Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Current PC Gaming Machine

It's an extended loaner unit, but what I'm gaming on right now is an Alienware laptop, the M18x.

"Laptop" is kind of a misleading description. This is quite easily a desktop replacement that just so happens to be portable. In form factor and function, there's no mistaking it for anything other a piece of hardware in the laptop family. The dead give away is the screen that folds down but I'm not sure how much gaming would actually be done with the M18x sitting on a persons lap.

For starters, it's heavy! (Close to 12 lbs!) While some laptops have gone the route of thinner and smaller, the M18x is akin to a V8 Hummer. So, it's heavy and big. And that's okay by me -- it means the screen is also a generous size. In short: It's perfect for a desk.

But I'll have a more in-depth review of the hardware closer to the end of March, for now I need to mention at least one number that I can remember off the top of my head:

Half-Life 2 (and its episodes) maxed out everything = 300 frames per second (fps) according to FRAPS

Saints Row: The Third looks best on PC. No lie.
And while I can't remember the exact numbers for the likes of Left 4 Dead 2, Crysis, Red Alert 3, StarCraft II, Batman: Arkham City, Portal 2, Homefront, and Team Fortress 2, the fact I can turn all the settings to "10" and not see any performance hits makes me appreciate the kind of horsepower built into the machine. (And by any, I mean any.) The only game so far that seems to have chugged, even just a bit, was Saints Row: The Third with the settings maxed to 8x anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. And even then it was an acceptable chug (to me) of ~25 fps. For ~$2,000 I'd expect that but actually seeing it in motion... yeah, PC Master Race Tendencies are difficult to squelch. The games look appreciably better than on console. And finally seeing Crysis running at max settings? It's hard to believe the game came out in 2008. It looks so good!

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