Personal Computers

Dell Unveils Fast Gaming Notebook

Fresh off its stunning acquisition of high-end gaming computer competitor Alienware, Dell has unveiled a pair of high-power, high-price notebooks for gamers.

Described by the computer giant as “Dell’s fastest consumer notebook,” the new XPS M1710 will be packaged in a magnesium-alloy chassis in stylish black or red models. Priced at US$2,600, the new XPS notebooks feature Intel Core Duo processors, as much as 4 gigabytes of memory, and Nvidia 512 megabyte GoForce Go 7900 GTX graphics for 35 percent better performance than predecessors, Dell said.

The new gaming notebooks, available worldwide in black and in the U.S. and Canada in red, are not the fruit of Dell’s recent acquisition of Alienware, begging the question of what Dell has in store for the high-end, gaming computer brand.

“This is a Dell thing,” Endpoint Technologies Associates Founder and President Roger Kay told TechNewsWorld. “Before the Alienware acquisition, they had all this in the pipeline.”

Gaming to Go

Dell highlighted the XPS notebooks’ ability to run 3D games at high settings while still running programs such as music encoding or virus scans without slowing performance.

The computer, weighing in at 8.75 pounds with 17-inch widescreen display, also features media buttons, five-in-one media card reader, and optional TV tuner with Windows XP Media Center 2005.

“Dell is again delivering the most advanced features to the gaming community, especially customers who want the performance and freedom to play anywhere,” said Dell Director of Consumer Mobile Marketing Brett Faulk.

Strategy Seems Alien

Kay said although he had not been briefed on the new notebooks by Dell, he was aware that the company has long been working on the XPS, with some references to the brand stemming back to the 1990s.

Although Dell is certainly not going to throw away years of research and development investment, it is unclear how it is positioning the new, high-end notebooks given its acquisition of Alienware, a leading high-end seller that was preferred by gamers.

“It does beg the question, what exactly is going on?” Kay said.

It is unclear whether Dell took over Alienware to eliminate a competitor — an expensive and questionable strategy — or if the top PC seller is looking to broaden the market for both its own brand and Alienware-based products, Kay added.

“I still don’t get what the point is,” he said regarding Dell’s acquisition of Alienware.

New Market Makers

The high-performance, mobile gaming systems from Dell reflect the PC giant’s desire to find new customers, and gamers are a logical extension of its consumer-strong market, Gartner Research Vice President Martin Reynolds told TechNewsWorld.

“Dell’s challenge is to find new markets,” he said. “They’re so big in the U.S., they’ve got to find someplace to go.”

Reynolds said while Dell is looking to foreign markets in Europe and Asia, it is also seeking the high-quality, high-paying customers that gamers are known to be.

“It’s all about expanding the market share,” he said.

Reynolds agreed the new XPS notebooks from Dell raise the question of what will happen with Alienware, but Dell is likely to do one of two things: maintain the Alienware brand, products and market; or introduce Dell products such as XPS and try to transfer gamers and early adopters over to the Dell brand.

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