There are heaps of gaming laptops out there and they have one thing in common: the price is darn high. Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV is no different, price being many times what regular notebooks are. But you’re also getting sweet things in return: full-blown i7 processor, 8GB RAM and GeForce GTX970M, a real gaming card. So let’s try to figure out if these components are really worth the money or not…
What software can I run on it?
I think any kind of program would work on Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV. To begin with, it has a very fast processor, the Intel Core i7-4710HQ. That chip features four cores, a 2.5GHz clock speed and 3.5GHz turbo. Like other high-end i7s, it receives a strong ~8000 points in CPU Mark tests, making it a real good choice for extremely demanding programs and gaming too. The downside is of course heat and power consumption, you might not want to use this notebook on your lap, although I think gaming laptops are often put on a table anyway.
The computer features 8GB dual channel DDR3L 1600Mhz memory, the distribution is two 4GB sticks. You can always take them out and put bigger chips in, the maximum RAM supported is 16GB here.
The default storage is a 1TB 5400RPM SATA hard drive. People have been actively swapping it for a solid-state to make the system boot up and generally operate faster. If you don’t want to touch to the SATA drive, there are four M.2 slots for additional drives as well.
And how about games?
Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV is indeed a gaming laptop, it has a strong GeForce GTX970M (3GB DDR5) responsible for the graphics. Even the most taxing games will be a walk in the park, for example GTA 5 getting over 60FPS on high settings and Full HD resolution. Another triple A title, The Witcher 3, gets around 50FPS played with similar details.
Does it have a top-notch screen?
There’s a big 17.3″ Full HD anti-glare display in Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV. Such a screen makes a great gaming companion, especially when you can keep the 1920×1080 resolution continuously on thanks to the beefy graphics card. Luminance is 300 nits so the display should be bright enough. It has no support for touch, but that is not a big loss for the gaming folks.
What peripherals does it take?
Various devices can be plugged into Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV. The unit houses four USB 3.0 ports and HDMI & mini DisplayPort for external monitor.
Despite being a big laptop, there’s no optical drive installed. You can always get an external DVD burner that uses USB.
Communications include a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 port) and 2×2 802.11ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0 card.
Other things you might put to good use are 9-in-1 card reader on the right and fixed 2MP webcam in the screen bezel.
Other relevant things
This thing is a monster and you don’t really travel with monsters, eh? The unit weighs a whopping 8.33 pounds and has thickness of 1.35 inches, so don’t get it for on-the-go computing. The 8-cell battery will give ~4 hours running time on lighter use, but when gaming it will be reduced to an hour or two.
There’s a backlit keyboard on this model. Also 10-key pad is available.
If it’s lag-free gameplay you’re looking for, a premium laptop like Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV should do the trick. All the released games I can think of will run on higher settings and Full HD resolution here, and upcoming ones for year or two will probably do, too. Big display makes playing enjoyable, but portable this system is definitely not. If you don’t need to carry this laptop a lot, but gaming is what you want to do, the Alienware should be worth its price.