Hot on the heels of refreshing its X51 gaming desktop, Dell is sharing the news gamers have really been waiting for. The company just unveiled some fresh Alienware laptops, complete with a new look and even a new naming scheme: Alienware 14, 17 and 18. As you'd expect, they step up to Haswell processors, the latest NVIDIA graphics and 802.11ac on some models, but the real story is that they've received a serious makeover, the first in six years. For starters, Dell ditched the ol' plastic body and moved to a metal chassis with an aluminum lid and magnesium alloy chassis. As befits an Alienware, there are LEDs aplenty, including lights around the edges and a touchpad that fully lights up. And though the alien logo on the lid always glowed, that color is now customizable like other zones on the laptop. Speaking of the keyboard, you get 10 color zones on the 17 / 18 and five on the 14, and it promises improved travel, too, thanks to some retooled key caps. Dell also added Klipsch speakers, backed by Dolby Audio Theater. On a more practical note, the vents have moved to the back edge, as far as possible from gamers' hands. All told, it's a nicer design, but if you were expecting these guys to be thinner or lighter, you're going to be disappointed: the dimensions haven't really budged.
Moving on to performance, Dell added some macro keys on the larger models, with the 18 supporting up to nine, and the 17 allowing for four. All come standard with a quad-core Core i7 processor, though they won't each be configurable with the same range of CPUs. 750GB of HDD storage is the minimum, and SSDs will be available too. On the 14, in particular, you can add up to three HDDs, while the two larger notebooks have room for four. Graphics-wise, NVIDIA's GTX 765M (2GB) is standard on the 17 and 18, while the 14 starts with a 1GB 750M. And on the 18 you get two GPUs by default, in an SLI setup. The Alienware 17 and 18 come with 802.11ac WiFi, while the 14 packs a Killer Wireless-N 1202 radio. As for displays, they're all IPS screens (non-touch), and while 1080p is offered on all, it's only standard on the 18 (the 14, in particular, starts with 1,366 x 768, blech). They're all available now, with starting prices pegged at $1,199 for the 14, $1,499 for the 17 and $2,099 for the 18. A Core i5 version of the 14 is also on the way, and will start around $1,099. Hopefully we'll review one of these soon, but until then have a look at some hands-on photos, a detailed spec table and a trio of promo videos, all embedded after the break.
http://www.engadget....17-18-hands-on/ (Pictures inside the link)