Gaming laptops are often an oxymoron, a device that either is too expensive or too big to really be a laptop or a computer too underpowered to play games.

But Dell and Alienware have been for years trying to find the proper balance between these two seemingly opposing issues. Their XPS was a monstrously large, monstrously fast laptop. The M15X, pared down the size, but was still beefy and pricey. Then came Alienware M11x, a 11.5-inch, 4.5 pound laptop that strives to deliver a gaming laptop that can actually be used on your lap.

FEATURES:

The M11x features an 11.6-inch 720p WLED screen, a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M switchable graphics card, an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz processor with a 3MB Cache, 4GB of dual channel DDR3 memory running at 800 MHz and a 500GB SATAII 7,200RPM hard drive.It also have a built-in camera and mic, two headphone jacks, three USB and a slew of other ports including two memory card readers.

Now, our favorite ultraportable gaming machine is getting even better. Starting later this month, the M11x will swap out the Core 2 Duo processor in favor of ultra-low voltage versions of Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7. These chips won’t have their default clock speeds raised, as the current version does, but these CPUs feature Intel’s Turbo Boost technology that automatically overclocks the chips in certain situations. Alienware representatives tell us to expect a significant performance increase. Battery life should range from “the same” to “maybe 15 or 20 minutes less”, depending on how you use the system.

The existing M11x features manual switchable graphics, where you enter a special keystroke to switch between Intel’s low-performance but battery-friendly integrated graphics and the high-performance GeForce 335M discrete GPU. The new version will include the fantastic Nvidia Optimus technology, which automatically and invisibly switches between the two based on what application you’re running.