The Good Alienware m17 can be customized with the powerful uber-powerful Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card. It’s much lighter than the company’s 17-inch preview model, and it’s thinner in design.
The Bad Battery life is poor and thin body means less ventilation and much more heat.
The Bottom Line The Alienware m17 makes noticeably few design sacrifices, despite the huge power being converted to a relatively thin frame.
The first thing you notice about the m17 is how small it feels like an Alienware laptop.
In recent years, gaming laptops have been pushing them to be thinner, lighter and slimmer. Alienware has always seemed a bit resistant to this trend, with laptops often reminiscent of gaming warships. They are proud of their cultural heritage and diametrically opposed to entering a professional or college environment.
The Alienware m17 has RTX graphics in a surprisingly lightweight package by Daniel Van Boom02:21Replay videoLarge play-pause toggle The Alienware m17 has RTX graphics in a surprisingly lightweight package AutoplayOnOff 00:00 02:21 Settings
Alienware m17, like the smaller m15 ($ 1232 to Dell) , is a more reserved laptop than the latest designs such as the R5 and, of course, the Area-51m. It’s a nice lightweight and portable for a 17-inch gaming laptop. In fact, it’s lighter than the new 17-inch Pro Razer laptop.
But it’s still a giant. The m17 line is working on the new RTX 20 Series GPUs that were introduced on laptops in January. These GPUs pump more horsepower and specialize in great graphic tricks such as ray (a jargon for reflecting moving light on a person or object).
At the top of the line is the m17 of the Max-Q RTX 2080, currently the most powerful GPU you can get in a laptop. This variant, which also comes with a six-core, eight-generation Core i7-8750 processor and 2560×1,440 four-HD display, is the one we got for review. You can set it up with cheaper RTX 2060 and 2070 graphics – or you can go the other way and stuff an overly powerful Core i9-8950HK processor there, increase the RAM to 32GB and dual 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD for storage and choose for 4K display.
These premium parts are not cheap. The RTX 2080 has a RRP of $ 3,149, though you can easily find them hundreds of less when shopping. (As I write this, Dell’s official website reduced $ 2549.) For an additional $ 100, you can upgrade the screen to 4K – though it’s 60Hz, unlike a 120Hz HHD display – and $ 450 provides you with a Core i9 chip. Higher Hz equals higher refresh rate, ie smoother screen movement.
|Price as reviewed||$3,149|
|Display size/resolution||17.3-inch, 2,560×1,440-pixel display|
|CPU||2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q|
|Storage||512GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Conversely, basic RTX 2060 and 2070 models will set you back $ 1,749 and $ 2699, respectively. (Discounts also apply here. They are currently for sale at $ 1,499 and $ 2099.)
The M17 is not a perfect laptop. It emits serious heat under duress, battery life is poor and it doesn’t even have a 4K display drive. But the m17 is resistant to the brute force of the future, and this is probably what interests you the most, and it makes fewer sacrifices for design than comparatively reliable laptops.
The biggest Alienware reboot in years is the Area 51m laptop by Dan Ackerman02:50Replay videoLarge play-pause toggle Alienware’s m17 has RTX graphics in a surprisingly light package AutoplayOnOff 00:00 02:21 Settings
Feel the power
As you might expect from a 3000x RTX 2080 laptop, the m17 is powerful. There were zero issues with my machine with demanding blockbusters, even with maximum settings. I was able to comfortably sit at over 60 frames per second, playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider when the graphics settings were adjusted to a maximum resolution of 2,560×1,440 pixels. Far Cry 5 was even smoother. Full-HD resolution reduction of 120×1,080 pixels shot both games up to 90 frames per second.
And of course, games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, League of Legends and Overwatch, designed to play any ol ‘thang, will be a dream come true about this monster.
But this power comes at a price in excess of dollars. The M17 gets hotter than your average gaming laptop when its GPU is up, so having it on your lap is unbearable. This is the price you pay for the svelte body, since there is less space for fans, vents and other cooling mechanisms.
Alienware’s m17 is a more refined extraterrestrial
There will be a six-core Coffee Lake 2.2 GHz i7 processor technically is soon outdated as Intel launches its ninth-generation Icy Lake chips. But it remains to be seen how much of a difference this will make. As mentioned, there is an option to configure the m17 with an i9 processor, but this will be an unnecessary upgrade for most. If you need this power, chances are you already know it.
Similarly, the m17 equipped with the RTX 2080 has 16 GB of RAM. This is more than enough for today’s and tomorrow’s games, so upgrading to 32GB is only for those who are particularly concerned about the future protection of their devices.
Again, you can choose either a 2,560×1,440-pixel QHD display or a 4K panel. I recommend a QHD display. It’s cheaper, consumes less battery, and most importantly, even the RTX 2080 Max-Q will try to reach 30 frames per second while powering demanding 4K games.
A more mature alien
The M17 has a huge footprint, inevitable in a 17-inch gaming laptop, but it is deceptively thin and, dare I say it, lightweight.
Weighing 5.8 pounds (2.6 pounds), the m17 is almost 4 pounds lighter than the previous 17-inch Alienware laptop, the R5 17. (The R5 weighed 9.7 pounds, or 4.4 pounds.) It’s even lighter. than A 17-inch Pro Razer laptop – impressive because Razer is synonymous with thin and light gaming laptops. (According to Razer, the Pro weighs 6.1 pounds, or 2.8 pounds.)
The M17 is also not as flashy as the latest Alienware laptops. Gone is the main frame that protrudes past the hinge, and aside from some flexible ventilation openings, Alienware dramatically reduced the number of maternity-style corners and contours.
Although we still have the Alien head logo and power button, the m17 is less crisp than any other Alienware laptop I can mention. Whether it is good or bad depends on how much you loved the company’s previous, borderline designs. However, a thinner and lighter newcomer is a step forward. The M17 comes in two colors, Epic Silver and Bold Red Nebula. Frustratingly, the Red Nebula is only available with a 4K display.
You can look at the m17 with the Alienware Command Center, which lets you customize a keyboard similar to Razer. Do you like keyboard lights to dance in the rainbow wave? You can do it. If you want your keys to pulse rhythmically, you can do the same.
Speaking of the keyboard, the m17 keys are smaller than your average laptop, a sacrifice made to kill all those high-end parts in such a slim body. I’m one of the few freaks who really likes the new butterfly keyboard on Apple’s new MacBooks ($ 1,149 on Amazon) , so it didn’t bother me at all, but it’s worth considering whether the key depth is your pet. One definite break is the matte black trim surrounding the keyboard. It looks smooth but quickly turns into a blurry city.
Compared to what?
The Alienware m17 is not the only laptop running the new Nvidia RTX 20 series. If you are experiencing serious gaming power, you have several options. There is currently no clear winner, and the “best” laptop will depend on what features are particularly important to you. With that said, the m17 is a safe bet: it’s a powerhouse, its offensive look, and it doesn’t make any nice design sacrifices to hammer all those premium components into a small (ish) body.
Lenovo Legion Y740 : The Lenovo RTX gaming laptop makes the m17 run its money – literally. The model we looked at had similar performance, but at RRP at $ 2,319, which is $ 800 cheaper. Its display is FHD instead of QHD (but it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz over 120 Hz m17) and it has less SSD memory. The Legion’s design is less inspirational and a little heavier (0.4 pounds heavier to be exact), but again, $ 800 is a lot of dollars.
Razer Blade Advanced : If you want to make some secret games on your laptop that might increase as a work or study machine, Razer is usually where you find yourself. The new Razer Blade Advanced can be configured with the RTX 2080 Max-Q, Full-HD, 144Hz display and the same Intel processor as the m17. It will cost you $ 2999, but remember that this is for a 15-inch laptop. Plus, 512GB of storage may not be enough for hardcore gamers.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX701 ( $3,000 at Walmart ) : Although it consists of mostly the same parts, Asus’ ROG Zephyrus ($ 2840 to Walmart) reliably outperformed the Alienware m17 in benchmarks. However, it’s a bit more expensive than $ 3,299, and it suffers from a beautifully placed touchpad.
|Alienware m17||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 512GB 1TB SSHD|
|Alienware Area-51m||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080; (2) 512GB SSD RAID 0 + 1TB HDD|
|Origin PC Eon-17X||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM3GHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080; 500GB SSD + 2TB HDD|
|Asus Zephyrus GX701 (Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 24GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design; 1TB SSD|
|Lenovo Legion Y740-15||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Razer Blade 15 (Nvidia RTX 2060)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD|
|Alienware 17 R4 (Nvidia GTX 1080)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 ; 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD|