MBP or Alienware m15x

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kibby, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. kibby macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2010
    Hi there,
    Let me start by saying im a mac fan ive had a MBP 15" for like 5years now and love it. Recently ive had some security issues and had to reformat it. I was wondering if anyone could give me some help one two seperate issues

    1. Im looking at buying a MBP 15" Or an alienware m15x here are the specs-

    MBP 15"2.8GHz Intel Core i7
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard & User's Guide
    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro - Auto-enroll $3626.00 australian

    Alienware M15x
    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ i7-740QM Processor (1.73GHz, 4Core/8Threads, turbo boost up to 2.93Ghz, 6M cache) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64bit (English) edit
    ESSENTIAL HELP Onsite help in your home, by Gizmo edit
    WARRANTY & SERVICE 3-Year Premier Service edit
    SECURITY SOFTWARE McAfee® Security Center (Multi-Language) 36 Months Version edit
    MEMORY 8GB (4GBx2) 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM edit
    HARD DRIVE 640GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive edit
    OPTICAL DRIVE Slot Load Fixed Blu-ray BD-ROM / DVD + /-RW Combo Drive edit
    VIDEO CARD 1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460M edit
    BATTERIES 9-cell Primary BatteryHD DISPLAY 15.6 " Full HD (1080p) WLED (1920 x 1080) Display with TrueLife™
    BLUETOOTH Dell™ Wireless 370 Bluetooth Internal (2.1) mini-card
    Wireless Network Card Intel® WiFi Link 5300 (802.11a/g/n) Half Mini-card

    Now for what i do with my computer- music some games such as wow internet basic stuff really i like to keep my options open to what i can do with it. The MBP for the past 5 years has fulfilled my need and would continue to if i bought another one. the main reasons for my confusion is preformance in which by the looking at the stats above the alienware computer is more powerful and be basically get more for the dollar for example a bluray player.

    the other thing i had thought about was the fact that all games that get released arent always compatible with mac and i dont like to boot camp and put a version of windows on mac, have done it before and find it irritating.

    The other thing i had been thinking about was security which brings me to my second issue which i think would really influence my decision in buying another mac..

    2. Can anyone advice me on what software to get for macs to protect again hackers/trojans etc to make it more secure the only software i am aware of is nortons which u can buy which i do not like and some free ones, i was running iantivirus at the time i had security issues and it didnt pick it up. Any answers/solutions and opinions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you all for taking the time to read and reply.
  2. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Honestly, the three advantages I see of the Macbook Pro (and you can decide how really important they are to you):

    1. OSX (which is why I go with macbooks)
    2. I like the form better (trackpad and small sleek casing). This of course is very subjective ;).
    3. Battery life I suspect is a lot better.

    So, other than that, I'd say the alienware looks like a great computer (if those three things aren't as important to you. I'd say figure out what is most important and figure out which computer does the stuff most important to you better).

    Honestly, for me, if it wasn't for the fact I much prefer OSX, if I'd have heard of the alienware before I bought mine, it would be a serious contender (cause while I like the case/size/trackpad better of the MBP, I could get over that for much better specs/gaming ability/speed. Battery life though would be a hard one to decide if I wanted to compromise). But I much prefer OSX, and I am not much of a heavy gamer (my 13" I think will suit my gaming needs fine). In fact I think I like the idea of gaming more than I actually game even. Plus battery life and size is pretty important to me (and honestly, I absolutely love the trackpad on my MBP). So, for me the MBP was the better choice.
  3. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    To answer question 1 it comes down to Windows vs OS X. They are both a good choice. If you want me to choose for you go with OS X.

    For your second question. I use clam AV and never had a issue and I am very carefree when I use OS X. (I am totally paranoid when I use windows) How were you hacked? was it a OS issue or through a website?

    BTW Nortons =POC
  4. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Okay, first off your price on the mac I think is pretty far off. I'm assuming you just built it online to have them ship to you.

    You are allowed to change the HDD and RAM on your own without voiding warranty. It is MUCH cheaper to do so. You can buy 8GB Crucial or OWC ram for ~ $100... and you can buy a 500GB 7200RPM HDD from WD for right around $70. To me I have a feeling you paid WAY WAY WAY more than $170 to upgrade to that 7200RPM and 8GB RAM.


    Yeah just looked it up, you spend $450 on the HDD and RAM combined. Why not do them yourself (VERY VERY VERY EASY) and spend $170... then spend another $100 for the Hi-Res 15" screen (you'll thank me later) and STILL SAVE MONEY!

    If you're on this board asking, of course you are going to get MBP fans. To me, you say you do "some" gaming... specifically WoW... which you can run on OSX, or just use bootcamp, load up Windows 7, and BAM! Best of both worlds with MUCH better hardware (IMO).

    Anyways, your call. But you did leave out the price on the alienware... what's that baby gonna set you back?

    As far as viruses, there ARE NO viruses for the snow leopard in the wild. There are things you can get from going to websites, running scripts, etc etc.... but as far as virus protection, I run nothing on my MBP's and have never had a virus (and I even torrent quite a bit and still haven't gotten anything).
  5. Richard1028 macrumors 68000

    Jan 8, 2009
    After 5 years of using a mac and you are still considering a PC? It's refreshing to hear this for a change. (In a Mac forum).

    I've no experience with the Alienware machine but it goes without saying that you're almost always going to get more bang for your buck in PC-Land when talking about component build and general horsepower.

    My only issue with going to Dell is their build quality these days. (It's not just them - basically everyone). I would never get 5 years out of one of their products like you have done with a mac.
  6. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    To be totally honest this is a tough decision. On the one hand the Alienware has MUCH MUCH MUCH more powerful hardware and blue ray, but it's also plastic, ugly ugly ugly and big.
    The Mac is made out of solid granite (Feels like it anyway!) and has a gorgeous screen, it's also thin and hardwearing.

    But I would wait to see what the new Macs are like when they are launched early next year in case they get better GPU's.
    It really comes down to if you can bare the flashy looks and size of the Alienware? If you can then why not buy it, then with your existing Mac max out it's ram. I would then also check if your Mac has compatible SATA with an SSD, if it does then out an SSD drive in it too.
    This way you'll give your Mac a new lease of life AND have a laptop with enough hardware to play the latest games for the next few years.

    As for security, Sophos has a pretty good name:


    It's free too, but weather you need it or not is another thing.
  7. robo74 macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2004
    Near Chicago
    while it wont cover everything your asking, I just made a post yesterday about why I went with a MBP after I sold my M15x


    My post is #21.

    When your considering the M15xm become a member of notebookreview.com forums. The alienware section has to be the best user forum for alienware around. That way when you do have issues, you can get help there a lot faster then by alienware/dell.

  8. size100 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010
    Build quality of a dell versus build quality of a mbp. If you need OSX go with MBP, if you don't care between the two you might want to go for MBP anyways. Big thing you are giving away is the video card and screen resolution(which is big if you are only getting 1440x900 screen on mbp).
  9. DIMEZ macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2009
  10. kibby thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2010
    More information provided

    hey everyone

    thanks for your comments sorry i forgot the price of alienware for that comp built and sent it came to $3,047.98 australian. The tip that was posted about saving money and buying a base model and upgrading is very interesting i knew u could upgrade the ram without voiding the warranty didnt know about all the other stuff i must admit on my MBP i have at the moment i only upgraded the RAM. Thanks to everyone too that suggested software protection for Macs. I dont know where i picked stuff up from i dont do much illegal stuff on my comp but i assume it was from one of the torrents i downloaded... (which is really sad coz i dont download many at all and i always read the comments about each torrent). Regarding build quality for alienware. Dell bought alienware and apparently alienware are built seperately from dell or thats what i have been told.

    Another thing i was thinking about the MBP and wondered what you all thought was buying a MBP from an authorised reselled on forbid i say it Ebay they are cheaper considerably please give me some feedback on that one too thanks very much guys i really appreciate your input ill check back later to see what you all have to say.

  11. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Yeah upgrade the HDD yourself, they are WAY WAY WAY cheaper and does not void your warranty.

    As far as resellers, go for it. Amazon and a few others are good. The only downfall is some of them don't take returns so make sure you get what you want.

    Other than that, apple handles the warranty just the same as if you bought it from them. You can go into an apple store or send it to apple HQ and they will do all the stuff under warranty the same. Also you can still get apple care too.
  12. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    do keep in mind the alienware laptops are as thick as my thigh!
  13. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    I would only buy second hand of ebay and only get computers that are being advertised with tons of photos of it and lots of information being provided.
    Otherwise the best thing to do is wait until the range is updated then check for deals of the old models on Apples own refurbished store.

    What games exactly are you going to be playing?
  14. munkery, Dec 18, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

    munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    1. Apple does not update it's hardware specs at the same pace as the Windows PC market and Apple does not modify the price over the spec's term to adjust for not keeping pace. So, you have to buy right after the spec update to get comparable value. What is not reflected in the specs is that Apple only uses hardware from non-generic vendors, such as motherboards from Intel and Nvidia as opposed to a motherboard made in house, for example, by Acer. This may not be an issue compared to Alienware as it is great hardware. But, make sure to keep an ear on Apples release cycle when making a decision.

    2. You should have a unique identifier (password) attached to authentication mechanism (UAC). So, Windows users should run as standard users. But, using a standard account in Windows causes issues with some software, such as some online games, that require admin accounts (or "run as administrator"; superuser) to function. Many online games on Windows 7 still require running as Administrator (superuser privileges) to function. This requires setting the "Properties" to allow "run as Administrator" in a standard account. This is risky as the games connect to remote servers and download content. Trojans are installed without authentication if accessed with superuser privileges. This example, using online games, shows the problem with how software is being written for Windows. This problem lead to DLL hijacking exploits. You definitely need good antivirus software in Windows to more safely play games that require Administrator privileges.

    On Mac OS X, the admin account requires authentication with a password to elevate privileges. Trojans that can be installed without authentication in OS X admin accounts, such as OSX/Leap-a, are not able to cause a lot of damage (can not install rootkits = kexts or binaries with elevated privileges = /System/Library, /usr, /bin, /sbin, etc). This is why such threats are fewer in OSX. Running as a standard user in Mac OS X allows ineffective malware, such as Leap-a, to cause even less damage.

    For example, Leap-a in admin account infected apps that belong to admin group but not system (system = default Mac OS X apps; Safari, Mail, etc) and even fewer apps in a standard account. All Leap-a accomplished was causing apps it could infect to no longer launch. Also, it only spread across LAN from PPC machines and did not have the potential to install any rootkits or keyloggers that could hook into apps owned by System. Leap-a has been the most sophisticated piece of malware for Mac OS X; all others have been trojans that prompt for an Admin password. (EDIT: Leap-a was an Input Manager. As of Leopard, all Input Managers require Admin password to install; in 10.6, Input Managers also do not function with 64 bit apps. In Tiger, Leap-a required authentication via Admin password to infect iChat to spread via Bonjour given that iChat belongs to "System".)

    The issue with online games found in Windows is not problematic on Mac OS X given that software for Mac is written following the guidelines of the principle of least privilege more so than Windows software. For example, I have played online FPS games on my Mac with standard account privileges that require "run as Administrator" (superuser privileges) in Windows systems. Mac OS X is much better insulated from Malware.

    I use the Sentry feature in ClamXav to scan ~/Library/Application Support/"folder for game" to scan content downloaded by online games. ClamXav contains definitions for all relevant trojans that effect Mac OS X and is updated quickly when new malware for OS X appears. The potentially vulnerable parts (update mechanism) of ClamXav do not run with elevated privileges making it more secure than other AV software. ClamAV, same engine as ClamXav, is the default AV in Mac OS X Server so Apple has a vested interest in its security.
  15. Bumflake macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I owned an M15x for a short while. About the same setup as the OP mentioned, except I went for an ATI 5850 and an SSD.
    I sold it after a few days because I had buyers remorse and went straight to the closest Apple store to buy me a 15" MBP.

    Spec wise there really isn't a laptop that can match an Alienware imho, but somehow I just didn't like it when I received it. The MBP on the other hand made me fall in love, the minute I laid my hands on it.

    My only advise would be to check them out in a store before you buy one, because they're really really huge (especially when you're used to a MBP).
    It's almost 3 times as thick as a MBP, bigger in width and depth and also a lot heavier. Not what I would call portable.
  16. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    physical specs wise the Alienware is literally twice as thick :eek:
    60% heavier :eek:
    three inches deeper :eek:

    personally I'd go with Maingear with better support and build quality
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    We might be a little biased.

    Game wise get the m15x. It's quad core processor and amazing video card will run circles around the MBP. They also have the one which can overclock to like 3.2.

    Quality and refinement wise get the MBP; I've never had a Dell last me more than 3 years. The MBP is probably better in regards to mobility.

    Not to go all Martha Stewart here but my god the m15x is one hideous looking computer.
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    If you get teh Alienware wait a month ot two. The specs for the new model are already public and you get a quite significant speed improvement. The SB CPU equivalent is 2,2Ghz default clock and a little bit better ipc and much better battery life (it will still be quite bad).

    If you game once a month and visit a lan party twice a year a MBP is a much better decision. Otherwise the Alienware is a lot faster and if I was a gamer I wouldn't go the MBP line. Bad Company 2 has awesome sound but you can hardly play it on a 15" MBP.
    A MBP works well on the road (touchpad & battery life)
    Alienware is Desktop Replacement and in a completely different class of Computers. It is basically a very expensive, comparably slow Desktop PC that you can easily move around.
    If you have so much money the best thing though would be to get a decent Desktop PC + a 13" MBP.
  19. marshallbedsaul macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    aimed for performance not even like a laptop
    when gaming or intense use with the 9 cell battery your getting 2 hours tops
    and its like carrying a infant around with you 10 pounds:eek:
  20. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Alienware (in my experience and opinion) is even more of a brand premium than Apple. Just custom build an Asus and you can have similar or better specs for half the price. I still love my Macs, but I am half OS X (for everyday stuff) and half Windows (for intense gaming).
  21. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    I take back saying buy it based on need. Don't buy an Alienware at all. They have the WORST reviews ever and the general consensus is that they suck. Even the people who give them okay to good reviews have problems and issues that any other owner would flip crap over. Finally, you don't see many reviews of people who write "this is my second Alienware after my first lasted me 5 years"...if you want something for the long run, which you should at that price, just don't buy it.

    Like people said, ASUS makes some nice laptops at less than half the price. If you are gonna drop 3 G's on a PC, I would go with the high end Vaio's which are also aluminum cased. Sony also has a 16.4 inch Vaio with a quad core and 1gig video card for under a grand which has much better reviews than the Alienware.
  22. munkery, Dec 19, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010

    munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Does Alienware use desktop components, as opposed to mobile components, to produce gaming laptops with higher performance per dollar?

    Just curious given Alienware spec, size, weight, and short battery life. I noticed the same bump in spec in iMac when Apple switched to using more desktop components.

    Mobile components do cost more from any brand as you are paying a premium for battery life and compactness.
  23. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    no it is using laptop parts. Just they are power hungry. The days of using desktop CPU are all but dead as modern desktop CPU put out to much heat to really be able to keep cool in a laptop.

    I would say it really comes down to what you need. Last may I bought a Dell Studio 15in with an i7 because cost wise it blew a MPB out of the water for specs and I knew I was going to be spending most of my time in a windows environment programing for class and most of my stuff I turned in was going to be tested on a windows computer so I was not going to risk anything by working in OSX.
  24. ryannazaretian macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2008
    I have not heard many good things about Alienware since Dell took them over. Not saying the MBP is the best choice, but I would not recommend Alienware. I've heard friends complain about build quality, cheap power adapters, and faulty cheap components.
  25. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    I thought OS X couldn't get viruses from websites unless you entered your admin password.

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