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Alienware M17x-R2 or M17x-R3? Your pick!


Brian

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Hi guys,

I'm very new to this forum.

Kinda interested in this subforum because I have been confused for quite a while already regarding the R2 vs R3.

AFAIK the dual HD5870M is a bit faster than single HD6970M, but due to some crossfire problem regarding drivers, the HD6970M might have more advantage.

I would like to know is it true that dual HD5870M has really bad driver/game support for crossfire?

I'm curious because I have found a very sweet deal for the R2 but still thinking whether to pull the trigger or not.:62:

With some games and/or applications you will run into issues with the Crossfire setup. One of the biggest complaints is microstuttering but I think a large part of that can be alleviated by having a fast SSD (people sometimes confuse HDD lag with microstutter). Overall though, in DX 10 games the 5870M Crossfire is about 10-20% faster while in DX 11 that margin is narrowed down a bit. The R2 is a heavier system with a much better display (if you get the RGB LED one). However, the R3 has a better battery life thanks to IGP support and there are less driver issues with a single powerful card. It's a tough decision between both and it really boils down to what kind of deal you are getting. Welcome to T|I.

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For power you go with the R2 (plus very good for overclocking and benchmarking), for portability you go with the R3, I personally didn't experience any cfx issues on my R2 (I only have 10 games installed though). For me go with the R2 since you got a good deal out of it.

Thanks for your reply.

Actually I have asked this question at NBR but after a long reading from the internet regarding the cfx issues I am a bit afraid.

But now that you mentioned that it is fine I think I have more confidence in R2 now.:)

And yeah weight and battery life are not that important for me since I am going to use AC adapter most of the time.

But what about the processor, is it true that having SB processor is going to increase the gaming performance tremendously?

BTW my purpose on getting either R2 or R3 is mainly for gaming.

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But what about the processor, is it true that having SB processor is going to increase the gaming performance tremendously?

BTW my purpose on getting either R2 or R3 is mainly for gaming.

Unless you plan to buy the R3 and throw a 2920XM in there, an R2 with a 920MX/940XM and the help of ThrottleStop will give you an amazing CPU performance. I still haven't seen a SB CPU win an OCed 920/940XM (hopefully this will change with the M18x and 2920XM). I have to warn you though that unlike SB, 920/940XM run hot so you will need to repaste and possible perform a retention mod if you want to have clocks like 3.5GHz on all 4 cores.

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With some games and/or applications you will run into issues with the Crossfire setup. One of the biggest complaints is microstuttering but I think a large part of that can be alleviated by having a fast SSD (people sometimes confuse HDD lag with microstutter). Overall though, in DX 10 games the 5870M Crossfire is about 10-20% faster while in DX 11 that margin is narrowed down a bit. The R2 is a heavier system with a much better display (if you get the RGB LED one). However, the R3 has a better battery life thanks to IGP support and there are less driver issues with a single powerful card. It's a tough decision between both and it really boils down to what kind of deal you are getting. Welcome to T|I.

Thanks for your warm welcome.:)

Yes the R2 that I am interested is equipped with 1920x1200 RGBLED, which is one the main reasons why I am a bit into R2 currently.

What do you think about this R2 deal that I found and the one from Malaysia official website.Oh yeah forgot to mention I am from Malaysia, but currently studying in the UK.

In Malaysia, I have found a great deal on a new M17x R2 (it is a clearance stock)

with a spec as below:

i7 740QM

6GB RAM

1920x1200 RGBLED

Crossfire 5870M.

2x500Gb HDD 7200rpm Raid 0 (Total 1Tb)

Price :RM6800 (about USD2283.41)

While if I go for M17x R3, the comparable specs that I can find is

as below:

i7 2720QM (in Malaysia this is the slowest processor for R3)

6gb RAM (lowest amount of RAM available in Dell Malaysia)

1920x1080 WLED 60Hz(lowest resolution available in Dell Malaysia, plus I dont want anything lower than full HD since I have my SXPS 16)

HD6970M

750gb HDD 7200rpm (the smallest hard disk that can be configured in dell Malaysia)

Price : RM8684 (about USD2916.05)

Your comment is highly appreciated.:D

Unless you plan to buy the R3 and throw a 2920XM in there, an R2 with a 920MX/940XM and the help of ThrottleStop will give you an amazing CPU performance. I still haven't seen a SB CPU win an OCed 920/940XM (hopefully this will change with the M18x and 2920XM). I have to warn you though that unlike SB, 920/940XM run hot so you will need to repaste and possible perform a retention mod if you want to have clocks like 3.5GHz on all 4 cores.

The one that I'm looking right now only comes with i7 740QM, is it going to be strong bottleneck in games due to low stock clocks of this processor?

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For a $600+ difference, I'd go for the M17x-R2 over the R3.

Thanks for your comment on that deal.:)

But what about the processor?Will i7 740QM be a major bottleneck in gaming due to its low stock clocks?

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740QM will be fast enough for most games. However, some RTS games and newer ones like bad company 2 are CPU intensive and could benefit from a faster 920xm/940xm processor.

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Thanks. Good to hear that.

But it is still going to be playable right eventhough not as goos as 920xm/940xm?

Sorry for asking too many questions, I am a student and $600+ really means a lot to me,

I hope I will not regret on my purchase later.:)

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With some games and/or applications you will run into issues with the Crossfire setup. One of the biggest complaints is microstuttering but I think a large part of that can be alleviated by having a fast SSD (people sometimes confuse HDD lag with microstutter). Overall though, in DX 10 games the 5870M Crossfire is about 10-20% faster while in DX 11 that margin is narrowed down a bit. The R2 is a heavier system with a much better display (if you get the RGB LED one). However, the R3 has a better battery life thanks to IGP support and there are less driver issues with a single powerful card. It's a tough decision between both and it really boils down to what kind of deal you are getting. Welcome to T|I.
Yes it will play all your games just fine. ;)

Thanks Brian, you are really helpful.:D

Now I am totally confident that R2 is a good choice.:)

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I miss mine too since I've been Aliewareless lol... But I know you made the right decision Michael, plus Sandybridge and 6970M is nice, can't beat that 32nm production.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest 5ABIVT

Just came across this thread after googling.. Sweet site and omg no deleting posts ftw!!!

I bought an r2 in November and returned it right before the r3 release. I got a new r3, used it and since it had the faulty chipset I used it until I could order another which I did with the 6970 instead of 120hz. I ended up selling that r3 a well and actually bought an r2 again last night!! Here's my story..

Got r2. Really nice screen. LOVE 1920x1200 period. I didn't know anything about rgb even though I ordered it. The screen just looked REAL good which I later learned about rgb etc. Trackpad sucked. Touchpad sucked too. I don't like touching buttons and not knowing they're pressed or accidentally pressing the wrong ones. Other than that the Machine from a design standpoint was just sick. Awesome design, aluminum shell cold to the touch screamed quality like my Mbp I sold to try alienwares. I like how the gpus are spread an the sides angle off from the centre (underneath). I sold this with HIGH expectations from the r3..

I ordered a 2820,256ssd,gtx460/3d/120hz. The soft touch was cool for a few seconds until i noticed how grey it was and not black. After a few days the surface started peeling at the point because I did put it on my thigh to put the sleeve on :/ ever since that I have not like the soft touch. Paranoid about scratching and peeling everywhere. Touch pad was great even though I always use a mouse plugged in. Way beter than r2. Media buttons are really good. I know what I'm pressing although the panel is cheap thin aluminum which will bend when pressing after a few times and cause the edges to lift. Touch of glue solved that. Media keys don't look as good as on r2 though.

I liked the screen colors buy HATED the 16:9. My web pages seem cut off and all my games were stretched. Even wc3 didn't have a profile for 16:9 (eventually did patch it) and looked so bad. Someone showed ms how to manually enter it which I did.. Helped but still not the same. I STOPPED playing wc3 until I got home to use my 1200p monitor on my desktop because that's the way I was used to.

Received my 2nd r3 in the mail after chipset recall. 2720,320hdd,6970,1080p. Put the 2 machines side by side and really noticed the 120hz was brighter. REALLY bothered me so much that I had no intention of keeping it until I could get another 120hz. I ended up mailing back the first r3 an getting refunded. The second I kept for a month and used it every day knowing I Had an inferior panel to the 120hz and rgb.

I came to the conclusion that I don't need a 6970 to play the games I play (wow/wc3 TFT, cd source) and I could use the money and get something less powerful. Isold it last weekend with no regrets at all and for the last week couldn't help but look for an r2 or perhaps an m14x or r3 120hz. I got linked a NIB m1730 replacement on eBay which was a new never turned on and plastic wrapped r2 with Rgb, dual 4870s,i540, bluray and intel6300 for a great price.

I haven't received it yet but man I feel good about it. I'm so excited about 16:10. I'm ecstatic to see wc3 on a proper 1200p screen again. I Miss the cold aluminum. The keyboard that just seems (maybe in my mind) to light up the keys better than the r3s . I can now grab cheap sata2 ssd drives without having to worry about cost and keeping up with tech ie. Sata3 on the r3. Best part yet is it cost me so much less I'm looking for a 920xm to swap in it.

Sorry for the long essay but not being able to find a laptop that just 'did it' for me over the last 6 months has been eating me. Until there is an m18x with 16:10 or rgb I can say Im more than happy with an r2. The last machine was a 17 unibody Mbp that I kept for 3 years almost. It hit all the right spots with the obvious gaming compromises (and Jesus god apples horrendous mouse acceleration) but did everything else so well.

R2 > R3 in my book.

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Hi 5ABIVT,

Nice long intro post and I agree with your assessment. The R2 is AW's best built system to date when taking the whole package into account. The M18x is nice but once you open it up, you realize it falls short of the M17x-R2. The same is glaringly true about the M17x-R3. Unfortunately, times are changing and people demand more performance and less weight thus build quality compromises have to be made. They also want lower prices so quality compromises in components chosen are made. It's a sad trend.

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5ABIVT welcome to Tech | Inferno. I also enjoyed your intro. I have not used an R3 but owned an R2 and the RGB was unmatched by any laptop display I had ever seen. I fear the pattern Brian speaks of is very true... As Dell has owned Alienware for awhile now it has had a chance to have creative power and that has shown to be bad for quality.

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