I have confirmation as of today, Monday the 8th of December, that the 9700 Mobile Video Module with 256 megs of RAM will be available as early as next week and definately within months end.
I called customer service to inquire on the price of future upgrade modules and was pleasantly surprised when Freddy, the Rep, told me that I would be able to purchase the 9700 Module very soon. Possibly next week to be precise.
I also inquired about them swapping out with the 9600's they have been supplying lately due to driver/lcd issues. Freddy feels that Alienware will probably do something along those lines as they have had a slew of tech support calls pertaining to the ATi cards, but could not verbally commit to anything as they, as a company, have not addressed this as a possibility for those unhappy with the 9600's.
I want to specify once more **The cards COULD be available as early as next week**
but do not hold me or Alienware to this date. His advice was to check the new mobile system configs on their website because as soon as they have the 9700's in stock, they will be offering them instead of the 9600's on the website.
As with any person to person contact such as calling Alienware Customer Service...be patient and understanding that these people do not know the answers to all of our questions about times/dates/pricing just yet. Just be patient and check their website daily for the definate answers.
I'll let bananaman tell you how I feel about this -