Alienware 17 R5 review
Despite going nearly two years without new graphics processors, Alienware has been able to deliver an exciting upgrade to its 17-inch gaming laptop by integrating a number of the first Intel i9 processors seen on a notebook. Together with these new hexa-core Coffee Lake processors, desktop-class processing capacity has been brought to heel on laptops.
Sure, you might state full-on desktop CPUs already made their way to devices such as the Origin EON17-SLX and PC Specialist Octane II Pro. However unlike all those devices that were only fitted using a full-size processor, the Alienware 17 R5 is designed to deliver on both the performance and battery life without compromise -- even although your bank account may languish as you drain it out for this particular baller machine.
Price and availability
The Alienware 17 R5 starts at a fairly decent $1,549 cost and can be equipped with an Intel Core i7-8750H, factory overclocked Nvidia GTX 1060, Full HD IPS display, 8GB of RAM along with 1TB hybrid drive. You may scoff at the solid-state hybrid , but it is far better than a plain old spinning drive -- and you always have the option to install an inexpensive SSD in the future.
Regrettably, the united kingdom and Australian listings with this laptop are somewhat behind the curve. The starting configuration in these lands still includes a previous generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a normal Nvidia GTX 1060 and 8GB of RAM -- but a 128GB SSD complemented by an 1TB HDD -- for £1,348 or AU$2,298. To consider the most recent 8th generation CPUs, you are going to need to spend at least £1,849 or even AU$2,999 to an Intel Core i7-8750H-powered platform that also doubles the memory capability.
Our own review arrangement features an nearly fully-loaded spec list to get an equally remarkable $3,949 (£3,235, AU$5,465). It has been some time since we have seen the cost of a gaming notebook go very large, but it seems par for the course so far as Intel Core i9 machines go.
The 3,999 (£3,499, AU$5,899) MSI GT75 Titan prices up to the Alienware 17 R5 for equal specifications. Meanwhile, the Asus ROG G703GI runs to get a little less 3,699 or £3,499 (about AU$2,745) while incorporating a 2TB HDD.
That said, the Alienware 17 R5 differentiates itself using a factory overclocked Nvidia GTX 1080, QHD (2,560 x 1,440) 120Hz G-Sync display and an integrated Tobii Eye monitoring module. The two Asus and MSI's competing programs feature Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution displays ranked for 144Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, respectively.
The Alienware 17 R5's design remains unsurprisingly and incredibly unchanged because its own chassis was passed in 2016. Despite approaching its second birthday, Alienware's hinge forward design remains fresh and distinctive from the laptop world. At the exact same time, it is notable that this 17-inch laptop did not need to get any thicker to adapt for the two additional processor cores inside the computer system.
Rather, Alienware's 17-inch gaming laptop maintains the exact same 16.7 x 13.1 x 1.18-inch (42.4 x 33.2 x 2.99cm; W x D x H) measurements and 9.74 pound (4.42kg) pounds of a year's R4 model. Of course, this system is by no means small and mild. Its almost 10-pound weight will wear out you out and its own square-shaped proportions makes it embarrassing to discover a suitable laptop tote.
But, then again, this is a lot more of desktop replacement method than the usual gaming laptop you are going to want to drag around.
It comes packed with all the luxuries you expect out of battle channel, such as a keyboard having 2.2mm of key travel and tactile responsiveness to cause you to forget about a mechanical gaming keyboard. Meanwhile, the 2.1 stereo speakers are powerful enough to conquer the system's loud fans and provide you a remarkably booming gaming experience even without needing to plug into a gaming headset.
This past year, we believed that the Tobii eye-tracking feature to be an excess add-on, and sadly Alienware has determined to tie this update to high-res screen options. Consequently, if you would like the exact same 1440p display according to our review unit or a 4K panel, then get used to seeing just two eye-tracking red dots below it.
The very best use we got out of the eye-tracking module remains to be Assassin's Creed Syndicate, in which we can use our eyes as a'third principle' for planning our grappling hook. Otherwise, the Tobii-integration in other games is generally only awesome or nauseating in the worst.
There are arguably several Windows-level uses for Tobii's eye-tracking technology, such as Windows Hello login and existence detection; notification your laptop to dim the screen or go to sleep if you are looking at it. But, you will still get the identical presence detection features should you forgo this excess Tobii option and stick with Alienware's stock webcam.
Display and big screen
Of course, a huge portion of the desktop replacement's bundle is the 17-inch QHD screen. The TN-panel may sound disappointing on paper, however the colour black and depth levels of this display are nearly as good as an IPS screen.
Then the 120Hz refresh rate produces this display sing a much sweeter tune as you watch your favourite games go beyond the now pedestrian 60 fps and to the bliss of high-refresh prices. The spectacle is created even more joyous once you enjoy the fact that the Alienware 17 R5 is so overpowered that it can really push games in a greater 1440p resolution and find the wiggle room for much more frames per minute.
An Intel Core i9 processor combined with a factory overclocked Nvidia GTX 1080 makes for a monster mix. By extending the CPU bottleneck only a small bit, the Alienware 17 R5 proves Nvidia's aging Maxwell GPUs still have a tiny performance to provide by producing a number of the greatest graphics scores and frame rates in games we have seen from a gaming laptop.
Alienware's 17-inch gaming laptop wipes the floor using the Asus ROG G703GI in all the 3DMark tests. Thoughit seems like Asus can maintain its Core i9 a part in a greater frequency, since it scores much better at both Cinebench and Geekbench. This is probably because of the ROG G703GI using two electricity bricks, whereas the Alienware 17 R5 only is determined by one.
The excess throughput of the Intel Core i9 CPU also empowers Asus' 17-inch to run equally overall War: Warhammer II and also Shadow of War in 1080p and Ultra-quality settings with marginally higher frame prices. Nonetheless, it's notable that these 2 laptops have been able to overpower the prior graphics titan, Aorus X9, that came equipped with two Nvidia GTX 1070s at SLI.
Outside of our conventional benchmarking, the Alienware 17 R5 runs Vermintide II at a continuous 100 fps even in the face of a giant AI-powered horde, and people running the game at maximum settings and 1440p. We see both smooth experiences while playing State of Decay 2 and FarCry 5 -- both running in a typical 90 fps even with V-Sync switched on.
Regardless of the greater energy requirements of its Intel Core i9 processor, the Alienware 17 R5 proves to possess even greater battery life than its predecessor. Compared to the R4 predecessor, this year's model conducted for one hour and eight minutes longer on PCMark 8 and 21 minutes longer on our customary regional video playback evaluation.
That's also much longer than the Asus ROG G703GI that just was able to hang on to get a gloomy 1 hour and 29 minutes at PCMark 8 1 hour 53 minutes in our picture evaluation.
Of course, four hours maximum with routine use is not actually actually usable in the event the go, so we'd recommend always traveling with this laptop's power adapter if you are going to carry it outside.
The Alienware 17 R5 is a incredibly performant machine, in case you are prepared to cough up the wads of money for a high-end setup. You can absolutely go to get a lower-priced setup and still get a fantastic experience out of it. However, so much as our baller strategy goes, we are completely impressed with what Alienware has on offer .
Mixing Intel Core i9 energy using a factory overclocked Nvidia GTX 1080 has unlocked a new level of graphical and gaming performance for notebooks. All the time, Alienware's impeccable build quality continues to impress, and you will get a surprising quantity of battery life out of the 17-inch machine.
In terms of Intel Core i9 gaming laptops we've tested up to now, the Alienware 17 R5 seems the most balanced between performance and everyday usability.