The Alienware m17 R5 (starts at $1,599.99; $2,649.99 as tested) is the newest model in Alienware’s M line of full-size high-end gaming laptops, pushing the limits of power with an internal upgrade to the m17 R4. Our evaluation machine is an all-AMD design with a Radeon 6850M XT GPU and an eight-core Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, which together produced some quite impressive performance results. On this large-screen laptop, playing demanding AAA games is a snap. While our model had a 4K resolution display with a 120Hz peak refresh rate, 1080p players may select a mind-blowingly quick 480Hz panel instead. The m17 R5’s surprisingly long battery life belies its weight and girth, and Alienware’s distinctive sci-fi aesthetic is still present.
The R5, which is an enthusiast laptop full and through, is really competitively priced in comparison to its rivals thanks to its starting price and flexible configuration options. It is the new Editors’ Choice winner among premium 17-inch gaming laptops due to all of these characteristics. With its Core i9 Intel HX CPU, MSI’s GT77 Titan, which was tested a few days ago, holds its own Editors Choice title for the best high-end laptop (more about which in our testing section). However, for contemporary budgets, the Alienware should prove to be the more popular option.
There isn’t much to say about the Alienware m17 R5’s design because it mostly follows that of earlier iterations. That’s not a problem: The sci-fi design, which indicates that this is a gaming PC without being too flamboyant, is unusual and has a ringed back LED light and a futuristic lid logo. The white Lunar Light we’ve seen in previous evaluations is not an option for the R5, which is only offered in Alienware’s Dark Side of the Moon colour scheme.
The maximum-power M series continues to be the preferred performance option at 15 and 17 inches, despite Alienware’s current promotion of its more streamlined X series. The X models emphasise thinness at the expense of raw power, whereas the m15 and m17 have been among the frame-rate leaders in their respective sizes. The m17 R5 maintains this distinction.
The R5 isn’t very thick, but I wouldn’t describe it as small either. It measures 1.05 by 15.6 by 11.8 inches, which is rather slim compared to the bulky 17-inch gamers of the past (HWD). That’s basically in line with the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17, one of our favourite large gaming rigs, which has dimensions of 1.11 by 15.6 by 11.1 inches.
Resolutions and Refresh Rates: 480Hz, 4K, and More!
As previously indicated, the screen on our test unit features 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixel) resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, both of which are enthusiast-grade specifications. The picture is clear, brilliant, and bright, and the quality is superb as well. The most intensive 3D games are still challenging to play at 4K, but you’ll value the 120Hz view for lighter games. Since the system is readily capable of achieving 144 or 240 frames per second (fps) at 1080p or 1440p, you might desire for a higher refresh rate if you manually set games to lower resolutions.
Three full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixel) screens from Alienware are available, with refresh rates of 165Hz, 360Hz, and 480Hz. As an all-AMD system, ours included a screen that supported AMD FreeSync and SmartAccess Graphics, which causes the system to immediately transition to the discrete GPU while running graphics-demanding programmes. The Nvidia counterparts of the technologies are G-Sync and Advanced Optimus. To minimise performance loss, every model has a MUX switch that enables the GPU to operate the panel directly rather than via the on-chip graphics.
Even if video chatting is probably not this laptop’s major application, the webcam’s lowly 720p quality is disappointing considering the price. There are also some other features that undoubtedly add to the high cost but which you might not immediately notice. These include a cutting-edge cooling system—our model uses Alienware’s Cryotech design, which has a bigger vapour chamber than the R4, as well as smaller, more effective CPU and GPU fans—as well as Smart Fan control, which dynamically adjusts the speed of various fans. Additional features include the aforementioned AMD graphics technology, as well as the Alienware Command Centre programme for lighting control, game library management, power management tweaking, and other functions.
Ryzen CPUs with AMD and Nvidia GPU Options: A Component Check
Although the configuration of our test device is towards the top of Alienware’s options for the m17 R5, not all versions must be nearly as powerful or exclusively AMD-compatible as ours. There are several Nvidia GPUs available. Prices start at $1,599.99 on Dell’s website, which is midrange but leaning toward the upper end for this machine. It has a 165Hz full HD screen powered by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, and a non-mechanical keyboard with single-zone RGB illumination.
Our evaluation model, which costs $2,649.99, has a Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, AMD’s Radeon 6850M XT GPU, a 4K monitor, and a Cherry mechanical keyboard, all of which are increasing in price and power. The GPU is set up with a massive 175 watt power ceiling, which has a significant impact on the performance figures below.
Naturally, there are a number of alternatives available both above and below our device, as well as between it and the standard model. The GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 6700M are mid-range GPUs, while Nvidia fans might choose the RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti. SSD capacities increase to 2TB and 4TB.
Enhancing Alienware’s Vision
While the Alienware m17 R5 doesn’t precisely revolutionise the R4, it does provide more sophisticated features and improved performance. The m17 has space to breathe as Alienware’s biggest and most powerful alternative because the x15 and x17 are the brand’s smaller options. It provides a tonne of value and even extends the battery life.
Although some high-end competitors may be quicker in some ways, the R5 excels as a gaming-first computer with incredibly high frame rates and a wide range of configuration possibilities. If you’re a frame-rate-first customer, our unit’s 175-watt GPU makes a strong case for itself. It is undoubtedly expensive, but not significantly more so than its competitors, and the beginning price is more in the middle.
With the most up-to-date parts and configuration choices, the Alienware m17 R5 is a powerful gaming laptop that maintains the brand’s distinct look while reaching new performance peaks.