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Alienware m17 R3 review

Alienware m17 R3 overview

Alienware laptops are a number of the boldest gaming machines accessible, and the agency arguably kickstarted the demand for gaming laptops within the first place – so new notebooks from Dell’s offshoot appeal to loads of consideration.

That is the third iteration of the m17 pocket book, and unsurprisingly it’s an enormous rig full of high-end from Intel and Nvidia. Equally unsurprising is the worth – the m17 R3 for 2020 will set you again £2,999 within the UK and $three,179 within the US.

No less than the mannequin examined right here will, anyway.

Design & Construct

The mannequin I’ve reviewed makes use of Alienware’s Lunar Mild color scheme and exhibits off the m17’s eye-catching seems. The lid has the acquainted, RGB LED-lit Alienware emblem and the rear exhibits off hexagonal air vents and extra lights. The world above the keyboard has extra honeycomb venting, one other glowing emblem and a single large hinge.

The magnesium alloy physique delivers wonderful construct high quality. The thick display screen barely flexes, and the underside panel is sturdy. There’s a bit of motion across the keyboard, nevertheless it’s minor and is best than most 17.3in gaming machines. It’s definitely not trigger for concern.

Alienware’s machine weighs 2.94kg and it’s 22mm thick, so it’s hardly a bruiser – you possibly can shave off a number of grams and millimetres on the slimmest and lightest 17.3in gaming notebooks, however the distinction doesn’t make a big effect. Impressively, it’s barely heavier than the Razer Blade 17 and solely a bit of thicker than the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, which is £1,000/$700 costlier.

The m17 R3 has three USB three.2 Gen 1 and a Thunderbolt three port that helps USB-C three.2 Gen 2. There’s a microSD card reader, HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs and a slot for an Alienware Graphics Amplifier. On the within, Killer-branded Ethernet chip is paired with dual-band WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Nonetheless, there are some omissions right here: no sooner USB three.2 Gen 2 or 2×2 ports, and no 2.5Gbps Ethernet both.

The inside is well accessible, and there are two full-size M.2 sockets and a smaller 2230 connector. Disappointingly, the reminiscence is soldered down, and the wi-fi card isn’t inside attain.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is a full-size unit with a numberpad, a double-height return key, correct cursor keys and 4 devoted macro keys alongside n-key rollover. Within the UK, the Alienware comes with per-key RGB LED lighting by default, however within the US the default is a four-zone mannequin and the per-key lighting is a $30 additional. No matter your selection, the lights could be customised simply.

The keyboard itself is superb. The recessed design permits the buttons to have a beneficiant 1.7mm of journey, and the buttons are quick, crisp and constant, with first rate weight and with a stable base.

It’s about pretty much as good as a chiclet keyboard can get for gaming, and higher something that Razer or the dual-screen Asus machine can present. You’ll solely get a big enchancment by searching for out a machine with a mechanical keyboard.

The trackpad is first rate however might be higher. Its buttons are quick and shallow, in order that they’re good for gaming, however the pad might be bigger, and it’s a too far to the left – it’s too simple on your hand to catch the when utilizing the WASD keys. A USB or wi-fi gaming mouse is the superior possibility, after all.

Display & Audio system

This m17 R3 has a Full HD (1080p) show with a monster 300Hz refresh fee and a 3ms response time. It’s not acquired Nvidia G-Sync, which is restricted to the 144Hz variant, however that hardly issues – the 300Hz design delivers sensationally sharp, gaming, and it’s simply fast sufficient for eSports.

In fact, solely the keenest aggressive gamers will discover a big distinction between 144Hz and 300Hz – as refresh charges go increased, they ship diminishing returns.

High quality ranges are top-notch. The Delta E of 1.63 is nice, and the color temperature of 6,564Okay is incredible. The brightness degree of 332 nits is nice sufficient for any indoor situation, and the black level of zero.26cd/m2 is stable. The distinction ratio of 1,277:1 delivers nice depth and vibrancy. The stable benchmark outcomes are rounded out by an affordable 93.three% sRGB protection degree and wonderful uniformity figures.

There are few weaknesses right here – video games will look incredible on this display screen. A handful of laptops are brighter, however additional backlight energy will solely support outside use. The Alienware m17 R3’s show additionally isn’t ok to deal with the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 gamuts. For those who do want Adobe skill, then the Alienware’s 4K 60Hz panel is your solely possibility.

The audio system are mediocre – tinny, with a crushed mid-range and poor bass. There are totally different audio modes, however none make an enormous distinction. You’ll be capable to use this audio package for informal gaming and media duties, however a gaming headset will at all times be higher.

Specs & Efficiency

This m17 R3 deploys Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Tremendous 8GB graphics on this overview pattern – and it’s the full-power model fairly than a cut-back Max-Q version, too.

The processor is equally highly effective. The Intel Core i9-10980HK is Intel’s quickest new i9 Comet Lake chip, and it’s acquired eight Hyper-Threaded cores alongside base and enhance speeds of two.4GHz and 5.3GHz. It’s hefty , and it’s paired with 32GB of reminiscence. Within the UK this machine comes with a 512GB SSD, within the US it’s offered with a 1TB boot drive and a 512GB secondary SSD.

The RTX 2070 Tremendous zips by means of Far Cry New Daybreak and Wolfenstein: Youngblood’s Extremely benchmarks with common framerates of 92fps and 138fps. There’s sufficient tempo to play single-player titles easily at manner past 60fps – and eSports video games will run rapidly sufficient to successfully use the 300Hz show. The Alienware m17 R3 has the ability to output to 1440p screens, VR headsets and widescreens, and it’ll deal with 4K in the event you dial again graphics settings.

The m17 is quicker than the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, which makes use of an RTX 2080 Max-Q with cut-back clock speeds. The Alienware’s 3D Mark Sky Diver rating of 48,054 illustrates the ability of the GPU – the Max-Q model of the chip scores round 35,000 factors.

The processor is superb, nevertheless it’s not essentially the best choice. The m17 R3’s Geekbench 5 rating of seven,976 is comfortably forward of the favored Core i7-10750H, nevertheless it trades blows with the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, which is gaining popularity in cheaper laptops. The Alienware outpaces the AMD chip in PC Mark 10 however is slower in Geekbench four and just about degree in Geekbench 5.

The Core i9-10980HK is excellent – it’ll deal with content material creation and difficult multi-tasking simply. Nonetheless, this chip and the 32GB of reminiscence are literally overkill for gaming, and AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H is best for productiveness. Frustratingly, AMD’s chip isn’t at present accessible in laptops alongside the RTX 2070 Tremendous, however it might nonetheless be a greater and extra inexpensive wager for CPU energy alongside a weaker GPU.

Listed here are all our benchmark outcomes in comparison with the Zephyrus Duo and different rivals.

Noise ranges are by no means an issue – the laptop computer is quieter than most giant gaming machines. Warmth is a matter, although; the underside will get heat, so desk use is suggested and the realm above the keyboard turns into extraordinarily sizzling. Heat air is pumped out of the right-hand aspect fairly than the again, which might develop into uncomfortable in the event you’re utilizing a mouse.

Alienware’s Core i9 CPU virtually reaches 100 levels throughout a stress-test, and when burdened throughout benchmarks the chip’s clock speeds are throttled to enhance thermal efficiency. These throttled speeds aren’t horrible, however they do imply you gained’t get probably the most out of this CPU for productiveness.

Don’t anticipate nice battery life, both. The Alienware m17 R3 lasted for 2 hours and eighteen minutes in our video playback check, and simply over an hour when gaming. It’s very a lot a laptop computer that ought to keep rooted to the mains.

Worth & Availability 

The Alienware m17 R3 I’ve reviewed is likely one of the most costly UK-based fashions – you’ll solely must spend extra for an RTX 2080 Tremendous, and costs rise to £three,649 for that GPU and the Core i9 CPU.

Two fashions can be found for beneath £2,000, however they use weak AMD Radeon RX 5500M and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics. Mid-range choices embrace the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Tremendous for lower than £2,500.

Within the US, the Core i9 and RTX 2080 Tremendous possibility prices $four,169, and the most affordable fashions value $1,599 and $1,849. Impressively, US consumers can pay money for an RTX 2060 machine for $1,849.

On each side of the pond, consumers can select between the 1080p 144Hz and 300Hz shows and the 60Hz 4K possibility and totally different storage configurations are additionally accessible. Some fashions may also be bought with a extra discreet Darkish Aspect of the Moon color.

Customers could make massive financial savings by eschewing high-end choices just like the Core i9 CPU, 32GB of DDR4 and 300Hz display screen. Within the UK, an RTX 2070 Tremendous machine with a Core i7 chip, 16GB of reminiscence and a 144Hz show begins at £2,349; within the US, it’s $2,099.

Shopping for direct from Dell provides you the selection of the complete vary of fashions, however you will discover sure SKUs on the likes of Amazon, Very and Currys PC World in the event you favor.

And, as ever, Alienware machines are costly – even in the event you dial again the internals. For those who’re prepared to forego the model and high-end trappings just like the 300Hz display screen and the Core i9 CPU then you will discover the RTX 2070 Tremendous in 17.3in laptops that value £2,000 or $2,000 – or solely a bit of extra.

There’s additionally the query of Nvidia’s new GPUs. There’s no phrase but when Nvidia Ampere will make its method to laptops, nevertheless it’s price holding out for a number of months if you’d like the final phrase in GPU energy.

Take a look at some alternate options in our greatest gaming laptop computer chart.

Verdict 

The most recent Alienware m17 R3 excels in a number of necessary areas.

It seems incredible, it has an excellent keyboard and a high-quality, butter-smooth display screen, and it’s massively highly effective – it’ll deal with any gaming job and its CPU will scythe by means of work purposes.

The audio system and trackpad ought to be higher, though these points are simply solved with the headset and mouse mixture that almost all players will certainly use.

Battery life is poor, however that’s no shock, and never distinctive to this explicit 17.3in machine. Some elements and the 300Hz show will probably be overkill for a lot of customers, and individuals who want CPU energy will probably be better-sated by AMD .

For those who select applicable elements and don’t thoughts paying a bit of additional, although, the Alienware gives nice efficiency and high quality inside a big, spectacular exterior.

Specs

Alienware m17 R3 (2020): Specs

  • Display: 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 300Hz
  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i9-10980HK
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Tremendous 8GB
  • Reminiscence: 32GB 2,666MHz DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB Micron 2200S NVMe SSD
  • Ports: 3x USB three.2 Gen 1, 1x USB three.2 Gen 2 Sort-C/Thunderbolt three, 1x HDMI 2.zero, 1x mini-DisplayPort, 1x microSD, 1x audio jack
  • Connectivity: Twin-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Dimensions: 400 x 294 x 22mm
  • Weight: 2.94kg
  • Guarantee: 1yr RTB

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