Alienware has a new 14” gaming laptop and they’re claiming they’ve got the most powerful all AMD laptop this! Let’s dig into their 2022 updates. The most interesting new Alienware gaming laptop to me is the x14, a smaller more portable 14” model. Until now, we’ve only had 14” gaming laptops from ASUS and Razer, so it’s good to see more competition coming to this more portable space, as more competition benefits us all. The new x14 is available with Intel 12th gen i7-12700H or i9-12900H CPUs, so 14 core 20 thread processors in a 14 inch machine. For the graphics we’re looking at Nvidia RTX 3050, 3050 Ti, or 3060 with these power limits, so 60 watts for the 3060 in most games with more possible if dynamic boost can activate. LPDDR5 memory is available in 16gb or 32gb configurations, unfortunately it’s soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded but to be fair that’s also the case in the Razer Blade 14, and the blade is also limited to 16 gigs. There’s only so much space in smaller laptops like this. It sounds like storage can be upgraded though, as it uses a M.2 SSD with sizes between 256gb and 2TB.
The 14” 1080p 144Hz screen has a 7ms response time, G-Sync and advanced optimus, so to pull this off it must have a MUX switch too, which is great to see. There’s a 720p camera above the screen in the middle with IR for Windows Hello face unlock. The touchpad looks a little small as there’s space above the keyboard, perhaps for cooling. These air holes seem to run along the sides of the keyboard, though it wasn’t made clear if these are for front facing speakers. The chassis is made of magnesium alloy, so based on other Alienware models I’d expect it to feel nice with less flex than plastic, though perhaps not as strong as Razer’s Blade 14 unibody. Interestingly there’s no I/O at all on the left and right sides, just air exhaust vents. All of the ports are found on the back. We’ve got three USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports, two of which offer Thunderbolt 4, and all three offer DisplayPort 1.4 output.
There’s also a 3.5mm audio combo jack, HDMI 2.1 output, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, and UHS-II MicroSD card slot.
There’s no need for dedicated power plug because it charges over USB Type-C with up to 130 watts, rather than the standard 100 watts.
As far as the Internals go, this is the only image provided by Dell, so we can get a little peek at the 80.5Wh battery, cooling solution, and back of the motherboard. Apparently the top end 3060 model has a vapor chamber and gallium-silicone thermal interface material for cooling. I’m not sure which model is pictured here, but it doesn’t look like a vapor chamber to me, so it might be the 3050 or 3050 Ti configuration. Perhaps most importantly of all, it doesn’t look like the new 14” model has Alienware’s famous RGB light ring on the back. All the images of it that have been provided to me don’t seem to show it. As for pricing and availability, Alienware’s x14 is listed as coming this winter and it starts at $1800 USD which would be for the entry level RTX 3050 configuration, so those higher end models definitely aren’t going to be cheap. That’s really just the way tech goes, if you want more power in a smaller space you’ve always got to pay for it.
Next up Alienware are introducing the new m17 R5, a 17” AMD Advantage gaming laptop, so both AMD processor and AMD Radeon graphics, and they’re claiming that this will be the fastest all AMD laptop this generation. Last year we had the smaller 15” m15 R5 with Ryzen processor, though it had only Nvidia graphics, but according to the spec sheet this new larger m17 will also have Nvidia options too.
The new m17 R5 is available with Ryzen 7 6800H, Ryzen 9 6900HX or 6980HX processors. In terms of GPU, there’s either the RX 6700M which was released last year, or the newly announced 6850M XT, both of which have relatively high power limits. For context the only 6700M laptop last gen was MSI’s Delta 15, and if I recall that was like 90 to 100 watts. Now the Nvidia options listed on the spec sheet that I was provided list RTX 3050 Ti and RTX 3060, but it also just mentions two instances of “RTX 30 series graphics” without being any more specific. Now I’m just going to make an informed guess and say that this is probably the new RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti.
I just can’t confirm because that information wasn’t provided in the early press release, but that would make the most sense. Unfortunately I don’t have any shots of the internals of this one, but the spec sheet lists two M.2 storage slots as well as two DDR5-4800 memory slots and a Wi-Fi 6E card, so it’s sounding like it’s fully upgradeable. Well, apart from of course the CPU and GPU, but that’s not really the case in most laptops anyway, but I digress. When it comes to cooling though, only the top end Ryzen 9 plus 6850M XT option is going to have the vapor chamber cooler, so I’m guessing that all other configurations just use standard heat pipe design. As for the screen we’ve got either 17.3” 1080p or 4K options. Both the 1080p 165Hz or 360Hz panels have either FreeSync or G-Sync support, while the 4K 120Hz option is apparently FreeSync only.
I think it would have made a lot more sense to include a 1440p option at this screen size. Maybe these newer Nvidia and Radeon options are actually capable of 4K gaming but I mean if you’re offering 1080p as an option you might as well just do 1440p as well. I just think it’s a much better sweet spot. On the left we’ve got an air exhaust vent, ethernet port, gigabit for the lowest 3050 Ti model while all others have faster 2.5 gigabit ethernet, and 3.5mm audio combo jack, while the right has a couple of USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports. The rest is on the back, from left to right there’s a USB 4 Gen2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, HDMI 2.1 output and the power input on the right. Perhaps most importantly, in classic Alienware style it’s still got the RGB light ring around the back. Interestingly despite being a larger 17” design, there’s no numpad or front facing speakers, just plenty of unused space on either side of the keyboard. The touchpad size looks reasonable, and there’s some air vents up the top above the keyboard, with the usual RGB power button at the top right.
The keyboard has 1.8mm of key travel with three options, either a 1-Zone lighting option, per-key RGB option, or a per-key RGB option with CherryMX switches, so mechanical keyboard. For some reason we get two battery options, either 64Wh or 97Wh, but I’m not sure if that smaller battery size gives us any more room in the laptop for something else like say a 2.5” drive or something, that wasn’t specified on the spec sheet. As for pricing and availability, the new m17 R5 will start at $1600 USD, though that of course will be for the lower specced option so RTX 3050 Ti, and it will be available in Spring 2022 so still a few months away yet. But wait, there’s more! The smaller m15 has also been refreshed with the new R7 option. Now last year there were two versions of the M15. There was the R5 which had the AMD Ryzen processor and the R6 which had the Intel processor.
As far as I could otherwise tell, both of those laptops were the same, it was just a CPU difference. Now this newer m15 R7 appears to have both an AMD and Intel configuration option, so I’m guessing this might be less confusing? From what I can tell, this just seems to be a spec refresh with the latest Intel and AMD processors, newer Nvidia graphics and probably newer DDR5 memory. Unfortunately this is the only model I wasn’t provided a spec sheet for in advance, so I can’t talk specifics.
The AMD based m15 R7 will also be available from Spring 2022 starting at $1500 USD while the Intel version starts much higher at $2100 USD for some reason, though it will be available much sooner, this winter, but I’m not sure why there’s such a massive price difference there.
$600 between the minimum configs. But wait, there’s even more again! Alienware also has their X series gaming laptops which are meant to be thinner compared to those M series options we just went through. But this tends to make them cost more as a result. Both the x15 and x17 have been refreshed with new R2 models. Let’s start out with the smaller x15. Again from what I can tell this mostly seems to be a spec refresh, with Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti graphics, and of course Intel’s new 12th gen processors. It’s available with either 16 or 32 gigs of LPDDR5-5200 memory, just like last year this is still unfortunately soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded. The larger x17 also gets Nvidia’s new GPUs and Intel’s new CPUs, and you’ll have to go to the x17 if you want the top end overclockable HK processor.
This one uses DDR5-4800 SODIMM sticks, so at least you can upgrade the memory yourself unlike the x15. I can’t personally speak too much about how the x15 and x17 differ from last generation to these new ones as unfortunately I just never got them in for testing in 2021, so I just don’t really know what’s changed, I can’t speak from experience.
Little bit of a side note, I did actually get offered the x17 a couple of weeks ago, but for some reason it was the 11th gen model and I knew that these newer 12th gen models were just around the corner, so it didn’t really seem worth the time. By the time we do all the testing, script the review, film it, edit it, publish it, these new models would probably be out. So hopefully Alienware can get these newer models to me a bit sooner than right at the end of the release cycle. Anyway the new x15 R2 starts at $2200 USD and will also be available this winter, so not too much longer, while the x17 starts at $100 USD extra. As of right now, Dell haven’t informed me of any upcoming changes to their Dell G series gaming laptops. Everything at CES was only covering their Alienware stuff, so I’m guessing this means there’s not going to be an update to the Dell G15, at least immediately, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did refresh it with AMD Ryzen 6000 processors at some point.
Outside of gaming, Dell also has their new XPS 13 Plus starting from $1200 USD. The biggest difference is the new 100% keycap keyboard with capacitive touch function row buttons at the top, and the seamless glass touchpad. So there is actually a touchpad there, you just can’t see where it begins and ends which will be interesting, and possibly annoying depending on how it is to use. It’s available with Intel 12th gen i5 or i7 processors with 12 or 14 core configurations, so a lot of multithreaded performance in a 13” space. It’s using Intel’s new P processors with up to 28 watt power limits. This model also uses onboard LPDDR5 memory, single PCIe Gen 4 SSD and a number of 13.4” screen choices, including 16:10 4K UHD+ and OLED options, so quite a number of differences compared to previous XPS 13 models.
Make sure that you’re subscribed for all of my upcoming reviews on these new gaming laptops. I’m really keen to see how the new x14 and m17 perform! Otherwise for now you can check out the rest of the new gaming laptops announced this year at CES 2022 in the rest of my coverage over here, so I’ll see you in one of those videos next!