Report: Sandy Bridge coming to 11.6-inch gaming notebook

Alienware’s M11x laptop is a curious beast: an 11.6″ ultraportable designed specifically with gamers in mind. The current version is a little thicker and heavier than other systems sharing the same screen size, but it packs a discrete graphics processor that’s quite a bit more potent than the bottom-of-the-line GPUs usually seen in smaller laptops. Although the current M11x is stuck in the Core 2 Duo era, purported specifications for a new model have leaked online. As one might suspect, the system is due for a Sandy Bridge upgrade.

The “R3” M11x is expected to arrive early next month with a selection of dual-core CPUs: the Core i5-2537M, i7-2617M, and i7-2657M. All three pack much-improved integrated graphics, but there’s reportedly “no word” on whether a discrete GPU will be included in this refresh. Leaving one out would be a mistake. Sandy Bridge’s integrated GPU may be better than previous iterations, but you don’t want to rely on it for serious gaming, even at the relatively modest 1366×768 resolution typical of 11″ panels.

Otherwise, the R3 looks pretty well equipped. In addition to Wi-Fi, you can expect optional 3G and 4G connectivity. Up to 8GB of memory can reportedly be crammed into the system alongside what looks to be a single 2.5″ hard drive. There’s no room inside the smaller chassis to combine a 2.5″ drive bay with an mSATA SSD like Intel’s 310 Series, it seems. You do get a beefy eight-cell battery with 63-Wh of juice, though.

The current M11x starts at $800, so its successor shouldn’t be exorbitantly expensive. With other 11.6″ systems like Apple’s MacBook Air and Samsung’s Series 9 settling on slower hardware to squeeze into slimmer chassis, it would be nice to have a chunkier alternative capable of playing real games with minimal compromise. Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

Comments closed
    • bentbent
    • 9 years ago

    I want one with a much bigger screen.

    🙂

    • KoolAidMan
    • 9 years ago

    It’ll need a dedicated GPU to elevate it past what the Macbook Air, Lenovo x220, and other similar notebooks can do. The whole point of the M11x is that it paired a slow Core 2 Duo with a 335m GT and a small LCD. The net result was good performance at a decent price.

    Oh, and a good screen would also be nice this time. I borrowed a friend’s for a week and that was my main complaint. Even for such a little display, it has a ridiculously small vertical sweet spot. Typical netbook LCD. 🙁

    Otherwise, it’ll be pretty great. Sandy Bridge will help tremendously in CPU limited games like Starcraft 2 and Team Fortress 2. The biggest surprise gaming on my 15″ 2.2ghz Macbook Pro is how consistently smoother it is than my i7 860 with SLI GTX 460 desktop PC. At their native resolutions, the MBP is smoother (smaller gap between peaks and valleys), and at the same resolution the MBP is faster in those games. It has me considering an upgrade for my PC a year before I wanted to, and I can’t say I’m thrilled about that. 🙂

    So yeah, SB + a dedicated GPU in the M11x would be fantastic. If they settle for the IGP, you’re better off getting a Lenovo or Macbook Air instead where you’ll get a much better display and keyboard and comparable performance.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 9 years ago

    11.6″ “gaming” laptop is an oxymoron.

      • manwdaplan
      • 9 years ago

      You clearly don’t have one of these, they are very good gamers. I love mine and I can play pretty much any game on it. Better the hauling around a laptop that is way bigger then my lap.

    • stdRaichu
    • 9 years ago

    Where are all the 11″ non-gaming laptops?!

    • satchmobob
    • 9 years ago

    Can’t recommend these little things enough! I’ve been running an R2 with i5 u520 for 6 or 7 months now and it really is grrreat. Runs all the games I’ve thrown at it so far. Nice battery life (when not gaming) of about 6 hrs. Hinge issues finally sorted.
    I just hope they’ll get round to including Gb ethernet in this revision…

      • lethal
      • 9 years ago

      I have a R1 version and my main gripe is the 100Mb ethernet, it’s really bothersome to copy a steam folder at ~10 Mb/s.

    • r00t61
    • 9 years ago

    Has Dell fixed the hinge problem with the M11 Rx?

    [url<]http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m11x/493140-m11x-hinge-screen-touching-keyboard-discussion-r1-r2.html[/url<]

    • JdL
    • 9 years ago

    Lame. Still only a 2 core + 2 threads per core CPU maximum. See this link:

    [url<]http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=54615[/url<] Gaming isn't fun on such a small screen / keyboard. I've tried and get killed a LOT more than I do on my 27" 2650x1440 screen.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Even the i5 is like twice as fast as the 1.3 GHz Core 2. What do you really need out of a 11.6″ laptop?

      All of the Sandy Bridge quad-cores generate more heat than even the standard voltage dual-cores. They would melt that tiny little case, as would any graphics card that calls for anything faster than a 2+ GHz Sandy Bridge dual-core…which would also make no sense at 1366×768.

      Balance is everything.

        • JdL
        • 9 years ago

        Work only – or hooking up to something external. I can’t see how people game on these things without ruining their wrists, backs, or eyes while straining / cramping to see / interact.

        For work, I just bought a 4×8 Sandy Bridge laptop – so I can go back-and-forth from home. Honestly didn’t care about the screen that much since I always have it hooked to an external screen. Size of the laptop matters a lot though – carrying it around daily – smaller / lighter is better.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]Gaming isn't fun on such a small screen / keyboard. I've tried and get killed a LOT more than I do on my 27" 2650x1440 screen.[/quote<] "Have no fear! Captain Obviuos is here!"

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        Captain Obvious*

        there neely, your superior has assisted you again!

      • maroon1
      • 9 years ago

      Please delete

    • Damage
    • 9 years ago

    Excelsior!

    [url<]http://www.startrek.com/legacy_media/images/200511/mov-006-sulus-ship-attacked/320x240.jpg[/url<] ..pretty much.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 9 years ago

      [url<]http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs38/f/2008/312/8/3/Venator_Class_Star_Destroyer_by_CloneCommanderNeyo.jpg[/url<] I can't hear you.

        • HurgyMcGurgyGurg
        • 9 years ago

        While we’re at it,

        [url<]http://www.solaris7.com/Files/Members/4313/spaceballonevy3.jpg[/url<]

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    looks nice, i might get one!

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