Picking a gaming laptop is a difficult task these days: machines can be found in all shapes and sizes, from pricey thin-and-lights to oversized behemoths. That wide selection is a good thing, allowing buyers to pick and choose the best machine from dozens of manufacturers, possibly even finding a deal on a lower-cost ODM system. Still, there needs to be some sort of benchmark buyers can look to, and for many, Alienware serves that purpose. The brand, now owned by Dell, is known for offering powerful, high-quality machines at the market’s going rate; that is, not too cheap, not too expensive, but reasonably priced with just a hint of prestige. Considering Alienware’s 2013 hardware refresh, it seemed about time we took a closer look at Dell’s updated family of gaming portables. We picked out two: the Alienware 14 ($1,199+) and the larger Alienware 17 ($1,499+). Let’s see how they stack up.