We see a lot of reviews of laptops and notebooks fresh out of the box. Well this review is designed to give readers and new laptop customers an idea of how Alienware stacks up over the months of use. It has been 12 months since my purchase, and the following is a review of my experience thus far.
Reason to Purchase:
If you have never owned or handled an Alienware, you would be amazed with what Alienware has to offer for consumers and more specifically, hardcore gamers. People need to stop looking at Alienware as “overpriced” but really sit down with two laptops with similar specs and understand why Alienware’s have the gaming name attached to them. Alienware produces durable, powerful and cosmetically pleasing notebooks.
The Alienware 5750 is a step between a midsized laptop and a mobile desktop. With the Intel Duo Chip, it packs a lot of CPU and GPU power to play the latest games on a crisp 17 inch screen while at the same time giving you impressive batter life and plenty of storage space.
After my disappointing Alienware Story back in the summer of 03, I vowed never to buy another mobile gaming laptop ever again. I told myself laptops were designed for basic computing and should never be stocked with expensive GPUs, mobile CPUs and high res screens all of which are not even upgradeable. Well the years went by and technology has vastly improved and my option of mobile gaming machines have changed. For one, the price of mobile CPUs has dropped considerably since 02 when Pentium 4m’s were just starting to hit the market and retailing for over $1000. Battery life has also greatly improved over this time with the improvements of the Pentium Duo chip and impressive mobile GPU power usage. I was also attending a lot more LAN Parties where I would need to bring my entire Desktop Setup which was starting to get very annoying. So I started looking at another Gaming Laptop.
- Area-51® m5750
- Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2500 2.0GHz 2MB Cache 667MHz FSB
- Genuine Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 2
- Alienware® m5750 17" WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD Upgrade 1 (Paint Job)
- Alienware® Intel® 945PM + ICH7 Chipset
- 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz - 2 x 512MB
- Single Drive Configuration - 60GB Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s 5,400 RPM w/ NCQ & 8MB Cache
- Upgrade 2 - HITACHI Travelstar 5K250 250GB 5400 RPM Serial ATA150 +$186.99 8/29/2007
- 8X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW / 24X CD-RW Combo w/Software
- 256MB ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X1800
- Intel® 7.1 High-Definition Audio
- Internal Intel® PRO Wireless 3945 a/b/g Mini-Card
- Integrated 10/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet & 56K V.92 Modem
- 3-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support w/ Onsite Service
- Cyberlink PowerDVD 8 Channel 7.1 XP
- Alienware Respawn Recovery Kit
- Alienware Mobile Manual
- Alienware Owner Identification Card
- Microsoft® Works 8 Productivity Suite
Order Total: $2,522.00
What’s in the Box
This being my fourth Alienware notebook (6th total), I was surprised to notice that Alienware does not ship their notebooks in big black boxes anymore, probably due to the fact they were so easily noticed sitting on the back of FED-EX trucks. Alienware also stopped shipping the black Alienware binders a few years back and now only ship software and manuals in a smaller white cardboard package thing. I miss the binders.
Alienware’s have always been known for their flashly colors and sleek ‘out of this world’ design and this laptop was particularly special to me since it was my second laptop with Alien Eyes that glowed a blue ominous color. But the Saucer Silver chassis disappointed me after having two prior conspiracy blue laptops. I decided a few days after I received my 5750 to make a special arrangement with the best custom painting laptop company there is.
Smooth Creations Custom Paint Job:
For My Smooth Creations Review Go here.
The viewing angle of the 5750 is quite impressive. The 5750 screen is advertised as “HD” at 1920 x 1200 resolution, but watching QuickTime high def trailers did not look as good as watching them on my HDTV at 1920 x 1080. When high def DVD becomes cheaper, I’d like to put in a blu-ray drive and see the quality of the screen compared to my HDTV, but that upgrade is still months if not years away. I am extremely pleased with the screen quality when it comes to games. Once again, Alienware has shipped me a machine with 0 dead pixels.
The 5750 ships with a full size keyboard, which at first glance may look enormous, but actually is tightly squeezed together in a comfortable package. There are a few keys missing, for example the end key, but they did manage to squeeze a number pad on it which is very useful. The m9750 does not have a number pad. The keyboard is the norm colors, black keys with white lettering with the standard laptop function (FN) keys that allow you to raise the volume, adjust the brightness or switch between video outputs.
One of the worst touchpads I’ve ever used belonged to the Alienware Sentia 223. It had no texture, too much acceleration that was not affected when messing with the mouse speeds in the control panel, and your thumb was always bumping it when you tried to type. It was overall a bear to use. I was pleasantly surprised with the touchpad on the Alienware 5750 to see they have made many improvements. There is a raised horizontal line that lets the user know when your fingers are venturing too far to the right before you touch the scroll pad. This should be a stock feature on every laptop ever made. The scroll pad is also extremely useful and effective. However, the one annoyance with the touchpad is the left and right mouse buttons. When pressed and depressed, they emit are annoyingly loud “click”, not like a subtle mouse click, but more of a deep-‘everyone in the room knows I’m clicking’ click. Alienware has since improved on this annoyance with the 9750.
The picture says it all.
Speakers and Mic
The speakers are ordinary tweeter styled speakers like on any laptop, located above the keyboard and boosted a tad by a subwoofer on the bottom. And for users convenience, there is a microphone built into the laptop chassis at the lower left hand side. The only bad part about the mic is it is located exactly where users would keep their hand if they were typing. So talking on voice networks and typing at the same time would be difficult for people to hear as well as the noise and feedback they would receive with your wrist rubbing over the mic. The 9750 fixes this issue.
Input and Output Ports
Front: The front of the laptop has three features. One, a mic indicator letting users know the mic is located in the front left side of the laptop under the keyboard. The second feature is the latch which is sturdy and reliable. The third feature is an on/off switch that controls the wifi. I find this useful if there are no wifi networks in my area and need to conserve battery life. A simple flick of the switch will stop the 5750 from searching for available networks instead of having to disable it in Windows.
Right Side: The right side of the laptop contains an Express Card Slot /54mm (also 34) three high speed USB ports, IEEE 1394a (4-pin), a 4-in-1 Memory Card Reader (SD / MS / MSPRO / MMC) and the Ethernet port. The 4-in-1 Memory Card Reader is very convenient for just sticking your digital camera memory stick in and the 5750 recognizing it instantly instead of hooking up external ports or wires. I am very surprised Alienware did not continue this on the 9750 model. There is also a laptop lock on the rights side, perfect for keeping your laptop safe if you want to leave it at work or at school.
Left Side: The left side of the laptop contains the CD/DVD, which is in perfect position. Since I am a righty, when I use an external mouse it sits on the right side of the notebook. If the CD/DVD tray was on the right side, it would be annoying to have to move my mouse and mouse pad every time I swapped out a CD/DVD. If the tray was on the front, I would need to move my external keyboard. I am disappointed Alienware moved the tray to the front of the laptop on the 9750. Also on the left side is another high speed USB port, AC power connection, volume control and audio ports.
Rear: The backside of the 5750 contains an S-video out, DVI out, exhaust fans and for those still using dial up, a modem jack.
Size and Weight
With a 17 inch display, there is no doubt carrying the 5750 around will be a tad annoying. Even if you happen to purchase the ginormous Alienware backpack that comfortably seats the laptop in a protective pouch, walking to class with it on your back does put some strain on you. The 5750 is by no means a chore to carry and is no where near the weight of 14 lbs of my first Area-51m 5620P, but at a minimum weight of 8.8 lbs, the 5750 is not ideal for traveling a lot. Again you are making a compromise in the Area-51m line. You are not purchasing the smallest laptop with a 15 inch display, and you are not purchasing the largest at 19 inches. That said, taking the 5750 around is not a problem for LANs and occasional trips, but it could turn into one if you happen to travel with it everyday. Finding a backpack or carrying bag to fit the 5750 may be difficult for it did not fit in my original Alienware backpack which is why I decided to purchase the Alienware Odyssey backpack.
16.0" (w) x 11.5" (d) x 1.8" (h)
Min Weight 8.8lbs
Avg weight 10.8 lbs
Heat and Noise
This is the area I was most concerned with. Did Alienware fix the heat problems that were present in some of their first generation gaming laptops? Or was I in for another unfortunate CPU overheating problem? This question would be answered after a long LAN party.
Needless to say, it ran like a friggin breeze. Zero problems, ran all games smooth as silk and did not even get hot. Man am I happy with this thing.
I tested the 5750 on two sets of brightness settings and spent the time surfing the web with Firefox 2 with 1-5 tabs open as well as writing in Microsoft Word.
8/8 – 2 hours 3 minutes
1/8 – 2 hours 20 minutes
Here is a list of tested synthetic and gaming benchmarks. All results are with stock hardware settings.
3DMark2001 Second Edition (Build 330)
Alienware once again gets my praise. My 5750 was not strained, nor was it even getting hot after playing 12 hours straight! I really couldn’t believe how NOT hot this laptop got. I was expecting the keyboard and touchpad area to be burning my fingers but it felt the same as if I had only been using it for an hour or so. I have Intel’s Core Duo processor to thank for this. Some of the games played over the hours included:
1. CounterStrike: Source
2. Battlefield 2142
3. Battlefield 2
4. Doom 3
5. Quake 3
6. Quake 4
8. World of Warcraft (don’t laugh, I was just playing it to chill out)
I brought my machine to Dallas Texas where I participated in one of the most anticipated LANs of the year. It ran like perfectly with a year of use under its belt. Played Counterstike: source, F.E.A.R. Combat and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars great.
All the Alienware laptops I’ve purchased come with a reasonable amount of free software that is very useful. Microsoft® Works, PowerDVD and Nero Burning Rom were all included with the system.
The 5750 ships with a decent sized power block. This makes carrying around the 5750 in a backpack or briefcase very reasonable. The 5750 also shipped with a white binder filled with drivers and software that was shipped with your system.
I do not consider this a “problem” because all laptops suffer from this issue. While playing games at Quakecon 2007, my laptop restarted on me a few times. This was due to the fact that dust had clogged the output fan area so the laptop was not getting the cooling requirements needed to function properly. So what fixed it? Propping up the back end where the output fan was with a piece of cardboard did the trick. That was a temporarily fix until I was able to get a can of compressed air and clean the fan ducts out. This is a normal result of actively using a laptop. Dust happens.
One of the best features of the 5750, is not really a feature at all. The 5750 comes shipped with the Intel 945PM motherboard with a Core Duo processor. I purchased this laptop a month before the Core 2 Duo chip was released. To my surprise, the Core 2 Duo chip is compatible with the 945PM motherboard. That means, when I decide that my laptop is not capable of running the most current games, I can upgrade my CPU and GPU to accommodate my needs. The flexibility of this is very rewarding and I am excited to upgrade to the latest CPU when my 3 year warranty runs out. You can see the Intel boards here.
- Performance – Plays every games like butter
- Battery Life – Intels Core Duo Process gives great power for games and impressive battery life
- Heat – barely any heat for a gaming laptop!
- Keyboard – comfortable
- Wireless – easily configurable; adaptable
- Noise – runs quiet!
- Touchpad Buttons – loud clicking, fixed in 9750 model
- On/Off Switch – hard to press, gets annoying
After a year with the m5750 I could not be more satisfied. I was a bit disappointed that the Core 2 Duo chip in the 5750 was released 2 weeks after my purchase, but that just leaves the window open for me to upgrade later when games become difficult to run on it. Laptops are becoming more upgradeable over the years and the 5750 is a pure example of it. I am also a bit disappointed with the 3dMrk06 benchmark score, but that I was expecting with Core Duo chip and a mobile X1800. It still runs games beautifully, smoothly and enjoyable on max settings and at 1900x1200 resolution. The Alienware Area-51 m5750 Gaming Laptop has won me back over, after having convinced myself gaming laptops are not worth it in the long run.
You can see the comparison between the 5750 and the Sentia 223.
If you have any questions about anything written here you can e-mail me: Dukefrukem[at]notebookforums.com