It’s a weekend and I’ve been busy with spring cleaning, vacuuming the place and sorting things out, tossing out unused junk… and I’ve also been eying Assassin’s Creed 2 for PC, which is coming out in March 2010! Alienware (by Dell) recently came out with a very interesting 11 inch ‘gaming’ notebook this CES and I’ve been visiting their site to check out their M11x and M15x notebooks (not that I’m considering either, I’m just curious to learn more about various manufacturer offerings).
Okay, while I was on Alienware’s website looking at their M15x gaming notebook, I couldn’t help but to compare it to the recently launched Elitebook 8540w! No, don’t go “what the…??” just because the Alienware M15x is a dedicated gaming notebook and the Elitebook 8540w is a professional mobile workstation. I kinda figured that the HP Elitebook 8540w, despite being a business notebook and looking nothing like one suited for hardcore gaming, can in fact double as a pretty powerful and potent gaming notebook (and to a certain extent, and can put up a fight against Dell/Alienware’s heavy weight performer. Here’s why…
- The Alienware M15x has various Intel Core i7 Quad and Core i5 Dual core processor options. The Elitebook 8540w does too (except the i7 Extreme option, at the moment).
- The Alienware M15x can be fitted with a full HD 1080p widescreen display. Well, so can the Elitebook 8540w (with points for having a matte display; reviews of the M15x mention it has a glossy one).
- The Alienware M15x has two DDR3 RAM (1333 MHz) slots so you can have up to 8 GB of memory… the Elitebook 8540w has a whopping four DDR3 RAM (also 1333 MHz) slots for double the memory: 16 GB max.
- Both notebooks have 7200 RPM hard disks standard (up to 500 GB), and optional solid state drives (up to 256 GB)
- Both notebooks have optical drives with optional Blu-ray. The Elitebook 8540w has an advantage here of being able to swap out the optical drive for a second 500 GB 7200 RPM hard disk.
The Alienware M15x and Elitebook 8540w also have the exact same variety of ports (except USB). The Elitebook 8540w’s five USB ports (three USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0) beats three USB 2.0 ports that the Alienware has. But the Alienware M15x is a better entertainment notebook with two headphone jacks (versus one on the Elitebook).
The Elitebook 8540w comes with an 8-cell battery standard, with the option to add on a secondary 8 or 12 cell battery via the secondary battery connector on the notebook’s underside. On team Alienware, the M15x comes standard with a 6 cell battery, with the option to go for a 9 cell battery option (this battery sits in place of the 6 cell, and is not an add on battery). In theory, if one was to “game on the go”, you could swap batteries on the Elitebook more easily without having to power off/hibernate the notebook at all.
Sure, the advantages that the Alienware M15x has include: better built-in speakers, extremely customizable AlienFX keyboard backlight/overall lighting system, system/cooling designed specifically for gaming, gaming-specific Nvidia GeForce graphics and a striking exterior design that’s bound to intimidate your opponents at a LAN party. I mean, how’s an innocent looking Elitebook gonna have any psychological effect on the other team at a gaming tournament/gathering, at all? Well, you gotta know the Alienware M15x is also 50% heavier, 50% thicker and slightly wider/longer than the Elitebook 8540w as well!
The Alienware M15x’s current graphics card options are: the 512 MB Nvidia GeForce GT240M and 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GTX260M. Granted the Elitebook 8540w is NOT a dedicated gaming notebook and comes with workstation-class graphics, its 1 GB Nvidia Quadro FX880M and 1 GB Nvidia Quadro FX1800M graphics offerings (equivalent to Nvidia’s new GeForce GT330M and GT335M cards, I think) still hold up pretty well… you could still use them for gaming.
There’s also the HP Night Light on the Elitebook 8540w… and while it won’t hold a candle against Alienware’s advanced Alien FX lighting system, at least it still does its job of providing keyboard illumination while you’re gaming or working in the dark!
If the Elitebook was a Wall Street guy in a business suit and tie, the Alienware would probably be Arnold Schwarzenegger during his bodybuilder days. As I mentioned, the Alienware M15x and Elitebook 8540w are two completely different animals, that nobody would even think of comparing. Yet somehow, my creative mind has come up with this fairly fair and square comparison of the two. No, I don’t expect gamers to be switching over to CAD workstations used by professionals anytime soon, or vice versa… but today’s comparison does bring up an interesting revelation: the Elitebook 8540w has more ‘gaming genes’ under its hood than one would probably expect. While it wasn’t built from the ground up for gaming, I think the Elitebook 8540w packs quite a punch for a business notebook; enough to allow graphic designers, CAD professionals, students, etc (whatever you plan to use it for) to unwind with a game of Need for Speed Shift or Crysis 2 (almost) maxed out in full HD after a day’s work.
*Note to self: I should really make a video of ‘gaming and gameplay using an Elitebook’, bet that’ll be interesting…