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Alienware 17 R5 (i7-8750H, GTX 1070, QHD) Laptop Review

Florian Glaser, 👁 Florian Glaser, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Mark Riege), 09/08/2018

Now with a hexa-core CPU. Despite using the most current components, the former top-gaming brand Alienware has had more and more difficulties standing up against the competitors. Find out in our review why this effort is not quite sufficient anymore for being a winner.

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Alienware 17 R5

The famous 17-incher from Alienware goes into its fifth generation in 2018. The homepage of the parent company, Dell, offers extensive configuration options for the gaming racer, with the basic models already being very different from each other. 

This begins with the CPU, which comes from Intel's brand-new Coffee-Lake series and has six cores. In addition to the Core i7-8750H, the manufacturer also offers the particularly overclocking-friendly Core i9-8950HK with free multiplier. However, due to its enormous cooling requirements, we do not recommend it (see also the Alienware 15 R4).

Alienware 17 R5 (17 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop) - 8192 MB, Core: 1480 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 389.12
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2400, dual channel, all slots occupied, max. 32 GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 170 PPI, JYWWF_B173QTN (AUO1496), TN, QHD, 120 Hz, G-Sync, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel CM246
Storage
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG, 256 GB 
, NVMe-SSD + HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, 1 TB HDD, 7200 rpm. Slots: 2x M.2 Type 2280 & 1x 2.5 inch
Soundcard
Realtek ALC298 @ Intel Cannon Lake PCH
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 1x headphones, 1x microphone, 1x Noble Lock, 1x Graphics Amplifier Port
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 30 x 424 x 332 ( = 1.18 x 16.69 x 13.07 in)
Battery
99 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD
Additional features
Speakers: 2.1, Keyboard: RGB, Keyboard Light: yes, 240-Watt power supply, Quick Start Guide, additional information booklets, various manufacturer tools, Killer Performance Suite, McAfee Security trial, Tobii Eye Tracking, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
4.416 kg ( = 155.77 oz / 9.74 pounds), Power Supply: 798 g ( = 28.15 oz / 1.76 pounds)
Price
2400 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

The graphics card is a high-end chip from Nvidia. While price-conscious gamers will choose the GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of GDDR5-VRAM, passionate gamers may want the GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 8-GB models. Particularly those who look for resolutions higher than 1920x1080 should splurge on the latter GPUs.

Apropos resolution, one of the most difficult decisions for the customers is the display. Dell is not only selling a classic Full HD IPS screen (60 Hz) but is also offering a very fast QHD TN display (120 Hz). In addition, at the top end of the price range there is an extremely sharp UHD IPS panel that corresponding to the QHD display also brings an eye-tracking module, but it only supports 60 Hz instead of 120 Hz. However you should be careful, as not all the models include Nvidia's G-Sync image improvement.

The range of the working memory of the Alienware 17 R5 reaches from 8 GB up to a maximum of 32 GB DDR4. Windows 10 is installed on an SSD sized between 128 GB and 1 TB.

Alienware 17 R5

So what does the whole thing cost? The most affordable version of the desktop replacement is available at a price starting at about 1700 Euros (~$1968; $1550 in the US). On the other hand, for our test unit with a Core i7-8750H, a GeForce GTX 1070, 16 GB of RAM, a 256-GB SSD, and a QHD panel you have to pay around 2400 Euros (~$2778; $2300 in the US). The competitors of the Alienware 17 R5 include other 17-inch gamers based on Coffee-Lake, such as the MSI GE73 8RF, the Acer Predator Helios 500, and the HP Omen 17t.

Since the metal case is identical to the last revision, we are not addressing the case, connections, and input devices here. You can find all the corresponding information in the review of the Alienware 17 R4.

Size Comparison


Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
693 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S CNVi: WiFi
671 MBit/s ∼97% 0%
Alienware 17 R5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
668 MBit/s ∼96%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Realtek RTL8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCIe Adapter
644 MBit/s ∼93% -4%
Alienware 17 R4
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
606 MBit/s ∼87% -9%
Average of class Gaming
  (141 - 702, n=175)
595 MBit/s ∼86% -11%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S CNVi: WiFi
691 MBit/s ∼100% +25%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
662 MBit/s ∼96% +20%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Realtek RTL8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCIe Adapter
630 MBit/s ∼91% +14%
Alienware 17 R4
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
589 MBit/s ∼85% +7%
Alienware 17 R5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
553 MBit/s ∼80%
Average of class Gaming
  (213 - 697, n=175)
533 MBit/s ∼77% -4%

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Display

Like in the predecessor, the QHD panel is labeled AUO1496. In our opinion, 2560x1440 pixels is the perfect compromise between image sharpness and computing requirements and is ideally suited for the GeForce GTX 1070. Gamers should also be pleased about a quick response time: 6 ms black-to-white and 20.8 ms gray-to-gray are first-rate measurements in the laptop segment. Combined with the G-Sync technology, many games are incredibly fluid and smooth on the 120-Hz screen.

372
cd/m²
392
cd/m²
356
cd/m²
387
cd/m²
398
cd/m²
361
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 398 cd/m² Average: 367.2 cd/m² Minimum: 18 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 398 cd/m²
Contrast: 780:1 (Black: 0.51 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.45 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3, calibrated: 2.56
ΔE Greyscale 5.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
86% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 56% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.4
Alienware 17 R5
JYWWF_B173QTN (AUO1496), TN, 2560x1440
Alienware 17 R4
TN LED, 2560x1440
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
AUO_B173HAN03, IPS, 1920x1080
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Chi Mei N173HHE-G32 (CMN1747), TN WLED, 1920x1080
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
AU Optronics AUO309D, IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
-79%
-9%
-81%
-26%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
20.8 (11.6, 9.2)
30 (18.8, 11.2)
-44%
14 (7, 7)
33%
28 (16.4, 11.6)
-35%
17.6 (10, 7.6)
15%
Response Time Black / White *
6 (4, 2)
12.8 (10.8, 2)
-113%
9 (5, 4)
-50%
13.6 (11.8, 1.8)
-127%
10 (4.8, 5.2)
-67%
PWM Frequency
25000 (14)
Screen
-3%
-5%
20%
11%
Brightness middle
398
402.3
1%
335
-16%
273
-31%
343.6
-14%
Brightness
367
372
1%
300
-18%
273
-26%
320
-13%
Brightness Distribution
86
86
0%
82
-5%
90
5%
87
1%
Black Level *
0.51
0.62
-22%
0.7
-37%
0.26
49%
0.34
33%
Contrast
780
649
-17%
479
-39%
1050
35%
1011
30%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.45
5.6
-3%
4.99
8%
3.52
35%
3.74
31%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.36
9.8
5%
9.32
10%
6.34
39%
5.33
49%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.56
1.93
25%
2.09
18%
3.49
-36%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.4
4.7
13%
5.2
4%
3.11
42%
3.7
31%
Gamma
2.4 92%
2.14 103%
2.49 88%
2.43 91%
2.36 93%
CCT
7453 87%
7519 86%
7719 84%
6999 93%
6388 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56
53.7
-4%
59
5%
76
36%
58
4%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86
82.2
-4%
91
6%
100
16%
90
5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-41% / -16%
-7% / -6%
-31% / 4%
-8% / 5%

* ... smaller is better

On the other hand, the TN technology it is based on also has several weaknesses. In addition to the mediocre color accuracy, we should also mention the limited viewing-angle stability, causing the image to change much faster, in particular vertically, than on an IPS display.

CalMAN: Grayscales
CalMAN: Grayscales
CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Grayscales (calibrated)
CalMAN: Grayscales (calibrated)
CalMAN: Saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: Saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)

Otherwise there is hardly any reason for complaint. Color-space coverage of 86% sRGB and 56% AdobeRGB are sufficient for gaming and multimedia purposes. The QHD panel deserves some praise mainly for its high brightness. Only a few notebooks are able to surpass an average of 367 cd/m², and most competitors can only manage about 300 cd/m². Thanks to the ample brightness, you can use the Alienware 17 R5 outdoors without any problems, although the hefty weight of 4.4 kg speaks against moving it around a lot or taking a trip to the outdoors.

Alienware 17 R5 vs. sRGB (86%)
Alienware 17 R5 vs. sRGB (86%)
Subpixel grid
Subpixel grid
Alienware 17 R5 vs. AdobeRGB (56%)
Alienware 17 R5 vs. AdobeRGB (56%)

The fact that the contrast does not reach a top value (780:1 is only mediocre) despite the screen's brightness is due to its meager black value. 0.51 cd/m² often causes dark content to drift into the gray range.

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
6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 3 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
20.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 11.6 ms rise
↘ 9.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 8 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

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 not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8773 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Before we take a look at the performance, some words about the installed tools: As customary with Alienware, the so-called Command Center is the central point for various monitoring and tuning options. In addition to the keyboard illumination, you can also optimize the sound and power-saving settings here. There are also various fan modes and overclocking functions. For our tests, we used the standard settings, which means deactivated overclocking and the balanced thermal mode (see screenshot #1).

Command Center
Command Center
Command Center
Command Center
Command Center
Command Center

Even if you go without the best CPU (Core i9-8950HK) and strongest GPU (GeForce GTX 1080), the Alienware 17 R5 offers more than enough power for everyday gaming. The Core i7-8750H and the GeForce GTX 1070 do not have any significant problems even with demanding games – at least in the Full HD and QHD settings. The frame rates only start to drop fast at 3840x2160 pixels. In order to be armed for the coming generation of games, you should at least choose 16 GB of RAM for the 17-incher.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
LatencyMon

Processor

Intel's Core i7-8750H is currently the most popular CPU for gaming laptops. The hexa-core chip contains 9 MB of L3 cache (12 MB @i9-8950HK) and is able to run up to 12 threads in parallel via Hyper-Threading.

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

The basic clock speed is 2.2 GHz, and up to 4.1 GHz is possible via Turbo Boost (automatic overclocking). However, the Core i7-8750H only reaches this value in single-core scenarios. When all the cores are loaded, the limits are much lower, as our Cinebench loop also shows. During the first run, the clock speed already drops from 3.9 to 2.9 GHz, which is slightly disappointing for a high-end notebook.

01020304050607080901001101201301401501601701801902002102202302402502602702802903003103203303403503603703803904004104204304404504604704804905005105205305405505605705805906006106206306406506606706806907007107207307407507607707807908008108208308408508608708808909009109209309409509609709809901000Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.93 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
11.25 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
170 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
993 Points
Help

Correspondingly, the Alienware 17 R5 falls behind the competitors in the benchmarks. As you can see in the comparison chart, the competitors are in parts more than 10% faster in the multi-core test of Cinebench R15 and R11.5. However, in real life most users should not perceive any difference, particularly since almost all games are GPU limited.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Core i7-8750H
174 Points ∼100% +2%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Core i7-8750H
173 Points ∼99% +2%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
171 Points ∼98% +1%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H
170 Points ∼98%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Intel Core i7-8750H
165 Points ∼95% -3%
Average of class Gaming
  (79 - 209, n=413)
151 Points ∼87% -11%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Core i7-8750H
1163 Points ∼100% +17%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Intel Core i7-8750H
1074 Points ∼92% +8%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
Intel Core i7-8750H
1007 Points ∼87% +1%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H
993 Points ∼85%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
867 Points ∼75% -13%
Average of class Gaming
  (196 - 1865, n=414)
744 Points ∼64% -25%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.99 Points ∼100% +3%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.98 Points ∼99% +3%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H
1.93 Points ∼97%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
1.69 Points ∼85% -12%
Average of class Gaming
  (0.71 - 2.38, n=406)
1.679 Points ∼84% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Intel Core i7-8750H
12.88 Points ∼100% +14%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Intel Core i7-8750H
12.49 Points ∼97% +11%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H
11.25 Points ∼87%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
9.53 Points ∼74% -15%
Average of class Gaming
  (1.13 - 21.2, n=507)
7.26 Points ∼56% -35%

System Performance

The system performance, which concerns load times, the duration of installations, program starts, and boot processes, etc., depends primarily on the speed of the storage solution. In this regard, the Alienware 17 R5 strikes a good figure, although it does not surpass the competitors. In PCMark 10 for example, it is only sufficient for the last place among the competitors. However, with the exception of the HP Omen 17t, the overall scores are all very close together.

PCMark 10 - Score
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5939 Points ∼100% +9%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
5589 Points ∼94% +3%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
5465 Points ∼92% 0%
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
5443 Points ∼92%
Average of class Gaming
  (2603 - 6959, n=115)
4933 Points ∼83% -9%

Storage Solution

Our test unit uses an NVMe SSD from SK Hynix. The 256 GB PC401 M.2 model delivers a mixed performance. While at more than 2000 MB/s, the sequential read rate was at the typical level of a PCIe drive (AS SSD benchmark), the write rate remains behind our expectations. Around 560 MB/s in the sequential test make us think more of a SATA-III model (see the MSI GE73). The Samsung SSD PM981 of the HP Omen 17t shows that it can also go significantly faster, being almost four times as fast during sequential writes.

SSD
SSD
SSD
SSD
HDD
HDD
HDD
HDD

As secondary storage, the manufacturer has also included a 1-TB HDD in the 2.5-inch format. This is the HGST Travelstar 7K1000 that operates at 7200 rpm.

Alienware 17 R5
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
Alienware 17 R4
SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
SK hynix SSD Canvas SC300 HFS256GD9MNE-6200A
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
AS SSD
1%
3%
-67%
47%
Score Read
706
831
18%
859
22%
417
-41%
1304
85%
Access Time Write *
0.065
0.123
-89%
0.054
17%
0.097
-49%
0.047
28%
Access Time Read *
0.091
0.042
54%
0.235
-158%
0.071
22%
4K Write
92.68
113.36
22%
80.67
-13%
38.34
-59%
84.44
-9%
4K Read
38.74
35.61
-8%
38.57
0%
14.07
-64%
31.66
-18%
Seq Write
558.94
734.8
31%
837.53
50%
425.71
-24%
1962.09
251%
Seq Read
2203.29
1752.03
-20%
971.99
-56%
511.18
-77%
1472.55
-33%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 2589 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 814.6 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 321.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 279.7 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1293 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 304.5 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 38.84 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 92.61 MB/s

Graphics Card

The display output is handled by a Pascal GPU from Nvidia. While the GeForce GTX 1060 is predestined for the Full HD display, we would recommend the GeForce GTX 1070 to buyers of the QHD panel version. The high-end model can score with 2048 shader units as well as 8 GB of GDDR5-VRAM and reaches up to 1873 MHz under load (Render test of the GPU-Z tool). During games and other 3D applications, the GTX 1070 levels out at about 1670 MHz, which is still respectable considering a basic clock speed of 1480 MHz.

3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
21846 Points ∼100% +23%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
17980 Points ∼82% +1%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
17792 Points ∼81%
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
17649 Points ∼81% -1%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
16131 Points ∼74% -9%
Average of class Gaming
  (385 - 40636, n=441)
10260 Points ∼47% -42%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
26438 Points ∼100% +13%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
23414 Points ∼89%
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
23261 Points ∼88% -1%
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
21380 Points ∼81% -9%
Average of class Gaming
  (513 - 50983, n=515)
11872 Points ∼45% -49%

Thanks to the GPU overclocking which works well, the Alienware 17 R5 performs well in the graphics tests. The Fire-Strike run of 3DMark 13 places the 17-inch notebook on the level of the MSI GE73 and Acer Helios 500. Despite having an identical CPU/GPU combo, the HP Omen 17t is beaten by almost 10%. Looking at the predecessor, we can guess how the Alienware 17 R5 would perform with a GeForce GTX 1080: The test configuration of the old model performs 23% better.

3DMark 11 Performance
18741 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
32992 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
15457 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
5640 points
Help

In the constant load test with The Witcher 3 (Full HD/Ultra) there was nothing that stood out besides the usual Turbo variations. The frame rate remained quite constant even after 60 minutes.

0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

Gaming Performance

As already mentioned, the GeForce GTX 1070 is a good partner for the QHD display. Although with 2560x1440 pixels, the 120-Hz technology is not always fully used (in high to maximum settings it only sometimes reaches more than 60 FPS), you will be spared any stuttering even in computing-intensive games. 

F1 2018 - 2560x1440 Ultra High Preset AA:T AF:16x
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
68 fps ∼100%
Average of class Gaming
  (28 - 68, n=2)
48 fps ∼71% -29%
The Crew 2 - 2560x1440 Ultra Preset
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
60 fps ∼100%
Average of class Gaming
  (28.7 - 60, n=3)
49.6 fps ∼83% -17%
Need for Speed Payback - 2560x1440 Ultra Preset
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
81.3 fps ∼100%
Average of class Gaming
  (30.3 - 81.3, n=2)
55.8 fps ∼69% -31%
Assassin´s Creed Origins - 2560x1440 Ultra High Preset
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
54 fps ∼100%
Average of class Gaming
  (20 - 54, n=3)
42 fps ∼78% -22%
Destiny 2 - 2560x1440 Highest Preset AA:SM AF:16x
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
82.4 fps ∼100%
Average of class Gaming
  (26.1 - 82.4, n=2)
54.3 fps ∼66% -34%

The chart below shows the results with 1920x1080 pixels, which can make better use of the 120 Hz. Nvidia's most expensive model, the GeForce GTX 1080, is only worthwhile for a very few users, since the higher performance – as long as you limit yourself to moderate resolutions – does not correspond to the higher price, increased cooling needs, and increased power consumption.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 10960.8fps
FIFA 18 (2017) 326319fps
Destiny 2 (2017) 142119fps
Assassin´s Creed Origins (2017) 7767fps
Need for Speed Payback (2017) 114108fps
The Crew 2 (2018) 6060fps
F1 2018 (2018) 11784fps

Emissions

Noise Emissions

The noise development leaves mixed feelings. While the fans often remain completely deactivated during idle (allowing you to hear only the whirring of the HDD), during more load the noise quickly becomes loud. The best example is our The Witcher 3 test, where the Alienware 17 R5 produced an annoying 51 dB. We were also able to measure the same value during the stress test with the Furmark and Prime95 tools. Without headphones, gaming sessions bring no pleasure. Besides the MSI GE73 8RF, which is similarly present under load, most of the competitors remain quieter. The Acer Helios 500 and the HP Omen 17t reach at most 45 and 46 dB, respectively.

Noise level, idle
Noise level, idle
Noise level, load
Noise level, load
Volume level, speaker
Volume level, speaker

Since the components do not heat up excessively in 3D operation, there would really be some room for a lower noise level on the Alienware 17 R5. During typical gaming load, the CPU and GPU only heat up to barely 70 °C (158 °F).

Noise Level

Idle
32 / 33 / 34 dB(A)
HDD
33 dB(A)
Load
43 / 51 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: 30 dB(A)
Alienware 17 R5
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Alienware 17 R4
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Noise
-4%
3%
0%
5%
2%
off / environment *
30
28.2
6%
30.4
-1%
30
-0%
27.8
7%
29.4 (27.7 - 32, n=222)
2%
Idle Minimum *
32
35.6
-11%
31.2
2%
32
-0%
31.1
3%
31.6 (28 - 41.7, n=643)
1%
Idle Average *
33
35.6
-8%
35.3
-7%
33
-0%
31.1
6%
32.8 (28 - 46.6, n=643)
1%
Idle Maximum *
34
35.7
-5%
35.3
-4%
34
-0%
35
-3%
34.7 (28 - 50.4, n=643)
-2%
Load Average *
43
50.2
-17%
44.4
-3%
41
5%
42
2%
40.4 (30.3 - 58, n=644)
6%
Witcher 3 ultra *
51
50.2
2%
41
20%
50
2%
44.5
13%
Load Maximum *
51
50.2
2%
45.2
11%
54
-6%
46.5
9%
47.7 (38.9 - 64, n=644)
6%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The temperatures vary strongly depending on the case area. We offer particular praise for the palm rest that always remains comfortably cool even under full load. The keyboard area also does not get as warm during 3D applications as in many other gaming laptops. On the other hand, things look worse on the bottom of the case, and a maximum of 58 °C (~136 °F) speaks against gaming sessions on your lap.

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
Stress test
Stress test
Full load, top
Full load, top
Full load, bottom
Full load, bottom

It is positive that the processor and graphics card do not show any throttling even in extreme situations. The Core i7-8750H completed the 60-minute stress test with Furmark and Prime95 at 2.6 GHz on average, while the GeForce GTX 1070 still achieved about 1500 MHz.

Max. Load
 45 °C
113 F
46 °C
115 F
44 °C
111 F
 
 41 °C
106 F
44 °C
111 F
43 °C
109 F
 
 30 °C
86 F
28 °C
82 F
28 °C
82 F
 
Maximum: 46 °C = 115 F
Average: 38.8 °C = 102 F
58 °C
136 F
56 °C
133 F
49 °C
120 F
56 °C
133 F
55 °C
131 F
49 °C
120 F
32 °C
90 F
32 °C
90 F
31 °C
88 F
Maximum: 58 °C = 136 F
Average: 46.4 °C = 116 F
Power Supply (max.)  53 °C = 127 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.8 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 32.9 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 39.2 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the bottom side is 58 °C / 136 F, compared to the average of 41.6 °C / 107 F, ranging from 21.1 to 78 °C for the class Gaming.
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 34.9 °C / 95 F, compared to the device average of 32.9 °C / 91 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 37.4 °C / 99 F, compared to the device average of 32.9 °C / 91 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (32 °C / 89.6 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.7 °C / 83.7 F (-3.3 °C / -5.9 F).
Alienware 17 R5
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Alienware 17 R4
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Heat
13%
21%
13%
11%
16%
Maximum Upper Side *
46
49.6
-8%
42.6
7%
47
-2%
44.2
4%
45.5 (28 - 68.8, n=608)
1%
Maximum Bottom *
58
56
3%
37.2
36%
49
16%
55.8
4%
49.1 (25.9 - 78, n=606)
15%
Idle Upper Side *
40
29.6
26%
33.6
16%
32
20%
31.6
21%
30.8 (21.6 - 46.8, n=559)
23%
Idle Bottom *
41
29.2
29%
31
24%
34
17%
35
15%
31.6 (21.1 - 50.3, n=557)
23%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

It is strange that while the sound system remained unchanged on paper, our audio analysis appears to have found a significant improvement of the sound compared to the predecessor. Besides the bass, the mids and highs have also supposedly improved. The maximum volume also differs from that of the old test.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2040.950.92534.540.93128.234.1403638.15027.430.66327.833.38027.345.310028.459.212528.655.216022.764.220025.267.425023.968.931521.67240018.972.750018.574.863017.175.980017.974.3100018.574.3125017.775.2160017.179.820001782.9250017.379315017.578.4400017.276.5500017.372.7630017.270.3800017.472.11000017.3641250017.277.71600017.171.4SPL3089.3N1.481.6median 17.5median 72.7Delta1.83.938.43834.534.235.135.231.833.23334.431.733.231.234.731.341.130.248.42853.127.551.427.851.52753.527.455.827.166.926.67126.67226.671.826.473.125.569.724.865.623.86822.772.322.47522.172.521.865.121.763.621.658.121.659.521.754.936.782.62.753.7median 26.4median 65.12.58.9hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAlienware 17 R5Alienware 17 R4
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Alienware 17 R5 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (89 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 8.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (8.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 96% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Alienware 17 R4 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.99 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 73% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 21% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 17%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 47% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 44% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

Due to the lack of graphics-switching, the 17-incher needs quite a lot of power already during idle operation. Together with the result of the Alienware 17 R4, 28-37 watts is the worst value in the test field, and that is even though the Acer Helios 500 and the HP Omen 17 forgo Optimus, using G-Sync instead. On the other hand, with 112-231 watts under load the Alienware 17 R5 places in the middle of the competitors.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 28 / 32 / 37 Watt
Load midlight 112 / 231 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Alienware 17 R5
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Alienware 17 R4
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
Average of class Gaming
 
Power Consumption
-13%
6%
21%
20%
20%
Idle Minimum *
28
37.5
-34%
20.4
27%
15
46%
17.8
36%
20.2 (3.9 - 113, n=603)
28%
Idle Average *
32
37.6
-18%
26.5
17%
20
37%
24.7
23%
25.8 (6.8 - 119, n=603)
19%
Idle Maximum *
37
37.6
-2%
37
-0%
26
30%
29.6
20%
30.9 (8.3 - 122, n=603)
16%
Load Average *
112
122.4
-9%
129
-15%
97
13%
110
2%
104 (14.1 - 319, n=594)
7%
Load Maximum *
231
277.4
-20%
216
6%
239
-3%
178.6
23%
166 (21.9 - 590, n=593)
28%
Witcher 3 ultra *
192
180.3
6%
186
3%
186
3%
167.8
13%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Despite its powerful 99-Wh battery, the runtimes are unable to inspire. A maximum of 4.5 hours is no reason for cheering in 2018. Here, the lack of graphics-switching takes a particularly extreme toll. For comparison, the current endurance champion of gaming laptops, the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8, can manage more than 12 hours in an ideal scenario.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 28min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
3h 38min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 04min
Alienware 17 R5
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 99 Wh
Alienware 17 R4
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 99 Wh
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-79BY
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 72 Wh
MSI GE73 8RF-008 Raider RGB
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 51 Wh
HP Omen 17t-3AW55AV_1
8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 86 Wh
Average of class Gaming
 
Battery Runtime
-2%
4%
-14%
23%
20%
Reader / Idle
268
276
3%
253
-6%
303
13%
268
0%
329 (39 - 1174, n=592)
23%
WiFi v1.3
218
181
-17%
174
-20%
186
-15%
253
16%
250 (78 - 622, n=268)
15%
Load
64
69
8%
88
38%
38
-41%
97
52%
78.6 (18 - 202, n=560)
23%
Witcher 3 ultra
66
59 (52 - 66, n=2)
H.264
193
244 (88 - 506, n=122)

Verdict

Pros

+ robust and high-quality case
+ many configuration options
+ numerous illumination elements
+ fast and responsive QHD display
+ good input devices
+ decent sound
+ Thunderbolt 3
+ NVMe SSD
+ G-Sync

Cons

- CPU Turbo could be better
- limited viewing angles
- unnecessarily noisy in 3D operation
- few maintenance options
- very large and heavy
- meager battery life
- no card reader
Alienware 17 R5, test unit provided by cyberport
Alienware 17 R5, test unit provided by cyberport

Those looking for a stylish high-end notebook with good input devices, modern connections, and many illumination options should be pleased with the Alienware 17 R5.

Aside from some smaller details, the 17-inch case is able to convince, as long as you can come to terms with its thickness and hefty weight. The low battery life also takes away from the mobility. For the successor, we would also wish for better fan control, since the fans rev up unnecessarily during 3D operation. 

There are also good and bad sides in the optional QHD display, which is very bright and also offers a very quick response time on one hand, but it suffers from a mediocre black value and limited viewing angles on the other hand. In addition, the Turbo performance of the CPU also could be better. During the multi-core load, the Core i7-8750H only makes use of its overclocking to a limited extent. 

Overall, it is still sufficient for a spot in our Gaming Top 10. But the earlier dominance of Alienware laptops has been broken.

Alienware 17 R5 - 09/06/2018 v6
Florian Glaser

Chassis
86 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
68 / 81 → 84%
Weight
45 / 10-66 → 62%
Battery
73%
Display
84%
Games Performance
97%
Application Performance
99%
Temperature
81 / 95 → 85%
Noise
74 / 90 → 82%
Audio
85%
Average
80%
87%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Alienware 17 R5 (i7-8750H, GTX 1070, QHD) Laptop Review
Florian Glaser, 2018-09- 8 (Update: 2018-09- 9)