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Alienware MJ-12m 7700 Mobile Desktop

Notebook system with heft, 17-inch display and 3.4GHz Intel desktop CPU By John Virata

It is not very often that a notebook computer comes along that makes you really take notice. Most notebook computers are pretty standard fare, relying on similar technologies that tend to blur the subtle differences that notebook computers share. I subscribed to the notion that most notebook systems were the same, until Alienware sent one of its latest machines in for review. I've looked at Alienware notebooks before and liked what I experienced during the short period of time it was in my possession. The latest system that the company sent in for review, the MJ-12m 7700, is the biggest, fastest notebook system that I've seen to date. But fast is not the only feature in this computer, as the company has added a lot of features, what I like to call true functionality features, to this mobile workstation.

Encased in Alienware
First off, the Alienware MJ-12m 7700 is no lightweight. At about 13.5lbs, the MJ-12m 7700 features a 17-inch LCD screen, and is 2.1 inches thick and weighs a lot. A whole lot. It is actually the heaviest notebook that we've ever looked at. But the heft of this system should not mask the sweet power that is inside it or the features that encase the inner workings of the machine. First up is the keyboard and wrist rest area. A full size keyboard with all the keys, including number pad keys, is housed on the deck. Navigation is achieved through a track pad with two buttons as well as a scrolling track surface specifically designed to scroll through web pages.

Under the wrist rest is a digital clock with some buttons. These buttons control the CD player. You can play a CD in the MJ-12m 7700' optical media drive without having to turn on the computer itself.  On each side of the buttons are the two of the system's speakers. The other pair of speakers are housed on each side of the keyboard. A subwoofer is also present on the bottom of the unit. These speakers are helped with SRS Labs' WOW technology to output high definition 7.1 audio.


The rear, left and right sides of the MJ-12m 7700. The rubber feet are barely visibile.
Slide your hands to the left of the CD player on the left side of the notebook, and you've got an infrared port as well as a bevy of built-in memory card slots. Compact Flash/MicroDrive, SmartMedia, Secure Digital/MMC, and Memory Stick media are all neatly represented on the side of the MJ-12m 7700. A removable (and lose-able) sliver of soft rubber acts as a dust protector for these slots. Right above the bevy of memory card slots resides a Type II PCMCIA Slot, which enables you to add functionality to the MJ-12m 7700 via PCMCIA card slot technology. Down toward the back of the system sits your basic headphone and microphone port, as well as 5.1 channel out (SPDIF). A pair of 4-pin IEEE 1394 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and an S-Video out connector round out the rear of the MJ-12m 7700. The opposite side of the notebook features the NEC DVD+-RW ND6500A DVD burner, as well as a second drive bay for an additional optical drive if the need arises.

The rear of the MJ-12m 7700houses a Cable TV in port, Ethernet port, modem port, DVI connector a legacy parallel port and serial port. The AC power cord port and internal fan round out the rear of the unit. The bottom of the unit is also well thought out. There are nine rubberized feet to keep the system elevated, and four ports to allow air to pass through the unit. Five compartments, closed with Philips head screws and presumably user serviceable are located on the bottom as well. The battery pack is also located on the bottom of the system. When the system is in standby mode and in the closed position, the alien eyes on the back of the LCD pulse blue. If you move the LCD back into an upright position, the computer will awaken from standby mode. Also built on the back of the LCD are rubberized ribs that help you to grip the computer better.  

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