Dell by now experienced a winning formulation for its flagship desktop substitute.
The Alienware 17 R4 sat atop our guideline to the ideal gaming laptops ever because we reviewed it just shy of a yr ago. Sure, it was significant and significant like all the most impressive gaming laptops are, but the notebook shipped these kinds of blisteringly fast performance that the trade-off proved worthwhile for fans. The traditional Alienware style and design shipped great touches (like aspect RGB accent lights) you don’t generally see somewhere else. It kicked ass, comprehensive halt.
The latest iteration mainly sticks with demonstrated achievement, with 1 vital distinction: an enhance to Intel’s 8th-gen mobile processors, which pack more CPU cores than earlier generations did. The Alienware 17 R5 we’re examining nowadays packs Intel’s debut superior-performance Main i9 laptop chip. Pals, the Main i9-8950HK inside turns this by now beastly gaming laptop into an utter monster. Let us go.
Notice: This assessment is part of our roundup of the ideal gaming laptops. Go there for aspects about competing products and how we examined them.
Alienware 17 R5 specs, features, and value
The Alienware 17 R5 is available in a variety of configurations, from a $1,560 model with a six-main Main i7-8750H, an overclocked GeForce GTX 1060, and a 60Hz 1080p exhibit, all the way up to the value-is-no-object-I-want-performance $3,810 model we’re screening nowadays. Optional features could push that full even increased. Here’s what is inside our assessment device. Spoiler alert: It is loaded.
- CPU: Main i9-8950HK (overclockable)
- GPU: Overclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
- RAM: 32GB DDR4/2666 (twin-channel)
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD, 1TB 7,200rpm hard generate
- Wireless: Killer 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
- Screen: 17-inch, 120Hz, 2560×1440 G-Sync exhibit (TN + WVA)
- Ports: Thunderbolt 3, USB 3. Variety-C, two USB 3. Variety-A, HDMI 2., mini-DisplayPort 1.2, headphone/mic, Noble Lock slot, ethernet, Alienware Graphics Amplifier port
- Weight: nine pounds, 12 ounces, or 12 pounds, 15.2 ounces with electrical power brick
- Proportions: sixteen.7 x 13.1 x 1.eighteen inches
- Webcam: Alienware FHD with Tobii IR eye-monitoring
- Cost: $3,810
As you can see from the spec list, the superior-end Alienware 17 R5 spares no price on the internals. The Main i9-8950HK packs the exact 6 cores and twelve threads as the 8th-gen Main i7 chips, but at increased clocks that assortment from 2.8GHz all the way up to 4.8GHz. Even more outstanding, it manages to keep regular at 4GHz even when Cinebench is stressing every single available CPU main and thread. This detail cranks—and as an HK-collection chip, you can crank it even further by overclocking it.
The impressive Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics will come overclocked and kicking butt out of the box, but you can use the revamped Alienware Command Heart application to tweak the tuning of your CPU and GPU. The Command Heart includes a pair of 1-simply click overclock alternatives as very well as the potential to make your personal profile. You can also regulate performance configurations based on ideal thermal parameters. Alienware’s application doubles as the Command Heart for the laptop’s RGB lights features, and it swipes a web page from Nvidia’s GeForce Experience by performing as a central hub for all your installed online games.
This ten-pound laptop is significant, but beautiful, mainly mirroring the style and design of very last year’s Alienware 17. The black coloration plan of our assessment model straddles the line among flashy and specialist: The stark, thoroughly clean style and design is augmented with tasteful, customizable lights.
Trim RGB LED strips accent the two aspect edges and the lid, as very well as the touchpad itself—a unique addition that I found myself appreciating considerably while working with the laptop in mattress at evening. Backlit keyboards are fantastic, and it turns out backlit touchpads are much too! The keyboard backlighting is continue to zone-lit instead than for every-vital, which is a slight bummer, but the keyboard by itself feels fantastic, with plenty of travel and responsiveness. The touchpad is just as very good, as it luckily includes a pair of physical buttons at the bottom.
Audiovisuals show just as outstanding. The Alienware 17 R5 provides significant, booming sound for a gaming laptop, and in contrast to its predecessor, the audio is not totally drowned out by roaring lovers. The lovers aren’t tranquil while you are gaming—not at all—but they a moderately nice sounds which is not much too superior-pitched or whiny. Carry a gaming headset.
On the visual entrance you’d be hard-pressed to establish this as a TN panel. The 2560×1440 monitor pumps out vibrant imagery with pretty generous viewing angles, even though it commences to darken once you access more intense slants. The monitor hits an impressively eye-searing 390 nits at comprehensive brightness. Enjoying on a 120Hz G-Sync panel—which synchronizes the refresh fees of your GPU and exhibit to remove tearing and stuttering—feels just as superb as you’d expect.
It is the only panel option available for the black chassis, regretably. If you switch to a silver chassis you can decide to enhance to a 60Hz 4K IPS panel, with or with no G-Sync, for a different $one hundred fifty. Regardless of chassis type, there’s no potential to help you save some income by ditching the built-in Tobii IR eye-monitoring sensor.
Tobii is nifty but much from essential, allowing you sign into Windows ten by way of encounter recognition or use your eyes to management the cursor in a minimal choice of online games. Further than the cost of employing it, the Tobii components manifests by itself as a collection of steady, speedily flickering pink lights below the panel each time you boot up a match. It is unbelievably distracting and irritating.
We’re continue to not a fan of the rear of the Alienware 17, possibly. It ditches traditional notebook style and design and as a substitute sites the lid’s hinge about 1.25 inches in from the rear edge, developing a enormous lip on the back. That allows Alienware insert large vents that no question assistance to retain the colossal components inside neat, but it’s butt-hideous and gets awfully sizzling all through extensive gameplay periods.
The electrical power twine, exhibit connections, ethernet, and proprietary Alienware Graphics Amplifier ports are all on the rear of the device, much too. We dislike the ergonomics of rear-edge ports even in regular laptop layouts. In the Alienware 17, it all but assures your fumbling fingers will brush those people sizzling vents if you require to plug a thing in while you are performing or playing.
Alienware 17 R5 benchmark performance
The Alienware 17 R5 packs ferocious firepower, so let’s see how it stacks up vs . some other significant hitters. Let us start out with the Alienware 17 R4, which packs an Intel Main i7-7820HK, the earlier generation’s overclockable quad-main flagship. We’ll also assess it against Origin PC’s EON17-X, a beast that utilizes an overclocked six-main, 12-thread Main i7-8700K desktop processor but continue to manages to arrive in a little bit less costly and a little bit significantly less significant than the Alienware—though a great deal thicker. All of these pack Nvidia’s comprehensive-fat GeForce GTX 1080.
We’ll also include Acer’s Predator Triton 7000, a more transportable quality laptop with a quad-main Main i7-7700HQ and a electrical power-effective GTX 1080 Max-Q, as very well as the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE. These two laptops cost significantly significantly less than the Alienware, at $2,780 and $1,799 respectively. MSI’s trim four-pound laptop only has a GTX 1060 inside, but it also has the six-main Main i7-8750H processor that many gaming laptops decide for over the beefier Main i9 chip found in the Alienware 17.
Talking of which, this is the 1st Main i9 laptop to strike our take a look at bench, so let’s kick matters off with processor electrical power. Maxon’s Cinebench R15 actions uncooked CPU performance, and will happily use as many threads as you can throw at it. Better scores are far better.
The more recent laptops with Intel’s 8th-gen Main i7 and Main i9 CPUs unquestionably smoke the older styles running the Main i7-7700HQ, which tends to make sense: This generation additional two cores and four threads to superior-end chips. Solitary-threaded performance sees a noteworthy but more modest enhance in comparison to earlier generation CPUs. Notably, the Main i9 inside the Alienware 17 trades blows with the desktop Main i7-8700K inside of the Origin EON17-X—a very outstanding feat.
But Cinebench’s benchmark operates in a small duration. The file we encode in our CPU-intensive HandBrake take a look at (which utilizes an older model of the software package) normally takes all-around forty five minutes on a quad-main processor. The extended duration reveals how a laptop’s temperature throttling impacts performance over time, a thing that can range wildly depending on a presented laptop’s style and design and tuning. We evaluate effects in how many seconds it normally takes to execute the encoding, so lower scores are far better.
No shock in this article, possibly: The 8th-gen Main i7 and Main i9 chips demolish the very last-gen competitiveness thanks to their more ample CPU cores. The Main i9-8950HK inside the new Alienware 17 manages to finish the career virtually 4 minutes speedier than the 8th-gen Main i7 inside the MSI GS65 Stealth, and pretty much ten minutes speedier than the 7th-gen overclockable product-of-the-crop processor in the earlier Alienware 17 R4. Holy moley. It is a few seconds slower than the desktop chip in the Origin laptop, even though.
Gaming laptops require powerful graphics abilities, of class. We take a look at their visual chops working with the Graphics sub-score in 3DMark’s Hearth Strike Severe benchmark, a artificial benchmark that focuses on pure GPU performance.
Dell managed to crank the GTX 1080 even further in the Alienware 17 R5 in comparison to the older R4, with the more recent model turning in an extremely-rare ten,000-plus score. As much as single-GPU laptops go, the only other notebook to split that lofty barrier is the thicker Origin EON17-X, which manages to push significantly further on account of the more home.
But more than enough artificial benchmarks. Let us get to the online games! We assess laptop gaming performance at 1080p resolution to standardize effects across the board, working with the in-match benchmarks provided with just about every title. Our existing suite primarily is composed of older online games so that we can assess new and previous laptops simply. (Notice that we don’t have Tomb Raider effects for the older Alienware 17 R4.)
The Alienware 17 pushes these set up online games further than even what its extremely-fast 120Hz monitor can pump out, albeit at 1080p resolution. The overclocked GTX 1080 really spreads its wings in this article. Most modern-day online games are bottlenecked by your GPU instead than your CPU, so a Main i7 laptop with a GTX 1080 will execute in the exact typical ballpark as a Main i9 laptop with a GTX 1080 in the bulk of circumstances.
That said, out-of-the-box overclocking and thermal style and design choices can have an impact on gaming frame fees to a decent degree, as while the older R4 also has a GTX 1080, the new Alienware 17 R5 turns in a solid performance guide over its predecessor. The a great deal thicker, desktop CPU-driven Origin EON17-X once again tops our charts.
Component of the reason that the Alienware 17 R5 is so significant is mainly because Dell crammed an unquestionably large 99Whr battery inside. That gives it a enormous leg up in longevity in comparison to other extremely-impressive desktop replacements in PCWorld’s battery operate-down take a look at, which is composed of looping a 4K online video in the Windows ten Motion pictures and Television set player, with brightness at 250 to 260 nits and audio at fifty %, till the device gives up the ghost.
The Alienware 17 R5’s 3-hour, forty five minute stamina would be awful in a mainstream laptop, to be honest. But in spite of all its more cores and fancy overclocking, it continue to lasts more than 90 minutes extended than competing superior-end laptops. Remarkable. The provided 330-watt electrical power brick expenses it fairly swiftly, much too.
Should really you invest in the Alienware 17 R5?
The previous Alienware 17 kicked ass. The new Alienware 17 R5 blows us absent.
The $3,810 model we examined pumps out more performance than we have ever witnessed in a gaming laptop with all-mobile areas. It provides over 55 % more multi-thread performance than its by now-strong immediate predecessor. CPU benchmarks this fast ended up basically unthinkable mere months ago. Alienware utilizes the more headroom to push the GTX 1080 tougher than right before, much too. And recall: The Alienware Command Heart allows you overclock the CPU and GPU for even more possible performance.
It is not for everyone, even though. Make positive you can use the Main i9’s more electrical power right before you shell out its sizeable quality. All those people cores and threads aren’t fully utilized in most online games, so if you system to use your laptop primarily for participate in, you’d be far better off conserving your income and likely with a more very affordable option, these kinds of as Intel’s new Main i7-8750H.
The Main i7 chip continue to surpasses earlier-gen performance by a extensive shot, and you will help you save $1,000 or more depending on the choice you select. Another model of the Alienware 17 R5 with a Main i7, a GTX 1070, and 16GB of RAM costs $1,900, for example—almost $2,000 significantly less than the lavish Main i9 loadout we have examined nowadays.
But if you unquestionably, positively require as a great deal transportable performance as feasible and are willing to shoulder a significant, significant device to get it, the Alienware 17 R5 ought to be near the top rated of your list. Combining a Main i9 mobile chip with an overclocked GTX 1080 effects in astounding performance. As a reward, the Alienware 17’s slick, sophisticated aesthetic tends to make the laptop glimpse more streamlined than it really is. Its performance is surpassed only by Origin’s EON17-X in our testing—a $3,712 beast that packs a impressive Main i7-8700K desktop processor, but with a considerably coarser style and design which is pretty much half an inch thicker and half as extensive-long lasting.
Refinement or uncooked electrical power: Pick your poison. Regardless of which you select, Main i9’s arrival signifies that mobile laptops can eventually rival top rated-tier tower PCs in performance. The Alienware 17 R5 heralds an thrilling upcoming. “Desktop replacements,” in fact.