Who says gaming laptops have to be monstrous boat anchors? Alienware's M11x R2 ripples with all the trappings of a gaming rig, but it also has an 11.6" screen and dimensions that flirt with ultraportable territory. Beneath the system's LED-backlit keyboard lurks a Core i5-520UM or 640UM processor paired with an Optimus-enabled GeForce GT 335M graphics chip.
Unlike most Optimus implementations, this one uses a GPU with some balls. The 335M has 72 CUDA processors, which is 4.5 times the number available in the GeForce 310M commonly found in thin-and-light notebooks. But is that enough to play the latest games at the system's 1366x768 native resolution? According to this review over at AnandTech, yes. The M11x configured with a Core i5-640UM had little problem maintaining smooth frame rates with medium and even high detail levels in recent titles, including Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2, and Batman: Arkham Asylum. And yes, it also plays Crysis—Warhead, that is.
As one might expect, the M11x also makes a few compromises. Although it features an eight-cell battery, the system only managed six hours of web surfing in AnandTech's tests and under four hours of HD video playback. At 1.29" thick and 4.4 lbs, the M11x is a little portly for an ultraportable, too. With configurations starting at $949, this isn't exactly a budget system, either.
AnandTech's biggest complaint by far is that the screen is no better than what you'll find on budget 11.6" ultraportables. That might be a tough pill to swallow for some, although few alternatives exist, since most midget notebooks can't truly keep up with the latest games.