Ultraportable Gaming Revisited

The original M11x was able to run all of our test games at anywhere from medium/mainstream (Crysis: Warhead and Dirt 2) to High and in some cases Very High details at the native 1366x768 resolution while maintaining at least 30FPS. What does the update bring in terms of gaming? Well, not a whole lot actually. A few games are faster, and some are slower as well (likely because of driver changes, though perhaps Optimus is a bottleneck at higher frame rates). In general, though, the overclocked SU7300 in the original M11x was very close to maxing out the GT 335M GPU, particularly at Medium/High detail settings. Let's start with our minimum settings performance comparison, though, and then we'll get into performance at higher quality settings on the next page.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Crysis: Warhead

DiRT 2

Empire: Total War

Far Cry 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

Most of the games show performance improvements, though a few increases may come more from the drivers than the CPU upgrade. Likewise, we suspect the newer drivers may also be the reason some games drop slightly at low detail settings. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 shows the largest increase, going up a substantial 76%. DiRT 2 improves 20%, Batman by 8%, Far Cry 2 goes up 9%... and the rest of the gaming results actually decreased. The original M11x was 7% faster in Crysis: Warhead, 21% faster in Empire: Total War, 6% faster in Mass Effect 2, and 25% faster in STALKER: Call of Pripyat.

The other oddity is that while the i7-640UM should be quite a bit faster than the overclocked SU7300, there are five out of nine titles where the ASUS N61Jv beats the M11x R2—in other words, a faster CPU with a slower GPU comes out on top. Alienware specs state that the memory in the M11x runs at DDR3-800, which may be where some of the performance deficit is coming from, or again a difference in drivers may be coming into play.

It would be great if we could pinpoint whether the drops (and increases) are coming from the new 258.47 driver or something else, but since we don't have the original M11x or the N61Jv anymore we are left guessing. Part of the problem with the above charts is that all of these results are at minimum detail settings, which is obviously not the intended use of the M11x. Let's look at the M11x R2 with higher quality settings, and then we'll return to the question of whether the original is really faster at many games.

Alienware M11x R2: Optimus and Arrandale Join the Party Gaming at Various Detail Settings
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  • dumpsterj - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    ive got one on order and i cant wait for it. im glad the battlefield benchmarks saw such an improvement , as thats one reason i decided to replace my old asus f3sv w/ its 8600gs. It cant play bf 2 for crap. thanks for the awesome review. i know what to expect but im still happy im getting it. when i get it ill update in the comments. Reply
  • Mark McGann - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    Does anyone know if the SSD option for this laptop supports TRIM?

    I've never been able to find any definitive information on this, which leads me to believe it doesn't.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    Pretty sure the 256GB SSD is a Samsung model, and if it's one of the newer ones it supports TRIM. But honestly, I would NOT pay the outrageous $600 upgrade price to get it pre-installed. You can buy a 256GB for $525 online if you really want to:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Better still, if you really want an SSD and are willing to pay for it, get an SSD that's worth having, like the RealSSD C300 from Crucial or a SandForce SSD. $600 for the Samsung drive from Dell, or $600 for a 240GB SandForce 1200 SSD, or even $640 for the 256GB C300. I think the choice is clear:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    Of all the review, what piqued my interest the most is the mention of a new U30Jc with a better GPU... Where did you hear that rumor? Any details on it? Honestly the M11x R2 is a nice laptop but I just don't really like the aesthetics and the screen size. A U30Jc with a GT335M or above would be the ideal laptop. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    Not a rumor... it's what we *want* to see. Will ASUS make that? I hope so, but right now it looks like the U series is still getting saddled with G310M. :-\ Reply
  • MaxGeek - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    I'm a M11x R2 owner and one thing I ran into is that the NVidia GPU throttling is sometimes broken. The GPU is suppose to be 450MHZ, but often it will only throttle up to 405MHZ from 135MHZ even when plugged in and gaming. This can cost you a fair amount of performance. This is an app out there called PowerMizer Manager that can fix this.

    Also as far as overclocking I've found it to be pretty significant. Once the system gets decently hot from gaming Intel Turbo boost won't kick in, so overclocking ensures you get consistent performance. Combined with GPU overclock, overclocking the CPU adds additional performance over a GPU overclock at stock CPU speeds. I found that Resident Evil 5 is also CPU limited and GPU overclocking didn't improve performance until the CPU was also overclocked.
    Reply
  • MaxGeek - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    Sorry for the Engrish, I can't edit my post... Reply
  • Roland00 - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    I am glad for smaller gaming computers, but I rather have one of these. Add 3/4 lb of weight and 1 inch bigger; and in return you get faster, cheaper, and with an optical drive. All for 3/4 of a lb

    ASUS K42JV-X1
    I5-450m 2.4 GHZ, Nvidia GT335m, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, DVD Burner, 1366x768, 4400mAH, 14 Inch, 4.8 lbs, $949
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    AS4820TG-3195 (Acer Timeline X)
    I5-450m 2.4 GHZ, ATI HD5650, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, DVD Burner, 1366x768, 6000mAH, 14 Inch, 4.9 lbs, $899
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results....
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    We should be getting the N82Jv in the near future (as soon as it shows up in the US). It's basically the same as the K42Jv you just listed, except with an 84Wh battery. That's the only downfall with the current K42: 48Wh battery means 3-4 hours battery life. Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Interesting... Are you all also getting any of the hp Envy's (including the "new" 5830 Envy 15)? Reply

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