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Alienware 15 R3 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1080 Max-Q, Full-HD) Laptop Review

Sascha Mölck, 👁 Florian Glaser, Tanja Hinum (translated by Katherine Bodner), 10/29/2017

Gaming bolide. The Alienware 15 R3 has a matte 60-Hz IPS display that supports Nvidia's G-Sync Technology. The potent hardware displays all current games smoothly.

For the original German review, click here.

The Alienware 15 R3 is not new to us: We tested a different configuration of this model a few months ago. Our current test unit is a little more powerful than the already-tested sister model. The Core i7-7820HK processor and GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q GPU promise quite some processing power. Some of its competitors are devices such as the Aorus X5 v7, the Acer Predator Triton 700 and the Eurocom Q5.

As both Alienware 15 R3 models have the same build, we will not be talking about case, connectivity, input devices and speakers. For more information on these aspects, please see the review of the already tested model.

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Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q (15 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q - 8192 MB, Core: 1290 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5X, 256-Bit interface, ForceWare 387.92, No Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2666, Dual-Channel, two slots (both occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, LG Philips LP156WF6 (LGD049B), IPS, 60 Hz, G-Sync, Full-HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel CM238
Storage
LiteOn CX2-8B256, 256 GB 
, PCIe SSD + HGST HTS721010A9E630, 1 TB HDD, 7200 rpm, free M.2-2280 drive bay
Soundcard
Realtek ALC298 @ Intel Sunrise Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphone-out, microphone-in, Sensors: shock sensor, Tobii Eye Tracking, Alienware Graphics Amplifier, TPM 2.0
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.4 x 389 x 305 ( = 1 x 15.31 x 12.01 in)
Battery
99 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: 4 zones, Keyboard Light: yes, 240-watt power supply, McAfee LiveSafe (trial version), MS Office 365 (trial version), 12 Months Warranty
Weight
3.55 kg ( = 125.22 oz / 7.83 pounds), Power Supply: 820 g ( = 28.92 oz / 1.81 pounds)
Price
2929 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Size Comparison

389 mm / 15.3 inch 305 mm / 12 inch 25.4 mm / 1 inch 3.6 kg7.83 lbs390 mm / 15.4 inch 272 mm / 10.7 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 2.6 kg5.73 lbs393 mm / 15.5 inch 266 mm / 10.5 inch 18.9 mm / 0.744 inch 2.4 kg5.27 lbs380 mm / 15 inch 249 mm / 9.8 inch 18.6 mm / 0.732 inch 2.2 kg4.81 lbs378 mm / 14.9 inch 261 mm / 10.3 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 2.3 kg5.07 lbs
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
697 MBit/s ∼100%
Acer Predator Triton 700
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
682 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Alienware 15 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
681 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
669 MBit/s ∼96% -4%
Aorus X5 v7
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
441 MBit/s ∼63% -37%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
563 MBit/s ∼100%
Alienware 15 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
560 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Acer Predator Triton 700
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
551 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Aorus X5 v7
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
496 MBit/s ∼88% -12%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
491 MBit/s ∼87% -13%

Display

Subpixel
Subpixel

While the 15 R3 model that we have already tested was equipped with a matte 120-Hz TN screen, our current test unit has a 60-Hz IPS display. It has a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and good brightness (296.9 cd/m²) and contrast (1093:1).

Unfortunately, the display has PWM flickering at a brightness level of 95% and below. The frequency of 21000 Hz is so high, however, that even sensitive users should not suffer from eye problems or headaches as a result.

The 60-Hz panel supports Nvidia's G-Sync technology. This dynamically adjusts the frame rates of display and GPU. This is supposed to create as smooth an image as possible, especially for computer games.

299
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
301
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LG Philips LP156WF6 (LGD049B)
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 309 cd/m² Average: 296.9 cd/m² Minimum: 17 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 306 cd/m²
Contrast: 1093:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.45 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.9 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
83% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 54% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.49
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
LG Philips LP156WF6 (LGD049B), 1920x1080, 15.6
Alienware 15 R3
HPJGK_B156HTN (AUO51ED), 1920x1080, 15.6
Acer Predator Triton 700
AUO B156HAN04.2 (AUO42ED), 1920x1080, 15.6
Aorus X5 v7
AU Optronics B156ZAN02.3 (AUO23EB), 3840x2160, 15.6
Eurocom Q5
ID: LGD04D4, Name: LG Philips LP156UD1-SPB1, 3840x2160, 15.6
Response Times
47%
-9%
-2%
8%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40 (19.6, 20.4)
25 (12, 13)
37%
44.8 (21.2, 23.6)
-12%
44 (21.2, 22.8)
-10%
32.4 (16, 16.4)
19%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (16, 12)
12 (4, 8)
57%
29.6 (15.6, 14)
-6%
26.4 (14, 12.4)
6%
28.8 (18.8, 10)
-3%
PWM Frequency
21100 (95)
Screen
-26%
-1%
4%
-16%
Brightness middle
306
386
26%
291
-5%
307
0%
287.5
-6%
Brightness
297
382
29%
277
-7%
297
0%
279
-6%
Brightness Distribution
89
93
4%
84
-6%
92
3%
87
-2%
Black Level *
0.28
0.39
-39%
0.22
21%
0.3
-7%
0.65
-132%
Contrast
1093
990
-9%
1323
21%
1023
-6%
442
-60%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.45
10.2
-87%
5.52
-1%
4.72
13%
4.5
17%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.45
15.81
-67%
10.72
-13%
8.07
15%
8.9
6%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.9
11.28
-130%
6.59
-34%
4.79
2%
4.6
6%
Gamma
2.49 88%
2.23 99%
2.44 90%
2.42 91%
2.39 92%
CCT
7062 92%
11383 57%
7816 83%
7690 85%
7393 88%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
54
59
9%
58
7%
60
11%
59
9%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
83
90
8%
89
7%
92
11%
92.3
11%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
11% / -14%
-5% / -2%
1% / 3%
-4% / -12%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 21100 Hz ≤ 95 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 21100 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 95 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 21100 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9418 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The display has a decent color display out of the box. With a DeltaE-2000 color deviation of 5.45, it is not too far from the ideal DeltaE value (below 3) and the screen does not have a blue cast. Still, calibrating brought slight improvements. The color deviation dropped to 3.28 and gray scales were displayed more evenly. The display cannot display the color spaces AdobeRGB and sRGB with rates of 54% (AdobeRGB) and 83% (sRGB).

Buyers can use the color profile from our calibration (available for download above) to improve the screen's color display. Please make sure that your device is equipped with the same display model (manufacturer + model number) as our test unit before using our color profile. Otherwise, the colors could worsen. It often happens that screens from different manufacturers are used for one notebook model.

CalMAN: gray scales
CalMAN: gray scales
CalMAN: gray scales (calibrated)
CalMAN: gray scales (calibrated)
CalMAN: color saturation
CalMAN: color saturation
CalMAN: color saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: color saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
Alienware 15 R3 vs. sRGB (83%)
Alienware 15 R3 vs. sRGB (83%)
Alienware 15 R3 vs. AdobeRGB (54%)
Alienware 15 R3 vs. AdobeRGB (54%)

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 60 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
40 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 20.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 45 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.8 ms).

Alienware has equipped this device with an IPS panel with stable viewing angles. This means that the screen can be read from any position. The notebook can be used outdoors, but only if the sun is not shining too bright.

The 15 R3 outdoors (under overcast sky).
The 15 R3 outdoors (under overcast sky).
viewing angles
viewing angles

Performance

Alienware's 15 R3 is a 15.6-inch gaming notebook that can display all current games smoothly. Our test unit is available for $2500 according to Dell. Other configurations are available from $1200.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
LatencyMon

Processor

The device is powered by a Core i7-7820HK (Kaby Lake) quad-core processor. The CPU has a TDP of 45 watts and is a common mobile processor. The quad-core processor has a base clock rate of 2.9 GHz. This can be increased to 3.5 GHz (four cores), 3.7 GHz (two cores) and 3.9 GHz (one core) via the turbo. The CPU ran our single thread tests at 3.5 to 3.7 GHz and the Cinebench Multithread tests at a rate of 3.5 GHz. Only towards the end of the benchmark did the clock rate drop to 3.2 to 3.3 GHz.

Single-core rendering
Single-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
GPU load
GPU load

We test whether the turbo runs constantly by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark in a loop for 30 minutes. The results dropped slightly to about 730 points after the second round, but then remained at that level. So performance does drop slightly and the turbo then runs continuously between 3.2 and 3.3 GHz.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

The results of our CPU tests are average for this specific processor. A look at the comparison table shows that the Aorus X5 v7, equipped with the same CPU, does a little better. This is because the notebook allows overclocking the CPU.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6814
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22793
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6091
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
76.08 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.41 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.85 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
121.31 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
767 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
166 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus X5 v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
174 Points ∼100% +5%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
166 Points ∼95%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼92% -4%
Acer Predator Triton 700
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
156 Points ∼90% -6%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
152 Points ∼87% -8%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Aorus X5 v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
827 Points ∼100% +8%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
767 Points ∼93%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
738 Points ∼89% -4%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼89% -4%
Acer Predator Triton 700
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
734 Points ∼89% -4%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
6091 Points ∼100%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5877 Points ∼96% -4%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
22793 Points ∼100%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21824 Points ∼96% -4%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
14476 Points ∼100%
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
3926 Points ∼100%
Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
15042 Points ∼100%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
4867 Points ∼100%
Geekbench 4.4
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
15838 Points ∼100%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
4952 Points ∼100%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-7820HK
285.05 Points ∼100%
Eurocom Q5
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
263.75 Points ∼93% -7%

System Performance

We have nothing to complain about the device's system performance. It runs smoothly and quickly and we encountered no difficulties. The very good results in the PCMark benchmarks show, that the device offers more than enough performance for all usual areas of usage. This includes gaming, image processing and video editing. It is not possible to increase the system performance as Alienware has already made full use of all the device's components.

PCMark 7 Score
6972 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
5121 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
7892 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5305 points
Help
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
5305 Points ∼100%
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5299 Points ∼100% 0%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, 2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
5211 Points ∼98% -2%
Eurocom Q5
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
4891 Points ∼92% -8%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, 2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
5160 Points ∼100% +1%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK, LiteOn CX2-8B256
5121 Points ∼99%
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
4966 Points ∼96% -3%
Aorus X5 v7
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
4718 Points ∼91% -8%
Eurocom Q5
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
3829 Points ∼74% -25%

Storage Devices

Alienware has equipped this notebook with a 256-GB NVMe SSD from LiteOn. The SSD is connected via a PCI Express 3.0 x4, which enables significantly higher transfer rates than a SATA III interface would. Apart from the SSD, the device also has a conventional 2.5-inch hard drive. This runs at 7200 RPM and offers 1 TB of storage.

The notebook has a second M.2-2280 drive bay where users have the option of installing a second SSD.

LiteOn CX2-8B256
Sequential Read: 1840 MB/s
Sequential Write: 802.3 MB/s
512K Read: 943.7 MB/s
512K Write: 671 MB/s
4K Read: 43.03 MB/s
4K Write: 141 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 595 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 403.6 MB/s
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
LiteOn CX2-8B256
Aorus X5 v7
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Alienware 15 R3
 
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
19%
-20%
Write 4k QD32
403.6
555.5
38%
429.8
6%
Read 4k QD32
595
697.2
17%
541.7
-9%
Write 4k
141
137.8
-2%
122.9
-13%
Read 4k
43.03
44
2%
37.8
-12%
Write 512
671
1101
64%
428.1
-36%
Read 512
943.7
1086
15%
833.2
-12%
Write Seq
802.3
1076
34%
429.2
-47%
Read Seq
1840
1479
-20%
1123
-39%

Graphics

The Alienware 15 R3 is equipped with Nvidia's GeForce-GTX-1080-Max-Q GPU. This is a trimmed down version of the normal GTX 1080, which should be more efficient and is designed for slim and light notebooks. As a result, the Max-Q version has slightly less processing power. The model in our test unit has a base frequency of 1290 MHz. This can be increased to up to 1709 MHz via the turbo, although this clock rate cannot be kept up for long. We measured an average working speed of 1580 MHz. The GPU can access 8192 MB of GDDR5X memory. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 is not turned off and can be seen in the Device Manager. But the device does not support graphics switching (Optimus) and therefore the integrated GPU cannot be used.

3DMark 06 Standard
31555 points
3DMark 11 Performance
17829 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
134673 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
28375 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
14631 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
7998 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
5793 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Guru Mars K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
29615 Points ∼100% +21%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
29109 Points ∼98% +19%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
24425 Points ∼82%
Acer Predator Triton 700
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
23694 Points ∼80% -3%
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
22810 Points ∼77% -7%
Aorus X5 v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
22241 Points ∼75% -9%
Eurocom Q5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
18684 Points ∼63% -24%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Guru Mars K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
21778 Points ∼100% +18%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
21366 Points ∼98% +15%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
18505 Points ∼85%
Acer Predator Triton 700
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
18120 Points ∼83% -2%
Alienware 15 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
17675 Points ∼81% -4%
Aorus X5 v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
16349 Points ∼75% -12%
Eurocom Q5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
14557 Points ∼67% -21%

Gaming Performance

The CPU-GPU combination can display all the games in our database smoothly in Full HD resolution and maximum quality settings. If you choose a resolution of above FHD, some games might have difficulties keeping up - but this would require connecting an external screen anyway. 

We run the game "The Witcher 3" for 60 minutes at 1920x1080 pixels and maximum settings in order to check whether the frame rates remain constant over a prolonged period of time. The character does not move around at all during the entire period of testing. In our case, the frame rates sunk from 62 to 65 FPS at first to 57 to 60 FPS. This is not really a drop in performance.

01234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829303132333435363738394041424344454647484950515253545556575859606162636465Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

The frame rates are on par with those of the comparison devices. Notebooks that are equipped with a "normal" GTX 1080 GPU offer up to 20% higher frame rates. The exact values vary from game to game, as you can see if you take a look at our comparison table.

The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
75.9 fps ∼100% +18%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
75.9 fps ∼100% +18%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
64.9 fps ∼86% +1%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK
64.2 fps ∼85%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
62.9 fps ∼83% -2%
Aorus X5 v7
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
61.1 fps ∼81% -5%
Eurocom Q5
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
46 fps ∼61% -28%
Prey - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2TX SM AF:16x
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK
140.8 fps ∼100%
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
140 fps ∼99% -1%
Eurocom Q5
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
138.7 fps ∼99% -1%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
136 fps ∼97% -3%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
134 fps ∼95% -5%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
133 fps ∼94% -6%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK
151.7 fps ∼100%
Eurocom Q5
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
130.5 fps ∼86% -14%
Ghost Recon Wildlands - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x
Guru Mars K
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7700
61.6 fps ∼100% +13%
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
61.4 fps ∼100% +12%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
55.4 fps ∼90% +1%
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7820HK
54.6 fps ∼89%
Acer Predator Triton 700
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
54.5 fps ∼88% 0%
low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 486.5461.9419.2230.4fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 272.3243.6232151.7fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 278.6201.6122.464.2fps
For Honor (2017) 229.6161.2152.9121.3fps
Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017) 131.7101.494.954.6fps
Prey (2017) 141.7142139.8140.8fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017) 14613211188fps
The Evil Within 2 (2017) 90.166.66462.6fps

Emissions

System Noise

The notebook's cooling fans can sometimes stand still while idling, but usually they run at low speed. Normally, all you can hear is the noise from the 2.5-inch hard drive. The 15 R3 model that we have tested recently was very annoying as its cooling fans kept turning up while idling. This is a lot better in our current test unit, and the problem hardly ever occurred during our testing period.

Naturally, the cooling fans turn up under load. We measured 50 dB(A) during our stress test. The fans are a little quieter while gaming: between 42 and 50 dB(A) (average:46 dB(A)). If you look at the CPU and GPU temperatures, the results are lower than necessary. In other words: the cooling fans could run at lower speeds and would still offer sufficient cooling. This could be readjusted in a BIOS update. 

We did not hear any additional noises such as whining or whistling from inside the test unit.

system noise idle
system noise idle
system noise load
system noise load
system noise speaker
system noise speaker

Noise Level

Idle
32 / 33 / 35 dB(A)
HDD
33 dB(A)
Load
46 / 50 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Acer Predator Triton 700
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Aorus X5 v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Eurocom Q5
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Guru Mars K
7700, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Noise
-0%
-6%
2%
-4%
-7%
-8%
off / environment *
29
31
-7%
30
-3%
29
-0%
30
-3%
29
-0%
30
-3%
Idle Minimum *
32
33
-3%
35
-9%
31.5
2%
31
3%
36
-13%
33
-3%
Idle Average *
33
34
-3%
36
-9%
33.8
-2%
32
3%
37
-12%
34
-3%
Idle Maximum *
35
40
-14%
40
-14%
33.8
3%
42
-20%
40
-14%
38
-9%
Load Average *
46
41
11%
43
7%
41.7
9%
49
-7%
45
2%
44
4%
Witcher 3 ultra *
48
43
10%
49
-2%
41.7
13%
50
-4%
56
-17%
Load Maximum *
50
48
4%
55
-10%
54.2
-8%
50
-0%
55
-10%
62
-24%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The results of our stress test (Prime95 and FurMark running for at least one hour) were different depending on whether the device was running on power supply or on battery. When connected to power, the processor worked at 2.8 2.9 GHz. The speed of the GPU lay between 1000 and 1200 MHz. On battery, the Alienware 15 R3 is a lot more relaxed. The processor had a constant clock rate of 2.4 GHz, the GPU ran between 300 and 400 MHz.

Considering the high-performing hardware that the device is equipped with, the heat development of the case is not too bad. During the stress test, we measured temperatures of over 50 °C (~122 °F) at several points. The device heated up a little less during the Witcher 3 test (the game runs for 1 hour at Full HD resolution and maximum quality settings). 

stress test
stress test
full load top (Optris PI 640)
full load top (Optris PI 640)
full load bottom (Optris PI 640)
full load bottom (Optris PI 640)
Max. Load
 45 °C
113 F
47 °C
117 F
44 °C
111 F
 
 41 °C
106 F
46 °C
115 F
46 °C
115 F
 
 27 °C
81 F
27 °C
81 F
27 °C
81 F
 
Maximum: 47 °C = 117 F
Average: 38.9 °C = 102 F
54 °C
129 F
53 °C
127 F
47 °C
117 F
55 °C
131 F
55 °C
131 F
46 °C
115 F
32 °C
90 F
34 °C
93 F
31 °C
88 F
Maximum: 55 °C = 131 F
Average: 45.2 °C = 113 F
Power Supply (max.)  46 °C = 115 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.9 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 47 °C / 117 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 55 °C / 131 F, compared to the average of 42.2 °C / 108 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 31.7 °C / 89 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(-) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 38.2 °C / 101 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27 °C / 80.6 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (+1.8 °C / 3.2 F).
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Acer Predator Triton 700
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Aorus X5 v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Eurocom Q5
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Guru Mars K
7700, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Heat
-5%
1%
4%
2%
12%
3%
Maximum Upper Side *
47
61
-30%
64
-36%
56.2
-20%
46
2%
46
2%
46
2%
Maximum Bottom *
55
69
-25%
56
-2%
61.2
-11%
51.8
6%
46
16%
57
-4%
Idle Upper Side *
36
29
19%
29
19%
27.8
23%
36.5
-1%
32
11%
34
6%
Idle Bottom *
38
32
16%
30
21%
29.6
22%
38.2
-1%
31
18%
35
8%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2030.840.22527.232.13127.231.54028.738.95024.527.5632426.380232910022.539.512522.245.816021.948.620020.955.325019.660.331519.263.54001864.550017.366.863017.572.180016.876.1100017.978.7125016.579.2160016.776.7200016.578250016.773.8315016.972.940001773.6500016.773.3630016.967.7800016.869.21000016.766.81250016.770.11600016.565.7SPL29.187N1.268.8median 16.9median 69.2Delta1.36.646.33739.732.833.12936.637.327.828.127.327.326.528.724.932.522.932.120.937.222.348.721.152.120.555.618.760.318.76217.865.717.666.717.164.117.169.717.369.417.468.717.46617.964.918.259.617.962.818.264.418.364.119.161.719.261.41957.730.1781.341.4median 18.3median 621.45.9hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAlienware 15 R3 Max-QAorus X5 v7
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 6.6% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (4.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 37% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 15% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Aorus X5 v7 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 44% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 43% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 22% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 71% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (checkboxes can be turned on/off!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

There were no anomalies in the device's power consumption. For a notebook with deactivated graphics switching solution, it has average consumption rates while idling. Consumption increased to 215 watts during our stress test, but the 240-watt power supply is large enough for this device. Power consumption is lower while gaming and the notebook required 159 watts during our Witcher 3 test.

A look at the comparison table confirms the difference between the power consumption of GTX 1080 Max-Q notebooks and notebooks that are equipped with the "normal" GTX 1080 GPU. While the normal GTX 1080 GPUs can offer up to 20% higher frame rates, its power consumption is 40% higher.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.01 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 22 / 26 / 33 Watt
Load midlight 86 / 215 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Acer Predator Triton 700
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
Aorus X5 v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Eurocom Q5
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Guru Mars K
7700, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
MSI GT75VR 7RF-012 Titan Pro
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Power Consumption
-15%
-13%
35%
10%
-43%
-50%
Idle Minimum *
22
28
-27%
26
-18%
9
59%
19
14%
31
-41%
34
-55%
Idle Average *
26
33
-27%
31
-19%
13.5
48%
23
12%
37
-42%
41
-58%
Idle Maximum *
33
41
-24%
36
-9%
13.7
58%
29
12%
44
-33%
50
-52%
Load Average *
86
94
-9%
93
-8%
87.8
-2%
85
1%
116
-35%
106
-23%
Load Maximum *
215
222
-3%
240
-12%
158.6
26%
192
11%
312
-45%
320
-49%
Witcher 3 ultra *
159
160
-1%
176
-11%
129
19%
259
-63%
257
-62%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Despite having higher processing power and the same battery size, our current device appears to have more stamina than the model that we have already tested.

The Alienware 15 R3 ran for 5:21h during our practical Wi-Fi test. For this, we simulated the load of accessing websites using a script with the power profile set to "balanced", energy saving turned off and screen brightness set to 150 cd/m². The 15.6-inch device ran our video test for 5:01h. For this, we run the short film Big Buck Bunny (H.264 coding, 1920x1080pixels) in a loop. The communication module and energy-saving mode are turned off and display brightness set to 150 cd/m².

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 04min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 41)
5h 21min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 53min
Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 99 Wh
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 99 Wh
Acer Predator Triton 700
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 54 Wh
Aorus X5 v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 94 Wh
Eurocom Q5
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 55 Wh
Battery Runtime
-13%
-56%
-44%
-23%
Reader / Idle
424
382
-10%
150
-65%
208
-51%
466
10%
H.264
301
266
-12%
106
-65%
163
-46%
WiFi v1.3
321
264
-18%
144
-55%
151
-53%
258
-20%
Load
113
102
-10%
70
-38%
84
-26%
47
-58%

Verdict

Pros

+ IPS screen
+ NVMe SSD
+ a lot of features (macro keys, Eye Tracking, ...)
+ clever port distribution
+ a lot of configuration options
+ a lot of lighting elements
+ great case quality
+ useful Alienware tools
+ good input devices
+ very high performance
+ strong battery
+ Thunderbolt 3
+ G-Sync

Cons

- basic warranty only 12 months
- sound could be better
- borderline weight
- no memory card reader
The Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q, test unit provided by Dell Germany.
The Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q, test unit provided by Dell Germany.

The Alienware 15 R3 displays all current computer games smoothly on its matte FHD screen.

No compromises: Every game runs smoothly at the maximum quality settings.

Should the GPU become too weak someday, you can connect an external GPU via the Thunderbolt 3 port or Graphics Amplifier.

The NVMe SSD is fast as the wind and enables a smooth and fast-running system. The device is also equipped with a 1-TB hard drive. Both storage devices can be exchanged. The battery runtimes are very decent for a device with this level of performance.

The display also offers significant changes compared to the already-tested 15 R3 model. While the sister model is equipped with a 120-Hz TN panel, our current test unit offers a 60-Hz IPS panel. The matte 15.6-inch display has stable viewing angles, a good contrast ratio and sufficient brightness. Only the response time is higher than that of the TN panel.

The Alienware 15 R3 model that we have already tested had a big problem with temperatures and system noise, which was connected to the CPU heating up irregularly. This did not occur in our current test unit and the cores heated up evenly.

Alienware 15 R3 Max-Q - 10/27/2017 v6(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
90 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
74 / 81 → 91%
Weight
53 / 10-66 → 77%
Battery
82%
Display
86%
Games Performance
97%
Application Performance
96%
Temperature
81 / 95 → 86%
Noise
72 / 90 → 80%
Audio
72%
Average
81%
88%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Alienware 15 R3 (i7-7820HK, GTX 1080 Max-Q, Full-HD) Laptop Review
Sascha Mölck, 2017-10-29 (Update: 2017-10-30)