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ALIENWARE M17 R3 Gaming Laptop Review

The freshly redesigned Alienware M17 R3 features the latest in technology – Intel CPUs, NVidia GPUs, and a 300Hz display, to name a few. On the outside, it features Alienware’s now-famous ‘Legend’ design, which is not only the best-looking line of gaming portables from Alienware, but also the slimmest. A few things have been altered for 2020, including a new stain- and smear-resistant chassis coating and a keyboard with additional 1.7mm travel. However, it is on the inside where Alienware has made the most strides in raising the bar for gaming. Alienware has invested more effort than any previous models in improving heat dissipation for 2020. Among the highlights are re-engineered ‘cryotech’ cooling with 39% more copper, a new CPU vapour chamber technology, and 25% more fan blades for both the CPU and GPU.

What the ALIENWARE M17 R3 Gaming Laptop Has to Offer

Alienware’s m17 R3 gaming laptop is a high-end gaming laptop targeted towards die-hard enthusiasts. With no variations in core functionality, it’s essentially a larger-screen version of the recently reviewed Alienware m15 R3—much like the Razer Blade 15 versus the Blade Pro 17, it’s a matter of preference for high-end, serious gamers. The m17 R3 retains the brand’s distinct sci-fi appearance, and the performance of our $3,409.99 setup is unmatched in this price range.

With a variety of configuration options and the advanced features that gamers seek, this is one of the best 17-inch gaming laptops on the market. Only the high price of its top versions and the short battery life of our test device prevent it from earning an Editors’ Choice award, as its m15 R3 sibling did. The Alienware m17’s third generation is here, and it’s even better than the previous two. The Alienware m17 R3 is a most powerful machine in the gaming laptop market, powered by Intel’s latest 10th Generation H-Series processor and an Nvidia Super GPU.

Not only is the laptop powerful, but it also exudes an extraterrestrial grace that is undeniably eye-catching. Additionally, it is one of the lightest desktop replacements available. Additionally, you receive an absolutely gorgeous 4K monitor that is well worth the price of admission. This is because improved cooling enables faster clock speeds. The M17’s 2070 Super jumps to 1,380MHz, while the M15’s 2080 Super Max-Q peaks out at 1,230MHz. The time difference between memory clocks is significantly greater. There, the M17 boasts a graphics memory speed of 1,750MHz, compared to the M15’s 1,375MHz. These frequency advantages add up because the 2070 Super has 2,560 CUDA cores compared to the 2080’s 3,072.

ALIENWARE M17 R3 Gaming Laptop: Specs and Design

Alienware m17 R3

Alienware’s Legend industrial design, with itsdeveloped take on an interplanetary combat station, continues to wow. Alienware’s new ‘Legend’ design approach made its debut with the monstrous Area-51M 17-inch beast early last year. It has since leaked down to the M15 and M17 variants, which are significantly thinner and lighter. It has been given a very minor facelift for 2020. At first appearance, the Alienware M17 R3 gaming laptop for 2020 appears to be a carbon copy of the 2019 model. On closer inspection, though, you’ll notice that the soft-touch chassis finish has been replaced by a more durable coating that Alienware claims is more resistant to marks and stains. Additionally, the keyboard benefits from a longer 1.7mm travel, however the M17’s keyboard bed isn’t nearly as solid as we’d prefer.

On the other side, there is a slight bounce that the smaller M15 does not experience. Nonetheless, the RGB illumination on each key will keep you occupied if you enjoy that sort of stuff. The giant lighting alien’s head is located in the top centre of the lid, while the lower-left corner features a giant geometric “17” decal. At the rear of the laptop is a black vent that also houses numerous important ports. By the way, if Lunar Light isn’t your style, the laptop is also available in Dark Side of the Moon –– a charcoal black finish. The M17’s overall physical proportions remain substantially unchanged. It weighs between 2.5 and 2.97 kg, depending on the specification, and measures 22mm or 0.86 inch in diameter. Thus, it’s quite slim for a true 17-inch gaming beast. However, this is not something you’d want to carry around, especially given the power supply’s weight.

 Processor

The real-world benefits of the M17’s increased cooling are evident in our benchmark results. In terms of in-game performance, this laptop equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2020 Super delivers extremely similar frame rates to its M15 counterpart equipped with a 2080 Super Max-Q. This is due to the larger and more efficient chassis’s ability to support greater GPU core, and notably memory clock speeds. Alienware equipped the m17 R3 gaming laptop with an most powerful Intel Core i9-10980HK octa-core processor, 32GB RAM, and two 1TB PCIe m.2 SSDs.

That is an enormous amount of strength, and it served me well. I caught up on The Dragon Prince episodes on Netflix. Despite the fact that I had 40 Google Chrome tabs open in the background, each with a variety of streams, films, and other CPU-intensive activities, my stream continued to run unabated. In general, the 2070 Super performs admirably in even the most demanding titles, such as Metro Exodus and Total War: Three Kingdoms. Even at the maximum image settings, you obtain an average frame rate of over 60 frames per second at 1080p.

It scored 29,955 on the Geekbench 4.3 total performance test, above the average premium gaming laptop’s score of 26,094 and the Predator’s score of 24,950 (Core i7-9750H). The Titan (Core i9-9900HK) and Mothership (Core i9-9980HK), on the other hand, achieved 32,167 and 34,879 points, respectively. The twin SSDs in the m17 R3 copied 4.97GB of multimedia data in 5 seconds, achieving a transfer rate of 1,082.8 megabytes per second. It outperforms the Predator (1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, 848MBps) and the category average of 866.2MBps. Both the Mothership (dual 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, 1272.5MBps) and Titan (2TB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1451.1MBps) were faster.

Battery

Given the gaming remit and 17-inch form factor, our expectations for the mains-free operating were fairly low. With the screen set to half of its dismal peak brightness, the Alienware M17 R3 gaming laptop still managed to outperform them with just over two and a half hours of undemanding video playback. All that power comes at the expense of a very short battery life. Due to the m17 R3’s powerful specifications, you’ll want to keep it handy to a power outlet. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test, the laptop lasted only 2 hours and 30 minutes (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness). This is longer than the Predator’s 1:48, but not as lengthy as the 4:14 average for premium gaming laptops, the Titan’s (3:45), or the Mothership’s (4:14). (4:41). Nobody rational purchases this type of system, expecting it has a long battery life. However, you would be justified in anticipating something more than a couple of hours.

Display

As is the case with the majority of 4K panels, the m17 R3 features a 60Hz refresh rate, which results in quite fluid gameplay. However, I’d like to test out the 1080p panel with a 300Hz refresh rate. With almost no lag, my shots land just where and when I intend, resulting in more accurate hits and attacks that look and feel significantly more surgical. Additionally, I’m hopeful Alienware discovers a method to incorporate Dell’s very thin InfinityEdge bezels into Alienware computers. I adore a 4K panel, even more so on an Alienware system. I’ve yet to come across one that isn’t unbelievably bright or vibrant. The same is true here.

While watching the Miss Virginia teaser, actress Uzo Aduba’s tan skin looked stunning on the 17.3-inch display, especially against her cranberry shirt with its blood-red embossed flower pattern. The details were sharp enough that I could see nearly every curl in her beautifully coiffed afro. The m17 R3 reproduced 166 percent of the sRGB colour spectrum, in keeping with Alienware’s trademark vividness. This is higher than the average premium gaming laptop score of 144 percent, as well as the Mothership and Titan’s scores of 102 percent and 157 percent.

The Triton, on the other hand, is slightly more bright, at 167 percent. Trials of Mana is already an aesthetically pleasing game, but playing it on the m17 R3’s screen seems to enhance the aesthetics even further. As I searched for my brother, the details were so crisp that I could pick out the minute fractures in the castle walls’ bricks. The planet itself was awash in vibrant hues, from the clear blue skies to the orangy-red hue of the flames that engulfed my character’s former house. Additionally, the m17 R3’s screen is extremely bright, averaging 591 nits. It easily outperformed the category average of 337 nits, as well as the Mothership (286 nits), Triton (324 nits), and Titan (324 nits) (376 nits).

ALIENWARE M17 R3 price and availability

The Alienware m17 R3 gaming laptop starts at $1,549 and is equipped with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD, an Intel UHD Graphics GPU, an AMD Radeon RX 5500M with 4GB of VRAM, and a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080p 144Hz display. The $2,249 midtier model doubles the RAM and includes two 256GB PCIe M.2 SSDs configured in RAID 0, an Intel UHD graphics card, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU with 8GB of VRAM, and a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display with a 144Hz refresh rate.

Cooling System

The cooling system is moderate in its effectiveness. It is neither excessively good nor excessively bad. After 15 minutes of fullscreen HD video playback, we assessed crucial locations on the laptop. The touchpad registered 79 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below our 95-degree criteria for comfort. The keyboard’s central axis reached 92 degrees, while the bottom axis reached 93 degrees.

Check out: ALIENWARE AREA-51M Gaming Laptop Review

Port Options

On the right, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A connections and a microSD card slot. On the left, there is another USB 3.2 Type-A connector, an Ethernet port, and a headphone jack. The majority of connectors are located on the back, including a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI 2.0, a mini DisplayPort, a DC jack, and a proprietary connector for the Alienware Graphics Amplifier.

Gaming Experience

The m17 R3 performed admirably in our gaming benchmarks, averaging 74 frames per second in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. That was enough to propel the game past the 68-frames-per-second premium gaming norm. However, the Predator and Titan achieved 79 frames per second with their own RTX 2080 GPUs, while the Mothership achieved a stunning 91 frames per second. At 4K, the Alienware, Acer, and MSI all tied for first place (28 fps). The m17 R3 achieved 98 frames per second in Grand Theft Auto V, above the 84 frames per second average.

Titan, Predator, and Mothership all achieved 105, 106, and 108 frames per second, respectively. At 4K, the Alienware matched the Titan’s 34 frames per second and outperformed the Predator’s 32 frames per second. The Alienware achieved 70 frames per second during Metro: Exodus, outperforming the 60 frames per second average and the Titan’s 68 frames per second. Mothership and Predator were slightly faster, at 78 and 71 frames per second, respectively. With 4K resolution, the m17 R3 tied the Titan at 34 frames per second, while the Predator reached 39 frames per second.

Alienware achieved a score of 11 on the SteamVR Performance test, matching the Predator, Mothership, Titan, and category average. With an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU and 8GB of VRAM, the Alienware m17 R3 is capable of almost anything. Whatever the game’s requirements, the laptop continuously maintained a high frame rate. In Trials of Mana, I faced multiple lethal assassins, gracefully escaping fatal attacks while responding with my own volleys. Finally, I connected with my spear and destroyed my adversaries with a frame rate of 61 frames per second in 4K. Additionally, when I reduced the resolution to 1920 x 1080, the frame rate increased to 102 frames per second. And while I wasn’t saving the world, the laptop switched to its integrated Intel UHD Graphics GPU.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard benefits from an increased travel distance of 1.7mm, however the M17’s keyboard bed isn’t nearly as firm as we’d prefer. There is a slight bounce, which the smaller M15 does not experience. Still, if you’re into that sort of thing, the per-key RGB illumination will keep you occupied. The touchpad is responsive and provides ample area for navigating web pages and documents. Windows 10 motions such as pinch-zoom and three-finger tap are simple to use and respond instantly.

When completing right or left mouse clicks, the touchpad’s bottom-right corners generate an audio response. Keyboard and touchpad for Alienware m17 R3 The keyboard on the m17 R3 is quite lovely. The chiclet keyboard twinkled in an exquisite rainbow spectrum, which, in my opinion, contrasts better with Lunar Light than with the Dark Side of the Moon. The keyboard is roomy and has a full numeric keypad. Additionally, as is customary, you may customise the backlighting on the keyboard, alien heads, and rear vent using one of the 16.8 million available colours and one of the five possible effects (Spectrum, Morph, Pulse, Color and Breathing).

Alienware m17 R3 PROS

  • Attractive, lightweight design ideal for replacing a desktop
  • Excellent visuals and performance in general
  • A stunning 4K display
  • Convenient keyboard
  • Excellent build quality
  • Excellent characteristics and components
  • A properly cooled GPU performs optimally.
  • A distinct science fiction aesthetic
  • Performance that is unmatched in our Core i9 with RTX 2080 Super combo
  • Sufficient power to enable its 300Hz display to be used in competitive multiplayer games
  • Numerous configuration possibilities
  • Excellent port choices and extras like as key-by-key illumination

Alienware m17 R3 CONS

  • Expensive in its configured state
  • Battery life is insufficient
  • This design may not be to everyone’s taste.
  • The 1080p panel is not particularly vivid.
  • Keyboard is a tad lacklustre.
  • Battery life is appalling

Wrapping Up

The Alienware m17 R3 exists at the nexus of beauty and strength. The laptop is one of the lightest desktop replacements available and features a stylish design that is uncommon in gaming laptops. However, beyond its breathtaking appearance, you’re looking at a laptop packed with some very powerful components that give the kind of performance you’d expect from a notebook of this kind. Combine that with a beautiful 4K display and a comfy keyboard, and you have the makings of a fantastic time.

The Alienware M17 performs admirably when set properly, owing to its powerful CPU-GPU combination coupled to a 300Hz display. However, if you’re searching for a more powerful laptop with a longer battery life, you might want to check out the Asus ROG Mothership. Alienware M17 is an excellent laptop. However, you may find the same or very similar components in other laptops for less money. You’re paying a hefty premium for the structure, style, and branding.

Check out: Alienware m17 R4 Gaming Laptop (2021): Review

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