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Alienware m17 (i9-8950HK, RTX 2080 Max-Q, 4K UHD) Laptop Review

Alienware 17 lite. 23 percent thinner, 37 percent smaller, and 40 percent lighter. The Alienware m17 addresses all the size and weight complaints of the original Alienware 17 series albeit at the cost of some auxiliary features like the backlit trackpad, per-key RGB lighting, additional ports.

When Dell retired the long-running Alienware 17 series, its legacy would continue to live on through the new Alienware Area-51m desktop replacement and thinner Alienware m17. The unit we're checking out today is the latter equipped to the brim with the Core i9-8950HK CPU, RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU, and 4K UHD display for about $3300 USD retail. Users who wish to configure with "only" the Core i7-8750H, RTX 2060, and FHD panel can find the model for less than half the price of our test unit.

As Dell's first Alienware laptop targeting the ultra-thin gaming market, the Alienware m17 competes against other ultra-thin 17.3-inch alternatives including the MSI GS75, Asus Zephyrus S GX701, Acer Predator Triton 700, Lenovo Legion Y740-17ICH, and the Walmart Overpowered 17. How well does the thin Alienware stack up against the competition and its older Alienware 17 brother?

More Alienware reviews:

Alienware m17 P37E
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q - 8192 MB, Core: 1230 MHz, Memory: 1500 MHz, GDDR6, 419.67, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2666, 19-19-19-43, Dual-Channel
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 255 PPI, AU Optronics B173ZAN01.0, IPS, Dell P/N: 8CJK2, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake HM370
Storage
SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG), 512 GB 
Soundcard
NVIDIA TU104 - 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 (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 5
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 410 x 292.5 ( = 0.91 x 16.14 x 11.52 in)
Battery
90 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD
Primary Camera: 2.1 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Alienware Comman Center, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.63 kg ( = 92.77 oz / 5.8 pounds), Power Supply: 924 g ( = 32.59 oz / 2.04 pounds)
Price
3300 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Alienware m15 and m17 both share the same chassis design and materials. Thus, all our existing comments about the 15.6-inch Alienware m15 still apply here for the m17. In fact, this works in Dell's favor as we find that the chassis scales better to the larger 17-inch form factor when compared to competitors. The MSI GS75 and Asus Zephyrus GX701, for example, are 17-inch versions of the 15-inch GS65 and Zephyrus GX501. The larger versions are noticeably more flexible than their 15-inch counterparts while the same can't be said between the Alienware m15 and m17. The base remains tough with no creaking, the center of the keyboard is very resistant to yielding, and the hinges feel firmer than on both the GS75 or GX701. Its lid is especially more rigid for a stronger impression overall that comes close to what the thicker Alienware 17 offered.

Our biggest complaint about the chassis is largely superficial. The rubberized palm rests and trackpad collect unsightly grease like no tomorrow while the reflective plastic inner bezel, which was not present on the older Alienware 17, does not flow well with the otherwise all-matte look. 

The structurally sound chassis comes at the cost of size and weight. Despite being significantly smaller and lighter than the now-outdated Alienware 17, the Alienware m17 is noticeably thicker and heavier than other ultra-thin laptops. The Acer Predator Triton 700, for example, is lighter by about 200 grams while the MSI GS75 is smaller in all three dimensions. As a result, the Alienware m17 is more of a medium-sized solution for gamers who may want something more rigid than an MSI GS75 without being oversized like the Asus ROG G703.

Same fingerprint-loving rubberized matte finish as the Alienware m15.
Same fingerprint-loving rubberized matte finish as the Alienware m15.
Lid opened to maximum angle (~170 degrees)
Lid opened to maximum angle (~170 degrees)
While not a uni-body solution, rigidity is still better than most other Ultrathin gaming laptops
While not a uni-body solution, rigidity is still better than most other Ultrathin gaming laptops
It's hard not to like the matte Nebula Red finish on the outer lid
It's hard not to like the matte Nebula Red finish on the outer lid
424 mm / 16.7 inch 332 mm / 13.1 inch 30 mm / 1.181 inch 4.4 kg9.74 lbs424 mm / 16.7 inch 281 mm / 11.1 inch 22.5 mm / 0.886 inch 3.6 kg7.94 lbs410 mm / 16.1 inch 292.5 mm / 11.5 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 2.6 kg5.8 lbs399 mm / 15.7 inch 273 mm / 10.7 inch 26.4 mm / 1.039 inch 2.9 kg6.37 lbs396 mm / 15.6 inch 259 mm / 10.2 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 2.3 kg5.02 lbs393 mm / 15.5 inch 266 mm / 10.5 inch 18.9 mm / 0.744 inch 2.4 kg5.27 lbs

Connectivity

Port options and positioning are identical to the Alienware m15 even though the m17 is larger. Most ports from the Alienware 17 R5 have returned with the exception of a second USB Type-C port and a dedicated 3.5 mm microphone line. We're a bit disappointed to see no integrated card reader on the Alienware laptop series.

Unlike most Ultrabooks, the Thunderbolt 3 port is positioned along the rear instead of the side edges. We subsequently find it more cumbersome to connect USB Type-C devices since the small port is more difficult to reach.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: 2x USB 3.1 Type-A
Right: 2x USB 3.1 Type-A
Rear: HDMI 2.0, mini-DisplayPort 1.3, Thunderbolt 3, Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port, AC adapter
Rear: HDMI 2.0, mini-DisplayPort 1.3, Thunderbolt 3, Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port, AC adapter
Left: Noble Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, USB 3.1 Type-A, 3.5 mm combo audio
Left: Noble Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, USB 3.1 Type-A, 3.5 mm combo audio

Communication

Users can configure with either the Qualcomm QCA6174A with Bluetooth 4.2 or Killer 1550 with Bluetooth 5. The Killer 1550 includes all the gaming-centric features as found on the Killer 1535 but with support for significantly faster transfer rates of up to 1.73 Gbps. Raw performance is otherwise identical to the Intel 9560 as found on many newer Ultrabooks.

Our server setup is limited by a 1 Gbps line and so real world results can be faster than what we've recorded below.

Removable M.2 2230 WLAN module
Removable M.2 2230 WLAN module
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
697 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
671 MBit/s ∼96% 0%
Alienware m17 P37E
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
670 MBit/s ∼96%
Alienware 17 R5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
668 MBit/s ∼96% 0%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
598 MBit/s ∼86% -11%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware m17 P37E
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
659 MBit/s ∼100%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
651 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Alienware 17 R5
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
553 MBit/s ∼84% -16%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
528 MBit/s ∼80% -20%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
356 MBit/s ∼54% -46%

Accessories

The system includes no extras in the box other than the AC adapter and warranty card. We would have liked a velvet cleaning cloth at the very least since the matte rubberized surfaces of the chassis will accumulate fingerprints very quickly. Optional accessories include an Alienware backpack designed specifically to fit 17-inch gaming laptops and the Alienware Amplifier eGPU docking station.

Maintenance

The bottom panel requires only a Philips screwdriver to remove. With a dozen screws to remove, however, it definitely takes some patience. Users have direct access to the WLAN module, internal battery, both DDR4 SODIMM slots, BIOS battery, and both M.2 2280 slots underneath the bottom protector. If users have the 60 Wh battery SKU, then a 2.5-inch SATA III bay will be available.

When compared to the Alienware 17, the m17 lacks the internal skeletal reinforcement as shown below. The m17 is not as rigid as its predecessor as a result, but that is the price to pay for having such a thinner and lighter design.

Alienware m17 w/ 90 Wh battery. The 60 Wh battery will have a 2.5-inch SATA bay
Alienware m17 w/ 90 Wh battery. The 60 Wh battery will have a 2.5-inch SATA bay
Alienware 17 for comparison. Note the subwoofer that is now missing on the newer Alienware m17
Alienware 17 for comparison. Note the subwoofer that is now missing on the newer Alienware m17

Warranty

The standard one-year limited manufacturer warranty applies. While not as long as Gigabyte's two-year global warranty, Dell offers a wider range of protection options for up to five years with accidental damage service if desired.

Input Devices

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard and trackpad are identical to the ones on the Alienware m15. Even the surface area of the trackpads are the same. Thus, our existing comments on the Alienware m15 still apply here. Since the firm underlying base barely yields to pressure, the keys and trackpad are quiet albeit not as firm or deep as the keyboards on the Area-51m or last generation Alienware 17. It's also a bit disappointing that the NumPad keys are physically narrower than the main qwerty keys despite the extra unused space along the edges of the keyboard. Fans of the last generation Alienware 17 will likely need some time to adjust to the Ultrabook-like feedback of the new keyboard and trackpad.

Meanwhile, Dell has dropped the dedicated mouse keys on the Alienware 17 in favor of a larger clickpad (10.5 x 6.5 cm vs. 10 x 5.5 cm) for the m17. While multi-touch gestures are now easier and roomier, the integrated mouse clicks are soft and with moderate clatter. Whether or not this is any better than the trackpad on the Alienware 17 comes down to personal preference and usage scenario. Users who click frequently, for example, may prefer the older model.

A four-zone RGB keyboard backlight is available is lieu of per-key RGB lighting. Dell is reserving this feature for its larger Area-51m instead.

Layout has changed dramatically from the Alienware 17 to be more like a typical Ultrabook
Layout has changed dramatically from the Alienware 17 to be more like a typical Ultrabook
Trackpad and Key feedback are softer than on the previous generation
Trackpad and Key feedback are softer than on the previous generation

Display

Display options include 1080p 60 Hz IPS, 1440p 120 Hz TN, or 2160p 60 Hz IPS. An OLED option will be coming to the smaller Alienware m15 with no announcements yet for the m17. Our test model houses the pricier 4K UHD panel and so our measurements below do not reflect the FHD or QHD SKUs. There are no G-Sync options as of this writing.

The 4K AU Optronics B173ZAN01.0 panel on our Alienware unit is common on many other flagship 17.3-inch laptops including the Acer Predator 17, Clevo-based Schenker XMG U727, and the MSI GT73VR. Thus, the Alienware m17 shares many of the same display characteristics as these competing alternatives including the wide color gamut and excellent contrast ratio of ~1000:1. Response times, however, are nowhere near as fast as the latest FHD panels with 3 ms or 5 ms timings and so ghosting will be more noticeable on the native 4K UHD option.

The matte screen is noticeably grainier than a glossy alternative. This becomes more apparent when viewing a solid white image where color grains are easier to see. Using a microscope to focus on the individual subpixels shows the classic "blurry" overlay common on many matte screens. While not distracting, it's nonetheless noticeable especially when sitting side-by-side to a glossy screen.

Our unit exhibits only minor uneven backlight bleeding along the edges. It's thankfully unnoticeable when gaming or watching movies.

Matte panel with glossy plastic inner bezels
Matte panel with glossy plastic inner bezels
Bezels are not as narrow as the latest ultrathin designs from competitors
Bezels are not as narrow as the latest ultrathin designs from competitors
Slight uneven backlight bleeding along the bottom and top edges
Slight uneven backlight bleeding along the bottom and top edges
Matte subpixel array is not as crisp as a glossy panel
Matte subpixel array is not as crisp as a glossy panel
340
cd/m²
355.9
cd/m²
335.4
cd/m²
349.1
cd/m²
357.9
cd/m²
350.3
cd/m²
343.4
cd/m²
338.6
cd/m²
348.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 357.9 cd/m² Average: 346.5 cd/m² Minimum: 44.64 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 357.9 cd/m²
Contrast: 1085:1 (Black: 0.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.57 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.1, calibrated: 6.74
ΔE Greyscale 4.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
100% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 88.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.6
Alienware m17 P37E
AU Optronics B173ZAN01.0, IPS, 17.3, 3840x2160
Alienware 17 R5
JYWWF_B173QTN (AUO1496), TN, 17.3, 2560x1440
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
B173HAN04.0 (AUO409D), AHVA, 17.3, 1920x1080
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
N173HCE-G33 (CMN175C), IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Razer Blade Pro 2017
Sharp LQ173D1JW33 (SHP145A), IGZO, 17.3, 3840x2160
Acer Predator Triton 700
AUO B156HAN04.2 (AUO42ED), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
61%
56%
73%
-54%
-16%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
35.6 (19.6, 16)
20.8 (11.6, 9.2)
42%
17.6 (8.4, 9.2)
51%
7.6 (3.8, 3.8)
79%
60.8 (28.8, 32)
-71%
44.8 (21.2, 23.6)
-26%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (16, 12)
6 (4, 2)
79%
11.2 (6.8, 4.4)
60%
9.6 (5.2, 4.4)
66%
38.4 (22, 16.4)
-37%
29.6 (15.6, 14)
-6%
PWM Frequency
25510 (17)
204.9 (20)
Screen
-7%
14%
25%
-4%
-9%
Brightness middle
357.9
398
11%
295
-18%
355
-1%
230
-36%
291
-19%
Brightness
347
367
6%
291
-16%
327
-6%
207
-40%
277
-20%
Brightness Distribution
94
86
-9%
96
2%
85
-10%
83
-12%
84
-11%
Black Level *
0.33
0.51
-55%
0.24
27%
0.26
21%
0.2
39%
0.22
33%
Contrast
1085
780
-28%
1229
13%
1365
26%
1150
6%
1323
22%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.57
5.45
17%
3.2
51%
1.54
77%
5.62
14%
5.52
16%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.86
10.36
-5%
6.64
33%
3
70%
10.24
-4%
10.72
-9%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
6.74
2.56
62%
2.52
63%
0.77
89%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.3
5.4
-26%
2.16
50%
2.19
49%
4.54
-6%
6.59
-53%
Gamma
2.6 85%
2.4 92%
2.46 89%
2.42 91%
2.36 93%
2.44 90%
CCT
6403 102%
7453 87%
6872 95%
6893 94%
6625 98%
7816 83%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
88.4
56
-37%
57
-36%
61
-31%
88
0%
58
-34%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
86
-14%
87
-13%
95
-5%
100
0%
89
-11%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
27% / 3%
35% / 21%
49% / 33%
-29% / -12%
-13% / -10%

* ... smaller is better

Gamut covers the entirety of sRGB and about 90 percent of AdobeRGB not unlike the Sharp LQ173D1JW33 IGZO panel on the Razer Blade Pro. Color space is measurably wider than the 1440p AUO1496 panel on the last generation Alienware 17 R5.

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

Though the panel is capable of reproducing the AdobeRGB standard accurately, we can't seem to be able to adjust the colors to sRGB even through the usual Windows display color settings. Thus, our CalMAN results below show the display to be more inaccurate than it really is both before and after calibration. More finicking through Dell's pre-installed software may be needed to fine tune the colors. 

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
35.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (40.5 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: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9596 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is about the same as on the last generation Alienware 17 if not slightly worse since the display is slightly dimmer. The 4K UHD resolution works against the laptop in this regard as the smaller text becomes even more difficult to read if text scaling is off. Some glare and washed out colors are inevitable despite the matte overlay.

Viewing angles are otherwise very wide with only minimal changes to colors and contrast if viewing from obtuse angles.

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 offers only Core i7 or Core i9 options for its Alienware m17 series. Users who want the cheaper Core i5 CPU instead ought to consider the every-level Dell G Series. The GPU range for the m17 also consists of high-end SKUs only from the RTX 2060 up to the RTX 2080 Max-Q. This is in contrast to the larger Alienware Area-51m which comes equipped with desktop CPU and full-power (Max-P) RTX 2080 configurations.

The pre-installed Alienware Command Center software is almost exactly as it appears on the Alienware 17 and Area-51m.

RAM is configurable up to 32 GB across the two accessible SODIMM slots. Optimus comes standard for automatic graphics switching.

Processor

CineBench R15
CineBench R15

We've already made our opinion clear about the Core i9-8950HK and our stance remains unmoved. When the Core i9 SKU costs hundreds of dollars more than the Core i7 SKU without offering any substantial gains in performance, then it becomes difficult for us to recommend the pricier Core i9 option. The less expensive i7-8750H in the Alienware m15, for example, performs within 2 to 3 percent of our i9-8950HK according to CineBench R15 benchmarks. Nonetheless, users upgrading from the older Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ generation will still see a substantial boost in CPU performance.

Turbo Boost sustainability is better than on both the Gigabyte Aero 15 and Dell XPS 15 equipped with the same Core i9 processor. By running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop, we can observe that the Alienware m17 averages about 5 to 11 percent faster than the Gigabyte and XPS 15 after long periods of CPU stress as shown by our comparison graph below.

Users who want "true" Core i9 performance should consider the Area-51m with the full-fledged Core i9-9900K instead. The desktop CPU offers a substantial 65 percent boost in multi-thread performance over the Core i9-8950HK.

See our dedicated page on the Core i9-8950HK for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

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Alienware m17 P37E GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG); CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1206 (1178.9-1238.2)
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9 GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW020T8; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1157 (1138.53-1236.86)
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8950HK, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1095 (1008.45-1230.43)
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1164 (1146.3-1213.67)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
Intel Core i9-9900K
207 Points ∼95% +8%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK
  (185 - 206, n=12)
196 Points ∼90% +3%
Eurocom Sky X4C
Intel Core i7-8700K
192 Points ∼88% +1%
Alienware m17 P37E
Intel Core i9-8950HK
191 Points ∼88%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
Intel Core i9-8950HK
190 Points ∼87% -1%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H
172 Points ∼79% -10%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
171 Points ∼78% -10%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼73% -16%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
145 Points ∼67% -24%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
Intel Core i9-9900K
1979 Points ∼45% +60%
Eurocom Sky X4C
Intel Core i7-8700K
1359 Points ∼31% +10%
Alienware m17 P37E
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1238 Points ∼28%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H
1218 Points ∼28% -2%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK
  (1051 - 1391, n=13)
1210 Points ∼28% -2%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1163 Points ∼27% -6%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK
867 Points ∼20% -30%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
757 Points ∼17% -39%
Alienware 15 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼17% -40%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
191 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1238 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
113.06 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks are within single-digit percentages of the older Alienware 17 R5. Thus, the m17 isn't necessarily any faster than its larger predecessor when it comes to day-to-day office loads or general editing tasks. The Alienware Area-51m is able to handily outclass our Alienware m17 especially in video or image editing where GPU performance becomes vital.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
10929 Points ∼98% +49%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
7325 Points ∼65%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (7280 - 7325, n=2)
7303 Points ∼65% 0%
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
6980 Points ∼62% -5%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H, 2x Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ (RAID 0)
6938 Points ∼62% -5%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
3975 Points ∼36% -46%
Productivity
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
8416 Points ∼87% +11%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (7599 - 7640, n=2)
7620 Points ∼79% 0%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
7599 Points ∼78%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H, 2x Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ (RAID 0)
7462 Points ∼77% -2%
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
7410 Points ∼76% -2%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
5259 Points ∼54% -31%
Essentials
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
10150 Points ∼95% +17%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H, 2x Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ (RAID 0)
9233 Points ∼87% +6%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (8711 - 9245, n=2)
8978 Points ∼84% +3%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
8711 Points ∼82%
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
8462 Points ∼79% -3%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
8255 Points ∼77% -5%
Score
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
7006 Points ∼90% +24%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (5632 - 5743, n=2)
5688 Points ∼73% +1%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
5632 Points ∼73%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H, 2x Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ (RAID 0)
5605 Points ∼72% 0%
Alienware 17 R5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
5443 Points ∼70% -3%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
3991 Points ∼51% -29%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
6140 Points ∼94% +29%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (4765 - 4775, n=2)
4770 Points ∼73% 0%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
4765 Points ∼73%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
2486 Points ∼38% -48%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K, 2x SK Hynix PC400 512GB (RAID 0)
5607 Points ∼92% +47%
Razer Blade Pro 2017
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, 2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
4531 Points ∼74% +19%
Average Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (3812 - 3944, n=2)
3878 Points ∼64% +2%
Alienware m17 P37E
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK, SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
3812 Points ∼63%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3812 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4765 points
Help

Storage Devices

Dell seems content with sourcing SK Hynix M.2 SSDs for its Alienware series and the Alienware m17 is no different. Our test unit is equipped with two SK Hynix PC401 NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 for sequential read and write rates of about 1800 MB/s and 1100 MB/s, respectively, according to AS SSD. It's too bad that the Alienware isn't equipped with the Samsung SSD PM981 or SK Hynix Canvas SC300 instead as these offer even faster transfer rates than our PC401.

Internal storage options include 2x M.2 2280 or 2x M.2 2280 + 1x 2.5-inch SATA III. Users who want the 2.5-inch SATA bay will have to accept a smaller 60 Wh internal battery due to space constraints.

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

AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM 5.5
CDM 5.5
Copper plate to protect both M.2 drives and dissipate heat
Copper plate to protect both M.2 drives and dissipate heat
Alienware m17 P37E
SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
Alienware 17 R5
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
2x Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ (RAID 0)
Razer Blade Pro 2017
2x Samsung SSD PM951 MZVLV256HCHP (RAID 0)
Acer Predator Triton 700
2x SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND) (RAID 0)
AS SSD
-28%
-14%
60%
14%
36%
Copy Game MB/s
647.13
Copy Program MB/s
493.02
Copy ISO MB/s
772.97
Score Total
2306
1424
-38%
1715
-26%
4123
79%
2715
18%
3282
42%
Score Write
988
428
-57%
942
-5%
1558
58%
676
-32%
1243
26%
Score Read
895
706
-21%
510
-43%
1708
91%
1414
58%
1350
51%
Access Time Write *
0.053
0.065
-23%
0.045
15%
0.039
26%
0.036
32%
0.041
23%
Access Time Read *
0.047
0.091
-94%
0.11
-134%
0.055
-17%
0.051
-9%
0.062
-32%
4K-64 Write
775.98
279.13
-64%
726.69
-6%
1197.05
54%
512.87
-34%
913.1
18%
4K-64 Read
687.04
447.2
-35%
326.47
-52%
1366.28
99%
1116.21
62%
1056.86
54%
4K Write
99.97
92.68
-7%
122.81
23%
94.41
-6%
104.44
4%
92.99
-7%
4K Read
23.98
38.74
62%
52.43
119%
40.89
71%
37.57
57%
41.47
73%
Seq Write
1120.94
558.94
-50%
927
-17%
2667.63
138%
587.97
-48%
2371.95
112%
Seq Read
1834.8
2203.29
20%
1315
-28%
3004.86
64%
2599.35
42%
2517.2
37%

* ... smaller is better

SK Hynix PC401 512GB M.2 (HFS512GD9TNG)
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 2671 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1157 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 515.3 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 436.2 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1389 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1278 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 44.3 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 120.2 MB/s

GPU Performance

GPU-Z reveals a GPU Boost clock rate of 1230 MHz compared to 1095 MHz on the MSI GS75 with the same RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU. Nonetheless, 3DMark results between these two laptops are nearly identical. The Asus Zephyrus S GX701GX continues to be the fastest RTX 2080 Max-Q laptop in our database with results up to 14 percent higher than our Alienware. Overall GPU performance is within 7 to 10 percent of the mobile GTX 1080 and about 20 to 30 percent slower than the RTX 2080 as found on the Area-51m. Users upgrading from the RTX 2060 option will see a 30 to 45 percent increase in graphics power.

The latest PC titles are playable at the native 4K UHD resolution on High or better settings. For stable 60 FPS, however, be ready to tune most settings down to Medium or lower. Users who opt for the native 1080p display configuration can aim for a stable 120 FPS instead.

See our review on the mobile Turing series for more technical information and our dedicated page on the RTX 2080 Max-Q for more benchmark comparisons.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
Time Spy
Time Spy
DLSS (1440p)
DLSS (1440p)
Port Royal
Port Royal
3DMark
2560x1440 Port Royal Graphics
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
5852 Points ∼98% +43%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (3698 - 4655, n=8)
4181 Points ∼70% +2%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
4100 Points ∼69%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
3698 Points ∼62% -10%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
3679 Points ∼62% -10%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
10720 Points ∼75% +44%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (6464 - 8512, n=8)
7619 Points ∼54% +2%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
7446 Points ∼52%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 8750H
7431 Points ∼52% 0%
Schenker XMG Ultra 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700
6977 Points ∼49% -6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
6728 Points ∼47% -10%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
6464 Points ∼45% -13%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
5689 Points ∼40% -24%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 3550H
1790 Points ∼13% -76%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
5993 Points ∼59% +25%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
5101 Points ∼50% +7%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
4779 Points ∼47%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (4039 - 4833, n=5)
4527 Points ∼45% -5%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 8750H
4476 Points ∼44% -6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
4124 Points ∼41% -14%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
4039 Points ∼40% -15%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 3550H
1378 Points ∼14% -71%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
27080 Points ∼67% +33%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
21846 Points ∼54% +7%
Schenker XMG Ultra 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700
21104 Points ∼52% +4%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
20323 Points ∼50%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (18048 - 21515, n=8)
20117 Points ∼50% -1%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 8750H
19236 Points ∼47% -5%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
18153 Points ∼45% -11%
Acer Predator Triton 700
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
18120 Points ∼45% -11%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
18048 Points ∼44% -11%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
17792 Points ∼44% -12%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
16010 Points ∼39% -21%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8950HK
7374 Points ∼18% -64%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 3550H
6327 Points ∼16% -69%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
17290 Points ∼76% +38%
Schenker XMG Ultra 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700
12643 Points ∼56% +1%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
12538 Points ∼55%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
12249 Points ∼54% -2%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (10893 - 12538, n=9)
11692 Points ∼52% -7%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 8750H
11597 Points ∼51% -8%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
11407 Points ∼50% -9%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
11288 Points ∼50% -10%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
10749 Points ∼48% -14%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
10349 Points ∼46% -17%
Acer Predator Triton 700
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9075 Points ∼40% -28%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8950HK
8450 Points ∼37% -33%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 3550H
6447 Points ∼29% -49%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9900K
38485 Points ∼75% +37%
Schenker XMG Ultra 17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 8700
28621 Points ∼56% +2%
Alienware m17 P37E
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
28083 Points ∼55%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (23386 - 29453, n=9)
27316 Points ∼54% -3%
Alienware 17 R4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
26438 Points ∼52% -6%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 8750H
24172 Points ∼47% -14%
Acer Predator Triton 700
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
23694 Points ∼46% -16%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
23414 Points ∼46% -17%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8950HK
23386 Points ∼46% -17%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
22723 Points ∼45% -19%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
20573 Points ∼40% -27%
Dell XPS 15 9570 Core i9 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8950HK
9032 Points ∼18% -68%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 3550H
8181 Points ∼16% -71%
3DMark 11 Performance
21837 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
25513 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
17684 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
7253 points
Help
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Alienware Area-51m i9-9900K RTX 2080
Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop)
101.1 fps ∼100% +34%
Alienware 17 R4
Intel Core i7-7820HK, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
78.1 fps ∼77% +3%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (65.7 - 81.7, n=10)
76.5 fps ∼76% +1%
Alienware m17 P37E
Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
75.7 fps ∼75%
MSI GS75 8SG Stealth
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
75.4 (min: 62) fps ∼75% 0%
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop)
71.8 fps ∼71% -5%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
68.9 fps ∼68% -9%
Gigabyte Aero 15-Y9
Intel Core i9-8950HK, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
65.7 fps ∼65% -13%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
60.8 fps ∼60% -20%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
54.2 fps ∼54% -28%
Asus TUF FX505DY
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
22.7 fps ∼22% -70%
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