Report: 14-inch Alienware laptop packs Sandy Bridge, GeForce GT555M

Although the system hasn't been introduced formally, purported specifications for Alienware's next-generation 14" gaming notebook have leaked onto the web. As one might expect, the so-called M14x is set to feature processors from Intel's new Sandy Bridge lineup, including the quad-core Core i7-2820QM. Sandy Bridge CPUs have surprisingly competent integrated graphics, but let's be realistic. Alienware intends the M14x to be a gaming rig, so the system is equipped with a discrete GeForce GT555M GPU.

Nvidia's GPU naming schemes can be a little confusing, especially on the mobile side. That counts for double with the GT555M—literally. Nvidia's web site lists two versions with very different specifications. One has 144 shaders and a 192-bit interface compatible with DDR3 memory, while the other sports 96 shaders and a 128-bit path to GDDR5 memory. Core and memory clock speeds vary quite a bit between the two offerings, although Nvidia says both have an identical texture fill rate. It's unclear which version has taken up residence inside the M14x.

The GT555M sits atop Nvidia's mid-range mobile lineup, so it should be pretty potent in either flavor. You'll want as much graphics horsepower as you can get to fuel M14x's 14" screen, which will be available in 1366x768 and 1080p flavors. Unfortunately, there appears to be only one battery option: an eight-cell unit with an unimpressive 63Wh rating.

There are no details on when the M14x might hit the market or how much it will cost, but I'd expect the system to be out soon. Pictures of what looks very much like a finished product are already up on Chinese site

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