And then came the Alienware.
This seems a somewhat inevitable point in a laptop commando?s career arc since they look cool as hell and are just as
fast. In September 2003 I bought a 3.2GHz, 1680x1050 screaming demon, which amazingly, is still up there amongst the
fastest laptops today. And I got great use out of it, but something started bothering me.
It was heavy. And the batteries didn?t last. And it was so noisy that I had to turn it off when I was
watching TV in the same room. At first none of this mattered because it was Alienware?it was the Lamborghini Diablo of
laptops?but after a while it just got too annoying. So I decided that for the first time in about 8 years that I would
downgrade. I would get something lighter and quieter, something that that was essentially more of a laptop than a
briefcase with a screen.
Enter the Sager 3790.
I discovered Sager while investigating Voodoo, a Canadian company that targets laptops and desktops at overclockers
and hardcore gamers. They do the custom colors and graphics thing, but they charge a pretty penny for the
The Sager 3790 is the same exact machine as the Voodoo PC m380, just that Voodoo will charge you $1000 or so more
depending on the configuration. I got mine from PCTorque.com, which I strongly recommend.
Let?s talk about this toy though. Yes, it is a Centrino. I got the 2.0 GHz model (hey, I couldn?t downgrade too far),
but as you probably know, because of different efficiency levels of the Pentium M and the Pentium 4, MHz cannot be
compared one for one. The machine came loaded up with 2 GB RAM and a 7200 RPM internal hard drive, and of course, the
requisite array of ports (USB 2.0, firewire, S-video etc). The most impressive part, however, is definitely the bright,
high-contrast 1920x1200 resolution LCD screen.
That?s the same resolution as a 23-inch Apple Cinema display, and it?s completely amazing. I know you can get a Dell
with the resolution screen, but they?re rather ugly. This thing is thin and light (at least for its class), and has a
nice long battery life, claims Dell can nary make.
Plus it?s quiet. You really cannot hear it. The processor flips between 600 MHz and 2.00 GHz as necessary, and the fan
noise is almost entirely absent. Sometimes when doing lots of rendering it will kick in, but it never stays on long.
Compare this with the Alienware, which not only had a very loud fan on the machine itself, but the power supply (yes
the brick) had its own fan which was also noticeably loud.
Is it as powerful as the Alienware I had was? For CPU intensive applications, well, of course not, but it can easily
handle all the day?s games and virtually any applications you?ll throw at it. I am still using it for video editing,
and while I have to wait a touch longer to render, I can at least hear myself think while I am waiting. This definitely
gets my vote as the laptop of the year to own.