Alienware M17 17-in Gaming Notebook - Alienware M17 - Let the Benchmarks Begin

Article Index
Alienware M17 17-in Gaming Notebook
First Look at the Alienware M17
Alienware M17 Features and Specifications
Close Look at the M17 Creature
Setup, General Usage and Subsystem Tests
Alienware M17 - Let the Benchmarks Begin
Gaming Performance and Final Thoughts

Benchmarking the Alien:

As I mentioned before, we really don't have a comparable system to benchmark the Alienware M17 against, so we used a couple of desktop systems that we've used recently.  For the most part we used a hefty Phenom II 940 Black Edition system.  This system was configured with a Quad-Core Phenom II 640 Black Edition processor, 4GB of DDR2-800 and a single Palit HD4850 graphics card.  I fully expect the CPU tests to favor the Phenom II as it has twice the cores as the M17.  Single threaded benchmarks could be interesting though.  With that said let's start the numbers!

 

Subsystem Tests - Network:

One area that we have started testing is network performance.  It is easy for a company to claim great networking features as many users never test them out and are puzzled when they can only transfer files at a mere 250Mbit/sec on their 1000Mbit/sec NIC.  We use iPerf for testing network performance and focused on wired performance.

 iPerf

In iPerf, we ran single threaded tests as well as a multi-threaded network test that used five streams at the same time.  Multi-threaded performance always looks better and shows how the network system will hold up when accessed from multiple machines at the same time.  Single thread performance shows client-to-client file sharing performance.  As you can see above, the network performance of the Alienware M17 pales in comparison to its desktop counterparts.

 

Memory Performance:

For our memory benchmarks this time around we stuck with Everest Ultimate and SiSoft Sandra.  Both of these benchmarks show theoretical performance of memory and this is about as close as you can get when comparing across multiple platforms.  Things such as motherboards, CPU Speed, bus speed and more play a huge role in memory performance so these comparison numbers will have to do.

 Everest
Everest
SiSoft Bandwidth
SiSoft Bandwidth
 SiSoft Latency
SiSoft Latency

 

It's not surprise that the mobile Alienware M17 doesn't hold up to the Quad-Core, Integrated Memory Controller setup shown above.  Regardless, it fares very well for a laptop.

 

Cinebench and POV-RAY:

It's no secret that 3D Rendering and modeling through programs like 3DStudioMax, Blender and others are very CPU intensive.  Of course with all the stream processors available in today's graphics cards, some of heavy workload is now being offloaded to the GPU, but a good 3D program can bring a system to its knees - especially when rendering lighting effects and very smooth models.  We've put Cinebench 9.6 x64 as well as Cinebench R10 x64 to the test on both the Phenom II and Core i7 systems and threw in POV-Ray for good measure.  All of these programs can be run on a single core, or multiple cores to speed up the work process.

Cinebench 9.6
Cinebench 9.6
 Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
POV-Ray
POV-Ray

 


Quick & Dirty CPU Benchmarks:

As we wrap up this part of the benchmarking - before we get into some gaming, we have a look at PMCore (a synthetic benchmark), and x.264 and x.264HD conversions.  These benchmarks are both largely CPU related, and we'll see that the multi-core Phenom II wins out in the real x.264 conversion video, but the Core architecture destroys it in PMCore.  It goes to show that you've got to test in both worlds for accurate comparison.

PMCore
x264

 

We've saved the best for last, and on the next page we'll fire up some games and see if the Alienware M17 with CrossfireX 3870 GPUs has enough power to cut the mustard at 1920x1200.