Brace yourselves, people, we have been invaded. Aliens landed on Earth for the first time in 2009 and since then the world is a different place (at least the gaming world)… Even though it’s not 1979 and “Alien” is still one of the best horror flicks ever made, you can’t stop thinking about that movie when you see the Alienware R3 17 gaming laptop. You just can’t… It looks wicked and ready to put the entire human kind into slavery …
A little bit of alien history
Having said that, from which galaxy did this alien come from?
Alienware is a project initiated 20 years ago by Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila. Back in the days they used to build gaming desktops and consoles, not laptops. They named this Dell subsidiary company “Alienware” because they liked “The X-Files” a lot. This seems legit, right? Well, 20 years have passed and nowadays, Alienware is one of the best manufacturers in the gaming world, including the gaming laptop market. This company has come a long way and unless you’ve lived under a rock or in some sort of cave in the past decade, you couldn’t say you’ve never heard of it.
The first noticeable Alienware gaming laptops were launched in 2009, after Dell bought the company… There were the M15x and the M17x series. Today, Dell manages to be one of the best gaming laptop manufacturers on the market, with Alienware R3 17 being the shining star.
It looks like an alien
Dell’s Alienware R3 17-inch gaming laptop looks different than anything on the market. Even though the exterior design has not changed in the past 3 years, it still looks like it came from another planet. Look at that shape, those colors, you might not be surprised if Curiosity Rover found this piece of technology abandoned in some cave on Mars. There’s no way you could look at this laptop and be unable to identify it. It’s like a Bugatti.
It feels like an alien
This Alienware R3 17 is a great bang for the buck even though it’s not top of the line. There are a lot of gaming laptops on the market able to outperform this one, but they come at a higher price too. Alienware R3 17 costs around 2 grand nowadays for the 1080P model. There is a 4K model too, but we are not talking about that specific model because 4K gaming with an NVIDIA GTX 980M inside is just impossible if you want to play some new titles.
1080p gaming is enough and costs less. For just $1800 you get the latest Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16 GB of DDR4 memory, 1 TB of Storage and a 256 GB NVMe SSD (x2 faster than SATA3) and of course, the almighty NVIDIA GTX 980M with 4 GB of DDR5 RAM. Not to mention that 17-inch IPS display, which, even though it’s only 1080P, is gorgeous. In fact, this is one of the best 1080p displays on the market right now. You have the full specifications down below.
It acts like an alien
This Alienware R3 17 laptop acts weird. It can turn into the best gaming laptop on the market if you attach the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. What is the Alienware Graphics Amplifier you might ask… Well, this is just an accessory designed for those who have a screw loose and who are ready throw in $1000 on gaming power. You can put a full-size NVIDIA 1080 inside the Alienware Graphics Amplifier and connect it to your Alienware R3 17 gaming laptop to boost graphics performance. This is the only way to play modern games at a 4K resolution…
Dell came up with the Alienware Graphics Amplifier as an option for those who are really into gaming and who don’t want to make any compromise. It’s designed for those who want to play any game on their laptop, any game even at 4K UHD resolutions. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier costs just $159 but it comes with no graphics card attached, so be ready to pay almost a grand if you want the best performance.
Nobody quite understands why manufacturers keep pushing 4K UHD displays into laptops if gaming at such a high resolution is not always possible, but with the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, it all comes together. It is obvious the 980M won’t be enough for 4K gaming, and Dell came up with this alien looking thing as a solution for those epic gaming enthusiasts, who will pay the ultimate price for ultimate performance.
So, keep that in mind if you go for the 4K UHD Alienware R3 17, the 980M won’t be enough if you want to play the latest titles at that crazy resolution. And think also about battery life because a higher resolution means more power drain. Personally, I would not recommend 4K gaming on laptops, unless you go for the Alienware Graphics Amplifier and some NVIDIA 1080. Otherwise, it’s not worth the price. Here are some FPS scores from notebookcheck.com for this NVIDIA 980M combined with 4K resolutions and Intel Core i7 processors. As you can see, 20 – 28 FPS are not enough for playable gaming. You need at least 40 – 50 FPS to enjoy a game with no hustle.
Is Alienware R3 17 worth 2 grand?
Well, to be honest, it is. We’re talking about a neat looking laptop which is able to play any modern game at a 1080p resolution with no problems. 2 grand is quite top of the line for moderate enthusiasts. Epic enthusiasts will rush to drain their bank accounts in the run for performance, aiming for the $3000+ gaming laptops, and going for some Alienware Graphics Amplifier hooked up with an NVIDIA 1080. $ 2000 is quite normal for a gaming laptop.
Alienware R3 17 – from the best to the worst
We talked a lot about the epicness of this laptop, we talked about the idea of 4K resolutions combined with mobile versions of NVIDIA 980, we talked about specifications and about prices. But how about the bad news? Let’s see what the media thinks about this Alienware R3 17 , with the good and the bad… How about netbookcheck.net?
7 good reasons to adopt this alien
- High quality build. The chassis is made from carbon fiber inspired by aerospace technologies.
- Excellent performance. And it’s not me who says that, it’s notebookcheck.net in their elaborated Alienware R3 17 notebook review, which I recommend reading.
- Great battery life for non-gaming activities. According to the same notebookcheck.com, the battery will last up to 12.5 hours on idle or 7.5 hours on web browsing at a medium luminance.
- USB 3.1 with Thunderbolt 3. USB Type-C™ with Support for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 40Gbps Thunderbolt, and DisplayPort. We’ve seen USB Type-C on laptops before, but not all come with Thunderbolt 3 support.
- External graphics card via Amplifier. Perfect solution for gaming enthusiasts to attach an NVIDIA 1080 to this laptop and be able to play anything at a 4K UHD resolution.
- NVMe-SSD. This type of SSD is twice faster than an average SATA 3 SSD. NVMe is the new kid on the block in terms of flash storage.
- The price is cool. Being below the $2,000 barrier will make this gaming laptop affordable for a lot of people, not to mention the fact that it’s customizable. You can opt for an NVIDIA 960M or an NVIDIA 970M graphics card and buy it much cheaper if you do not intend to play some crazy-ass power-hungry game title.
4 bad reasons to stay away from this alien
- Under maximum load, the battery melts down like butter in a pan. As notebookcheck.net wrote, it will only last about an hour under intensive gaming condition.
- It weights a ton. Well, not really a ton but 8.3 pounds is not quite featherweight category, if you know what I mean… Just try to hold in one hand two bottles of Coke two liters each to see what I’m talking about.
- The exhaust has the worst position ever. You won’t be able to play on your lap, unless you put some firefighter gear on so your feet won’t get burned.
- Poor 4K performance. The 980M is not enough for modern titles if you want to high-def details at a 4K resolution. You will need the Alienware Graphics Amplifier hooked up. If you are planning to play old titles, it’s ok though.
Conclusion: From which galaxy did this alien come from?
Well, it’s hard to tell but it’s a pleasure to have it. Alienware R3 17 is unique and is able to offer a great bang for the buck. Those who want a gaming laptop should seriously consider this as an option because it’s one of the best solutions on the market right now. And to be honest, Alienware is one of the best gaming laptops manufacturers in the world, you will end up comparing anything you buy with an Alienware.
Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
16 GB DDR4. GTX 980M
1 TB HDD + 256 GB SATA SSD Storage; Optical Drive Not included
17.3 Inch UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) LED-lit Truelife Screen
Windows 10 Home Operating System; Epic Silver Chassis