Alienware x17 R2 review: 480Hz? On a gaming laptop?

Alienware x17 R2

MSRP $2,250.00

“The Alienware x17 R2 is likely one of the quickest gaming laptops you should purchase, however you may need to skip the 480Hz display screen.”

Execs

  • Wonderful gaming efficiency
  • A number of thermal profiles accessible
  • Very skinny for a 17-inch laptop
  • Unbelievable port choice
  • Stable CPU energy

Cons

  • Runs loud and scorching at full energy
  • Mechanical keyboard is not for everybody
  • Grainy webcam

480Hz on a gaming laptop sounds loopy, and in equity, it’s. However Alienware pushed forward anyway, and we now have the Alienware x17 R2 — the primary laptop ever with a 480Hz show. It’s constructed with {hardware} worthy of our greatest gaming laptops roundup, and the display screen is configured for probably the most aggressive gamers.

Sadly, the star function of the x17 R2 isn’t the perfect factor about it. This is likely one of the greatest laptops in the marketplace proper now, and no a part of that evaluation comes from the refresh fee. 480Hz is an achievement, completely, however Alienware’s wonderful X-series design, extremely succesful {hardware}, and stellar software program options are what make the x17 R2 an awesome gaming laptop.

Video review

Alienware x17 R2 specs

  Alienware x17 R2
Dimensions (LxWxH) 11.79 inches x 15.72 inches x 0.82 inches
Weight Beginning weight: 6.54 kilos / Most weight: 7.05 kilos
Processor Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (165W TGP)
RAM 32GB (2x16GB) DDR5-4800
Show 17.3-inch Full HD, 480Hz, 3ms
Storage 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
Contact No
Ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort C with DisplayPort and energy supply, 1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x 3.5mm, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.4, 1x Ethernet, 1x microSD
Wi-fi Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 720p with Home windows Hiya and dual-array microphones
Working system Home windows 11
Battery 87 watthour battery
Worth $2,250+

The second revision of the Alienware x17 is basically made to accommodate Intel’s Twelfth-gen processors. You may go from the 14-core Core i7-12700H as much as the 14-core Core i9-12900HK. Though I wasn’t in a position to take a look at the i9 configuration, I’d be shocked if it supplied a lot of a profit in video games, although it ought to present a lift in non-gaming apps.

In any other case, you’ll be able to go from an RTX 3060 as much as an RTX 3080 Ti, pack in as much as 64GB of DDR5-4800 reminiscence, and set up as much as 4TB of SSD storage in RAID 0. My precise configuration, which you’ll see within the spec desk above, clocked in at $3,550 on the time it was shipped. Costs at all times change, particularly should you’re outdoors of the U.S., so be sure that to verify costs with Alienware’s configuration web page.

If it ain’t broke…

The Alienware x17 R2 sitting on a desk.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The Alienware x17 R1 was a smash hit, so it’s no shock that the R2 model sticks with the identical general design. Just like different X-series laptops just like the Alienware x14, the x17 R2 focuses on portability with a thickness of 0.84 inches on the thickest level and a most weight of seven kilos.

Sure, it is a 17-inch gaming laptop, so portability takes on a unique definition. For a correct desktop substitute, this machine is actually far more transportable than one thing just like the MSI GE76 Raider. You gained’t be throwing it in a backpack typically, although, because of the measurement and weight, in addition to the chunky charger.

Nonetheless, I really like this design, and I’m glad Alienware caught with it. Just like the Lenovo Legion 5i Professional, all the ports are situated across the again of the machine, and you’ve got connections like Mini DisplayPort and an Ethernet jack that you just don’t sometimes discover on laptops. Alienware retains every part decently cool as properly, sticking with the Factor 31 thermal paste featured within the authentic design and 4 cooling followers.

Ports on the Alienware x17 R2 laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

Alienware additionally stayed with the mechanical keyboard design it created with Cherry. The MSI GT77 Titan makes use of the same keyboard, and I’m not a fan of it. It’s snug to sort on, however there’s loud pinging and spring noise that makes lengthy typing classes tedious. A high quality membrane keyboard just like the one supplied on the Razer Blade 14 remains to be the best way to go. It’s price noting that Alienware presents a membrane keyboard as an choice, however I wasn’t in a position to strive it out.

Though the switches aren’t my favourite, the keyboard structure is nice. Particularly, the Web page Up and Web page Down keys are extra capabilities on the arrow keys, and Alienware makes use of the additional house for full-size media keys as an alternative.

Most laptops reserve these for the operate keys on prime. Alienware caught with the identical full-size keyboard design, although, resulting in a smaller trackpad and no quantity pad. Let’s be trustworthy, although: You have to be utilizing this machine with a gaming mouse.

A hand using the trackpad on the Alienware x17 R2.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

I like that Alienware caught with the identical design, however the one ache level is the webcam. It’s 720p, and even with direct daylight pouring by means of my home windows, it produced a darkish and grainy picture. The audio system might use some work, too. Though they’re very loud, the elevated bass resonance generally causes a slight rumbling on the chassis and a little bit of distortion at full quantity. In equity, I by no means needed to hear at full quantity, and Alienware consists of some sound profiles to customise the response.

The Alienware Command Heart really comes stocked with fairly a number of options, together with 5 thermal profiles. The Balanced and Efficiency profiles had been probably the most snug, whereas the Full Energy preset resulted in very loud fan noise however the perfect efficiency out of all of them.

Loads of CPU energy

Alienware x17 R2 (Core i7-12700H) Razer Blade 17 (Core i7-12800H MSI GE76 Raider (Core i9-12900HK)
GeekBench (Single/Multi) 1,718 / 12,437 1,808 / 11,843 1,855 / 13,428
Cinebench R23 (Single/Multi) 1,742 / 17,262 1,697 / 13,218 1,872 / 16,388
PugetBench for Premiere Professional 908 969 1,120
Handbrake (seconds, decrease is best) 66 73 72

Though the 14-core Intel Core i7-12700H ought to run under the dearer i9, that’s not often the case. Until you leap to Intel’s HX collection of processors, 14 cores is the utmost you will get proper now in a laptop, and Intel’s enthusiast-grade i7 nonetheless rips by means of CPU-intensive duties.

The Core i7-12700H mainly matches the 10-core M1 Professional accessible within the 14-inch MacBook Professional, which few processors can obtain.

It is a testomony to the thermal design of the Alienware x17 R2 greater than the rest, because the Core i9-12900H within the HP Envy 16 managed a decrease multi-core rating (although a barely larger single-core rating). The dimensions helps loads, too, because the x17 R2 was in a position to outpace the Alienware x14 with the identical processor in each single- and multi-core exams.

For players, the CPU variations don’t matter an excessive amount of.

It’s not good, although, significantly should you work in artistic apps. The Asus ZenBook Professional 16X, for instance, was in a position to outpace the Alienware x17 R2 in Pugetbench for Premiere Professional by almost 14%, regardless of utilizing the identical processor and a weaker GPU. The upper clock speeds from the Core i7-12800H contained in the Razer Blade 17 supplied a lift, too, although it’s small.

For players, the variations don’t matter an excessive amount of. Alienware’s design is extracting as a lot out of the half inside as it may well. When you’re a creator that’s out and in of Premiere all day, although, otherwise you want sturdy encoding capabilities, springing for the upper clock speeds of Intel’s dearer Twelfth-gen processors can present some minor advantages.

A gaming monster

God of War running on the Alienware x17 R2 laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The Alienware x17 R2 is a gaming monster, even when it takes a slight backseat comared to bigger laptops. You’re getting the total energy of the RTX 3080, as much as 150W with a further 25W from Dynamic Enhance, however you’ll have to run the machine with the loud Full Energy preset to get top-tier efficiency. I examined with the Efficiency preset, because it was probably the most snug by way of noise.

Alienware x17 R2 (RTX 3080 Ti) Razer Blade 17 (RTX 3080 Ti) MSI GT77 Titan (RTX 3080 Ti)
3DMark Fireplace Strike 26,224 26,661 29,419
3DMark Time Spy 13,131 12,634 13,361
Crimson Useless Redemption 2 79 fps 90 fps 95 fps
Fortnite 106 fps 104 fps 138 fps
Civilization VI 176 fps 193 fps N/A
Cyberpunk 2077 77 fps 72 fps 98 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 w/ RT 34 fps 44 fps 47 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 w/ RT + DLSS 61 fps 71 fps N/A

Though it’s not peak efficiency, you’re nonetheless getting a laptop that may push above 60 fps in probably the most demanding video games accessible immediately. The entire outcomes above are at 1080p with the very best high quality preset, and you may see the outcomes for video games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Crimson Useless Redemption 2 that may deliver plenty of desktops to their knees.

Ray tracing is feasible, too, although totally on the again of Nvidia’s Deep Studying Tremendous Sampling (DLSS). You may make the most of DLSS with this GPU, which is an enormous increase for video games which are restricted by the capabilities of laptops like Cyberpunk 2077. 

There’s a small trade-off in efficiency for the thinness afforded by the x17 R2. However general, it’s nonetheless a extremely succesful laptop that may go toe-to-toe with probably the most highly effective cell workstations accessible immediately.

Is a 480Hz display screen price it?

Rainbow Six Siege running on the Alienware x17 R2.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The large cope with the Alienware x17 R2 is that it’s the primary laptop to come back with a 480Hz display screen. That’s what I examined, nevertheless it’s not the one choice. Alienware presents 5 display screen choices, and the 1080p 480Hz mannequin is a $300 premium over the bottom 165Hz 1080p display screen. Sadly, most individuals gained’t discover a distinction with 480Hz and, frankly, don’t want it.

I needed to see what video games might even make the most of 480Hz with out being CPU restricted, and I didn’t discover many. Rocket League and Counter-Strike: International Offensive cracked the ceiling, however even the very gentle Rainbow Six Siege solely managed 308 fps — and that was at 1080p with the bottom high quality setting. Equally, Fortnite didn’t even crack 150 fps, although it’s admittedly far more demanding than the opposite three video games.

You’re going from round 3ms for every refresh to 2ms when going from 360Hz to 480Hz. It’s past the purpose of diminishing returns.

I don’t need to write off 480Hz as nonsense. Like going from 60Hz to 144Hz, there’s an enormous distinction in really feel. It’s like watching a string of YouTube movies at 30 fps and all of a sudden stumbling upon one at 60 fps — every part simply feels impossibly easy, however just for a second. After you’re accustomed to the upper refresh, it doesn’t really feel as obligatory. I used to be completely effective going again to my 144Hz monitor after testing, by no means feeling the huge distinction in refresh fee even when I might spot it when the 2 screens had been side-by-side.

My concern is that Alienware presents a 360Hz display screen for $200 much less, and that’s loads nearer to 480Hz than it sounds. You’re going from round 3ms for every refresh to 2ms when going from 360Hz to 480Hz. It’s past the purpose of diminishing returns, even for probably the most aggressive players on the planet. Examine that to going from 120Hz to 360Hz, the place round 8.3ms per refresh shrinks right down to round 3ms. That’s a way more vital distinction.

Outdoors of the refresh fee, the panel is stable if unimpressive. I measured at peak brightness of 373 nits and a distinction ratio simply over 1,000:1, firmly putting the show within the mainstream IPS class. The colour accuracy was stable out of the field, although, with a Delta E (distinction from actual coloration) of simply over 1.

That’s ok for gentle coloration work, however I solely measured 98% of the sRGB coloration house. These colours are correct, however an expanded coloration vary just like the one supplied on the Acer Swift 3 OLED is best for extra intense coloration work.

Must you purchase the Alienware x17 R2?

The Alienware x17 R2 with the lid cracked.Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

When you’re out there for a cell desktop substitute, and you’ve got the cash to spend for a high-end spec, the Alienware x17 R2 must be on the prime of your record of choices. The design is hard to beat, and the {hardware} inside supplies a few of the greatest efficiency you will get out of a laptop immediately.

I wouldn’t advocate going with the 480Hz display screen, although. It doesn’t do a lot over the 360Hz choice, and your cash is a lot better put towards the opposite {hardware} within the machine.

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