Sibling Rivalry: Dell XPS M1730 vs. Alienware Area-51 m9750

Dell markets itself as a quality leader that occasionally applies its expertise to gaming systems. Alienware is a gaming system builder first that uses its technical expertise to enhance quality. While the two brands market products differently, approaching the same target from different directions is sure to lead to an occasional collision.

The concept seems simple enough: Apply advanced technologies such as Intel’s Core 2 mobile architecture, SLI mode for two graphics processors and Level 0 mode for two fast hard drives using an integrated RAID controller to a lightweight case with large 17" display. Add a large battery and some oversized cooling, and hope that the combination can still fit within a mid-sized, middle-weight, semi-portable package. Such systems don’t have to compete with ultra-mobile lightweights as these are instead designed to be a more practical alternative to a portable desktop.

Using many of the same design concepts, today’s high-powered Dell XPS M1730 gaming notebook takes centre stage against its Alienware division’s recent Area 51 m9750.

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Manufacturer Dell Alienware
Model XPS M1730 Area 51 m9750
Dimensions & Weight
Width x Height x Depth 16 x 2 x 12"
39.37 x 5.08 x 27.94cm
15.5 x 2 x 11.5"
39.37 x 5.08 x 29.21cm
Unit & Battery 11lb / 4990g 9lb 8oz / 4309g
Charger and Power Cord 3lb 8oz / 1588g 2lb 4oz / 1021g
Total 14lb 8oz / 6578g 11lb 12oz / 5330g
AC Adapter & Battery
Battery I Capacity Li-Ion 11.1 V, 85Wh Li-Ion 14.8 V, 6450mAh
Battery II Capacity none none
AC adapter 230 W 180.5 W
Pointing Device(s) Touchpad Touchpad
Display and Graphics Controller
Display Size 17" 17"
Display Resolution 1920 x 1200 1920 x 1200
Graphics controller Nvidia GeForce Go 8700M GT SLI Nvidia GeForce Go 7950 GTX SLI
BIOS Dell A01 (08/07/07) AMI W8350F02 (05/03/07)
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme X7900
2.80 GHz, 4MB L2-Cache, FSB800
Intel Core 2 Duo T7600
2.33 GHz, 4MB L2-Cache, FSB667
Memory 2x 1GB 667MHz DDR2 2x 1GB 667MHz DDR2
Hard Drive
Manufacturer & Model Hitachi HTS72202 x2 2x Seagate ST9160823AS
Size 200GB 160GB
Performance (SATA / 7200 / 8MB / 10ms / RAID0) (SATA / 7200.2 / 8MB / 11ms / RAID0)
Other Drives
Manufacturer & Model LG HL-DT-ST DVD-RW Optiarc DVD RW AD-5540A
Type DVD +/- RW DVD +/- RW
Floppy Drive none none
Media Bay none none
B=Back, F=Front, L=Left, R=Right
PS2 Mouse/Keyboard none / none none / none
USB 2.0 1xBack, 1xLeft 2xRight 2x Left, 1xBack, 1xRight
IEEE1394/Firewire 1x (L) 1x (L)
Serial COM Port none none
Parallel LPT Port none none
Microphone Yes Yes
IR port Yes none
Bluetooth Yes Yes
VGA / DVI out none / 1x (L) 1x (B) / 1x (B)
TV out 1xS-Video (L) 1xS-Video (B)
TV in none 1xS-Video Back
AC Power Yes Yes
PC-Card Slots 1x (R) 1x (L)
Express-Card Slots 1x (R) 1x (L)
LAN 1x (B) 1xL (L)
WLAN Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN Intel Pro/Wireless 4965AGN
Wireless WAN Dell Wireless 5720 VZW Mobile Broadband none
Audio Connectors 1xMic, Headphone, SPDIF (L) 1xMic, Headphone, Centre, Surround, Front SPDIF (R)
Audio Chip SigmaTel STAC9228 @ Intel 82801HBM ICH8M Realtek ALC885 @ Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M
Modem none Agere Systems HDA Modem
Card-Reader/Writer Multi Card Reader (L) 1xMulti Card Reader (L)
Fingerprint Security Sensor none none
Manufacturer’s Docking Socket none none
OS Windows Vista Home Premium Windows XP Pro
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  • americanbrian
    Dell XPS's are nice, but to be fair the application performance is irrelevant. The huge cost of these are only justified by the gaming performance.

    In this the Low Res gaming, doesn't matter a toss either. Alienware probably have better build quality. Do you notice as well that only the dell got the look inside and out. Biased article. If you have a choice never buy dell.
  • Sewje
    I don't understand why you would bench compare the two machines with two different operating systems. This make the whole comparision between them very inaccurate.
    At least use the same os configuration if you want to compare benchmarks between the two.

    A very unprofessional article.