Are you planning to get a gaming laptop but not sure which one yet? Well, let me present you an idea: the Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV. It’s a 13″ notebook with Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and a large solid-state drive. The essential thing is of course its graphics engine, the dedicated GeForce GTX 860M. Also, the screen resolution is whopping 3200×1800. The laptop costs a lot so it might make you wonder if it’s a good buy at all. Well, we’re here to answer that question…
The processor of Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV is Intel Core i7-5500U with two cores, 2.4GHz clock speed an 3.0GHz turbo feature. The choice is rather interesting because the performance of these low-voltage units isn’t on par with their regular counterparts. For a gaming laptop it’d have made sense to include a faster processor, especially when the price is so salty. So we have a slower power efficient CPU now, although it’s still i7 (the flagship of Intel’s) which means it’s in no way bad pick for gaming.
The unit has 16GB dual channel DDR3L 1600 memory installed. The configuration is two 8GB chips, although it doesn’t really matter because the system doesn’t support more than sixteen gigabytes. It’s a huge amount, even an overkill, and certainly the RAM won’t ever become a bottleneck of this computer.
There’s an excellent 512GB M.2 solid-state drive installed in this notebook. It’s basically same size than what budget laptop drives are but thousand times faster. It should offer excellent start up times for system and more importantly, for games also. To be honest, such a premium 512GB SSD is really the only acceptable choice for this pricey laptop.
Display and gaming
The screen of Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV looks like an excellent component. The panel type IPS allows for good colors and wide viewing angles. In addition, it’s not Full HD but much more: a whopping 3200×1800 resolution is supported. On a small 13.3″ display such a high resolution will make icons look tiny. You can, of course, lower the resolution if need arises. It also supports touch, which however might not be an important feature for players.
This thing was made for gaming. The dedicated GeForce GTX 860M card runs many games with all or at least a lot of eye candy on. The extra high resolution is not supported with all games, so you might want to stick with 1920×1080. For example, on such a resolution and high settings Battlefield 4 should give a smooth +35FPS. Another demanding title, Far Cry 4, was reported to run at ~25 frames per second on similar settings. Any less demanding or older games than that and you’ll get much more frames with similar settings.
Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV features three USB ports, they’re all version 3.0. HDMI and Mini DisplayPorts are included for external monitor support.
Networking options are either Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) port or 802.11 A/C WiFi. Bluetooth 4.0 is supported too, good for plugging in a gaming mouse or similar.
Because Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV is so small, something had to be left out. There is no optical drive in this model. If you want that functionality, an external drive must be used.
The integrated Full HD webcam can be used with Skype video or other similar software to keep up with your gaming buddies.
Some other relevant things?
Often, very often, gaming laptops are not known for their portability because they tend to be big. But Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV is different. Its 13″ display and 4.5 pounds weight mean you shouldn’t have big problems carrying it around (although it must be said 13 inchers usually weigh even less than this).
The unit includes a 4-cell 52W battery. The laptop has some power efficient components such as the processor and hard drive, although the GTX 860M card eats some energy. You should get around four hours on web surfing but less (~2 hours) when gaming. Indeed, it’s a good idea to keep the notebook connected to power outlet during such activities.
Alienware 13 ANW13-8636SLV is known for high performance, that’s for certain. Its intended use, gaming, is very doable thanks to its powerful components. In fact, the GeForce GTX 860M card will run most games with appropriate frame rates on high details. The small screen size might look strange for some people on such a gaming laptop, but on the other hand it contributes to great portability. The 512GB solid-state drive will make the laptop fly, and with three USB 3.0 ports and HDMI + DisplayPort outputs you can connect several peripherals and monitor no problem. All in all, it’s two things, fast gaming performance and compact design, that meet in this unit. If that tickles your fancy, you have a good reason to get this Alienware I believe.