When nVidia released its benchmark results comparing Alienware’s M17x and ASUS W90 notebooks and the affair that followed afterwards, we had no idea that was just the introduction into what seems to be the summer of competitors attacking each other.
Recently, AVADirect started to sell what they claim to be the world’s most powerful notebook, the Clevo M980NU. As we all know, Clevo is a Taiwanese ODM/OEM manufacturer, from which manufacturers such as AVADirect acquire the barebone case, to be customized with different CPUs, GPU, hard drives and so on.
In their release, Misha and the rest of the AVADirect gang claimed that their Clevo M980NU is the most powerful gaming notebook in the world, since it features two GeForce GTX280M [9800GTX+] cards in SLI mode. But it didn’t stop there. In a recent press release, AVADirect came out and openly attacked Alienware for being nothing more than a subsidiary of Dell. In a statement for the media, the Chief Marketing Officer of AVADirect claims the following:
"When you look at the specs of both systems and the performance that they both offer, the price difference between the two is considerable. Our M980NU offers many more options, offers better performance, and costs hundreds less when fully configured. Not only will you get more performance for less, our after sales support is so much better. You will never be routed to India as our full support staff is located in the United States.
AVADirect.com only charges $319.20 to add a second video card while Alienware charges $600 for the same card. AVADirect.com only charges $89.61 to upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate while the same option will cost Alienware customers an additional $150. While the Alienware’s M17x base price may be lower, a few simple upgrades will quickly change that. See below for an example.
Screen: 18.4" 1920×1080 (AVADirect.com) vs. 17" 1920×1080 (Alienware)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300
Video Card: SLI NVIDIA GTX 280M 2GB Dual configuration
Memory: 4 GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM Memory
Hard Drive: 500GB 7200 RPM with free fall sensor
Starting Price: $3,731.60 (AVADirect.com) vs. $3,923 (Alienware)"
As you can imagine, taking a swipe at Dell/Alienware isn’t something light. In order to check out the claims, we took a look at these claims, and came to following conclusions – Alienware M17x comes with a 17" 16:10 LCD display featuring either 1680×1050 or 1920×1200 resolution [a not 1920x1080, as claimed by AVADirect], while AVADirect’s M980NU comes with 18.4" 16:9 screen packing a resolution of 1920×1080. The loss of 120 vertical lines isn’t exactly small, but AVADirect has a point in 1.4" more screen estate.
What would you have more: a 17" Alienware M17x or a 18.4" AVADirect M980NU?
However, the fact of the matter is that Alienware comes in somewhat more attractive enclosure, but packs a lot of free customizations such as lit Alien skull logo and keyboard/trackpad/speakers in a color of choosing [Red, Green, White, Blue, Aqua Blue, Yellow], features an personalized aluminum plate and many more.
Then again, what will all that extra features do you good if you have to call Indian call center if something gets messed up? Personally, I’ve had my share of technical support issues with Dell, and waiting for 47 minutes on the line is not something that I would recommend. Secondly, I remember when I ordered two Dell 2408WFP displays online, only to be charged four, with two displays sent to the address I wanted, and two being sent to my billing address.
Needless to say, Dell didn’t resolve the issue in my benefit. Not something you’d expect after spending thousands of dollars. Then again, this issue is completely separate from this Clevo M980NU vs. M17x issue. What matters is that customers have a choice of going the Alienware route or select an AVADirect machine. Your feedback is appreciated on this subject.