Yes, an Alienware laptop is good for gaming, in terms of the hardware
you specified. Based on my visit to the following web site:
"Alienware: Mobile Gaming Systems"
I determined that the system you cited above is the Area-51M Extreme.
I'll overview the unit's specifications and then conclude with a few
reasons some people associate laptops with not having good gaming
Obviously, if you select a different system than the extreme, your
gaming performance will differ.
The Extreme comes with:
Windows XP Professional - The more expensive and the more advanced of
the two operating systems Microsoft currently offers for end-user
systems. This has no bearing on your gaming performance.
Intel Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz Processor - One of the fastest processors
available on the open market.
1024 MB of RAM - More than enough for the most advanced games on the
market. I was unable to find any PC Games on EBWorld.com whose
manufacturers recommended more than 1024 MB of RAM.
80 GB Hard Drive - A sufficiently large hard drive which would be able
to hold about 47 modern day games (taking into account about 5 GB for
Windows and other software and assuming about 1.5 GB/game).
ATI Mobility RADEON 9000 128MB DDR Video Card - The video card is one
of the first and foremost determiners of game performance. While the
9000 falls slightly below the power of the Radeon 9700, it's
performance received outstanding reviews at at AnandTech.com, a well
known technology review site:
"AnandTech: ATI Mobility RADEON 9000: Raising the bar again"
Sound-Blaster Pro Compatible 3D Audio - A more than sufficient sound
card, however if your audio quality on any laptop speakers will sound
cheap and "tinny" compared to that of full size speakers. If audio
quality is of concern to you, you might want to invest in after market
8X DVD-ROM w/Software MPEG2 Decoder - Standard DVD-ROM drive
24x10x24 CD-RW / 8X DVD Combo w/Software MPEG2 Decoder - A DVD-RW and
CD-RW drive. You'll be able to burn CDs and DVDs with this drive.
Integrated 10/100Mb Ethernet NIC - Allows you to connect to a
broadband connection or LAN
56K Modem with V.92 Technology - Standard 56k V.92 Modem
Based on the above system specifications, the Area-51M Extreme will
provide more than sufficient gaming power.
There are, of course, some reasons why people are wary of laptops as
-Poor video accelerators: While in the past many laptops lacked a
Video Accelerator, they are becoming standard on most laptops these
days and with this laptop, gaming performance will not be a problem.
-Poor sound quality: Being small, laptop speakers provide poor sound
quality. However this can be quickly remedied by a quality pair of
headphones or a set of after market speakers (the latter of which
won't be mobile, of course).
-Small keyboard: While some adjust to a laptop's smaller keyboard,
others (especially those used to full quality keyboards) find the
compacted keyboard hard to use. You could use a full size keyboard,
but that would defeat the mobility of the laptop
-Small screen: While you can attach laptops to external monitors, it
again defeats the purpose of having a laptop, as it is not mobile.
-You pay more for less: The bottom line with all systems is that a
laptop costs more to get the same or lesser technology as a desktop
would. However, if price is not an issue, then an expensive laptop
can provide the same power as a desktop system.
I visited the Alienware web site to obtain the system specifications,
then used my existing knowledge as a computer consultant. For the
video card review, I searched for '"ATI Mobility RADEON 9000"' Review
I hope this information is of assistance to you. If you need any
additional clarification please let me know.