Review

Alienware M17 R4 (2021): 17in Laptop Specs and Review

Every brand has to guard against reproducing the same product in the newer models, especially in the fourth installment. Fortunately, Alienware has managed to remain consistent with their M-series. Each new release comes with tons of upgrades in both design and specifications.

For instance, the M17 R4 has a similar design to the 2020’s R3 model. However, it comes with several upgrades in the hardware sector. It includes the latest Intel Core processor rather than the AMD Ryzen. It is because AMD has failed to offer a 7mm laptop processor so far.

Alienware 17in Laptop M17 R4 Review:

Moreover, the 10th gen Intel Core i7 offers far greater gaming performance than any other processor in the market. Similarly, it also includes an Nvidia GeForce 3000 series graphics card. These specs offer more than enough juice to play the latest games with high settings.

Our Verdict:

Alienware M17 R4 is the most elegant and powerful gaming notebook of 2021 so far. It offers better heat management than the M15 and a large 17-inch HD display. So, you can also double it as a workstation.  In short, if you are looking for a new laptop, the M17 R4 is definitely worth purchasing.

Specs overview:

Specs overview:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 10870H
    • Upgradeable to Core i9-10980HK
  • GPU: RTX 3000 series
    • 3060
    • 3070
    • 3080
  • Ram: 16GB DDR4 @ 2933MHz
    • Upgradeable to 32GBs
  • Battery backup: 2.5-3 hours
  • Display
    • size: 17.3-inch
    • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
    • Refresh rate: 60Hz, 144Hz, 360Hz
    • G-Sync enabled
  • Storage:
    • 1TB M.2 NVMe
    • 256-512GB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0 SSD

Design and features:

Alienware M17 R4 keeps the classic gaming station look like its predecessors but only better. You get RGB backlit in the keyboard, touchpad, hardware keys, grills, and even in the Alienware logo on the display panel. You can control the RGBs both individually and collectively using the AlienFX software.

Design and features
Design and features m17 Laptop

The system offers more than 16 million colors to match your taste and provide the perfect gaming vibe. Similarly, the keyboard gives you more of a mechanical feel rather than the conventional laptop keyboard.

The physical mouse buttons are hidden inside the touchpad, just like any other modern laptop station. Furthermore, it comes with a full-sized keyboard with a separate numeric pad for your convenience. Like all laptops, the keyboard offers multiple function keys to control various features right from the keyboard without minimizing the current screen.

One great thing about the extended size of the M17 is that it offers more room for system ventilation. According to PCMag, the M17 is 5-8 degrees cooler than the M15 under extreme load conditions. Moreover, you always have the option to use additional cooling systems to ensure optimum system temperature all the time.

The overall feel of this laptop is very sturdy and solid. You won’t face any display flex problems when picking up the laptop in one hand. However, you need a strong arm to pick up the 9.6 pounds laptop in one hand. A strong shoulder is also required to support the combined weight of the laptop, power adapter, and the rest of your accessories in the backpack. Despite being slim, the gaming notebook feels like a solid piece of granite in your hand.

Display:

Honestly, the screen resolution is the only place where the M17 R4 lags behind in the competition. It comes with a 1,920 x 1,080, 17-inch HD display. The display is wide enough to watch movies and play games. Watching a 1080P HD movie on this laptop makes you feel like sitting in a movie theater.

Alienware m17 17in Laptop Display
Alienware m17 17in Laptop Display

Moreover, it also supports 3D videos, and you can notice the background details as well as the grains on some older movies. However, the display is not as rich as the 2K display offered by the Macbook Pro is pretty much the same price range. But again, both the laptops are for different purposes. You can’t game on an Apple Macbook.

The M17 R4 has different variants depending on the screen selection and a few hardware changes. For instance, you can choose from a 144Hz FHD panel with an optional G-Sync, 360Hz display with G-Sync, and a conventional 60Hz UHD display panel. Experts recommend the 360Hz version for competitive gamers for games like COD, CS Go, and Valorent.

However, you can still enjoy a quality gaming experience if you choose the 144Hz version. Lastly, the 60Hz variant is suitable for casual single-player games and movies. In short, Alienware has provided a laptop for all sorts of gamers.

Specifications:

Specifications of the M17 R4 are the most anticipated region. It comes with the latest processor, GPU, Storage, and Ram combination. The potential offered by the laptop is more than enough to support even the most demanding games and apps. However, it is not recommended for rendering and mining as the GPU is strictly for gaming purposes only. Other than that, this beast will run any game that you want to play for the next 2-3 years without any problems.

Processor:

The laptop comes pre-installed with not the latest but one of the most powerful 10th gen Intel processors. You get a Core i7 10870H mobile processor right out of the box. It is a 14nm processor with a 2.20GHz base frequency and a whopping 5.0GHz turbo frequency. The processor offers a 16Mb system cache and 8GT/s bus speed.

Processor
Processor

Such performance is incomparable to any of the latest processors in the market. If that’s not enough, Alienware gives you the option further to tweak your laptop with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor.

Processor speeds

However, it may add to the total cost of your laptop, but the performance upgrade is definitely worth it. The only problem with these processors is that they are still not powerful enough to compete against the AMD Ryzen 7 processors.

GPU:

All of the variants of the M17 R4 come with an Nvidia GeForce 3000 series graphics chip. However, the model of your graphics card depends on which of these variants you pick. For instance, the basic 60Hz version comes with RTX 3060, and you can choose between RTX 3070 or 3080 in the other variants. In any case. The system will have enough memory to play the latest games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, GTA Trilogy DE, Call of Duty Vanguard, and Forza Horizon 5 with high settings. If you are a casual gamer, then even the RTX 3060 version is suitable for you as it saves you some money. The benchmark scores show that RTX 3060 is roughly 10% lower than the upper-end cards. Despite that, the M17 R4 can easily run all Triple-A game titles.

Memory:

The whole system performance depends on your Ram in the long run. It is because every process is delivered by the Ram memory. Fortunately, the M17 comes with a 16GB DDR4 Ram with a 2933MHz speed factor. However, you can further spice things by utilizing the second Ram slot. Thus if you want to squeeze every drop of juice from the laptop, you can configure it with 32 gigs of Ram by attaching the same 16GB Ram stick. It will not only boost the system performance but also increase the benchmarking scores. On the contrary, if you are not a hardcore gaming freak, the default 16GB Ram is a better option as it saves you the extra cost.

Stamina:

No matter how much power the laptop is, it’s all a waste if it doesn’t offer enough stamina. In this case, stamina refers to the duration for which the laptop is optimally under normal usage. The check includes system performance drop, system temperature, and battery backup. According to various test results, the laptop remains thermally stable when watching a 1080P movie. The system temperature remains between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit all the time which is well under the 95 degrees F comfort range.

Similarly, the system remains stable even when playing heavy games for an extended period. The system temperature remains between 90-103 degrees Fahrenheit when playing Forza Horizon 5 continuously for an hour. However, the temperature is slightly uncomfortable if you place the laptop on your lap. The good news is that you won’t face any game lags due to performance drop on continuous hardcore usage.

Secondly, the M17 provides just enough battery backup for emergency situations. For instance, you can use the laptop on battery for 2.5 hours of web-surfing or movie. It is not as great as some of the other laptops in the market. But it is a gaming laptop, and you are supposed to plug it in whenever you want to play a game.

Ports:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A with Powershare Technology |
  • (2x) USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A |
  • Audio Out 1/8″ Port (Compatible with inline mic headset)
  • HDMI 2.1b with HDCP 2.2 Output |
  • Killer™ Networks E3100x Gigabit Ethernet NIC |
  • Thunderbolt™ 3 Port |
  • Mini DisplayPort™ 1.4 Output |
  • Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port |
  • Wedge-shaped Lock Slot (cable and lock sold separately) |
  • Power/DC-In Port
  • MicroSD-Card Reader |

Pros:

  • Large display 17.3.”
  • Upgradeable processor
  • Latest GPU
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
  • RGBs in multiple parts
  • 60-360Hz screen selection
  • Improved Heat management
  • Solid build quality
  • Suitable for all Triple-A games

Cons:

  • A bit on the heavy side.
  • It doesn’t offer much battery backup.

Conclusion:

Alienware is among the top brand of gaming laptops. Each year they come with a new product that breaks all records set by the preceding models. Alienware M17 R4 is the latest gaming notebook of 2021. It has a sleek and modern design and top-notch hardware specs.

The device comes with the latest Intel Core processor along with DDR4 memory and the latest Nvidia GeForce 3000 series graphics chip. So, if you are looking for a laptop that can run all the games for several years to come, this laptop is best for you.

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