It seems like a vastly different monster; however, this Alienware isn’t too much smaller. The Alienware 17in laptop is still a large work area substitution gaming PC.
The Alienware 17in laptop variant is more like a standard big-screen gaming PC than the 18-inch model. It’s not as versatile and isn’t as big or heavy, but it makes up for the size by its power. For people who want a more modest computer, the less expensive (obviously, that is a relative term here) desktop has fewer performance issues. It’s simple to travel with since it doesn’t need a rack of hardware to work effectively.
The compromises include reading on a more modest screen, a solitary video card instead of the eager-for-power SLI arrangement in the Alienware laptop 18 inches, and fewer hard drive choices. People who want to emulate the 512GB SSD in addition to the 750GB HDD in the Alienware 18 can do so if they would also like to compromise on power.
|Display size/resolution||17-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 screen|
|PC CPU||2.7GHz Intel Core i7 4800MQ|
|PC Memory||16GB 1,600MHZ DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M|
|Storage||256GB SSD + 750GB HD|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
Design and features
The 18-inch system has a larger screen and can fit up to dual card and hard drive slots at the same time, making it more powerful than the 17-inch model. The 17-inch system is only slightly thinner while being primarily smaller in its physical size.
The 18-inch Alienware keyboard sits higher above your desktop, and I had some ergonomic troubles with that. The 18-inch model weighs a back-breaking 12.3 pounds without the bulky power cable, and 15.5 pounds with it, while the Alienware 17 is 9.4 pounds on its own, and 11.4 pounds with its power cable — still hefty but noticeably lighter than the 18-inch model.
The two Alienware desktops look nearly identical. The latest across-the-board design revision of the Alienware PC casts it as a thick, matte black slab, with only its monochromatic color interrupted. Black, medium-sized laptop with lights and an alien head logo on the back of the lid. The laptop feels very high-end in the hand and has a soft-touch finish.
The 17-inch Alienware model is really comfortable. It is so thick, the keyboard tray sits 1.75 inches above the desk. The sharp-angled front lip of the system can cause your arm and wrist to be in an awkward position while you are playing games on it.
The keyboard tray is only 1.25 inches high in the front, with the rear of the computer rising higher; this made a big difference for me. The keyboard also was much closer to my fingers as I typed, making it easier for me to play on-screen games like Overwatch or Fortnite.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard and touchpad will be familiar to any consumer who has seen the current-generation 14-inch and 18-inch Alienware systems. The keys are tapered slightly at the top in an attempt to avoid accidental clicks.
The result is a satisfying feel and good key placement for PC gaming. The full number pad to the right, but as noted it does not have the row of macro keys found to the left on the Alienware 18.
The touchpad is a good size for left-handed people. It keeps separate physical left and right mouse buttons, rather than using a newer clickpad-style surface. For gamers, it’s probably not that important, as an external mouse is likely to be the preferred tool.
Alienware’s laptop chassis lights up in all sorts of interesting ways. It has a backlit keyboard, the Alienware logo, an alien head on the back of the lid and more zones. All these can be turned on or off with a software app called Alien FX.
The touch sensor on my device is backlit and can glow in a number of cool colors. I especially like how the display lights up when touched.
The display of the Acer Predator 17X is surprisingly good considering the price. It has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel native resolution on a 17.3 inch screen, which is what you would expect from a gaming laptop. Still, laptops with smaller and less expensive screens, like the MacBook Pro, Lenovo Yoga 2 and Toshiba Kirabook all have a higher resolution up to 3200 x 1800 pixels and it’s not unreasonable to ask a forward-looking gaming laptop to follow suit.
The 14-inch and 17-inch Alienware laptops both have matte displays, while the recently reviewed Alienware 18 has a glossy display (all with the same 1080p resolution). It is not a deal breaker either way which laptop I am most comfortable using.
Despite its smaller size, the Alienware 17 has a big variety of ports and connections. The system is equipped with multiple HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs, a microphone input and outputs for 5.1 audio, three USB port, and an optical drive drawer. It also includes one PCI slot to accommodate audio cards or the latest graphics. Dell offers four starting points for the Alienware 17 from which to choose. The base model starts at $1,499 but doesn’t offer great performance like some of the higher end configurations.
For an affordable yet high-performance desktop, the Mage from Dell is a good option. The model includes an Intel Core i7-4800MQ CPU and features a single GeForce 780M GPU with 16GB of RAM and a 2TB HDD paired with a 750GB SSD for only $2,699. However, it doesn’t have some of the top-tier upgrades such as a 1080p display or Nvidia Geforce 780M graphics card.
The application performance on the Alienware 17 is very close to, or even slightly beats the Alienware 18’s, with a 4900MQ Core i7, but couldn’t match the Origin PC Eon 17-SLX we’re currently testing. The differences are small enough to make no difference most users, and the Alienware 17 has more than enough computing power for your day-to-day tasks.
The difference in performance is noticeable between a dual-card system with two GeForce cards and a single card. This is best seen by looking at the gaming performance of the Alienware 18 and the Origin PC Eon 17-SLX which have both been configured with two cards, while this Alienware 17 still does well with the single card.
The Alienware 17 was able to run BioShock Infinite (high settings, 1,920×1,080) at 71 frames per second. The Alienware 18 and Eon 17-SLX were able to run the same test at 141 frames per second, while only completing the Metro: Last Light test with 18.7fps versus 35.3fps on the Alienware 18 and 41.7fps on the Eon 17-SLX.
The Alienware 17 and 18 have a running resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and the number of pixels per second (fps) goes up with the graphics card. Generally speaking, you will get medium-to-high settings at full resolution on both laptops with these results.
While it may be thinner and lighter than the Alienware 18-inch desktop, it’s not as energy efficient. It’s hard to comment on what sort of battery life users will see when they want to go LAN-party. You’ll get more stamina than other website, but it won’t last as long as some other desktop replacement laptops.
Alienware 18 is the more excellent and more costly framework. However, the (somewhat) more unobtrusive Alienware 17 is likely the victor regarding common sense for most customers, packing essentially generally similar elements, and a large part of the exhibition, into a more slender, lighter body.