Alienware 17 R5, Core i9, GTX 1080
Average of 3 scores (from 5 reviews)
Reviews for the Alienware 17 R5, Core i9, GTX 1080
Source: Good Gear Guide
The Alienware 17 R5 oesn’t reinvent the wheel but it does live up the brand’s legacy in all the right ways.
Single Review, online available, Medium, Date: 09/07/2018
Rating: Total score: 80%
Source: Laptop Media
The Alienware 17 R5 lived up to our expectations. Performance-wise you can’t get much better. Maybe the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 can beat the Core i9-8950HK in some benchmarks but real-world performance shouldn’t be any different. And as far as GPU performance goes, the GTX 1080 is the best on the market for now. We are waiting for NVIDIA’s new GPUs which should release soon judging by all the rumors.
Single Review, online available, Very Long, Date: 08/23/2018
Source: PC World
The Alienware 17 R5 is a slickly designed gaming laptop that leverages Intel's first Core i9 mobile chip and an overclocked GeForce GTX 1080 to deliver desktop-class power. It's heavy and expensive though.
Single Review, online available, Long, Date: 06/22/2018
Rating: Total score: 80%
Source: Good Gear Guide
Refinement or raw power: Pick your poison. Regardless of which you choose, Core i9’s arrival means that mobile laptops can finally rival top-tier tower PCs in performance. The Alienware 17 R5 heralds an exciting future. “Desktop replacements,” indeed.
Single Review, online available, Long, Date: 06/22/2018
Source: Laptop Mag
The new Alienware 17 R5 delivers excellent gaming power in a sleeker, hinge-forward design with captivating sound and lighting effects.
Single Review, online available, Long, Date: 06/05/2018
Rating: Total score: 80%
Model: Alienware has updated its 17-inch gaming laptop with Intel i9 processors. The new hexa-core Coffee Lake chips are supposed to bring desktop-class processing power to laptops. This variant features a factory overclocked Nvidia GTX 1080, QHD (2,560 x 1,440) 120Hz G-Sync display, and an integrated Tobii Eye tracking module.
Design and Connectivity
In 2018, the new Alienware 17 R5 uses the same chassis as the 2016 model. It still sticks to the hinge forward design. Dell specifies a size of 424 x 332 x 29.9 mm (16.7 x 13.1 x 1.181 inch) and an average weight of 4.42 kg (9.74 lbs). Hence, size and weight remained unchanged when compared to last year’s R4 model. www.techradar.com complains, “Its nearly 10-pound weight will wear you out and its square-shaped proportions makes it awkward to find a suitable laptop bag.”. www.tomshardware.com finds, “While this model retains the same basic shape as versions from previous years with aggressive angles and a spaceship theme, the laptop’s aluminum frame is all-black, giving it a serious aesthetic that means business.”. They report that the deck surrounding the keyboard is covered in a soft-touch material that feels luxurious to lay your wrists on, but wished the keyboard were slightly further forward. www.digitaltrends.com finds the thick bezels around its display look dated compared to smaller, slimmer offerings.
The connectivity includes a RJ-45 Killer Networks e2500 Gigabit Ethernet port, two Type-A SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports (one of them with PowerShare technology), a Type-C SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port, a Thunderbolt 3 port (USB Type-C with support for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 40Gbps Thunderbolt, and DisplayPort), an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, an HDMI 2.0 output, a Mini-Display Port 1.2 output, an audio out and a headphone port, and a Noble Lock port. In www.digitaltrends.com’s opinion the port selection is pretty standard.
The Tobii eye-tracking feature is only available in high-res screen options. www.techradar.com finds the eye-tracking module most useful in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Apart von Tobii integration in games, there are some uses in Windows such as Windows Hello login and presence detection. However, Alienware’s standard webcam also delivers the same presence detection features. The Alienware 17 R5 features a 1080p webcam. According to www.laptopmag.com it takes some seriously sharp stills.
For maintenance you just need to open the bottom access panel. Once done, you can swap out the SSD and RAM.
The latest version of the Alienware Command Center allows customizing the R5’s lighting, performance, and power consumption settings. In www.digitaltrends.com’s opinion this software suite has an attractive UI and is utilitarian.
The steel-reinforced TactX keyboard features 2.2 mm of key travel and 79 grams of actuation according to www.laptopmag.com. It supports n-key rollover. Its RGB/LED-enabled AlienFX lighting can be configured in 13 RGB lighting zones or optionally per key (+$30). www.techradar.com finds that its tactile responsiveness makes you forget about a mechanical gaming keyboard. www.tomshardware.com reports that the keyboard features nine programmable macro keys.
The trackpad measures 10.16 x 5.33 cm (4 x 2.1 inch). It lights up when you touch it. www.laptopmag.com had no problems with the gestures they have tested and finds that the pair of discrete mouse buttons are nice and springy, and deliver a nice click when pressed. www.digitaltrends.com thinks the touchpad feels silky and smooth to the touch, but in an era of massive touchpads, it feels a bit small at times.
There are three 17.3-inch display options for the GTX 1080 variant, which are FHD (1,920 x 1,080) 60 Hz IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits, QHD (2,560 x 1,440) 120 Hz TN+WVA AG 400-nits, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) 60 Hz IPS AG 300-nits. All display variants are Nvidia G-Sync enabled, but only the latter two feature Tobii IR eye-tracking. We will cover the QHD model here. www.techradar.com finds that the TN panel’s color depth and black levels are almost as good as an IPS monitor. www.digitaltrends.com says colors are bright and vibrant without being washed out or too heavily saturated and the contrast-ratio of 560:1 is not bad, but falls behind the Helios 500 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus. In www.laptopmag.com’s opinion, the matte anti-glare display delivers robust color and unrivaled brightness with generous viewing angles. They measured a brightness of 352 nits and 110 percent of the sRGB. According to www.tomshardware.com the measured average of 352 nits is far higher than their average (283 nits) as well as the Aorus (243 nits), Eon (252 nits) and Titan (257 nits). They summarize, “The 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 display on our review config is bright and beautiful.”.
Hardware and Performance
The Alienware R5 17 comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor combined with up to 32 GB of DDR4, 2,400 MHz and up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 OC with 8 GB of GDDR5X VRAM. We will cover the variant with over-clocked GTX 1080 and 32 GB of RAM here. Despite power-hungry hardware, it gets along with only one power brick, while for example the Asus ROG G703GI (same GPU and CPU) requires two power bricks, whereas the Alienware outperforms the Asus in all 3DMark tests in www.techradar.com’s tests. You can expect very high graphics performance and www.laptopmag.com confirms that the Alienware definitely delivered in their tests. www.tomshardware.com played several games and the frame rate exceeded their premium gaming average in all of them.
The 2.9-GHz, 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H can be overclocked to 5 GHz in the Alien Command Center. www.laptopmag.com ran Geekbench 4 and the laptop achieved a score of 20,890, which beats their premium gaming laptop average (17,290), but is lower than competing laptops with the same hardware. By means of the Alienware Command Center and CPU-Z and HWInfo, www.tomshardware.com observed that the internal temperature spikes and the processor often didn’t reach the 5 GHz the Alienware Command Center promised.
www.digitaltrends.com thinks the 512GB SSD was relatively quick.
Temperature and System Noise
In www.laptopmag.com’s opion, the system stays relatively cool when you're gaming or watching videos thanks to the Alienware Cryo-Tech v2.0 cooling system. The laptop’s keyboard hit ~36 °C (97 Fahrenheit) and the bottom reached ~49 °C (120 Fahrenheit) while www.tomshardware.com played Middle-earth: Shadow of War. To test sustained gaming performance, they ran the Metro: Last Light benchmark 10 times, which is roughly half an hour of high-stress computing. The frame rate dropped from 83.4 fps in the first run to 79.29 fps in the last run, the average frame rate being 79.3 fps and HWInfo reported an average CPU temperature of 88.9 degrees Celsius, and an average GPU temperature of 74.8 degrees Celsius.
In www.techradar.com’s opinion the 2.1 stereo speakers are potent enough to overpower the system’s loud fans and give you a surprisingly booming gaming experience even without having to plug in a gaming headset. www.laptopmag.com experienced loud, crisp audio even with maxed out volume in the largest conference room in their office. www.tomshardware.com finds that even the bass were clear and well distributed.
In www.techradar.com’s tests, their test unit achieved a longer battery life than their test sample of the predecessor. It lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes in their movie test, while the Asus ROG G703GI only achieved a battery life of 1 hour and 29 minutes. In www.laptopmag.com’s continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi test at 150 nits of brightness, the Alienware lasted 3 hours and 47 minutes and surpassed their 3:26 premium gaming laptop average and several competitors.
Pros are high graphical performance and the QHD display. Despite high performance, the Alienware surprises with a decent battery life. On the downside, the device is heavy and Tobii eye-tracking is only available in models with high-resolution display. www.digitaltrends.com summarizes, “Taken as a whole, the Alienware 17 R5 delivers on everything it promises — exceptional gaming performance, unbelievable processing power, and a gorgeous display. ”.
As of September 2018, Dell charges about $3,600 for the top specced model. The base model with GTX 1060 OC, 17.3 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 60 Hz IPS anti-glare display, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, and single 1 TB (+8 GB SSD) hybrid drive costs about $1,500. Alternatives include the MSI GT75 Titan, the Aorus X9, the OriginPC Eon 17-X, the Acer Predator Helios 500, and the Razer Blade or Razer Blade Pro.
Press Review by Martina Osztovits
Alienware recently made an impressive foray into making an 18 inch gaming behemoth. While two video cards and some of the most powerful components grouped together in one ostensibly portable machine were a wonder just to contemplate, Alienware have now returned to the much more user friendly size of 17 inches. This is still desktop replacement size, but the 1 inch of difference should make it appreciably easier to carry around. On the outside, a muted silver hue encases the minimalist looking machine. The familiar Alienware head stands out in matte black, matching the keyboard and palm rests. For those wanting to showoff, this machine comes with that familiar Alienware programmable light show. The logo, the keyboard backlight, touchpad, and the alien head on the lid can be lit up and customized for color and be made to pulse.
At the high end of the available configuration options, the Alienware 17 features the 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 4800MQ and the 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M. With 16 GB of RAM thrown in for good measure, only the most demanding games will require use of medium settings. The 17 inch, 1920x1080 resolution matte screen may be a disappointment to those who were looking out for the newer 3200x1800 resolution which has yet to be adopted by current gaming laptops. As is typical for machines this power hungry, the Alienware will allow for approximately 4 hours of light use. During more intensive gaming, plugging in is mandatory. Overall, this is a high-end machine with lots of power for the enthusiastic gamer with deep pockets.
Alienware 17 R4 series
Considered to be the Apple of the gaming industry by LaptopMedia, Alienware made quite an impression on the reviewer. An improvement over its predecessor, the Alienware 15 R3, the new Alienware 17 R4, powered by a 6th-generation Intel Skylake CPU (the quad-core i7-6820HK 2.7 GHz) and equipped with a discrete graphics card (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070), is an upgraded, powerful version for many purposes, but especially gaming. The Alienware 17 looks significantly grown up and slim, yet it still has powerful features. “It gathers the best and the latest (well, excluding the CPU because they still haven’t updated it to Kaby Lake) of what the industry offers and puts it in a sleek new body while retaining some of the usual Alienware characteristics,” states LaptopMedia.
“The Alienware 17 feels like a refinement of 2015’s model, packing NVIDIA’s shiny new desktop GPU into a sleek new chassis that won’t see you break your back on the way to LAN parties,” says the page TrustedReviews. LaptopMedia also writes that by receiving a total revamp while staying true to Alienware’s roots, the Alienware 17 will appeal to the common gamer as well as to users with a more minimalistic and strict taste. Alienware’s laptops have steadily been moving towards thinner designs, and the new series takes a dramatic step towards slimness, says TechRadar: “To get here, the company completely redesigned the internal cooling system”. TrustedReviews gives a plus point for the chassis made by anodizing an alloy of aluminum and magnesium and for the redesigned “TackX” keyboard: “The alloy feels slightly more solid than past Alienware machines. We see a modest, but important upgrade with the keyboard”. LaptopMedia remarks that the new chassis has improved in terms of dimensions as well: “Coming from last year’s 34.4mm, this Alienware 17 R4 feels noticeably leaner with just 29.9mm profile. However, the R4 has gained weight (from 3.7kg to 4.4kg). Just wait until you see how the cooling system looks like and you will understand why it’s so heavy”.
With the 17.3-inch display available in 1080p, QHD or 4K resolution, one could go for the standard Full-HD version that does not feature Tobii Eye Tracking Technology but offers an IPS display with better viewing angles (LaptopMedia). Following a positive evaluation from TrustedReviews, the IPS panel’s 120Hz refresh rate is well suited for gaming and, even though blacks did not appear quite as inky as the reviewer would have liked, colors looked balanced and viewing angles were excellent. Particularly, MobileTechReview writes that the IPS display has a very good panel typical of high-end gaming laptops: “With calibration, it’s fine for professional photo and video work for the web. Given the fast GPU in our GTX 1070 model that allows for a solid 60 fps in today’s AAA titles, we saw very little tearing with Vsync enabled on the 60 Hz LG-Phillips panel when gaming”. Steve Wright, a reviewer at Stevivor.com, feels that the 4K display and Tobii Eye Tracking is crazy good and terrifying in equal measure. It allowed him to use his eyeline to target incoming asteroids with surprisingly great success.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
Regarding the keyboard: “We would have appreciated if the keyboard was moved down closer to the palm rest area so we wouldn’t feel the heat so much but on the other hand, your palms will rest comfortable on the big wrist rest area” (LaptopMedia). TrustedReviews sees a modest but important upgrade in the keyboard: “Alienware lists it as having a 2.2mm key travel and rapid-response feature that lets it register more than 108 key commands per minute. I didn’t get close to reaching the key command limit, but found the keyboard comfortable to game on and especially reactive.” Speaking of the keyboard and the trackpad of the Alienware 17, LaptopMedia states that this notebook has long key travel, customizable RGB illumination with separate zones, and 6 programmable macro keys, yet still no media control: “The ergonomic shape and overall feel of the keyboard will prove useful for typing and gaming. It is hard to miss the LED-illuminated futuristic touchpad - excellent gliding surface, accurate, responsive and slightly mushy dedicated mouse buttons.”
The Alienware 17 R4 is available with the 6th-generation Skylake quad-core 2.7GHz Core i7-6820HK processor that is considered a high-performance chip with a relatively high consumption - 45W TDP, matching its little sibling, the i7-6700HQ. The Intel Core i7-6820HK with four cores is clocked at 2.7GHz and able to go up to 3.6GHz for one active core, 3.4GHz for two active cores, and 3.2GHz for four active cores. Powered by 8GB of VRAM and a GTX 1070 GPU, the Alienware 17 will happily cope with 1080p and 1440p gaming - 4K will still be a stretch if you ramp up things such as anti-aliasing, but it will handle most games with aplomb, according to TrustedReviews. And as the gaming tests of LaptopMedia show, this laptop achieved 59 fps with Full HD and maximum settings in “Grand Theft Auto V”, 55 fps with Full HD and maximum settings in “Tomb Raider”, and 84 fps for “Tom Clancy’s The Division”.
HEAT AND NOISE
LaptopMedia ran the CPU stress test and noticed two things: “The CPU is clocked at lower than usual frequencies and doesn’t go above 3.1GHz with four active cores during full load.” Aside from that, this is comparable to some desktop PCs, with the CPU temperatures under full load reaching 65° to 70° Celsius (LaptopMedia). Similarly, according to MobileTechReview, the good news is that the GPU, even our NVIDIA GTX 1070 version, does not run hot, nor does the CPU: When gaming, the CPU cores average at a relatively cool 65° Celsius, and the GPU at 62° Celsius, which are impressively low temperatures, even for a desktop replacement gaming notebook. Surface temperatures are never burning hot, the keyboard and deck are the warmest. Nevertheless, the reviewer at Stevivor.com comments: “Whilst playing, I did notice the laptop’s fan getting louder as time progressed, but never distractingly so. All the while, intricate thermal ports kept air flowing and the laptop’s outer casing cool.” Furthermore: “During normal use or long hours of gaming, the center of the keyboard gets a bit warm (around 47 Celsius degrees),” writes LaptopMedia.
This is rarely the upbeat section of a gaming laptop review, but according to a battery test run by MobileTechReview, the Alienware 17 R4 with the 99-Whr battery and NVIDIA Optimus averages 6 to 6.5 hours of mixed productivity and streaming video use at 33 percent brightness. On the other hand, in order to simulate real-life conditions, LaptopMedia used their own script for different purposes: With automatic web browsing through 70 websites, the Alienware 17 R4 lasted for 267 minutes (4 hours and 27 minutes); with video playback, it lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes; and with gaming without the power source, it lasted for 54 minutes. MobileTechReview also noted about the battery life that the notebook shipped with a 240-watt power brick that is slim but has a big footprint, not unlike the laptop itself: “That’s a perfectly adequate power supply with watts to spare, so the charger never gets burning hot and charge levels don’t drop when gaming plugged into power.”
In general: “With the main difference being in the display department, the notebook will appeal to hardcore gamers, content creators and to those who like to keep it modest with a Full HD screen.” However: “For starters, the CPU and GPU are overclockable and the cooling system is fully capable of handling the extra clock speeds but Alienware hasn’t provided an easy overclocking setup” (quoted from LaptopMedia). With the extraordinary advantages in design and feature upgrades, the Alienware 17 R4 is considered to be a great laptop for gamers. Some of its advantages include the clean and sophisticated design, a good keyboard and touchpad experience, a well-designed cooling system, Tobii Eye Tracking (available with the 4K display only) and an impressive display with excellent image quality. That is the reason why Stevivor.com considers the Alienware 17 a very specific type of gaming device: “It’s a pretty, juiced-up package, perfect for those who don’t want to build their own machine and would also like a slightly more portable version of a pre-built PC tower.” However, this elegant notebook still has some unexpected flaws that could disappoint a bit. For example, its battery life is rather short, despite the large 99-Wh battery, overclocking is possible only through BIOS and 3rd party software. “In the end, the Alienware 17 R4 should be your premium gaming choice only if you are looking for the best possible gaming experience,” concluded LaptopMedia.
Press Review by Capuchino SaberNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop): Pascal based laptop graphics card using GDDR5 graphics memory. Should offer a similar performance to the deskto GTX 1080. However, there is also a more power efficient "Max-Q" version that performs worse than the normal GTX1080 and is used in thin and light laptops. These graphics cards are able to play the latest and most demanding games in high resolutions and full detail settings with enabled Anti-Aliasing. » Further information can be found in our Comparison of Mobile Graphics Cards and the corresponding Benchmark List.
8950HK: On Coffee Lake architecture based processor for big and heavy laptops. Integrates six processor cores clocked at 2.9- 4.8 GHz (4.3 GHz with 6 cores) that support HyperThreading. Manufactured in an improved 14nm process (14nm++). Offers an unlocked multiplier that allows overclocking of the CPU.» Further information can be found in our Comparison of Mobile Processsors.
This large display size is used for laptops which are mainly intended for an use on a desk.
Large display-sizes allow higher resolutions. So, details like letters are bigger. On the other hand, the power consumption is lower with small screen diagonals and the devices are smaller, more lightweight and cheaper.» To find out how fine a display is, see our DPI List.
This weight is representative for typical laptops with a 14-16 inch display-diagonal.
Alienware: Alienware was founded in the USA in 1996. Alienware established its EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) headquarters in Ireland, in 2002. Alienware has belonged to the Dell Group since 2006. The product range mainly focuses on gaming laptops and desktops. Trademark is a slightly futuristic design with an alien logo. In addition, Alienware offers workstations for private and business customers.
Alienware belongs to the mid-sized manufacturers of the notebook market. There are some reviews with average ratings overall.
80%: This rating is not convincing. The laptop is evaluated below average, this is not really a recommendation for purchase.
» Further information can be found in our Notebook Purchase Guide.