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Alienware updates flagship gaming laptop lineup with thicker designs and more horsepower

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Alienware has refreshed its lineup of 14, 17, and 18-inch gaming laptops, and for the first time in years the update includes some noteworthy design tweaks. Along with the bump in specs, Alienware has ditched some of its crazy, distinctive angles for a more traditional boxy shape — but that doesn't mean the new laptops are competing on sleek design. In fact, while other manufacturers are competing on thinness, Alienware has opted to make their latest lineup thicker than their predecessors; the Alienware 14, 17, and 18 are all bulkier than the M14x, M17x, and M18x introduced last year. All three laptops are available today on in the US.

First up is the Alienware 14, which will debut at $1,199 with a 14-inch WLED HD screen at 1366 x 768, a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, 1GB of Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics, a 750GB hard drive, and 8GB of DDR3 memory. Of course, as with previous Alienware offerings, there are plenty of upgrades available; the 14 can be outfitted with a higher-resolution 1920 x 1080 WLED screen, a GTX 765M with 2GB of graphics memory, up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, up to a 512GB RAID 0 array of solid state storage, and a dual layer Blu-ray drive. Alienware says the 14 is the "most powerful 14-inch laptop available today," and we'll have a review up tomorrow that puts it through its paces.

The Alienware 17, starting at $1,499, features a 17.3-inch display at 1600 x 900, 2GB of GeForce GTX 765M graphics, and the same standard processor, memory, and hard drive as the Alienware 14. Like the 14, the 17 comes with a number of options for upgrades, and can support up to 4GB of video memory with a GeForce GTX 780M, up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, and up to 1.5TB of solid state storage in a RAID 0 array. The Alienware 17 can also be upgraded with a 1920 x 1080 3D display.

Atop the heap sits the Alienware 18, which features the same standard processor, memory, and hard drive as its smaller siblings, but comes with dual 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics cards, and an 18.4-inch 1080p WLED display. The 18 can also be upgraded with top shelf components, including a Core i7-4930MX processor overclocked to 4.3Ghz, dual GeForce GTX 780M graphics cards with 4GB GDDR5 memory, up to 32GB dual channel DDR3 RAM, and up to a 1.5TB RAID 0 solid state storage array.

The 14, 17, and 18 are chunky in comparison to other laptops on the market, but they still don't represent a huge change from the company's previous offerings (and if you're a PC gamer, you might not mind carrying around the bulk anyway). In 2013, gaming ultrabooks still aren't the norm, so Alienware's latest could continue to be your best bet for a PC gaming desktop alternative.