Launched in 1996, Alienware quickly made a name for itself by selling high-powered gaming PCs. It didn’t hurt that it had a great name and logo for marketing — the “gray alien” theme helped the company stand out. In 2006, one of the biggest PC makers, Dell, announced it was buying Alienware. Many people assumed that Dell would quickly absorb Alienware’s hardcore gaming PC style, but instead it has been the other way around. Alienware has not only thrived, but expanded its product lineup under Dell, and its high-end hardware designs have influenced Dell’s more mainstream PCs.
In 2009, Alienware launched its first PC gaming laptop. Ever since, it has offered gamers high-end hardware and features in a more portable form factor. Here’s a look at the current Alienware laptops you can buy for the best notebook gaming experience.
If you want a gaming laptop with almost no hardware compromises and don’t mind it being on the heavy side, the recently launched Alienware Area-51m is perfect. This 8.54-pound gaming laptop is the first using the company’s new “Alienware Legend” design, ditching the sharp edges in older Alienware laptops in favor of a more rounded and smoother shape. The notebook is made of a strong and smooth magnesium alloy, which lets it pack in lots of powerful parts while still not going too overboard on the weight.
The Alienware Area-51m has a big 17.3-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and it supports Nvidia’s G-Sync screen tech, so gaming should be a smooth experience without screen tearing. Speaking of which, this notebook comes with NVIDIA’s latest GPUs, including its GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB of GDDR6 RAM, the GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, or the very powerful GeForce RTX 2080, again with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. You can even connect the company’s Alienware Graphics Amplifier to the notebook, which allows it to access desktop GPU cards from either NVIDIA or rival AMD.
In addition, the Alienware Area-51m is the first laptop with Intel’s ninth generation Core processors inside, with your choice of the 6-core i7 8700 at up to 4.6Ghz, the 8-core i7 9700k at up to 4.9Ghz, or the super hardcore i9 9900k with speeds up to 5.0Ghz. The notebook has also been designed to be upgradable for both its CPU and GPU, along with its RAM (up to 64GB) and onboard storage (up to two 2TB SSDs and one 1TB hybrid hard drive).
Despite all that hardware, you don’t have to worry about the laptop getting very hot. The Alienware Area-51m laptop has the company’s new Cryo-Tech 2.0 technology, which includes a dual intake and dual exhaust airflow design, combined with a high voltage liquid crystal polymer fan to keep the notebook cool and quiet.
If you want to take the Alienware Area-51m on the road, but don’t need it to handle games, the notebook adds a smaller power brick so it won’t be as heavy for travel. If you want to have the full gaming experience, you can swap it out for the larger power brick.
We haven’t even gotten into the notebook’s TacX keyboard, with its customizable RBG LED lighting, or its Tobii eye-tracking technology which lets you use your eyes to control games, or its 2.5Gbps Ethernet network port or that it comes in your choice of “Lunar Light” or “Dark Side of the Moon” colors. If you want to get this powerful notebook PC, be prepared to pay up. The starting price of the Alienware Area-51m is $1,949.99, and it goes much higher if you order it with the faster CPUs and GPUs.
If the Alienware Area-51m is out of your price range, or you want a lighter gaming laptop, the Alienware m17 may be for you. Like the Area-51m, the m17 notebook has a big 17.3-inch display, with your choice of either a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution or a UHD 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. However, at 5.73 pounds it is the lightest 17-inch notebook that Alienware has ever made.
Inside the Alienware m17, you will find the older, but still plenty fast Intel eighth generation i5, i7, or i9 processors, along with support for up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of onboard storage. Like the Area-51m, you can order the Alienware m17 with the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 2070, 2080 GPUs. It supports the Cryo-Tech 2.0 technology for PC cooling and also supports the Alienware Graphics Amplifier for adding desktop GPUs.
All in all, the Alienware m17 still packs quite a punch for portable hardcore PC gamers, especially with the latest NVIDIA GPUs inside. While not as pricy as the Area-51m, the Alienware m17 is still quite expensive, starting at $1,249.99, with higher prices as you put in more powerful parts.
The Alienware m15 is the smallest laptop the company currently makes, but it’s still a high-end powerhouse. It has mostly the same hardware options as the bigger m17, including the same choices for Intel CPUs, Nvidia GeForce RTX GPUs, RAM, and storage. However, the Alienware m15 crams all of that into a smaller case with a 15.6-inch display, with either a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution or a UHD 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.
All of that goodness comes in a laptop weighing 4.78 pounds. While not exactly in the “thin and light” laptop category, the Alienware m15 is definitely more transportable on a long trip than its two bigger brothers. The m15 can also be bought with a 90W battery, which is supposed to last up to 17 hours on a single charge. While we doubt the notebook will last that long with a lot of heavy gaming, you should still get several hours of use, even when playing graphically intensive titles.
The Alienware m15 starts at $1,199.99, and again the price will go up when you add more and powerful hardware inside.