Alienware tapped AMD for the first time in more than a decade when it launched the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 last year, and now the company is doubling down on Team Red by releasing a new fleet of PCs powered by Ryzen chips.
Dell and its high-end gaming branch announced in the buildup to Pax East four new devices ranging from a budget-friendly gaming laptop to a high-end desktop, all of which share one thing in common: AMD components.
A pair of high-end gaming laptops
Beginning with a successor to the laptop that reestablished the Alienware x AMD relationship, the new Alienware m15 R7 is the brand’s “most powerful 15-inch laptop.” The premium machine can be equipped with either an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H or Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU — the highest-end mobile chips AMD has on tap.
Not ready to paint everything red, Alienware stays festive by turning to Nvidia for up to a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU (125W TGP) with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM — a graphics card that should give the m15 R7 enough oomph to run the latest games at their highest settings. Other important performance specs include space for up to 64GB of DDR5 4800MHz RAM and up to 4TBs (2×2) of PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.
There are three panel options available, starting with a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a 165Hz refresh rate, a 3ms response time, and Nvidia G-Sync support. Competitive gamers playing fast-action titles can choose an FHD, 360Hz refresh rate screen with a 1-millisecond response time, while a third option — and the one I’d shoot for — sports a 1440p resolution with a 240Hz refresh rate.
From the outside, you won’t notice many changes to the Alienware m15 R7. It has the same simple design as the previous model, consisting of a grey chassis with a “15″ etched in the lid next to a centered Alienware head. At 0.8 inches thick and 3 kg, this isn’t meant to be a highly portable system, though it isn’t the heaviest in its class, either. Port selection is generous, with the m15 offering an RJ-45 Ethernet port, three USB 3.2 Type-A inputs, two Type-C ports, a headphone jack, and an HDMI 2.1 connection.
Though the design is familiar, Alienware promises improved cooling due to upgrades to its “Cryo-tech” architecture, which now has thinner, wider blade fans for 1.3x more airflow.
Also arriving today is the m17 R5, a 17-inch version of this high-end gaming rig. It has even more AMD packed inside, adding Radeon RX 6700M and RX 6850M XT graphics options and a Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU. It includes all of AMD’s companion technologies, including SmartShift Max (which dynamically switches power distribution across your CPU and GPU) and SmartAccess Memory (which allows your CPU to better connect to your GPU). It is also the first laptop with SmartAccess Graphics, an AMD feature that promises to deliver 15% greater gaming performance on average by allowing a Radeon GPU to control the display directly instead of transferring info from a Ryzen GPU to the display. Speaking of displays, screen options are similar, except that this larger model trades a 1440p panel for a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The Alienware m15 R7 and m17 R5 are available today starting at $3,229 and $3,698, respectively. AMD Advantage Edition configs for the m17 R5 will arrive later this spring.
Budget notebook, pricey desktop
Also revealed today is a Dell laptop and Alienware desktop, two devices falling on opposite ends of the pricing spectrum.
I’ll begin with the more attainable option: Dell’s new G15. Available today starting at $1,799, the G15 can be equipped with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, up to an RTX 3070 Ti GPU, up to 32GB of RAM and up to a 2TB PCIe NVME M.2 SSD.
The base display is a 1080p, 120Hz panel with a lowly 250 nits of brightness and 45% NTSC colour gamut. If you have the budget, upgrading to the 1080p, 165Hz panel with up to 300 nits seems like a smart bet. The best screen is a 1440p, 240Hz panel with up to 400 nits of brightness.
The G15 has a simple design, but I’m interested in the Spectre Green colour option with “camouflage,” which could look nice when matched with the optional orange backlit keyboard (white and full-RGB are also available).
Finally, those searching for a more permanent setup and who have a large enough budget might consider the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14. It has the same sci-fi aesthetic as the other Aurora models, but packs up to Ryzen 9 processors and either Radeon RX 6900XT or RTX 3090 graphics. Perhaps the most interesting component is the optional Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU with its 3D V-Cache for better frame rates when playing triple-A games. This one — brace for this — is now available starting at $US2,949 (around $4,094).
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.