Hi, I am new here but am a diehard Alienware user since 2006 and have had virtually every model of laptops they have made from even before DELL acquisition. Which is needless to say I have both the m11x R1 and m14x latest model. I also have the m15x and m17x with all similar specifications. I do not do any gaming, however, as a self employed IT Consultant, I rely on my computers to perform at the best speed possible for me to provide the most support I can for my clientele. I support via remote using my fast verizon fios service but mostly on-site at their locations so mobility is imperative.
Although battery life has never been the deciding factor with Alienware (from the beginning these laptops are too powerful for longest duration battery, until recently). So of course I bring along the ac adapter at all times. Weight again has never been a major reason to choose or not these notebooks, I drive to all my clients except of course when I go overseas when you are tugging them through air, train, and bus travel. As we get older however, the weight may begin to play a role. One of the best mobile models I've used and saved is the Sentia m3450i, a 14" which was excellent for the Intel Core 2 Duo when released and fantastic with lightweight and display performance with a regular size laptop keyboard.
So Alienware releases 2 mobile units in the m11x and m14x these recent years, I have the R1 m11x (1st edition Intel Core 2 Duo 1.3Ghz with 8Gb RAM and 500Gb 7200RPM HDD Windows 7 Ultimate 64) and my newly bought m14x (Intel i7 Quad Core 2.9Ghz 8Gb RAM 750Gb 7200RPM HDD Windows 7 Ultimate 64). I feel either will be an excellent choice to use as a mobile computer. Since I do not do any gaming I cannot speak for how they will do for these wicked video games, but am convinced either will run perfectly as I am very satisfied by their capabilities for my Network Administration, Application and Software testing, and Remote support. Either way here is my breakdown.
You have to consider the following as the Pro's and Con's for what you will decide:
- lightweight, compact design perfect to carry all the time and not feel it at all (which means smaller display,tighter keyboard, and short touchpad area)
- excellent battery life, go dark (without AlienFX lighting) and you could get 5+ hrs out of it
- lesser of the 2 for cpu and gpu options, but with the proper balance of processor choice, RAM amount, and 7200RPM drive or SSD will make up for it
- does not get hot at all for me
- mine is very quiet so no issues there
- moderate audio with the tiny speakers
- no dvd rw which means you need an external usb self powered one, which makes for another item to carry if always required
- heavier than your usual 14" model and thicker (but now you have a large display and wider keyboard as well as touchpad)
- great battery life, much longer time 3.5+ hrs if you go dark (turning off the AlienFX), but now the ac adapter is larger
- choices of cpu, gpu, max RAM options, and HDD makes this the monster performer between the 2
- very surprised that it does not get that hot and I have this running for 4+ hrs at a time
- you can hear the fans kick in, but again, I do not find it noisy at all, it is a marked improvement over older ones that were noisier
- built in higher quality speakers sound great
- built in dvd rw drive
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If there is a place like MicroCenter near you that you can see them in person, you can make a sound judgement there. I wanted one of every model, since I do not use desktops I have my m15x and m17x on my home office desk as fixed computers and swap between the m11x and m14x as mobile ones, I always have to have a backup for me to feel I am a better IT support guy.
I also feel that the right carry case will make a difference especially if you go for the larger laptop. Not knowing if you are a backpacker, sleeve, or briefcase users, I use Alienware's Odyssey Messenger bag which evenly distributes the weight properly while giving you a great feel, look, and plenty of organizing and storage (I carry a lot of discs and gadgets to support my needs). The new version is the Orion style and they now released a limited edition Tactical design that sports the new Battlefield game! These Mobile Edge bags rock all the way, traveling to Europe a lot and very easy to bring the bigger laptops while feeling comfortable and not it getting in your way.
Hope this helped, Good Luck!