Meta-review: Editors were generally positive about the Alienware m17, with the highlights being its 4K-ready performance and convenient form factor. Some downsides included mediocre battery life with the 60 Wh battery.
Alienware m17 Prices
17.3-inch laptops have been part of Alienware’s lineup for more than a decade, but before 2019, none have been as thin and light as the Alienware m17. This machine can be configured with a range of high-end Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia RTX graphics cards, as well as PCI-Express/NVMe storage, and 1080p or 2160p/4K panels.
Alienware m17 Configurations
The m17 can be customized in a multitude of ways from Dell (which today owns the brand), but most feature the very popular, 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor, which is one of the most common CPUs in gaming notebooks in the first half of 2019. It will likely be replaced by the 9th-generation Core i7-9750H.
The m17 is similar to the m15 in most ways except the display. It has two RAM slots that can be equipped with up to 32 GB in a 2x 16 GB setup. Additionally, there are many storage configurations to choose from, including dual-drive setups. You can equip the m17 with at least one M.2 PCIe/NVMe drive (up to 2 TB) and have the choice of an additional PCIe or a SATA drive.
Battery configurations are also the same as the m15, with either a 60 Wh or 90 Wh battery. This also means that actual battery life will be lower with the m17 due to the larger screen (and all other things being equal).
Also like the smaller sibling, the m17 can be equipped with a GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q or an RTX 2080 Max-Q. Nvidia’s Max-Q design is an adaptation to smaller form factors, meaning that the cards have lower clocks, power consumption and cooling requirements, but also lower performance than the non-Max-Q counterparts.
The display options depend on your choice of graphics cards, but 60Hz and 144hz 1080p (IPS), 120Hz 1440p (TN), or 60Hz 4K (IPS) panels are available. As always, the high-resolution displays will require more GPU performance and should only be coupled with high-end graphics cards.
Networking is handled by either a Qualcomm (Bluetooth 4.2) or a Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 AC (Bluetooth 5.0) adapter.
Alienware m17 Performance
Your choice of GPU will determine frame rates and overall gaming performance. An Alienware 15 equipped with a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q is about twice as powerful as a system with the mid-range GTX 1060.
The above scores are averages of a range of benchmark runs (user-submitted and/or professional) on representative systems. Exact scores will vary between systems and individual runs.
Nvidia’s laptop graphics cards closely resemble their desktop counterparts but are usually optimized for power-efficiency and thermals rather than performance. This is especially true for the Max-Q design models, which are as efficient as possible at the cost of performance.
As a result, the gains are comparatively small when moving up to more expensive GPUs, with the GTX 1660 Ti being a likely leader in the cost/performance equation for the time being. However, this card does not have the same ray tracing and machine learning capabilities (tensor cores) as the RTX graphics cards.
The 4K display options are much more demanding than both 1080p and 1440p panel when gaming at the display’s native resolution. Consequently, 4K gaming will require much more GPU performance.
The Alienware m17 uses a magnesium alloy chassis to keep weight to a minimum. It’s available in ‘epic silver’ or ‘nebula red’, depending on your configuration. Color choices apply to the lid only. The m17’s keyboard is RGB-backlit, but the keys are not individually lit.
In terms of connectivity, the Alienware is configurable with Killer wireless 1550 or a Qualcomm QCA6174A adapter. It is also features a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 port.
Bit-tech.net (Core i9-8950HK + RTX 2080 Max-Q, 4K panel)
… not only are you getting a capable gaming machine that can manage playable frame rates at its native 4K resolution, but the six-core CPU is a mobile powerhouse too …
Notebookcheck (Core i9-8950HK + RTX 2080 Max-Q, 4K panel)
The Alienware m17 offers massive weight and size savings over the Alienware 17. The downsides, however, are noticeable including the omission of many hardware features and the move to Max-Q GPUs.
Video review, Average User Experience (Core i7-8750H + RTX 2070 Max-Q, 4K panel)
Video review, Jarrod’s Tech (Core i7-8750H + RTX 2080 Max-Q, 4K panel)
- 60 Wh battery too small
Specification: Alienware m17