The Ultimate Laptop

Category: Laptops

How much would you pay for the ultimate laptop? If you're a hard-core gamer, a mobile professional who needs to crunch serious data, or someone who always dreams about having the absolute best technology - no matter the price -- then read on to find out just how much that dream machine is going to cost...

Would You Pay $5000 (or more) For a Laptop?

The Alienware M18x laptop is a heavyweight gaming machine, in more ways than one. Not only does it tip the scales at a whopping 13 pounds (not counting the 3 pound power brick), it also weighs pretty heavily on the wallet. The M18x starts at $1,999 (USD) but, with options, can easily exceed $5,000.

That eye-popping price includes a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU overclocked to 4.0 GHz, dual Nvidia GTX 580M graphics adapters (each with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory), and 16GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM. The M18x comes standard with a huge 18.4 inch display whose resolution is 1,920 by 1,080. A 3-megapixel webcam is embedded in the screen's upper bezel and an illuminated Alienware logo is centered on the bottom bezel.
Most Expensive Laptop

In fact, there's another glowing Alienware logo on the back of the display, plus two backlit grilles on the front face of the chassis. The keyboard is backlit too. Software lets you adjust the colors and intensity of your personal light show. Big CPU, big RAM, big screen... that's a hot rod by any standard, whether you're talking laptop or desktop. Isn't it amazing what $5,000 can do?

The M18x has a slot loading Blu-ray drive and twin, 7200 rpm 500 GB hard drives in RAID0 configuration, which increases performance by enabling parallel read/write operations. (You'd need a RAID1 configuration to keep shooting the bad guys in Modern Warfare if one drive fails.) For wireless networking, both 802.11/b/g/n and Bluetooth adapters are included. Ports include two USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, an HDMI input, an eSATA/USB combo port, an MMC/SD/MS-Pro card slot, and an ExpressCard reader, VGA, HDMI, and mini DisplayPort inputs, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

But Wait, There's More!

Sure, $5,000 is a lot to spend on a laptop computer, and you don't even get a free set of steak knives with purchase. But it's not the top end of the price range. Various options, including a 32GB RAM upgrade, dual 512GB Solid State (SSD) hard drives, software, and a 27-inch external Monitor could bump the price of the Alienware M18x well over $10,000. The M18x might be the most expensive laptop you can buy, but it's not alone at the upper end of the price scale.

The high-end laptop market includes machines like the AVADirect Clevo X7200 (starting at $2,155), the Asus G74SX-A2 ($2,000), the Maingear Titanus Maximus ($2,929), and the Falcon Northwest DRX ($3,433). All of these prices are for the minimal configurations; most buyers configure much more expensive machines.

Is there any good reason to spend thousands of dollars on a laptop? Gamers will spend all they can to gain the smallest edge; that's their thing. And I'm sure there are people with money to burn who are just looking for bragging rights. A few business users might have a profitable use for high-powered laptops. Maybe a homeless video editor or a nomadic nuclear physicist would choose a souped-up laptop over a tower system.

Would you pay $3000, $5000, or even $10,000 for the ultimate laptop? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "The Ultimate Laptop"

(See all 30 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Earl J Moniz
02 Apr 2012

It certainly isn't any Osborne (grin) ... I do recall the 24 pounds of lightweight technology part... then again, the selling price was under $2K ...

If I had the disposable income, I might... I have a desktop Alienware machine and would love to have a portable to carry around to video shoots with me. I just love those guys.
If they drop the price by a significant amount, I might consider it... the weight doesn't bother me; I stick in a rolling hard-sided luggage bag and pull it behind. I'd love to have a flying computer machine for video everywhere I go... most excellent!

(I apologize for not recalling how to hyperlink a website... I don't remember being this forgetful when I was younger... LOL)

Good article. . . Until that time ... Earl J.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

I know, I am the unusual computer user. I do NOT like Laptops!!! I DO realize, that they are perfect for Business', Educators and Students, but, over all I want my Desktop!!! I am retired, so in essence I don't see the need for a Laptop.

Two main reasons, that I truly dislike the Laptop. First, the keyboard. It just doesn't 'feel' right, when I type. Second, the Touch Finger Box area. I simply, HATE that thing!!! I want a Mouse, when I am working my computer, be it a Laptop or Desktop. I know you can add a Mouse to a Laptop, but, isn't that defeating the main purpose, to be self-contained?

However, I agree with what someone else said, the fact that you can have a Laptop with so many 'goodies', even though it weighs a lot, down the line, the price will be lowered and the weight will be lessened. Now, that is a good thing, for Laptop lovers. :O)

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

Would I pay $5000 for a laptop? in a word - No.
I could buy a whole new system, from the ground up, and have everything my pea-pickin' heart would desire and have enough left over for a six packu.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

It's just too big & heavy for me to want to use as a portable computer, but 5 years from now the equivalent of a netbook will be at least that powerful.

@ Tuffsheet

Au contraire, it would be just the thing to watch "Big Bang Theory" DVDs with your girlfriend on. . . don't you think? I've been watching mine with mine on my much less exalted laptop since my DVD player died.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

I would love to. I currently have an HP Pavilion dv6 that I maxed out on options. It's working great but I always wanted a customized Alienware laptop and what you described above makes me drool! At that weight and size it is odd to call it a laptop. A suitcase with fancy lights, I do not agree. I would still use it since I prefer having everything in one place over having to deal with separate components. I've been trying to talk myself into using a desktop again but just haven't quite gotten to that point yet. Last desktop aka Dinosaur I used was back with Windows 95.

Posted by:

Mike Budwey
02 Apr 2012

Are you sure the raid configuration is Raid1? I haven't checked, but I'd be surprised if, in a performance machine, the drives were not set up as Raid0 for performance rather than Raid1 for redundancy.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

Maybe - if it had a bigger display (like the earlier Alienware offerings). Nowdays 18.4" seems a little small, and without that, I guess I'd rather have a desktop. It would be ludicrous to hook it up to an external monitor

Posted by:

Delton Baker
02 Apr 2012

I am typing on the very same laptop pictured in the article. I don't just think I know I paid too much for it. I think it is like the guy who goes out and buys the slick sports car in the throws of a second childhood. I felt I had to buy at least one cool laptop in the life. Afterwards I upgraded my old five year old Toshiba to Win 7 professional 32 bit. The only problem I had was the sound card and Toshiba had the fix on their wed site. To two laptops perform virtually the same for most office type tasks. The new seem to stream web pages much faster and the wireless internet card seems faster as well. I don't have the dexterity to play online games I can tell the difference, I still get killed a lot. I think most of the perform improvement is in the 64 bit architecture. I think I paid about $1700 for mine, I could have gotten an Dell XPS with the same insides as Alienware M18 for about a $1000. The truth is "NO!" you don't need to the M18, but I feel my mid-life hunger has been feed and for whole lot less then a Porsche.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2012

Yes, a laptop like this not for everyone. I have noticed however that a lot of people are going with a "desktop replacement" laptop. Yes I do have one. I7 quad core, 17.5" screen, 16 Gb memory, Nvdia video card (2Gb)... and the list goes on.

The thing is that laptops are replacing the desktop as a main computer. Sales are increasing everyday, now well past the 50% mark. This is still easier than carrying a desk top around.

In this case the screen is a good size and, if you are gaming, this is a good way to go. Look at it this way, you can play and still be semi social at the same time.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

never due I'm not on games at all!

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

Yes! and I did. I ordered one of those behemoths last week. Have been looking at (and currently own) an ASUS but, they don't have the 18.4 screen. Mine will be configured about the same way as described in the article but, with a pair of ATIs and the 512 Solid state plus a 500 GB HDD @ 7200 rpm. There is just so much more you can do with this kind of power. Not just for gaming but, video editing and it is blazing fast. I must stress that these are for desktop replacements and not for travel. As for price well, it's only once in a while that I splurge on something I really want. A friend of mine has one and that was what turned the tables on ASUS. BTW, ASUS is a Very good make of notebooks. We own two, one new (U36J) and the G73JW (going on two years) are just wonderful to work and play with.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

You've convinced me Bob! Seriously. Now it's time for some kind of contest giveaway, with one of those as the prize.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

Once I wanted to buy this model but when I heard fan is noisy I did not buy. No doubt this could be good computer.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

High speed, huge memory, boosted graphics, fast networking - aren't they those goals that we are striving for, when it comes to the computer development. And of course I'm willing to spend lots of money for a good laptop rather than desktop

Posted by:

03 Apr 2012

Well Bob,
Thats a lot of money to spend for a laptop even for a gaming high-end, I would prefer custom ordered specs. for a lot less.

Posted by:

05 Apr 2012

This is one of the reasons I've never been a computer gamer. Trying to keep up with processors, video cards, fans, etc. Are the graphics better? Sure. But not enough to negate the fact that when I buy an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 game, I know it's going to work on the Xbox or Playstation.

Posted by:

05 Apr 2012

No way I would spend any $$$ on a Laptop that heavy!
My idea of an ultimate laptop is a MacBook Air!

Posted by:

06 Apr 2012

Well, yes - as long as I had a little money left for Save The Children and maybe a bottle of cigarettes and a pack of whiskey...

A nomadic nuclear physicist. (Can't stop laughing at that. Thanks, Bob!)

Posted by:

Jim Ronholm
06 Apr 2012

A quick correction. This laptop (and lots of other gaming rigs, desktops included) is available with RAID 0. RAID 0 does not provide "extra protection from a single point of hard drive failure" and you will not be able to keep shooting the bad guys if a drive fails. In fact it could be argued that the recoverability of a RAID 0 configuration is lower than that of conventional drive failures (but the mechanism of failure is important). RAID 0 is about increasing performance by enabling parallel read/write operations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I should know better, I've written about RAID here. (See I must have been thinking of RAID1, which does offer redundancy.

Posted by:

Robert C
20 Sep 2012

I have had M18x for about 6 months now and I love it. This is my second Alienware laptop but this time I got all the bells and whistles. As for noisy fans, I only hear the fans when I have used it a while on high performance (like games)and they cool down the laptop and stop. They are not really that noisy. I have a Vostro laptop, Lenevo laptop, Toshiba laptop, Precision Laptop. None compare to either Alienware I have used. The battery life is short (about three hours) but then again it is loaded. There is definitely extra weight, but I do travel with the M18x and I am not a young person (close to 60 years old) and have no problems lugging it around in my backpack. To me, I do not see a down side to Alienware. Even with all the testing of software products I do with the laptop, I never had to redo the laptop. The price may be high but the performance and reliability is high. For me, it was worth it.

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