The aliens are back. we are finally having a look at the promising gaming notebook with the Kaby Lake update i.e,Alienware 15 R3 Notebook.
Alienware's parent company Dell offers a configurator for the Alienware 15 R3, but you cannot combine every hardware component.There are some basic components for every model. The processor is a powerful Intel quad-core, either with (i7-7700HQ) or without Hyper-Threading (i5-7300HQ). The amount of DDR4-RAM is from 8 up to 32 GB (2400 or 2666 MHz), whereas the storage solution consists of a conventional HDD or a combination of SSD and hard drive. Dell uses a Full HD panel, which is, depending on the refresh rate (60 or 120 Hz), based on the IPS or TN technology. Both models support G-Sync.
Dell also includes a high-end GPU from Nvidia's Pascal generation. While the GeForce GTX 1060 is equipped with 6 GB GDDR5-VRAM, the GeForce GTX 1070 comes with 8 GB GDDR5. The current high-end model GeForce GTX 1080 is reserved for the 17-inch sibling Alienware 17 R4, which can also be equipped with an AMD GPU (R9 470).But back to the 15-inch model. Wireless communications are handled by the Killer chips 1435 or 1535, and the latter is a free upgrade (as of February 2017).
Lets have look at the Technical Specifications of Alienware 15 R3 Notebook
| Processor:- Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz (Intel Core i7)
Graphics adapter:- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop) - 8192 MB, Core: 1443 MHz, Memory:4000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 378.49
Memory:- 16384 MB , 2 x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2666, Dual Channel, 2/2 slots in use, up to 32 GB
Display:- 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 141 PPI, HPJGK_B156HTN (AUO51ED), TN, Full HD, 120 Hz, G-Sync.
Storage:- GB,SK hynix PC300 HFS256GD9MND, 256 GB NVMe-SSD + HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, 1 TB HDD @ 7200 rpm. Slots: 2 x m.2 Type 2280 & 1 x 2.5-inch
Weight:- 3.548 kg ( = 125.15 oz / 7.82 pounds), Power Supply: 810 g ( = 28.57 oz / 1.79 pounds)
We start with the best news: The latest revision of the new gaming system also features the familiar Alienware quality. This is particularly true for the chassis, which is partly made of anodized aluminum as well as a magnesium alloy. Thanks to metal inlays on the lid and the notebook bottom, the 15-inch system features excellent stability that surpasses most competitors.
Despite the fact that some elements are pretty playful and clearly indicate a gaming notebook, the overall appearance looks very noble and sophisticated. One of the most important trademarks, the comprehensive illumination, is obviously available as well. The illuminated side areas (see pictures) might look like a "poser gimmick" at first, but there are actually some advantages in the dark (better visibility of the ports and the mouse). Speaking of a mouse: Alienware not only illuminates the keyboard but also the touchpad to make inputs easier.
Although two USB 3.0 Type-A ports are pretty meager for a gaming system, the port selection generally meets the retail price. You can attach numerous peripherals in combination with the USB 3.0 Type-C port (left) and the Thunderbolt 3 port (rear), which also supports USB 3.1 and DisplayPort. The situation is similar for external monitors, where you can choose between the mini-DisplayPort and the HDMI 2.0 output. Both the RJ45 jack and the power connector are located at the rear as well. The Noble lock (counterpart to Kensington lock) and the two audio ports (3.5 mm jack for headset and microphone) are located on the left.
We think the connector for the proprietary Alienware Graphics Amplifier is the biggest highlight.
Dell uses products from Rivet Networks for communication. The Gigabit Ethernet Chip Killer E2500 and the wireless module Killer 1435 (WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, up to 867 Mbps) are supposed to be optimized for gamers, which is supported by the powerful Killer software (several controls and settings).
The scope of delivery is limited to a quick-start guide and the necessary power supply. The 240-Watt power adapter is surprisingly slim (2.5 cm), just like the laptop itself, but it has a pretty big footprint in return (20 x 10 cm). SKUs with the GTX 1060 are probably shipped with a more compact PSU.
Many core gamers do not want to just use every option in the graphics menu; they also like to have full control over the upgrade and cleaning options inside the case. The Alienware 15 R3 performs better in this respect than the previous model. While you could only access the RAM, hard drives, and the wireless module via maintenance hatch on the Alienware 15 R2, you can now – with certain limitations – also access the fans and the cooling system.
A 12-month base warranty (Premium support with on-site service) is pretty sparse.The optional coverage for accidents is much more affordable.
The software installation is quite comprehensive. Besides trial versions for Microsoft's Office 2016 and McAfee's LiveSafe as well as the previously mentioned Killer Performance Suite, you will also find several tools from Alienware.
The central software hub is the Command Center, which is divided into four sub-menus. It starts with AlienFX, which helps with customizing the different lighting zones. The next items are AlienFusion (power-saving plans) and AlienTactX (configuration of the macro keys). The whole package is rounded off by AlienAdrenaline, which checks the status of the Graphics Amplifier.
Except for the missing numeric keypad, although there is sufficient space, Dell does not make any mistakes in terms of the keyboard. The matte-black, closely arranged and slightly rubberized keys (no chiclet design) provide the familiar Alienware typing experience. It is pretty soft but is still precise and accurate; pressure point and stroke do not cause any criticism. Only some of the wider keys (especially Backspace) provide a slightly strange feedback. We cannot criticize Dell for the size, either. Letters and numbers are sized at 18 x 18 millimeters, and even the shifted directional keys are decently sized.
The touchpad surface, which is fully illuminated, is not all that large at 10 x 5.7 centimeters. We would have liked a couple of millimeters more, especially in height. There is certainly enough room. Otherwise, the mouse replacement works well. The gliding capabilities are decent thanks to the smooth finish and the precision is convincing as well. Multi-touch gestures (2-4 fingers) are controlled via Dell's own touchpad software. We usually had no problems with zooming and scrolling.We also like the fact that Alienware does not implement a ClickPad; a conventional touchpad with dedicated mouse buttons is installed instead.
Displays with 60 Hz have been the standard for many years, but now we are seeing more and more panels with higher refresh rates. Alienware also uses the modern technology and equips some of its 15-inch models with a fast 120 Hz display. Its biggest advantage is the fast response time. While many notebooks need more than 20 ms for black-to-black switch and more than 30 ms for gray-to-gray, the AW 15 R3 manages a fast 12 and 25 ms, respectively.
Even though the Core i5-7300HQ is a very good and powerful notebook CPU, we recommend the Core i7-7700HQ for passionate gamers. Thanks to the Hyper-Threading technology, the Kaby Lake model can execute eight instead of four threads simultaneously, and some games already benefit from it. The i7-7700HQ is also a bit faster at 2.8-3.8 instead of 2.5-3.5 GHz.
The Alienware 15 R3 can utilize the CPU Turbo very well. The 14 nm chip will –depending on the number of active cores – run at 3.4-3.8 GHz as long as the power adapter is attached and the CPU is not artificially stressed. The clock on battery power will heavily depend on the GPU load. Stress for the CPU results in 3.2-3.8 GHz, and 2.7 GHz on average in 3D applications. The latter behavior is typical for a notebook.
The 15-inch system manages very good scores in the system tests thanks to the balanced hardware configuration. Both PCMark 7 and PCMark 8 see the Alienware 15 R3 at the top of the comparison. The system is conveniently responsive and also boots up very quickly. You can also feel the advantage over laptops with conventional HDDs when you copy/transfer files or install applications.
We are still a bit disappointed by the performance of the SSD. Dell equips the top model with a 256 GB drive with the designation SK Hynix PC300, which is attached via PCIe/NVMe, but it cannot utilize the full performance potential. While 1123 MB/s sequential read (CrystalDiskMark) deserves respect, 429 MB/s (sequential write) falls short of our expectations. This value reminds us of a SATA-III drive, which is limited at ~500 MB/s.
You can choose between the two GPUs GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce GTX 1070. The less powerful Pascal model is sufficient when you only want to play on a Full HD screen. Enthusiasts, however, who always want to use all the details, picture optimizations and maybe 3K or 4K resolutions, should get the GTX 1070. The DirectX 12 chip is equipped with 2048 shaders and even surpasses its desktop counterpart (1920 shaders) in this respect.
Our gaming check with six titles from 2016 and 2017 is not a big challenge for the GeForce GTX 1070. Even maximum details are conveniently smooth in the native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. This includes first-person shooters (Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare), open-world titles (Watch Dogs 2) or horror games (Resident Evil 7). Even the rather poorly optimized stealth adventure Dishonored 2 runs at more than 60 FPS in the Ultra preset. Only 3K and 4K resolutions can be a bit too demanding, and the GeForce GTX 1080 might be worth a look in this case.
The power consumption is similar to other GTX 1070 notebooks without graphics switching. 19-29 Watts while idling and 85-192 Watts under load are almost identical to the Asus GL502VS. The MSI GT62VR consumes more power in all tests, while the Schenker XMG P507 is more efficient thanks to the Optimus technology. One interesting comparison is the Alienware 15 R2, which consumes more power but provides less 3D performance.
Gaming systems without Optimus usually do not manage long battery runtimes. Dell can compensate for the problem a bit by implementing a very powerful 99-Wh battery. It lasts up to 6.5 hours while idling (low luminance). Around 4.5 hours web-browsing and 4.5 hours HD video playback are also okay and beat the rivals.