The Alienware 18 Gaming Laptop Makes A Return

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Rhostam

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I've owned a few "gaming" class laptops, but never anything as crazy as an Alienware or Razer. I have also owned a few desktops hand-built and pre-built. My priority has been portability when it comes to gaming since picking up your rig to go to a LAN session isn't exactly a popular thing (ever/ anymore?). For my recent desktop I tried out Alienwares X51 and I loved it. Small, petite and still capable enough to play the games I wanted at that time. So, when it came time to upgrade a few years later I plopped a 750Ti in it and squeaked out a little more. Awesome. But I still wanted something mobile, even as my gaming days begin to wane. I finally bought last "seasons" Alienware 18 and have one word to say: AWESOME. After a while I did have a problem with the screen. I may have done something to it, perhaps not. Either way, support took care of my problem which undoubtedly biases my opinion. SLI 880Ms still do the work I need. It's great news for people that they are continuing this line of portable gaming machines for people that don't want to use the external GPU device (which itself is awesome!) or use a smaller screen. 18" and you forget sometimes you are on a laptop!
 

rigs79

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Why buy this when Skylake is so close? Just wait a few more months. Seems like an odd time to roll this out.
 


Not in performance, no. But it uses less power, so yes, the mobile version upgrade to Skylake will be pretty significant for a laptop for a host of reasons.

 
First of all, why would anyone spend upwards of $4,700(US) on a maxed out 1080p laptop. Dual SLI 970s is way overkill for that, let alone dual 980s. Sure, you can hook it up to a 1440p or 4K monitor, but then what's the point? You may as well just build a much less expensive desktop if you are going to peripheral dock it. I mean last year MSI rolled out their GT60 gaming laptops that had a 3K resolution option (1620p). WTH Dell?
 

loki1944

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First of all, why would anyone spend upwards of $4,700(US) on a maxed out 1080p laptop. Dual SLI 970s is way overkill for that, let alone dual 980s. Sure, you can hook it up to a 1440p or 4K monitor, but then what's the point? You may as well just build a much less expensive desktop if you are going to peripheral dock it. I mean last year MSI rolled out their GT60 gaming laptops that had a 3K resolution option (1620p). WTH Dell?
I would, spending a large amount of time overseas, I want the horsepower to run demanding games at high FPS and have them look good coming out of a projector.
 


Well for 1080P it's more overkill, a GT72 dominator is just as good at 1080P arguably as twin GTX 980Ms.
 

loki1944

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A single 880M isn't the greatest for 1080p; SLI 980Ms is definitely the way to go. I know, I have an Origin 15S with an i7 and 880M. It's ok for 30-40 FPS in demanding games at 1080p on high settings http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-880M.107622.0.html , but SLI 980Ms would make maxing games at 1080p feasible. http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-980M-SLI.129389.0.html.
 

CelicaGT

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Not in performance, no. But it uses less power, so yes, the mobile version upgrade to Skylake will be pretty significant for a laptop for a host of reasons.
This is an Alienware, not a laptop....it cares not for these things.
 

Blazer1985

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@10tacle:
Sure, skylake would require slightly less power.. But you have a sli here, this means that you can't turn off the dedicated gpus. This means about 20w per gpu of idle consumption, almost like having another 45w cpu running :-D
This machine is not meant to save watts, it is meant to destroy other laptops limits.
And your wallet.
And your back. :-D
 

computerguy72

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Skylake makes a huge difference in a lot of ways that would effect an Alienware gaming laptop. Both the Cpu and the z170 chipset use less power. In same cases **dramatically less. (i.e. like half). Far less heat too. Add in M.2 in raid 0 format and you can have reads at 6 times the speed of a typical nice SSD. Native usb 3.1 and lots of them. 4 times the bus bandwidth means bottlenecks in SLI far less likely. QuickSync on skylake has something like 250% better performance than NVENC on a 980 for encoding and decoding video. It's true on GPU dependent software you only gain 4-12% or so on Skylake but for CPU everyday things you can see when you run sandra its like 30%+ faster. Also as always new instructions have been added which will increase the percentages over time. It honestly really is silly to get a Haswell when Skylake laptops are like 50 days away at almost exactly the same price. And btw if you plan to use this thing as a laptop at all the lower power states mean nearly double the battery life.
 

iamacow

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yeah someone will waste money and buy this. A $800 MSI or ASUS gaming laptop will be just as good. At 1080p, it really doesn't make a difference between 960m, 970m and 980m, let alone SLI.
 

CelicaGT

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yeah someone will waste money and buy this. A $800 MSI or ASUS gaming laptop will be just as good. At 1080p, it really doesn't make a difference between 960m, 970m and 980m, let alone SLI.
Skylake makes a huge difference in a lot of ways that would effect an Alienware gaming laptop. Both the Cpu and the z170 chipset use less power. In same cases **dramatically less. (i.e. like half). Far less heat too. Add in M.2 in raid 0 format and you can have reads at 6 times the speed of a typical nice SSD. Native usb 3.1 and lots of them. 4 times the bus bandwidth means bottlenecks in SLI far less likely. QuickSync on skylake has something like 250% better performance than NVENC on a 980 for encoding and decoding video. It's true on GPU dependent software you only gain 4-12% or so on Skylake but for CPU everyday things you can see when you run sandra its like 30%+ faster. Also as always new instructions have been added which will increase the percentages over time. It honestly really is silly to get a Haswell when Skylake laptops are like 50 days away at almost exactly the same price. And btw if you plan to use this thing as a laptop at all the lower power states mean nearly double the battery life.
While I more or less agree with you on the platform upgrades (M.2 etc.) Skylake itself really has nothing to offer the gaming market (yet). As far as this product goes...something postured as the king of all gaming laptops should come with the latest and greatest don't you think?
 

eriko

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Skylake makes a huge difference in a lot of ways that would effect an Alienware gaming laptop. Both the Cpu and the z170 chipset use less power. In same cases **dramatically less. (i.e. like half). Far less heat too. Add in M.2 in raid 0 format and you can have reads at 6 times the speed of a typical nice SSD. Native usb 3.1 and lots of them. 4 times the bus bandwidth means bottlenecks in SLI far less likely. QuickSync on skylake has something like 250% better performance than NVENC on a 980 for encoding and decoding video. It's true on GPU dependent software you only gain 4-12% or so on Skylake but for CPU everyday things you can see when you run sandra its like 30%+ faster. Also as always new instructions have been added which will increase the percentages over time. It honestly really is silly to get a Haswell when Skylake laptops are like 50 days away at almost exactly the same price. And btw if you plan to use this thing as a laptop at all the lower power states mean nearly double the battery life.
We Alienware 18" laptop owners are not saving power whatsoever. We are gaming or running VMs / cracking passwords etc.

Would we like newer hardware? Absolutely, but the 4940XM is a beast and is better than you think.
 

eriko

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Alienware likely knows many of us are holding out for 18.4" @ 1440p.

But I believe they are having trouble sourcing the quality of screens enthusiasts execpt in such a machine.

I'm on an M18X R2, 3920XM @ 4.5GHz, and am waiting for 1440p before upgrading my system.
 

pessimism

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18.5 inch at 1080p is an epic fail. When will a manufacturer see the demand and start making 17 and 18 inch 3k/4k panels?
 

hoofhearted

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Alienware dropped the ball with this. I too had an M18R2 and would have upgraded to their newer version had it not been for the news, a few months ago, that they were discontinuing this line. I would up going with the MSI Titan GT80 which also has 980m GTX SLI, plus a mechanical keyboard on a laptop is just awesome!
 
G

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holy shit, where do i start??

- starting at 2500$, it doesn't come with an ssd.
- they add the vram of two cards in sli
- they only state the turbo clocks, instead of base clocks
- the largest ssd you can add is a 512gb msata drive and it's not even a nice m.2 pcie drive
- they are using the 2+ year old haswell platform, when skylake is just launching with more speed, more efficiency and more features
- windows 8.1, when windows 10 just launched
- a 4650$ laptop is simply ridiculous, i7 qx and 980 sli or not
- a 1080p screen?? are you fucking kidding???
- no bluray?

anything else?
 

cats_Paw

Distinguished
holy shit, where do i start??

- starting at 2500$, it doesn't come with an ssd.
- they add the vram of two cards in sli
- they only state the turbo clocks, instead of base clocks
- the largest ssd you can add is a 512gb msata drive and it's not even a nice m.2 pcie drive
- they are using the 2+ year old haswell platform, when skylake is just launching with more speed, more efficiency and more features
- windows 8.1, when windows 10 just launched
- a 4650$ laptop is simply ridiculous, i7 qx and 980 sli or not
- a 1080p screen?? are you fucking kidding???
- no bluray?

anything else?

Lets break this down:

-Starting at 2500, yes, they need a reality check. I will never buy something so overpriced.
-VRAM will be added in dx12 if I remember correctly, so as long as its windows 10, its ok.
-Turbo clocks, again, another alienware false advertising, nothing new, most people should be used to this by now from alienware.
-I have only a 128 gb ssd at my gaming laptop, the rest is mechanical. Going pure ssd, im sure if you are that wealthy, you will be looking at far more powerfull laptops, perhaphs eurocom...
-This is debatable. We have not seen a full dx12 build with a review from all types of cpus and gpus.
I have seen so much conflicting information regarding the performance jumps that for now I dont trust anyone.
The reason I say this is because since i5-2500k almost every single intel improvement was minimal.
-If you have win 8.1, you get 10 for free, assuming you leave autoupdates on... so this is a bit of a trick to get people to have auto updates on.... I wonder if Edward Snowden can give us a hint.
-So are beats, iphones, masseratis, and 30 million dollar homes, but hey, noone forces you to buy it.
-Screen is something complex. On one side, its not like you can tell the difference unless you are looking for it (the screen is just too small). On the other hand, why not just put a 4k display? Then it hit me, battery life.
I-m still torn about bluray. Most ppl still buy DVDs, and with upcoming technology dvds will be able to store around 25.000 blueray quality movies, so maybe thats why. Blue ray has not eliminated DVD and taken over, like DVD did with VHS, so its quite obvious that blueray is not the future, its just in that future somewhere.
 

CelicaGT

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Jul 22, 2013
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holy shit, where do i start??

- starting at 2500$, it doesn't come with an ssd.
- they add the vram of two cards in sli
- they only state the turbo clocks, instead of base clocks
- the largest ssd you can add is a 512gb msata drive and it's not even a nice m.2 pcie drive
- they are using the 2+ year old haswell platform, when skylake is just launching with more speed, more efficiency and more features
- windows 8.1, when windows 10 just launched
- a 4650$ laptop is simply ridiculous, i7 qx and 980 sli or not
- a 1080p screen?? are you fucking kidding???
- no bluray?

anything else?

Lets break this down:

-Starting at 2500, yes, they need a reality check. I will never buy something so overpriced.
-VRAM will be added in dx12 if I remember correctly, so as long as its windows 10, its ok.
-Turbo clocks, again, another alienware false advertising, nothing new, most people should be used to this by now from alienware.
-I have only a 128 gb ssd at my gaming laptop, the rest is mechanical. Going pure ssd, im sure if you are that wealthy, you will be looking at far more powerfull laptops, perhaphs eurocom...
-This is debatable. We have not seen a full dx12 build with a review from all types of cpus and gpus.
I have seen so much conflicting information regarding the performance jumps that for now I dont trust anyone.
The reason I say this is because since i5-2500k almost every single intel improvement was minimal.
-If you have win 8.1, you get 10 for free, assuming you leave autoupdates on... so this is a bit of a trick to get people to have auto updates on.... I wonder if Edward Snowden can give us a hint.
-So are beats, iphones, masseratis, and 30 million dollar homes, but hey, noone forces you to buy it.
-Screen is something complex. On one side, its not like you can tell the difference unless you are looking for it (the screen is just too small). On the other hand, why not just put a 4k display? Then it hit me, battery life.
I-m still torn about bluray. Most ppl still buy DVDs, and with upcoming technology dvds will be able to store around 25.000 blueray quality movies, so maybe thats why. Blue ray has not eliminated DVD and taken over, like DVD did with VHS, so its quite obvious that blueray is not the future, its just in that future somewhere.

More or less this. As far as pricing goes at the high end...that 4940 MX comes in at roughly $1200, those GTX980's $1000 or so a piece. So I get that....the base price is what's out of line here. 1080 on a gaming machine? Works for me especially if it means no frame drops, sli is already a fail imho. I wish they would just give us a killer single chip for these kinds of machines though I suppose the market is just too small, and the TDP too high. The inclusion of DVD (or any optical) is just strange.....I would want the bay it inhabits for more HDD/SSD space. Skylake? Battery life? Just...look at this thing...do you really think you are gonna type out you biography in Starbucks on it? Seriously, anyone who is even entertaining the idea of this machine will brag to their friends about how SHORT the battery life is, this thing will only be unplugged when it's turned off. Very odd release Dell...not thinking these will fly off the shelves, even in base form.
 
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