The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 pack 6-core Intel overclockable goodness

These premium gaming laptops don't skimp.

alienware 17 lid 3qtr by dell
Alienware

The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 laptops are all about premium gaming, so not surprisingly they’re part of the big rollout of systems with Intel’s six-core Core i7 and Core i9 mobile CPUs, announced Tuesday.

To accommodate the new processors, Alienware is introducing a new cooling system, Alienware Cryo-Tech v2.0. The system features thinner fan blades and a vapor cooling chamber for the CPU. The company says the new cooling system allows the Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 to be 10 percent faster than before. 

There’s a lot more to like in these mobile powerhouses. We’ll go through the prices and specs first, then dive into some design tweaks and extras just for gamers.

Why this matters: Alienware’s parent company, Dell, is eager to increase its gaming brand’s credibility and visibility among users, especially in the fast-growing, speed-obsessed world of esports. Expect to see Alienware using top-of-the-line laptops like these to woo this picky crowd. 

Alienware 15 price, specs, and features

The Alienware 15, with a 15.6-inch display, starts at $1,400, though the only 8th-gen option available out of the gate packs the Core i7-8750H for $2,250. Additional options are coming out on April 10. The configuration options will include the following: 

CPU:

  • 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8300HQ, the only quad-core CPU in the lineup
  • 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H
  • 8th-generation Intel Core i9-8950HK, which is overclockable to 5GHz

Memory: (Two SODIMM memory slots)

  • DDR4 2,400MHz in 8GB (1x8GB) or 16GB (2x8GB)
  • DDR4 2,666MHz in 8GB (1x8GB), 16GB (2x8GB), or 32GB (2x16GB)

Display: The Alienware 15 will offer six 15.6-inch panel choices—really three displays, each with G-sync- or non-G-sync-compatible versions. Their other specs are: 

  • 1920x1080 (Full HD) 60Hz IPS
  • 1920x1080 120Hz TN with 5ms response time
  • 3840x2160 (Ultra HD) IPS
alienware 17 r5 tobii eye tracking Melissa Riofrio/IDG

Tobii eye tracking on Alienware 17 laptops, included with other sensors in the glass strip shown below the display, lets you control the laptop, even games, with your pointed gaze. 

Graphics: The four graphics options are:

  • AMD Radeon RX 570 with 8GB GDDR5 memory
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 OC with 6GB GDDR5
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 OC with 8GB GDDR5
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5  

Dimensions and starting weight (not counting AC adapter): 15.3 x 12 x 1 inches, about 7.69 pounds

AC adapter options: Standard 180W, optional 240W

Alienware 17 price, specs, and features

The Alienware 17, with a 17.3-inch display, officially starts at $1,550. The first model out of the gate on Tuesday, however, with the six-core Core i9 CPU, costs a cool $3,700 via Dell. Additional versions are due to ship on April 10. 

The other configuration options will include the following: 

CPU:

  • 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H
  • 8th-generation Intel Core i9-8950HK, overclockable to 5GHz

Memory: (Two SODIMM memory slots)

  • DDR4 2,400MHz in 8GB (1x8GB) or 16GB (2x8GB)
  • DDR4 2,666MHz in 8GB (1x8GB), 16GB (2x8GB), or 32GB (2x16GB)
alienware 17 r5 front2 Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Alienware 17’s display will offer G-sync and non-G-sync versions in several resolutions, with high maximum brightness specs. 

Display: The Alienware 17 will offer six 17.3-inch panel choices—really three displays, each with G-sync- or non-G-sync-compatible versions. Their other specs are: 

  • 1920x1080 (Full HD) 60Hz IPS Anti-glare, 300 nits brightness
  • 2560x1440 (QHD) 120Hz TN+WVA Anti-glare, 400 nits brightness with Tobii Eye tracking
  • 3840x2160 (Ultra HD) 60Hz IPS Anti-glare, 300 nits brightness with Tobii Eye tracking

Tobii eye tracking uses sensors in an array under the display to help you navigate software interfaces with eye movement. It’s still a high-end, somewhat niche feature for gaming laptops, but we’re starting to see promise in its uses within Windows 10 and virtual reality. The laptops with Tobii eye tracking have Tobii sensing hardware added to the bar below the display bezel, where the Alienware FHD camera common to all models is also located. 

Graphics: The four graphics options are:

  • AMD Radeon RX 570 with 8GB GDDR5 memory
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 OC with 6GB GDDR5
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 OC with 8GB GDDR5
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5  

Dimensions and starting weight (not counting AC adapter): 16.7 x 13.1 x 1.18 inches, 9.74 pounds

AC adapter options:Standard 180W, optional 240W or 330W

Features shared by the Alienware 15 & Alienware 17

While the Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 differ in some ways (usually with the 17 getting higher-end choices), both models will have some options in common:

Chassis: A choice of Black or Epic Silver colors. The premium exterior materials include anodized aluminum and a magnesium alloy. 

alienware 17 r5 lid colors2 Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 will come in an Epic Silver color as well as standard black. 

Storage: Single, dual, and triple storage configurations are too numerous to detail here, but they basically mix-‘n-match from a list starting with a single 1TB/7,200rpm hard drive or 1TB HDD/8GB SSD hybrid, and moving through a selection of M.2 SSDs with SATA or PCIe interfaces, and even a 120GB Intel Optane drive. The ultimate is a trio of two 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs and a 1TB/7,200rpm HDD. 

Battery: A 68Wh battery is standard, and a 99Wh battery is optional. 

Audio: 2.1 audio with 7.1 Digital Audio out using the HDMI-out port

Networking:

  • RJ-45 Killer Networks e2500 gigabit ethernet
  • Killer 1435 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1
  • Option: Killer Wireless 1550 2x2 AC and Bluetooth 5.0 
alienware 17 r5 rear vents ports Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The large rear area includes many of the Alienware 17’s ports, which keeps cables out of the way but can be inconvenient to access in tighter spaces. 

Ports: The generous selection includes:

  • Two USB 3.0 Type A (one with PowerShare)
  • One USB 3.0 Type C
  • One Thunderbolt 3
  • Alienware Graphics Amplifier port (id you choose to install an external GPU)
  • HDMI 2.0 out
  • Mini-DisplayPort 1.2

Keyboard and touchpad: Both models have an improved Alienware TactX keyboard. It’s not mechanical, but Alienware has added n-key rollover support to capture every keystroke during fast-paced gaming. Alienware says it’s the only laptop keyboard with 2.2mm of travel for comfier typing. A steel backplate comes with a guarantee of durability for up to 10 million keystrokes, according to the company.

A four-zone, multi-RGB keyboard pairs with Alienware’s AlienFX lighting controls Thirteen different color zones and 20 color choices lead to  80 quadrillion combinations (per Alienware). The touchpad is backlit too, adding yet another bit of atmosphere. Alienware Command Center, introduced earlier this year, gives users control over the keyboard settings, as well as a host of handy utilities for gaming, overclocking, and other computer control. 

alienware 17 r5 rear vents detail Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The ventilation grilles on the back section of the Alienware 17 aid in cooling, but can feel obtrusive.

Aggressive design has its drawbacks

Alienware’s laptop design has its detractors. PCWorld’s Hayden Dingman has complained about the space taken up by the ventilation system behind the lid hinge. You wouldn’t call either laptop luggable, especially if their large AC adapters are coming along for a ride. That said, the new CPUs, especially the Core i9, promise to deliver even more performance for ever-hungry gaming applications. We’ll be sure to let you know what we think if we’re able to review these new laptops. 

This story, "The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 pack 6-core Intel overclockable goodness" was originally published by PCWorld.

  
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