Alienware 13: Redefining Mobile Gaming

By Rob Enderle October 28, 2014

This week, Alienware released their new 13” product into the market.  This carbon fiber wonder showcases what I think is an emerging trend to return back to the roots of performance gaming for desktop and laptop computers.   I carried an earlier version of this product for nearly two years and  it remains one of my favorite.

Let’s look at Alienware this week and a turn to PC gaming.

Performance

A lot has changed over the last decade thanks to a move to mobile technologies.  Both Intel and NVIDIA have been solidly focused on finding ways to get ever more performance out of ever smaller form factors.  Case in point is this Alienware 13.   While it isn’t the thinnest laptop you’ll see at 1” it can hold an impressive graphics solution allowing it to hit near desktop gaming performance in what is a mobile platform while still being 40 percent thinner than then the previous generation 14” laptop.

What makes this product a bit different is that it also gets a graphics amplifier, which is a desktop accessory that can contain up to a 375W desktop graphics card pushing performance to unheard of levels for a laptop computer.   In effect you get the best of both worlds, decent graphics while on the road and desktop level graphics when you are at your desk at home or work.  

This powerful little laptop gets a rather impressive quad HD 2560x1440 display with touch.  This is a 4K display in a laptop computer, and while I expect other machines will eventually use similar display the Alienware 13 appears to be the first shipping with this amazing resolution.  

Appearance

Part of the fun of having a gaming laptop is how cool and different they look.  Often used on the hit TV Show “Big Bang Theory,” Alienware laptops have always been distinctive.  Covered in carbon fiber composite this a very pretty box. It also has AlienFX , which allows you to dynamically change the colors of the LEDs that light the keyboard and the feature lights to create a very distinctive and customized box.  

This lighting capability goes beyond the case and to ROCCAT’s peripherals, which can also be changed dynamically along with the system.  

A Trend to Amazing Products

This Alienware 13 laptop launched with the Area 51 desktop update, which had all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a gaming desktop.  Both products showcase a returned focus to providing amazing products for this segment.  Products that stand out on performance and design and are often the most interesting and well differentiated products in the segment.  More than just a “me-too” offerings these products, as a class, always stand out as pushing the limits of performance and design and an increasing interest in the PC firms to build uniquely powerful and visibly distinctive machines.

I think these efforts showcase a return to being interested in these unique and uniquely powerful laptops and desktop computers.  

Wrapping Up

These are amazing and powerful systems from Alienware.  One is a laptop that can approach desktop performance and the other is a uniquely powerful desktop.  Both leading in design as well as performance are targeting gamers but they could also be used for graphics and scientific work given their performance.  

As many have noted, PC sales have been increasing again and it is products like these that stand out visibly. From a performance standpoint, this can provide the counter point to the belief that the PC is dead.  At Alienware and other firms the PC isn’t just not dead it is flourishing thanks largely to attractive designs, performance, and better games.   Once again, this week we are reminded that pronouncements of the PC’s demise were both premature and in error and that with moves like Alienware’ s the future of the PC is both interesting and strong.  




Edited by Maurice Nagle

President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

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