The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is here, and gaming is taking center stage for a number of the world’s largest PC makers. Naturally, Dell’s (DELL) Alienware brand is no exception. On Sunday night, it announced an updated version of its m15 laptop and the all-new m17 notebook.
Like last year’s m15, both new rigs follow Alienware’s angular “Epic” design language. Outside of its internals, the 2019 version of the m15 is a dead-ringer for the 2018 iteration. The m17, meanwhile, is a completely new product that marries the thin and light styling of the m15 with a massive 17-inch display.
The m15 and m17 follow Nvidia’s (NVDA) Max-Q design, which essentially means they come packed with high-powered graphics chips, but don’t weigh as much as compact cars. The m15 comes in at 4.8 pounds, while the m17 tops out at 5.8 pounds. For systems designed to play the latest, most graphically demanding games on the market, that’s an impressive feat.
But the big story here is how much power Alienware crammed into these machines. Both base versions of the m15 and m17 are available with Intel’s (INTC) 8th-generation Core i5 processor, an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics chip, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage.
Alienware is also offering Nvidia’s new RTX graphics processors, which allow for real-time ray tracing. In other words, lighting in games that use the technology looks far more realistic, making for an improved visual experience.
You have the option of an RTX 2060 with 6GB of RAM, an RTX 2070 with 6GB of RAM, or the beastly RTX 2080 with 8GB of RAM.
Pair that last chip with the optional and ridiculous Intel Core i9, 32GB of RAM and two 2TB solid-state storage drives, and you’re talking about a machine so powerful it might just form its own version of Skynet.
Customization and connections
As with most gaming rigs, the m15 and m17 come with a full array of customizable LED lights under their keyboards. Alienware also throws in the LEDs under the Alienware logo on the laptops’ lids.
As far as the all important I/O connectors that let gamers pair their systems with everything from external storage devices to wired mice, the m15 and m17 don’t disappoint. In addition to three USB 3.0 ports; there’s a USB C slot; Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier Port, which lets you connect an external graphics card for even more gaming power; a MiniDisplay port and headphone jack.
The one issue with the m15 and m17 is that they still have those same giant display bezels that Alienware has been using for some time. With PC makers across the board slimming down those bezels for a sleeker look, the m15 and m17 feel a bit out of place. It’s certainly not a dealbreaker, but it would be nice to see these machines with a more modern look.
If you’re hoping to score one of this systems, you won’t have to wait too long. Both the m15 and m17 go on sale Jan. 29. But I hope you’ve got some cash saved up, because the m17 starts at a pricey $1,649. The m15 with that Core i9 processor and latest Nvidia graphics chip, meanwhile, will cost you $1,579.
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