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Author Topic: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW  (Read 8991 times)

Offline em3rgency

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Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« on: January 10, 2013, 04:53:40 AM »
15” Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x by em3rgency



Alienware m14x specs
Processor             3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3740QM
Memory               16GB (2 x 8 GB) Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600mhz
Hard Drive           256GB SSD 6 GB/s
Video Card           2 GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 650M with Optimus™
Screen resolution 1600x900 720p 14 inch screen
Backlit keyboard   Yes
Price - $1,864.00

Retina MacBook Pro Specs
Processor            3rd Generation Intel® Core 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
Memory              16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
Hard Drive           256GB Flash Storage
Video Card          1 GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 650M with Optimus™
Screen resolution  2880-by-1800 native resolution
Scaled resolution  1920 by 1200 1080p
Backlit Keyboard Yes
Price – $2,499.00

I will base this review off of the following objectives:

•   Quality
•   Performance
•   Virtual machine performance
•   Compatibility
•   Customer Service

I have used both the Alienware and MacBook as pentesting environments. I liked using them both. But after owning the m14x I sold it to try out the retina MacBook Pro or rMBP. This was a good choice for me. The rMBP is more user friendly, has better performance for pentesting in a virtual environment. Way better battery life, and doesn’t stick out as much as the m14x does. rMBP isn’t as heavy and is thinner. The m14x is a beast in its own respective; the major drawback is the fact that there is limited/no support for Optimus technology that comes with it. This makes the video card a power draining brick.




Quality - Alienware
Pros   
•   The Alienware is built solid
•   Nice LED lights
•   Lots of ports
•   Upgradeable
Cons
•   Glossy screen
•   Heavy
•   Thick
•   Horrible battery life
•   Reduced performance when on battery power

Quality – Retina MacBook Pro
Pros
•   Built solid
•   Very thin
•   Retina screen is amazing
•   USB 3.0 ports
•   Light weight
•   Great battery life
•   No performance decrease when on battery power
•   
Cons
•   Less port options
•   Only the SSD is upgradeable
•   Thunderbolt ports aren’t yet compatible with Linux
•   Price

Performance - Alienware
•   Very good performance outside of a VM environment
•   If you install Linux on the hard drive, Optimus will make your video card worthless and it will drain your power with no gain
•   You can install Linux on the hard drive is a plus but again it will make your video card a brick
•   Booting live USB is no problem
•   Works out of the box in backtrack 5 r3. And THS-Apollo


Performance – Retina MacBook Pro
•   Very good performance inside and outside of the VM environment
•   No lag on the host when running multiple guests VM’s at the same time
•   Very easy to setup multiple screens
•   Problems installing backtrack 5 r3 or THS-Apollo on the hard drive
•   Problems booting live USB Linux

Virtual Machine performance – Alienware m14x
•   Very noticeable lag inside of a Virtual box environment
•   Virtual box does not make use the dedicated graphics power. Making it dead weight inside of a VM
•   Alfa 036H does work
•   You are also not able to have multiple screens available so your screen will be cluttered

Virtual Machine performance – Retina MacBook Pro
•   Amazing performance inside of Parallels environment.
•   Parallels makes use of the dedicated graphics card, allowing you to set video performance up to 1Gb
•   Multiple screens to run VM’s on. Making everything more organized and the use friendliness is a step above the rest.
•   Alfa 036H is detected and working in Backtrack and THS-Apollo.

Customer service – Alienware m14x
•   Dell bought out Alienware
•   When you call customer support for anything it is a huge hassle. You will be transferred to multiple departments searching for the correct one and many times loop back to the same person you were speaking with at the beginning
•   They don’t speak English very well
•   Horrible phone tree

Customer service – Retina MacBook Pro
•   When I called the support line. I was directly connected to a support representative. Support reps were American, and spoke English. They were very friendly to talk to
•   Very easy transitions between departments, they seem to like there job and are very nice if you are inside your warranty of course

This was a quick review of both. It was meant to be very blunt and to the point. IMHO, if you have the money, the rMBP is the way to go! It is way better as a pentesting machine compared to the Alienware m14x.
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« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 10:25:35 AM by em3rgency »
Website: http://www.em3rgency.com

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Offline Malachai

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 01:49:48 PM »
I have to say the Macbook sound great but dammm the price is the killing point. Since the drive is only 250gig. how big do you create the vm you have on it?
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Offline em3rgency

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 07:13:25 PM »
I got the 512ssd, But I partition 150gigs for backtrack
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Offline em3rgency

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 07:18:18 PM »
both are sweet, and you can get cuda to work with the mx14, that thing runs 6k keys per second when pipe through aircrack. so pyrit and cuda will make use of the card. which is a huge plus
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Offline juturna35

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 11:04:16 AM »
MacBook Pro looks sweet. As Malachi said, the price is killer.  8)

Offline Malachai

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 12:55:30 PM »
How big is each vm you build?
I'm still saving my money so when the time is right I will see which one I get a mac or dell..
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Offline em3rgency

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 08:50:27 AM »
I dunno how big each VM IS. I make my BT VM 150 gigs cause its my main pentest OS... But the other machines are like 5gig -20gig.
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Offline JorgeColeman

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2013, 11:16:14 PM »

large quote unnecessary led lights, so removed for easier reading.  :)

Thanks for this interesting and detailed review.. I got Macbook and it is much better no doubt
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 08:27:45 AM by JorgeColeman »

Offline c0ldg0ld

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 10:11:30 AM »
I'm still saving my money so when the time is right I will see which one I get a mac or dell..

You don't have to get a mac, but don't get a dell!  Our company standardized on them years ago and I've watched the quality go in the toilet... I like the Lenovo business machines for Windows, or Asus.

Just my opinion though, take it for what it's worth.
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Offline TAPE

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 11:43:45 AM »
Don't want to hijack this thread, but saw the below on Lenovo which I thought interesting !

http://www.afr.com/p/technology/spy_agencies_ban_lenovo_pcs_on_security_HVgcKTHp4bIA4ulCPqC7SL
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Offline c0ldg0ld

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Re: Retina MacBook Pro vs. Alienware m14x REVIEW
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »
Don't want to hijack this thread, but saw the below on Lenovo which I thought interesting !

http://www.afr.com/p/technology/spy_agencies_ban_lenovo_pcs_on_security_HVgcKTHp4bIA4ulCPqC7SL

Very instructive.  I had no idea.  I still think of my ThinkPad as an IBM device even though they haven't been for like 8 years I guess.
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