We recently reviewed the Alienware Area-51 m15x for LAPTOP and awarded it our editor’s choice rating. When we hear reports, like the one this morning on Engadget, that a system is overheating or experiencing physical cracking issues, it becomes our job to figure out what’s going on.
When I reviewed the m15x, it wasn’t just benchmarked; I also took it home to take Crysis for a spin on my own time. The system gets hot, sure, and most do—but I never had any issues with overheating to the point that the system shutoff or became unstable—even during a 4-hour session of Crysis. On the left side of the unit, just above the Ethernet port, I can see a small opening where people are experiencing cracks. Perhaps excessive force on the lid or directly on this area could cause a crack. One example could be a fist pound around the keyboard, after getting fragged, for example. My pictures are zoomed up close, but in reality it’s hardly noticeable. In one, my finger is holding down the gap just above the Ethernet port. Perhaps this could have been caused during shipping, and harsh treatment could possibly result in a crack. We called Alienware to get their reaction.
“From a testing standpoint—assemblers put the barebones together and look at the physical features, then the integrators look at it. Then we get it, examine it, and give it a final signoff,” Chris Bell, technical marketing manager for Alienware, explained. “We’ve had less than five percent of customers reporting heating problems, and cracking is less reported. We haven’t been able to replicate the problem here because the issue is so low,” Bell said, noting that the gap could be a shipping issue. "Trust me, we have everyone with two hands down in the factory right now." And the customers that already shelled out a few grand on a new system? “We’ll provide a call-in number, a special e-mail address. Customers will end up happy one way or another.” The address is: Area51_m15x@alienware.com. Have any of you experienced these problems? We’ll get to the bottom of this overheating issue and keep you updated, even if it means I have to play Crysis ‘til the end of the day. Official Statement:
"As an update to the statements made recently regarding reported overheating issues with Alienware's Area-51 m15x notebooks, we are continuing our efforts to isolate the root cause of the issue that some users are experiencing. Among the thousands of m15x notebooks that have shipped, we have only received a few direct reports to Alienware of any specific issues regarding overheating. Despite the limited number of reported cases this is currently Alienware’s top priority to resolve and we will do so as soon as possible.
There have also been reports of a small gap on the chassis near the LAN port. Again, we have received a minimal number of direct reports in relation to this. All units go through quality assurance testing and multiple visual inspections before they ship therefore in addition to any potential engineering issues that may be contributing to this effect we are also assessing external factors such as packing materials, shipping procedures, carrier handling, etc.
Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to Alienware. We will continue to investigate the issues, identify their root cause and will not rest until we find the appropriate resolution. Once we determine a resolution, we will let our customer service technicians know immediately so they can begin working with those customers affected. We will continue to update the Alienware forums and respond to other postings with updates. In the meantime, we have setup a unique e-mail address for these m15x related issues to be reported to. Customers experiencing these issues are encouraged to email our support team at Area51_m15x@alienware.com, please include account information, order number and a description of the issue.
Thank you for your support,
VP, Product Group, Alienware"