Packard Bell unleash monster ixtreme Maestro dektop PC


If you actually own three devices that connect via Firewire, and you don’t happen to use a Mac, then the Packard Bell ixtreme Maestro is probably for you; all three of you.

It comes with up to 3TB of HDD; a choice of Core i7 processor, Intel Core 2 Quad or AMD Phenom II X4 quad-core processors and you’re unlikely to find yourself bottlenecking on the RAM with up to 12 GB of DDR3 to play with. There’s a Blu-ray combo drive, a piffling 10 USB slots, 2 x eSATA, HDMI and a multi-card reader too. So many holes, it’s a surprise the thing stays together.

You get a choice of NVIDIA GPUs, up to the full 1GB GeForce GTS250, plus there’s support for 7.1 surround sound with a SPDIF connector and an optional DVB-T tuner. I’d recommend a nice monitor to go with it.

It runs Vista, is all sleek and black and starts at £599 from this month. Expect the specced up version to cost one hell of a lot more.

Packard Bell

Alienware M17x – the post powerful 17" laptop in the Universe


Dell has officially brough the Alienware brand fully under its 35-country wide wing today with the launch of the M17x aka “the most powerful 17-inch laptop in the Universe”. The gaming behemouth was lauched this morning at E3 but I was lucky enough to have sneak preview of the 5kg beast at the end of last week. Here it is…

The final specs on this monster are up to dual 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M graphics processing units, Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-core factory overclockable mobile processor (which Dell expects you to overclock by up to 3 bin speeds), 8GB DDR32 1333MHz RAM, 1TB 7200RPM HDD or 512GB of SSD in Raid formation, WUXGA 1200p (1920 x 1200) edge-to-edge gloss glass LCD and integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M G1 GPU with HybridPower technology for all your day to day needs. Naturally, you don’t get all that for the starting price of £1,699 but you get the picture.

It comes with Windows Vista 64-bit as standard but were Windows 7 to come out on, say, 23rd October 2009, then Dell has confirmed that they would provide the same kind of free upgrade service to the new OS that they have on the past with only shipping of the new disc to pay. Good on them.

But the service doesn’t stop there. It’s easy for some hardcore elitists to have a go at these kinds of pre-packaged machines but if you’d rather get a tailor made option then I’ve been really impressed by the lengths that Dell goes to take care of you.

There’s a metal plate on the underside of the anodised steel chassis which they will engrave with whatever you like in both your native alphabet and the alien language too, and there are all sorts of other customisable options when you go to order yours online. The idea is that it’ll be ready to go precisely to your needs as soon as you take it out of the box.

You can pick one up as of today with delivery included in the price. Enjoy.


Alienware versus Predator: top spec gaming desktop PCs go head-to-head


It’s time to put two maxed-out gaming PCs to the test — the best Alienware versus the best Acer.

Here’s a raw specs comparison for a top-of-the-range Alienware ALX X-58 and Predator Crusader II. Which one will cut it as the ultimate gaming PC?

Alienware ALX X-58 Predator Conquerer II
Processor: Overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 Extreme 3.86GHz 8MB Cache Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz 8MB Cache
Graphics: Dual 1792MB NIVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 with Optional Ageia PhysX Physics Processing Unit 2* Nvidia® GeForce® 2* GTX 285 + Nvidia® nForce® 780i SLI (3 way SLI) 2* 896MB VRAM
Audio: 7.1-channel audio + Sound Blaster X-Fi High Definition Surround Sound Audio High Definition (7.1) channel audio support + Dolby Home Theatre audio enhancement + Creative EAX 4.0 support
Memory: 12GB Triple Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz 12GB DDR2 1066MHz SDRAM
Storage: 2x256GB SSD + 1.0 TB SATA 3Gb/s 7200 RPM 2* 1TB SATA Hard Disk Drives & 1* 150GB WD Raptor® Drives
Optical drives: 4x Dual Layer Blu-ray Burner BD Burner + SuperMulti burner
Other connections: 8xUSB 2.0, 2xFireWire, 1xESATA, 2xheadphones, 2xmicrophone, 1xEthernet 9xUSB 2.0, 1xFireWire, S/PDIF, 2xEthernet, 18-in-1 memory card reader, 1xline out, 1xmicrophone
Cooling: AlienIce™ 3.0 high-performance cooling Liquid Cooling on the CPU
Other: Customisable lighting, acoustic dampening, Killer Xeno Pro networking card, Alienware TactX Headset
Guide price: £5,353.25 £3,999.99