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.