The latter goes by several names but it is one and the same laptop–built as a barebones laptop (or “barebook”) by the little-known Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) Clevo, and then customized and re-branded by laptop specialists in the U.S. and Europe and sold under different names.
Origin PC calls it the EON 17, Sager sells it as the NP7280, while AVADirect has not bothered to rename it. No matter what it’s called, the 17-inch X7200 is a bona fide monster weighing in at 12.1 lbs (5.5 kg) and can be configured to meet your exact specifications.
The 18-inch Alienware is anything but small either for that matter. It has a slightly larger screen and weighs almost as much–11.93 lbs (5.41 kg)–so the difference in mass is quite negligible. Both are also very expensive once you start configuring them with state-of-the-art components, which most buyers tend to do. After all, most of the clientele considering this kind of laptop wants the fastest laptop that money can buy.
But which one of these two beasts is the most powerful? There’s no doubt that the Clevo has the edge when it comes to raw processor performance; it can be equipped with Intel desktop-class or even server-class processors with up to six cores and 12 virtual cores thanks to Hyperthreading. Additionally, it can hold up to 24GB of triple-channel (desktop) RAM.
So if you want d high-end desktop workstation performance in the guise of a laptop, the X7200 has no real competitor. You could argue that adding desktop parts is “cheating,” but it pays for this cheating with a battery life that is anything but impressive–up to one hour is a common estimate.
On the other hand, it’s more often than not gaming performance that is a deciding factor for a purchase here, and in this regard these two laptops are considerably more similar. Both can of course be equipped with dual graphics cards–and not any graphics cards but the most powerful mobile GPUs currently available: two GTX 580M GPUs from NVIDIA or two Radeon HD 6990M from AMD.
Needless to say, any of these options will play virtually all games at full HD resolution with all the details turned on. But doesn’t the Clevo outperform the Alienware in games thanks to its faster processors? Yes it can and it will, but not necessarily as much as you think. Today’s games are mainly dependent on GPU calculations and not so much the processors (although it might be a bottleneck but not in either of these cases).
The Alienware M18x also an advantage in that it sticks with only conventional mobile components–meaning that it can run for hours on battery. The mobile processors are none-too shabby either. Dell has managed to overclock an Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition mobile CPU to run at up to 4.0GHz.
So, to put this into perspective, the Clevo X7200 is outstandingly fast thanks to its desktop PC parts, but with the downside that the battery serves mainly as backup power. As for the Alienware M18x, it is the fastest 18-inch laptop available at this writing if you count only those with true mobile components. Of course, all of these superlatives rely on the presumption that both laptops are equipped with the fastest components available, which will also cause their prices to skyrocket.
If you want to know which laptop is the “best”, you will have to decide for yourself whether you want the bragging rights that come with having a 6-core Intel XEON server processor in your laptop, versus the advantages of all-mobile components including some useful battery life and all the Alienware extras.