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Alienware m15 P79F (i7-8750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q, OLED) Review

OLED comeback. OLED is amazing, but it's not the holy grail of display technologies. A few key disadvantages outside of the pricier MSRP mean there are still good reasons to choose IPS depending on your usage scenario.

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Just because a second generation Alienware m15 is inbound doesn't mean that the first generation Alienware m15 won't be getting anymore love. Dell has updated the original Alienware m15 with 9th gen Intel, GeForce RTX graphics, and additional display options to replace last year's 8th gen Intel and GeForce GTX graphics.

Perhaps the most notable upgrade, however, is the new 4K UHD OLED option. Unveiled at CES 2019, more and more gaming laptops are beginning to ship with 4K UHD OLED panels to complement the usual IPS options that we've all become familiar with. The older 13.3-inch Alienware 13 shipped with a similar OLED option that has since been discontinued. Our test unit today is equipped with the fancy 4K UHD OLED panel available only on select SKUs of the Alienware m15. Such a panel will add an additional $350 over the base 1080p IPS panel to make it more of an enthusiast offering for the time being.

For this review, we'll be focusing on the performance and display. See our existing review on the 2018 Alienware m15 for more information about the chassis, keyboard, serviceability, speakers, and more as all our previous comments still apply here.

More Dell Alienware reviews:

Alienware m15 P79F (m15 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q - 8192 MB, Core: 1080 MHz, Memory: 1500 MHz, GDDR6, 430.64, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2666, 19-19-19-43, Dual-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 282 PPI, Samsung SDCA029, 156WR04, OLED, Dell P/N: 0HHFM, glossy: yes, HDR
Mainboard
Intel HM370
Storage
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, 512 GB 
Soundcard
Nvidia TU106 - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 21 x 363 x 275 ( = 0.83 x 14.29 x 10.83 in)
Battery
90 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, AlienFX, Keyboard Light: yes, AlienwareFX, Mobile Connect, Command Center, OnScreen Display, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.16 kg ( = 76.19 oz / 4.76 pounds), Power Supply: 970 g ( = 34.22 oz / 2.14 pounds)
Price
2000 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

362 mm / 14.3 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 25 mm / 0.984 inch 2.3 kg4.97 lbs361 mm / 14.2 inch 246 mm / 9.69 inch 24.4 mm / 0.961 inch 2.2 kg4.88 lbs363 mm / 14.3 inch 275 mm / 10.8 inch 21 mm / 0.827 inch 2.2 kg4.76 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 252 mm / 9.92 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 2.1 kg4.55 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 2 kg4.44 lbs355 mm / 14 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 2.2 kg4.87 lbs
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
688 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
688 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
680 MBit/s ∼99% +4%
Alienware m15 P79F
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
652 MBit/s ∼95%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
718 MBit/s ∼100% +86%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
683 MBit/s ∼95% +76%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
658 MBit/s ∼92% +70%
Alienware m15 P79F
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
387 MBit/s ∼54%

Display

The glossy 4K UHD OLED display is the highlight of the system. Its Samsung SDCA029 panel ID appears to be a generic name for many other Samsung OLED panels as this same ID can also be found on both the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 and Alienware 13 R3. Its 156WR04 identifier, however, is unique.

The OLED panel benefits from no screen bleeding and pitch dark black levels for extremely high contrast ratios that are at least an order of magnitude greater than any IPS panel. Response times are significantly faster as well for less ghosting and color coverage is far superior than your typical IPS option. The display even manages to be 28 percent brighter than our IPS counterpart. These advantages all contribute to a visual experience that an IPS panel has no hopes of matching.

There are two key disadvantages of the OLED panel to keep in mind. Firstly, it suffers from pulse-width modulation (PWM) on all brightness levels on the Alienware m15. Users sensitive to onscreen flickering may want to avoid the OLED option as we're able to record a worryingly low flickering frequency of 60 Hz. Secondly, the panel is limited to a native refresh rate of only 60 Hz compared to 144 Hz or 240 Hz for the IPS SKUs. The OLED display may look amazing for still pictures or slow-moving videos, but it cannot yet match the smoothness of IPS especially during fast-paced games.

Thick bezels along the bottom and top
Thick bezels along the bottom and top
OLED subpixel array
OLED subpixel array
465.8
cd/m²
457
cd/m²
434.7
cd/m²
462.8
cd/m²
452.1
cd/m²
424.2
cd/m²
472.4
cd/m²
466.3
cd/m²
430.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Samsung SDCA029, 156WR04
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 472.4 cd/m² Average: 451.7 cd/m² Minimum: 3.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 452.1 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.34 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.9
ΔE Greyscale 2.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.1
100% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 91% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.21
Alienware m15 P79F
Samsung SDCA029, 156WR04, OLED, 15.6, 3840x2160
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
AU Optronics B156HAN, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
AU Optronics B156HAN08.2 (AUO82ED), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Aorus 15 W9
LG Philips LP156WFG-SPB2 (LGD05E8), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
LQ156D1, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
LP156WFG-SPB2, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
-507%
-230%
-502%
-543%
-549%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
2.6 (1.2, 1.4)
18 (9.2, 8.8)
-592%
7.2 (3.8, 3.4)
-177%
16.8 (9.2, 7.6)
-546%
52.4 (27.6, 24.8)
-1915%
18.8 (11.6, 7.2)
-623%
Response Time Black / White *
2.3 (1, 1.3)
12 (6.8, 5.2)
-422%
8.8 (4.4, 4.4)
-283%
12.8 (7.6, 5.2)
-457%
31.6 (18, 13.6)
-1274%
13.2 (8, 5.2)
-474%
PWM Frequency
60.24 (100)
1000 (25)
1560%
Screen
-9%
4%
-15%
-28%
-4%
Brightness middle
452.1
353.6
-22%
286
-37%
295
-35%
451.9
0%
320.4
-29%
Brightness
452
346
-23%
275
-39%
292
-35%
414
-8%
298
-34%
Brightness Distribution
90
86
-4%
90
0%
80
-11%
81
-10%
85
-6%
Black Level *
0.3
0.37
0.34
0.36
0.42
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.34
4.55
28%
2.19
65%
3.89
39%
5.62
11%
3.21
49%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
12.97
7.91
39%
4.4
66%
7.28
44%
19.1
-47%
5.54
57%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.8
4.1
-46%
2.2
21%
4.98
-78%
6.9
-146%
3.6
-29%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.27 97%
2.41 91%
2.45 90%
2.2 100%
2.27 97%
CCT
6114 106%
7434 87%
6405 101%
6407 101%
6254 104%
6503 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
91
57.9
-36%
59
-35%
60
-34%
71.8
-21%
59
-35%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
88.9
-11%
91
-9%
93
-7%
98.5
-1%
92
-8%
Contrast
1179
773
868
1255
763
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.37
2.27
1.44
2.69
2.36
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-258% / -109%
-113% / -43%
-259% / -112%
-286% / -168%
-277% / -113%

* ... smaller is better

Color space encompasses DCI-P3 and, by extension, sRGB as its gamut is 25 percent larger. The Alienware m15 is therefore one of the few 15.6-inch laptops to support DCI-P3 alongside the MacBook Pro. This particular color standard is useful for film editors while gamers can still enable HDR if desired.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB


Grayscale against sRGB
Grayscale against sRGB
Saturation Sweeps against sRGB
Saturation Sweeps against sRGB
ColorChecker against sRGB
ColorChecker against sRGB

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
2.3 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 1 ms rise
↘ 1.3 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. » 0 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
2.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 1.2 ms rise
↘ 1.4 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 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.2 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 detected 60.24 Hz ≤ 100 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 60.24 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 100 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 60.24 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 50 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 18066 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is better than what the IPS panel can offer as the backlight is brighter. We find the display to be comfortable if working under shade with the appropriate text scaling to account for the dense PPI. Glare will become an issue if ambient conditions become any brighter.

Viewing angles are wide with almost no shift in contrast. Unlike IPS, however, there is a slight "rainbow effect" if viewing from extreme angles that becomes more noticeable if viewing bright white content or web pages. It's thankfully not bothersome or impactful to the overall experience.

Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

Dell usually offers a wider range of configurable options for its laptops when compared to competitors and the Alienware m15 is no different. Users can choose between a Core i5-8300H or unlocked Core i9-8950HK with 8 GB to 32 GB of RAM and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics.

Nvidia Optimus comes standard which means no G-Sync options regardless of configuration.

Processor

CineBench R15
CineBench R15

CPU performance is excellent and one the highest we've seen from the 8th gen Core i7-8750H. In fact, performance is even better than most laptops with the 9th gen Core i7-9750H due to better Turbo Boost sustainability on the Alienware as shown by our comparison graph below. The Razer Blade 15, for example, throttles CPU performance slightly more heavily over time to be about 5 to 6 percent slower after accounting for throttling. The impressive numbers the Alienware, however, come at the cost of temperatures as our Stress Test section will show.

Users upgrading from the less expensive quad-core Core i5-8300H SKU will see a near 50 percent gain in multi-thread performance.

See our dedicated page on the Core i7-8750H for more technical information and benchmarks.

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Alienware m15 P79F GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1123 (1106.07-1188.78)
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1056 (1046.13-1175)
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H, 2x Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8 (RAID 0); CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1040 (1017.76-1182)
Aorus 15 W9 GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1017 (1003.76-1122.08)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Alienware 15 R4
Intel Core i9-8950HK
197 Points ∼88% +17%
Eurocom Sky X4C
Intel Core i7-8700K
192 Points ∼86% +14%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
189 Points ∼84% +13%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-9750H
175 Points ∼78% +4%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
174 Points ∼78% +4%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H
  (163 - 177, n=86)
172 Points ∼77% +2%
Alienware m15 P79F
Intel Core i7-8750H
168 Points ∼75%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Core i5-8300H
166 Points ∼74% -1%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
142 Points ∼63% -15%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
142 Points ∼63% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
1721 Points ∼39% +44%
Eurocom Sky X4C
Intel Core i7-8700K
1359 Points ∼31% +14%
Alienware m15 P79F
Intel Core i7-8750H
1192 Points ∼27%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-9750H
1175 Points ∼27% -1%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H
  (863 - 1251, n=93)
1113 Points ∼25% -7%
Alienware 15 R4
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1083 Points ∼25% -9%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
Intel Core i5-8300H
821 Points ∼19% -31%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
742 Points ∼17% -38%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
714 Points ∼16% -40%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
677 Points ∼15% -43%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
168 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1192 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
109.57 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks rank our Alienware within single-digit percentages of last year's model. The only exception is the GPU-focused Digital Content Creation benchmark where the RTX 2070 Max-Q can flex its muscles over the slower GTX 1070 Max-Q.

PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
7814 Points ∼60% +12%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7236 Points ∼56% +3%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
6998 Points ∼54%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (6565 - 8163, n=7)
6939 Points ∼54% -1%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
6272 Points ∼48% -10%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
5444 Points ∼42% -22%
Productivity
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8200 Points ∼79% +10%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7793 Points ∼75% +5%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7445 Points ∼71%
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
7415 Points ∼71% 0%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (6783 - 7678, n=7)
7350 Points ∼71% -1%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
7212 Points ∼69% -3%
Essentials
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
9327 Points ∼81% +8%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9109 Points ∼80% +6%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (8517 - 9859, n=7)
9041 Points ∼79% +5%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
8951 Points ∼78% +4%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
8875 Points ∼77% +3%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
8599 Points ∼75%
Score
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
5839 Points ∼72% +6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5839 Points ∼72% +6%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (5279 - 5941, n=7)
5533 Points ∼68% +1%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5485 Points ∼68%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5426 Points ∼67% -1%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
5059 Points ∼62% -8%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
5899 Points ∼89% +32%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5749 Points ∼87% +29%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (4465 - 5857, n=7)
5489 Points ∼83% +23%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5407 Points ∼82% +21%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4620 Points ∼70% +3%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4465 Points ∼68%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
5077 Points ∼83% +42%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4418 Points ∼73% +24%
Average Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (3570 - 5115, n=7)
4406 Points ∼72% +23%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4380 Points ∼72% +23%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3840 Points ∼63% +8%
Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3570 Points ∼59%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3570 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4465 points
Help

Storage Devices

Available storage bays differ depending on the SKU. In this particular case, our test unit is equipped with the same 512 GB Toshiba XG5 NVMe SSD as on our last Alienware m15 test unit.AS SSD benchmark results are consequently almost the same between them. It's unfortunate that you can't specifically request Samsung drives instead as the Toshiba offers comparatively slower sequential write rates.

See our table of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmark comparisons.

CDM 5.5
CDM 5.5
AS SSD
AS SSD
Alienware m15 P79F
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
2x Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8 (RAID 0)
Aorus 15 W9
Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
AS SSD
-24%
36%
8%
21%
32%
Copy Game MB/s
1013.1
706.3
-30%
976.6
-4%
1093.65
8%
1119.94
11%
Copy Program MB/s
452.77
431.54
-5%
496.53
10%
407.22
-10%
515.14
14%
Copy ISO MB/s
946.42
642.49
-32%
2082.66
120%
2131.02
125%
2576.73
172%
Score Total
3168
2667
-16%
4221
33%
2896
-9%
2982
-6%
4507
42%
Score Write
1147
862
-25%
2102
83%
1528
33%
1207
5%
2059
80%
Score Read
1366
1221
-11%
1394
2%
923
-32%
1200
-12%
1616
18%
Access Time Write *
0.04
0.063
-58%
0.034
15%
0.04
-0%
0.033
17%
0.044
-10%
Access Time Read *
0.058
0.116
-100%
0.05
14%
0.08
-38%
0.045
22%
0.061
-5%
4K-64 Write
937.85
655.5
-30%
1807.21
93%
1253
34%
941.09
0%
1814.74
94%
4K-64 Read
1140.11
995.38
-13%
1159.06
2%
623.93
-45%
883.68
-22%
1453.01
27%
4K Write
102.62
93.41
-9%
108.34
6%
103.6
1%
111.88
9%
94.4
-8%
4K Read
31.76
29.17
-8%
52.08
64%
48.32
52%
55.17
74%
30.73
-3%
Seq Write
1065.99
1135.14
6%
1864.07
75%
1711.53
61%
1544.68
45%
1500.4
41%
Seq Read
1937.43
1967
2%
1832.18
-5%
2505.83
29%
2610.82
35%
1319.61
-32%

* ... smaller is better

Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3108 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1139 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 541.9 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 484.7 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 2353 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1139 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 49.65 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 148.4 MB/s

GPU Performance

Graphics performance is about 15 percent faster than the GTX 1070 Max-Q in 3DMark Fire Strike and 56 percent faster than the same GPU in 3DMark Time Spy. In other words, games running on DX12 will benefit the most from the RTX 2070 Max-Q. Raw performance is 9 percent higher than the average RTX 2070 Max-Q in our database to be almost on par with a standard mobile RTX 2070.

Gaming at native 4K UHD is possible albeit difficult without tuning down settings to Low or Medium. Enabling DLSS would also be an option if the title supports it. Be sure to enable DX12 to get more performance out of a GeForce RTX card.

Running Witcher 3 shows no recurring frame dips to suggest no interrupting background activity when gaming.

See our dedicated page on the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q for more technical information and benchmarks.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
DLSS 4K
DLSS 4K
Time Spy
Time Spy
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
Port Royal
Port Royal
3DMark
2560x1440 Port Royal Graphics
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9880H
5538 Points ∼59% +42%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H
4032 Points ∼43% +3%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
3958 Points ∼42% +2%
Alienware m15 P79F
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
3896 Points ∼41%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (3240 - 4742, n=19)
3745 Points ∼40% -4%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H
3168 Points ∼34% -19%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9880H
9754 Points ∼65% +37%
Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 OC
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), R7 2700X
9364 Points ∼62% +32%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H
7840 Points ∼52% +10%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
7277 Points ∼49% +2%
Alienware m15 P79F
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
7105 Points ∼47%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (5948 - 8065, n=22)
6643 Points ∼44% -7%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H
6007 Points ∼40% -15%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-7700HQ
4548 Points ∼30% -36%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
3749 Points ∼25% -47%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), R5 3550H
1789 Points ∼12% -75%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, i7-8565U
1147 Points ∼8% -84%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9880H
24623 Points ∼61% +34%
Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 OC
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), R7 2700X
23373 Points ∼58% +27%
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, i7-8700K
20909 Points ∼51% +13%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H
20718 Points ∼51% +12%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
19123 Points ∼47% +4%
Alienware m15 P79F
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
18443 Points ∼45%
Alienware 15 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, i9-8950HK
17675 Points ∼43% -4%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (11563 - 21191, n=25)
17351 Points ∼43% -6%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
16010 Points ∼39% -13%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H
15501 Points ∼38% -16%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-7700HQ
14394 Points ∼35% -22%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
12038 Points ∼30% -35%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile, i5-8300H
8004 Points ∼20% -57%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK
7374 Points ∼18% -60%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), R5 3550H
6331 Points ∼16% -66%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, i7-8565U
3726 Points ∼9% -80%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9880H
16523 Points ∼73% +43%
Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 OC
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), R7 2700X
13950 Points ∼62% +21%
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, i7-8700K
13928 Points ∼62% +20%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H
12460 Points ∼55% +8%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (9107 - 15962, n=24)
12085 Points ∼53% +4%
Alienware m15 P79F
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
11573 Points ∼51%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
11407 Points ∼50% -1%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
10866 Points ∼48% -6%
Alienware 15 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, i9-8950HK
10700 Points ∼47% -8%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H
9981 Points ∼44% -14%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK
8450 Points ∼37% -27%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile, i5-8300H
7932 Points ∼35% -31%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-7700HQ
7573 Points ∼33% -35%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
7358 Points ∼33% -36%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), R5 3550H
6399 Points ∼28% -45%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, i7-8565U
4394 Points ∼19% -62%
1280x720 Performance GPU
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile, i9-9880H
34050 Points ∼67% +43%
Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 OC
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Desktop), R7 2700X
31595 Points ∼62% +33%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H
27762 Points ∼54% +17%
Eurocom Sky X4C
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, i7-8700K
26912 Points ∼53% +13%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H
24267 Points ∼47% +2%
Alienware m15 P79F
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
23819 Points ∼47%
Alienware 15 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile, i9-8950HK
23308 Points ∼46% -2%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (14723 - 27694, n=24)
22097 Points ∼43% -7%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H
20573 Points ∼40% -14%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H
20464 Points ∼40% -14%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-7700HQ
18205 Points ∼36% -24%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, i7-7700HQ
15145 Points ∼30% -36%
Lenovo Legion Y730-15ICH i5-8300H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mobile, i5-8300H
9805 Points ∼19% -59%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK
9032 Points ∼18% -62%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), R5 3550H
8220 Points ∼16% -65%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, i7-8565U
4905 Points ∼10% -79%
3DMark 11 Performance
19009 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
24876 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
16197 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
6901 points
Help
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Highest Preset AA:T
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile
109 fps ∼100% +30%
Alienware m15 P79F
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
84 fps ∼77%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (57 - 85, n=9)
77.7 fps ∼71% -7%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile
74.2 fps ∼68% -12%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile
95.3 fps ∼100% +48%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
78.3 fps ∼82% +22%
Eurocom Sky X4C
Intel Core i7-8700K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
75.3 fps ∼79% +17%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile
70.2 (min: 58) fps ∼74% +9%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  (57 - 80.9, n=24)
65 fps ∼68% +1%
Alienware m15 P79F
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
64.4 fps ∼68%
Alienware 15 R4
Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Mobile
59.5 fps ∼62% -8%
Aorus 15 W9
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile
58 fps ∼61% -10%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
54.2 fps ∼57% -16%
Asus Strix GL703VM-DB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile
39 fps ∼41% -39%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
26 fps ∼27% -60%
Asus TUF FX705DY-AU072
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
21.7 fps ∼23% -66%
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
12.6 fps ∼13% -80%
010203040506070Tooltip
Alienware m15 P79F GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G: Ø63.5 (59-69)
low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 296.7 261.5 243.7 153.7 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 261.8 200.6 123.8 64.4 47.2 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 204.7 162.3 125.8 105.7 45.6 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 119 93 87 84 33 fps

Emissions

System Noise

Fan noise is essentially identical to last year's Alienware m15 despite the huge gains in graphics performance. What users should keep in mind, however, is that fan noise is tied more closely to the Alienware Command Center power settings rather than the Windows power settings when compared to most other laptops. When setting the system profile to "High Performance" or "Turbo" on the Alienware Command Center app, for example, fan noise immediately jumps to its maximum of 50 dB(A) no matter the onscreen load. It's important to set the system to "Quiet" mode when the extra horsepower is not needed.

Since we always want to benchmark gaming laptops at their best, we elected to run games and synthetic loads at the "High Performance" setting. The constant 50 dB(A) fan noise is very loud and almost as loud as the Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW, CUK Model Z, or Aorus 15 W9 when under similar gaming loads. Interestingly, running the system on "Balanced" mode will not reduce fan noise when gaming. It will, however, cause the fans to pulse more frequently between 40 dB(A) and 50 dB(A) depending on the load.

Users who want quieter fans can consider the Razer Blade 15 or MSI GS65.

We can notice no coil whine on our test unit.

Alienware m15 P79F
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, i7-8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, i7-9750H, 2x Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8 (RAID 0)
Aorus 15 W9
GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, i7-8750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, i9-8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Noise
13%
17%
1%
-1%
15%
off / environment *
28.2
28.6
-1%
28.3
-0%
30
-6%
29
-3%
28.2
-0%
Idle Minimum *
30.3
28.6
6%
28.8
5%
31
-2%
34
-12%
28.5
6%
Idle Average *
35.4
28.6
19%
28.8
19%
33
7%
36
-2%
28.6
19%
Idle Maximum *
50.3
28.6
43%
29
42%
38
24%
38
24%
28.8
43%
Load Average *
50.3
40.8
19%
33.5
33%
50
1%
52
-3%
36.2
28%
Witcher 3 ultra *
50.2
49.6
1%
45
10%
53
-6%
52
-4%
47.6
5%
Load Maximum *
50.2
49.6
1%
45.2
10%
56
-12%
53
-6%
47.6
5%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
30.3 / 35.4 / 50.3 dB(A)
Load
50.3 / 50.2 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: 28.2 dB(A)

Temperature

Rear and side exhaust
Rear and side exhaust

Surface temperatures remain largely identical to last year's model with GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics. Hot spots toward the center top row of the keyboard can reach over 50 C when running Witcher 3, but palms and fingers are thankfully unlikely to touch these areas frequently when gaming. Surface temperatures on the competing Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW also approach 50 C when under similar loads.

Stress Test

We stress the system with synthetic loads to identify for any potential throttling or stability issues. Results are warmer than what we recorded on last year's Alienware m15 with GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics. When running Witcher 3, for example, CPU and GPU temperatures stabilize at 98 C and 80 C, respectively, compared to 81 C and 71 C on the 2018 Alienware m15. Both systems, of course, were running on the High Performance profile. CPU clock rates can reach up to 3.9 GHz during the start of the test, but this immediately and inevitably falls to around 3.4 GHz in order to keep temperatures in check. Other 15.6-inch gaming laptops have cooler core temperatures when gaming including the MSI GS65.

Running on battery power will limit performance. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 9467 and 6630 points, respectively, compared to 12022 and 23819 points when on mains.

System idle
System idle
Witcher 3 stress
Witcher 3 stress
Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
System Idle -- -- 44 42
Prime95 Stress 3.4 -- 98 64
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.5 1110 92 83
Witcher 3 Stress 3.6 1410 98 80
Max. Load
 51 °C
124 F
55.6 °C
132 F
49 °C
120 F
 
 39.6 °C
103 F
53.6 °C
128 F
45.4 °C
114 F
 
 31.6 °C
89 F
30.6 °C
87 F
32.2 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 55.6 °C = 132 F
Average: 43.2 °C = 110 F
54 °C
129 F
62.4 °C
144 F
59 °C
138 F
41.8 °C
107 F
48 °C
118 F
42.2 °C
108 F
32.8 °C
91 F
35 °C
95 F
33.6 °C
92 F
Maximum: 62.4 °C = 144 F
Average: 45.4 °C = 114 F
Power Supply (max.)  47 °C = 117 F | Room Temperature 21.6 °C = 71 F | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 43.2 °C / 110 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 55.6 °C / 132 F, compared to the average of 39.7 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 62.4 °C / 144 F, compared to the average of 42.5 °C / 109 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 43.6 °C / 110 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.2 °C / 95.4 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-6.4 °C / -11.6 F).
System idle (top)
System idle (top)
System idle (bottom)
System idle (bottom)
Witcher 3 load (top)
Witcher 3 load (top)
Witcher 3 load (bottom)
Witcher 3 load (bottom)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (bottom)
Maximum load (bottom)

Speakers

Pink noise at maximum volume
Pink noise at maximum volume
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204345.52541.646.63140.7454039.647.95040.246.56338.245.98037.846.91003749.61253652.416035.254.720034.955.625034.860.631533.963.740032.96550032.367.463031.871.980031.874.1100031.370.3125031.470.9160031.275200030.774.1250029.766.6315028.962.4400028.56150002865.6630027.765.5800027.471.71000027.264.71250027.271.2160002769.7SPL42.482.4N4.655median 31.3median 65.6Delta2.95.335.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6median 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAlienware m15 P79FApple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
<
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
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 65%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

When idling, the system demands anywhere between 10 W and 19 W depending on the brightness setting and power profile. When running Witcher 3, consumption becomes stable at 162 W compared to 146 W on last year's Alienware m15. While power consumption is up by 11 percent, GPU performance is up by 15 to 56 percent for better performance-per-Watt overall. 

We're able to record a maximum draw of 229 W from the relatively large (~20 x 10 x 2.6 cm) AC adapter. Power consumption when running Prime95 or FurMark load remains relatively constantly when compared to other laptops where sharper spikes and deeper drops are more common. Our observations back up the excellent Turbo Boost performance and CineBench R15 loop test results from above.

How does the OLED panel impact power consumption? When displaying all white, we're able to record a power consumption difference of 11 W between the minimum and maximum brightness settings. Conversely, the power consumption difference between minimum and maximum brightness when displaying all black is just 0.06 W. Thus, onscreen content will impact battery life more heavily than your typical TN or IPS panel.

Constant consumption when running Witcher 3
Constant consumption when running Witcher 3
Prime95 initiated at 20s mark
Prime95 initiated at 20s mark
Prime95+FurMark initiated at 20s mark
Prime95+FurMark initiated at 20s mark
Relatively constant consumption when running 3DMark 06
Relatively constant consumption when running 3DMark 06
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.04 / 0.11 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 10.9 / 12.3 / 19 Watt
Load midlight 96 / 229.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Alienware m15 P79F
i7-8750H, GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, OLED, 3840x2160, 15.6
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, 2x Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8 (RAID 0), IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Aorus 15 W9
i7-8750H, GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
i9-8950HK, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Power Consumption
12%
-6%
-59%
-21%
20%
Idle Minimum *
10.9
7.6
30%
12.5
-15%
24
-120%
18
-65%
7.1
35%
Idle Average *
12.3
13.8
-12%
15.3
-24%
27
-120%
20
-63%
13.6
-11%
Idle Maximum *
19
14.6
23%
20.7
-9%
33
-74%
28
-47%
14.1
26%
Load Average *
96
97.6
-2%
90.2
6%
129
-34%
87
9%
103.9
-8%
Witcher 3 ultra *
161.7
145.8
10%
162
-0%
176
-9%
135
17%
103
36%
Load Maximum *
229.1
172.5
25%
209.3
9%
216
6%
175
24%
130.9
43%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Runtimes are shorter by at least a couple of hours when compared to the standard IPS SKU. We're only able to record a battery life of just over 5 hours during real-world WLAN conditions. Charging time remains the same at 1.5 to 2 hours.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
5h 9min
Alienware m15 P79F
i7-8750H, GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 90 Wh
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 90 Wh
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 80 Wh
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2070 Mobile, 76 Wh
Aorus 15 W9
i7-8750H, GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile, 62 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
i9-8950HK, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 97 Wh
Battery Runtime
50%
27%
-29%
-54%
66%
Reader / Idle
627
953
353
176
899
WiFi v1.3
309
463
50%
393
27%
220
-29%
141
-54%
514
66%
Load
103
102
62
81
62

Pros

+ extremely high contrast ratio with no backlight bleeding
+ better-than-average CPU and GPU performance
+ OLED panel is brighter than IPS SKUs
+ wide DCI-P3 color coverage

Cons

- higher power consumption when displaying white
- high core temperatures when gaming
- no 144 Hz or 240 Hz options
- PWM on all brightness levels
- loud fan noise when gaming

Verdict

In review: Dell Alienware m15 P79F. Test model provided by Dell US
In review: Dell Alienware m15 P79F. Test model provided by Dell US

The Alienware m15 is able to squeeze out more performance than another gaming laptop when given the same CPU and GPU. The Core i7-8750H and RTX 2070 Max-Q, for example, are each 8 to 9 percent faster than the average i7-8750H or RTX 2070 Max-Q in our database. If you want the fastest performance possible in a thin chassis design, then the Alienware m15 should fit the bill.

The drawbacks are the warmer core temperatures and louder fans associated with trying to squeeze out every last MHz of each processor. Expect CPU temperatures as high as 90 C and fans as loud as 50 dB(A) if you want the get the most out of the Alienware m15.

The wild card, however, is the 4K UHD OLED display. While more than two times the price of the 1080p 144 Hz or 240 Hz IPS panel, we want to stress that it doesn't objectively offer the better gaming experience or automatically invalidate the IPS SKUs. Its higher native resolution, deeper colors, brighter backlight, and faster black-white response times certainly give it an edge, but its native 60 Hz refresh rate is a disadvantage in certain titles where 144 Hz is preferable. Overwatch, Rocket League, CS:GO, and Apex Legends, for example, are arguably better at 144 Hz while single-player games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider or Metro Exodus may benefit more from the OLED screen. As impressive as it may be, OLED isn't for everyone at the moment especially since IPS options have been growing more lucrative.

Depending on what games you play most, you may want to choose wisely between 1080p 144/240 Hz IPS or 2160p 60 Hz OLED. It's an excellent start for OLED, but it remains a niche option until more resolutions and refresh rates become available to rival IPS.

Alienware m15 P79F - 06/13/2019 v6(old)
Allen Ngo

Chassis
84 / 98 → 86%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
89%