Alienware M18x to feature dual-GPU option

Details leaked by an engineer and as yet unconfirmed by Dell suggest that the next Alienware laptop, the M18x, will have the option of packing a pair of Nvidia GPUs in SLI or ATI GPUs in CrossFire for boosted performance.

The Alienware series of gaming laptops have always divided opinion: heavy, hot, loud, and with poor battery life, they're not exactly a road warrior's dream - but their powerful hardware means that, if you're looking to game on the go, they're fairly neat.

Now, the first hints of a new 18.4-inch model, dubbed the Alienware M18x, have leaked out courtesy of Dell-Lab. The specifications quoted by the site include a full-HD 1920 x 1080 18.4-inch display with LED backlighting and Dell's TrueLife glossy coating, a 12-cell 97Wh battery, and the option of black or red trim, depending on taste.

The real news, however, comes in the option of dual graphics chips - providing twice the power to run the most demanding of games. According to the leak, gamers will be given the option of equipping their M18x with either a pair of AMD 6970M graphics cards in CrossFire, or a pair of Nvidia GTX 460M in SLI - handily catering to fans from both the red and the green camps.

Support for dual-GPUs in either CrossFire or SLI was one of the biggest features missing from Dell's previous large-screen gaming laptop, the M17x. While it does increase the power usage - and, likewise, drop the battery life considerably - it provides a significant performance boost in many games for those who don't stray too far from a plug socket.

The rumour has yet to be confirmed by Dell, which is also keeping quiet on an estimated launch date or pricing - but, as with previous Alienware laptops, expect to pay couple of limbs.