Alienware m17 R3 Review

I'm here with the Alienware m17 R3, the 17 inch sibling to the Alienware m15 R3 that I also recently reviewed. It's much the same laptop. It keeps the sort of same very modern future


Hi, I'm here with the Alienware m17 R3, the 17-inch sibling to the Alienware m15 R3 that I also recently reviewed. It's much the same laptop. It keeps the sort of same very modern future kind of sci-fi aesthetic. That includes this ringed LED in the back. Some text that wouldn't look out of place in "Mass Effect" or another sci-fi property, and this honeycomb sort of ventilation here, also matches the Alienware Aurora desktop that I have here. Sort of a consistent design language across all the products and I think it's an improvement on the sort of older, very gamer-y, red and black aggressive design language that we saw for years. This definitely still lets you know it's a gaming laptop, but I think it's kind of a cleaner design. It's a little more intentional and I think it looks pretty good. Now obviously, the biggest difference from the m15 in the m17 is the screen size.

This is a 17-inch screen. It's a standard 1080P resolution, so full HD is a good, fine fit for gaming. It's not 1440P or 4K. There's a 4K option, but this is a full HD with 300 Hertz refresh rate which is blistering fast, a perfect fit for competitive multiplayer games, your favorite shooter, your favorite battle royale, your favorite MOBA, will run really, really fast on this screen. And our configuration actually does have the power to push those frame rates. The starting price on this laptop is $1,650, but our model is configured all the way up to $3,400, so, much higher than the base price. Very expensive laptop, do not get me wrong. We have a Core i9 CPU for that as well as the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super. Not even the max q version of that GPU, the full power mobile version of that GPU. Despite the fact that this laptop is so thin, which is pretty impressive, and the performance we saw definitely matched what you would expect. 120, 140 frames per second on some of our AAA benchmark tests, and speaking of those competitive multiplayer games, the "Rainbow Six Siege" built-in benchmark 240 frames per second even on the highest quality settings and on the lowest settings over 300 frames per second.

So this screen could actually get used. The 300 Hertz refresh rate can be utilized in this computer because these components are so powerful. Obviously, if you're going to get a $3,400 computer you'd expect high-end performance, but it does deliver, and it delivers better than anything that we've tested really in this sort of size range, and I mean there's really no shortcomings on either the processor side or the gaming performance side. So, if you have that much money to spec it out all the way you get what you pay for. Alienware did a good job on the thermals. It gets loudish but no louder than really any other gaming laptop and wall gaming. The heat is moderate. It's fairly hot, but again that's kind of what you expect. Backing all that up is 32 gigs of RAM and a ton of storage in this. There are three SSDs, two of them in RAID 0, so they show up as one, but it's over a terabyte of SSD storage. So really, again, getting what you pay for.

This is super expensive, no questions asked. Even the starting price, $1,650, that's not cheap by any means, obviously, that's higher even starting price for a lot of gaming laptops, but this is clearly the enthusiast machine. The 15-inch version scales a little better as far as starting a little lower, but it does also go up as high. If you're going to go in for a 17-inch gaming laptop that kind of signals that you're pretty serious about it. You're not really going to use it for the road. This is like a stay-at-home desktop replacement, gaming laptop that is kind of a gaming desktop. It is portable, it's six and a half pounds. I wouldn't want to take this with me frequently, certainly not a daily commute machine. The battery life is also really not very good, less than just a bit over two hours on a rundown test, so might last for a quick trip, might last on your couch and delivering only even for a couple hours, but it really is meant to be a gaming machine that stays on your desk. You can take it with you, unlike a desktop, that's the advantage. That's kind of what you pay for, but it really is not a very portable laptop, and I think that sort of ties into the starting price because they know this is for enthusiasts, this is for performance-first people who really are pretty hardcore about their gaming experience.

This chassis is fairly big, so it can pull quite a few ports. We have an Ethernet jack, which is always nice for a gaming laptop, to get that reliable, consistent connection for your online games. USB port, headphone jack, two more USB ports on that side as well as a micro SD card slot, and on the back it gets kind of interesting. There's the Alienware proprietary port for their external graphics amplifier, if you happen to have that. It's kind of impossible to beef this laptop up much more than the 2080 Super. I mean, if you have one of the new 30 Series cards then go nuts, but there's not really much of a point in boosting an already very, very good graphics card even further. The HDMI connection on the back, a mini display port, and USB-C with Thunderbolt support. So really, a full complimentary set of ports. I can't really complain about any of the connections. You have plenty of each, maybe you want more USB-C, but that's kind of nitpicking at that point. So, a good selection of ports. The keys, there's per-key backlighting. I have them all blue here, but you can customize and change them all. There's also some software performance options in the Alienware command center alongside the key lighting options to kind of tweak the boost of the CPU and GPU but the automatic setting kind of does it well.

I think if you max out those things all the way, the fan speed gets even louder and that's not really something anybody wants. And the performance gains are fairly minimal anyway, so it's not really worth the extra bother and the extra sound for me. So that's really it for the Alienware m17 R3. It's a really configurable laptop. Yes, ours is really highly specked out, yours doesn't have to be. It's Dell. It's a Dell company, so there's plenty of configurations on the site when you're ordering. There's a lot of different things to pick through from the processor to the GPU to the storage that can really bring the price down or somewhere in the middle between the starting price and our model, so don't be too scared off by the price if you like the look of the laptop, and you want to pack some more modest components into this, but still very effective. For that much money as a starting price, this is always going to be a pretty good gaming laptop regardless of what you put in it. Other than that, the only complaint really is the short battery life.

Not a dealbreaker in this category. It'd be nice if it was longer. Plenty of gaming laptops do have good batteries these days so that'd be something we'd like to see improve, but otherwise you get this really standout design. I like it. I hope other people like it as well, 'cause Alienware has definitely made it their look for their current, few probably next years of laptops. Chart topping performance as far as our model is concerned, and it's really not much to complain about. This and the Razer Blade Pro 17, two of the best sort of still portable 17-inch gaming laptops. I would say this is a bit less of an appeal compared to the Alienware m15 R3 just because at 17 inches there are some gaming laptops doing fascinating things with their design or just even with their performance. They're a bit thicker but again if you're not moving this a lot to begin with, you maybe just want something that's really going to go for broke on your desk and have a crazy sliding keyboard or some of the other solutions we've seen. So it gets a little less of a unique draw compared to the 15 inch which is a perfect, thin, portable gaming laptop, where on 15 inches they don't do as many experimental designs. So, if you want to go pure performance and still want to be able to move your 17-inch gaming laptop, this is one of the top options on the market. Thank you.