Every year at CES, Dell releases its entire lineup of products for the business, consumer, and gaming markets across many lines, including Precision, Latitude, UltraSharp, Inspiron, XPS, Dell Gaming, and Alienware. While I would love to talk in detail about the new 6K UltraSharp from Dell, my colleague and CEO Patrick Moorhead already has you covered on that front In this piece, I will cover Dell’s major gaming news at CES 2023 and how it is changing the Alienware product line.
Dell’s new lineup of Alienware products seeks to reaffirm Alienware’s place as the premium PC gaming brand across a broad range of new products, some of which have been resurrected after a long hiatus.
Aurora R15 AMD desktop and 500Hz monitor
For starters, Alienware is coming out with two new desktop products. First up is the Aurora R15 desktop computer, refreshed with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 series processors and AMD’s RX 7000 series GPUs. This is an update to the R15 with Intel’s latest 13th Gen desktop processors that Alienware announced just a few months ago. The new system will offer AMD 7000 series processors ranging from the Ryzen 5 7600X to the Ryzen 9 7950X.
I am a little surprised that Alienware isn’t offering a B650 and B670E options for the motherboard, which will mean some reduced connectivity. The system does configure up to 128GB of ram and the NVIDIA RTX 4090, but Alienware has yet to announce which 7000 series GPUs will be available later this winter. No word on whether this system will get AMD’s new AMD Advantage certification once it ships with both AMD CPUs and GPUs. The new R15 AMD Edition will start shipping on January 5th starting at $1,599.
In addition to the new R15 desktop, Alienware announced a new 500 Hz monitor. Yes, that’s 500 refreshes per second. Alienware overclocked this new 24.5-inch monitor to that 500 Hz rate from a native refresh rate of a meager 480 Hz over DisplayPort, and half that at 240 Hz over HDMI. While the monitor ships only with 1080P resolution, this combination of size and resolution are extremely popular for esports applications. While it remains to be seen whether the general population can even perceive 500Hz refresh rates (generally accepted to be possible only for younger eyes), I can confirm that I have seen distinct benefits from moving to 360 Hz from 144 Hz or 240Hz.
The other great thing about this monitor is that it uses an IPS panel, giving it a considerably better color depth and viewing angle than many of the high-refresh displays that use TN panels. The new model has also earned a VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, the minimum for enabling true HDR. Alienware also claims a wicked-fast 0.5ms GtG response time, which is necessary for a 500Hz esports-class gaming monitor. In addition to the many advanced panel technologies, this monitor also features NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology and Reflex Analyzer, which allow the user to reduce overall mouse-to-monitor latency and maximize the NVIDIA Reflex technology coming from the GPU. On top of all that, the monitor also comes with AlienFX lighting, which allows for synchronization of the lighting to match other Alienware hardware, including the tower and other peripherals.
I expect this monitor will compete with ASUS’ ROG Swift monitor, but that product offers only a TN panel—technology that is inferior to IPS—and it cannot be found anywhere for sale even though ASUS announced it in May of 2022. As such, we don’t even have a price to compare against once Dell announces pricing for the 500 Hz Alienware monitor, which the company says will happen closer to launch in Q1 of 2023. The Dell launch may end up happening before the hypothetically competitive ASUS monitor even comes to market.
Alienware m18—peak performance redefined
The m18 is Alienware’s return to 18-inch screens for its M Series, and represents the company’s consolidation of its high-performance laptop products into a new performance tier. This is the first time in 10 years that an Alienware m18 product has been announced; back when the previous version came out, it shipped with Windows 7, a 1080P display, an Intel Core i7-3820QM processor, 32GB of ram, a 1TB solid state hybrid drive, and SLI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 2GB graphics.
Until this new announcement, the m17 has been Alienware’s fastest laptop in the M Series; it sits alongside the x17, which prioritizes thinness and form factor over performance (although it still delivers incredible performance). I have been using an m17 R5 with the latest AMD CPU and GPU (AMD Advantage) and have been incredibly impressed by it as both a gaming PC and an everyday workhorse machine. It has been my preferred laptop for the last few months when I want to game or to edit videos on the go. That said, it seems that Alienware will be moving away from the 17-inch form factor and transitioning primarily towards the m18 and the x16; there will also be m16, x16, and x14 models.
The new m18 will ship with an 18-inch screen that features 2560x1600 resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a refresh rate of 165 Hz. It also includes G-Sync and FreeSync support and a 480 Hz 1080P panel, which Alienware featured on the m17 last year. It will ship in Q1 of 2023 with Intel’s latest 13th Gen processors (up to i9-13980HX), NVIDIA’s latest GPUs, and AMD CPU and GPU options in Q2. The m18 also takes user upgradeability to the next level with user-replaceable DDR5 and as many as 4 M.2 SSDs—yielding up to 9 TB of storage.
The m18 also features Alienware’s new Legend 3.0 design language with smoother edges and revamped Alienware Command Center 6.0; the company claims this delivers a much better user experience than previous versions, which I personally found somewhat hard to update. This laptop feels much more like a desktop replacement, and I believe this fill the hole left by the Alienware Area 51m Series, which was last produced in 2020. The m18 starts at $2,899 for the Intel + NVIDIA high-end configuration available in Q1. Dell says it will have more options coming later, including an entry-level model for $2,099.
Alienware x16 and x14
The Alienware x16 and x14 laptops continue the use of the Legend 3.0 design language, indeed elevating it with even more premium design and materials. I wrote extensively about the x14 when it was introduced last year; the new model gets a refresh with the latest design language and processors from Intel and NVIDIA.
As with the M Series, the X Series features 16:10 aspect ratio displays in both sizes, along with an improved audio-visual experience incorporating Dolby Vision and Atmos; all x16 laptops also sport a 6-speaker configuration. Dell also includes new ComfortView Plus technology in these models to reduce blue-light emissions, as well as an improved FHD webcam across both the M and X series.
The x16 is the first 16-inch X Series that Alienware has ever announced, as well as the company’s first 16-inch gaming laptop since 2004. The design does not disappoint: it boasts the latest technical capabilities, as well as a full metal body blending aluminum and magnesium alloy. It features a new 50-zone 100 micro-LED lighting design for the outer surface of the laptop, and it uses the 240-watt and 330-watt GaN chargers announced with the x17 R2. This is a big deal because Alienware has done an incredible job of making the X Series thin and light, but the size and weight of the necessary power bricks had not really caught up with the rest of the laptop experience—which negated many of the benefits of having a thin and light laptop. Thankfully, the new GaN chargers will deliver a considerably better experience when it comes to transporting the laptop with its charger.
The x16 will have a 16:10 QHD+ display with a 240Hz refresh rate and 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy, making it a great monitor for gaming and content creation. The x16 will also feature the latest 13th Gen CPUs from Intel and the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics with a maximum graphics power of 175 watts. The x16 will also benefit from 12-phase graphics voltage regulation to deliver all that power—a necessity for powering GPUs like NVIDIA’s RTX 4080 and 4090 and using the Element31 cooling technology.
The new x14 and x16 will be available in Q1. Initially, the x14 will ship as an entry-level model starting at $1,799, and the x16 will ship as a high-end model starting at $3,099. Both models will ship Intel and NVIDIA chips. An entry-level x16 is also expected sometime in Q1, starting at $2,149. AMD options for the x16 are expected later in Q2 for an undisclosed price.
Dell Gaming G16 and G15 and apparel
Last but certainly not least is the G Series, also known as Dell Gaming. Dell is going bolder with the Dell Gaming G Series, introducing more colorways and more eye-popping combinations. It is an entry-level machine for people who want a lot of Alienware DNA but who might not need all that performance. Dell offers more straightforward RGB configurations for the G16 and G15, including single-zone RGB configurations and optional four-zone configurations for the G16. Dell is finally including the latest vapor-chamber cooling and Element31 technology into the G Series, which should improve its thermal performance and, by extension, its acoustics and hopefully even its weight.
Dell is also bringing the latest processors and graphics chips from Intel and NVIDIA into the new G Series laptops, which should prove considerable performance improvements over the last generation. The new models will also feature the latest version of the Alienware Command Center, ensuring that the software experience for G Series buyers aligns well with what users would expect from Alienware. The new G16 and G15 will be available this spring starting at $1499 and $849, respectively.
Another way that Alienware is looking to expand its relationship with gamers and other fans is by introducing a new line of Interstellar apparel, including a new zip hoodie, pullover hoodie, T-shirt, and snapback hat. Items in the apparel line will range from $30 to $100, and will be available starting January 17.
This CES has been a big one for Dell and the Alienware brand. Last year’s version debuted a lot of new products as well, but this year’s product announcements represent the culmination of many of the things that Dell has been working toward in the gaming space. I got an early preview of the new lineup in person a few weeks ago and am excited to get more time with the x16 and review it fully once it launches later in Q1.
Meanwhile, the Legend 3.0 design language appears to be completing Dell’s vision for redesigning the Alienware brand, and it will be interesting to see where the brand goes from here. Much of the growth in gaming is happening in laptops, and it seems clear that Alienware wants to reclaim the design and performance crowns with the x16 and m18 laptops.
The 500 Hz IPS monitor also demonstrates Dell’s continued leadership in display technology, which continues to situate Alienware as a premium gaming monitor brand, especially after last year’s magnificent 34-inch QD-OLED monitor, which is still the best-looking gaming monitor I’ve tested to date.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.