PC gaming is one of the many trends that has accelerated over the past couple of years as people have adjusted to a more at home world. Gaming was growing before the pandemic but with entertainment forced to home, it really went into overdrive. More people look to gaming for social interaction, and I believe gaming laptops are the epitome of performant and powerful PC gaming in a mobile and hybrid world.
Alienware is launching many new updates to its mobile lineup, including some of what it showcased at CES earlier this year. Let’s look at how Alienware is bringing powerful gaming to the mobile laptop space with its 17-inch AMD advantage laptop, 480Hz panel, and the new Dell G16 laptop.
The Alienware m17 R5
The Alienware m17 R5 was announced earlier this year at CES 2022, and you can read about Senior Analyst Anshel Sag’s coverage of it here. Alienware has partnered with AMD to deliver a fully AMD device with an AMD Ryzen 6000 series processor and up to an AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT with 12Gb of GDDR6 memory. It also has Alienware Cryo-tech cooling with a built-in vapor chamber for the graphics. I am interested to see how well the RX 6850M XT performs with the AMD Ryzen 6000 processors. The fully AMD Alienware m17 R5 is one of the first AMD Advantage laptops to hit the market and benefits from AMD’s Smart Technologies:
- AMD SmartShift Max: Dynamic power shifting between the Radeon GPU and the Ryzen APU.
- AMD SmartAccess Graphics: Optimizes frame rates, latency, and battery by enabling the discrete Radeon graphics or Ryzen graphics depending on the workload.
- AMD Smart Access Memory: Ryzen processors are able to harness the full potential of Radeon Graphics memory.
- AMD FreeSync Premium: An Adaptive sync technology that matches the refresh rate of the graphics with the display.
I am interested to see how well these technologies optimize the performance and efficiency of the Alienware m17 R5. Although we have seen most of these AMD Smart technologies in other AMD devices, it is the first laptop to feature AMD SmartAccess.
I believe that successful design wins like the Alienware m17 R5 are important for AMD, as we see the rise of Intel Arc. Right now, AMD has the more mature line of graphics cards, while Intel has more design wins. I believe the success of the Alienware m17 R5 should lead to more design wins for AMD as the most powerful gaming laptop of its current day. While Intel improves on Intel Arc, AMD should continue to improve its design wins, and I believe the Alienware m17 R5 is a key design win for AMD.
First of its kind 480Hz panel on the Alienware m17 R5 and x17 R2
Another first for the Alienware m17 R5 is its FHD (1920 x 1080) 480Hz 3ms panel. The 480HZ panel is also available on the Alienware x17, the 17-inch Alienware model with Intel 12th Gen H Series processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics.
The 480Hz panels support AMD FreeSync, and NVIDIA G-SYNC with Advanced Optimus enabled. Advanced Optimus enables the built-in hardware MUX to disable the iGPU so that games and other graphic-intensive workloads benefit from the more powerful dGPU.
The caveat for the Alienware m17R5 is that features like AMD SmartAccess Graphics are not useable when Advanced Optimus is turned on. I am interested to see how well Advanced Optimus works with AMD Smart Access Memory on the Alienware m17 R5 with Radeon RX 6850M XT (12GB). It could make for a better configuration than the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (16GB), even though the 3080 Ti has 4GB more graphics memory.
The 480Hz displays benefit from ComfortView Plus, a hardware-based low blue light solution, and Dolby Vision for optimal color profiles. With a 480Hz refresh rate, low blue light, and optimized color accuracy, I believe it could be the best laptop display on the market for professional eSports and dedicated gamers.
Fitting for Dell to put a 16-inch display in a 15-inch chassis
For the more casual and budget-friendly gamers, Dell is launching the Dell G16, its first 16-inch gaming panel design. Dell has a lot of experience in putting nearly bezel-less displays in its XPS laptops. Dell is showing that it is fully capable of taking some of that technology and implementing it into its G Series of gaming laptops.
The Dell G16 has a 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) 165Hz display with a 16:10 aspect ratio within the footprint of the G15, its 15-inch sibling. The Dell G16 actually has the same dimensions as the G15 with a 16:9 aspect ratio but with a larger display.
It comes with Intel’s 12th Gen Core H-Series processors and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti mobile GPU. It has similar cooling solutions to Alienware with copper pipes, four vents, and ultra-thin blades for optimized cooling and airflow. I believe these are more than capable specs for any casual gamer, and with the fewer bezels and QHD display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, I believe it is equipped for more than just gaming in our hybrid world.
The Dell G16 also has new keyboard options with a CherryMX mechanical low-profile keyboard with per-key RGB. Mechanical keyboards are popular within the gaming community for its favorable travel. While mechanical keys are not as popular on a laptop, I believe it is great that Dell is giving its community the option.
The Alienware m17 R5 is a beast of a laptop, and I believe it was a huge design win for AMD. I hope it leads to more diverse AMD Advantage design wins and even smaller Alienware laptops with AMD Advantage. I would be hard-pressed to say this is a win for AMD compared to fully Intel laptops since Intel Arc is in its early stages. If anything, I believe it’s a win for the PC gaming community, as any competition is good.
With the 480Hz display, I would not be surprised to see either the m17 R5 or the x17 R2 in the hands of professional eSports players. Both laptops are powerful and well-spec’ed and currently offer the best display of any gaming laptop. The Dell G16 is also no laughing matter as an affordable option for gamers. Many Alienware features carry over to the G16, and it offers gamers more of a stealthy option with thin bezels. Overall, I am excited to see these devices in the wild as Alienware continues to show itself as a leader in the gaming laptop space.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.