a 6630m in it, and it's fantastic. I could only imagine what an alienware could do. I love the fact that you can change the LED colors in them.

Having said that, the MBP will have a nicer screen.

I wouldn't care about the noise. A well venilated computer that isn't going to burn your lap is better than a quiet lap-toaster, especially when you're using headphones or the sound is up and noise isn't an issue.

If it was up to me, I'd go with the Alienware. Mac's are good for getting work done and looking pretty, but I wouldn't ever want to be at the mercy of Apple for Windows drivers.

Of course maybe I'm just bitter as Apple stopped supporting my MBP before they got around to releasing non-buggy keyboard drivers, nevermind graphics card drivers.
FYI driver updates are super easy. And despite a few of us posting the how to links on here on what seems like a daily basis, people either are too lazy or dumb to search out the instructions.

This is what I had to do when I owned a Alienware M17x, M17x R2 and M15x. Dell seldom updates drivers so you need to use modded drivers just like Mac users.

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/mobility-radeon-drivers-support/206549-ati-catalyst-mobility-11-12-display-drivers-notebook-computers-13-12-2011-a.html
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,030
647
Pennsylvania
FYI driver updates are super easy. And despite a few of us posting the how to links on here on what seems like a daily basis, people either are too lazy or dumb to search out the instructions.

This is what I had to do when I owned a Alienware M17x, M17x R2 and M15x. Dell seldom updates drivers so you need to use modded drivers just like Mac users.

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/mobility-radeon-drivers-support/206549-ati-catalyst-mobility-11-12-display-drivers-notebook-computers-13-12-2011-a.html
Driver updates are only super easy if the driver exists. It's impossible for me to update my keyboard driver as the latest Apple driver for my MBP is buggy, and no one besides Apple makes a MBP keyboard!

If you're talking about other drivers, that's not quite true. The only laptop graphics card I've had problems updating is the ATI+Intel combo (due to ATI only having vendor specific drivers ATM). Every other laptop I've worked on not only is easy to upgrade drivers, but they're usually updated automatically via Windows update.
 

Sol

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
1,564
6
Australia
It's a loaded question. Man, I am so sick of people asking about Macs as if they would buy one when in the end they always get a PC because it is cheaper. Stop pretending you could ever be a Mac user. You are just going through the motions of pretending to be interested in Macs so that you can later claim to have bought a better computer.
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,929
38
Australia
It's a loaded question. Man, I am so sick of people asking about Macs as if they would buy one when in the end they always get a PC because it is cheaper. Stop pretending you could ever be a Mac user. You are just going through the motions of pretending to be interested in Macs so that you can later claim to have bought a better computer.
You do realise that the OP already has a MacBook Pro? The Alienware is the better choice in this instance.

>>>>>

Have you considered a desktop instead of a laptop for gaming OP? If you can build your own you'd get pretty great value out of it.
 

Sol

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
1,564
6
Australia
You do realise that the OP already has a MacBook Pro? The Alienware is the better choice in this instance.

>>>>>

Have you considered a desktop instead of a laptop for gaming OP? If you can build your own you'd get pretty great value out of it.
For games the better choice is a console. Alienware laptops are toys. You will always find better specs in the PC world and if that's all that matters to you, enjoy the Windows experience. Mac users know to appreciate the whole package. It's just a different way of looking at computers and something that PC users never truly understood from the days of the original Macintosh.
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,929
38
Australia
For games the better choice is a console. Alienware laptops are toys. You will always find better specs in the PC world and if that's all that matters to you, enjoy the Windows experience. Mac users know to appreciate the whole package. It's just a different way of looking at computers and something that PC users never truly understood from the days of the original Macintosh.
The better choice would be for the OP to build himself a PC and use that for gaming. If however he specifically wants to game on a laptop, then the Alienware is the better choice.
 

AAPLaday

Guest
Aug 6, 2008
2,413
1
Manchester UK
OP assuming you are from England (essex) then don't get an Alienware for a gaming pc. They are overpriced and underspecced, plus look like a 15 year olds toy. Best bet is a gaming desktop but if you really want a laptop then go to an independent retailer. PC Specialist is one that i recommend, they even have their own forums to help you decide on components.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Didn't MSI produce some reasonable gaming laptops?

I would be mostly concerned about the screen and touchpad quality on a non Apple laptop. Dell seems to have some good screens, I'm not sure about the other brands.

I like notebookcheck.net for reviews... they always have a section about the display quality.
Yeah, MSI is another larger brand to look at, but touchpad quality really doesn't matter in this instance. Any touchpad is sufficient for web browsing and someone getting a gaming laptop would use a mouse for gaming (or all times).
 

donuttakedonuts

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2009
207
0
If OP wants a gaming laptop, and has the money to blow on a MBP 15" he should be buying a Sager or an Asus g74sx. Literally no other laptops will beat the "gaming" "laptop" oxymoron.
 

Meever

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2009
630
24
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

I get the base late 2011 15mbp with the high res upgrade. It is a few hundred more but I think the. Build quality and osx more than makes up for it.
 

DustinT

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2011
1,556
0
Just remember, with the MBP you're at the mercy of Apple for graphics card driver updates. At least Alienware uses normal drivers. I would personally never buy a mac for gaming, as they're just not meant for it.
I haven't had any problems installing video card drivers on my MBP under Windows. Google has the answers, it's not hard at all.

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

I get the base late 2011 15mbp with the high res upgrade. It is a few hundred more but I think the. Build quality and osx more than makes up for it.
Seconded, resale value on the MBP makes it a much smarter choice, imho.
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,080
287
Indianapolis
You are in ASUS G74 territory there. The M14x is sorely lacking with the GT 555M and the same with the HD 67xx series on the MacBook Pro.

The ASUS comes standard with the GTX 560M and its quiet on load.
 

Greguar

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2011
3
0
Regarding MSI gaming laptops, they're definitely extremely cost effective for the specs. They're also huge bulky beasts with power bricks large enough to cave in a buffalo's skull. You wind up with more of a relocatable desktop computer than you do a "laptop".

Build quality is a severe issue, or at least was with the GT780R-014US my girlfriend picked up in September. The first was DOA and the second had an ever-so-slightly defective keyboard that would occasionally drop keystrokes on certain keys. I'd recommend anyone going MSI warranty the heck out of it.

Other than those taxing trials in getting a properly working unit, she loves it. It performs beautifully for her gaming, 3D modelling and graphics editing needs, with the stock 16GB of RAM actually coming in handy. (MSI gaming laptops seem to frequently include absurd amounts of RAM at little apparent cost.)
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
I haven't had any problems installing video card drivers on my MBP under Windows. Google has the answers, it's not hard at all.
Yeah, that's Windows drivers... for Windows. Hardly ever a graphics driver update for OSX, let alone a customized one for gaming performance.