Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 Gaming Laptop Review

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November 7, 2016
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Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 is a new addition to high-end gaming laptops. The notebooks that players want are indeed never cheap, but especially this Alienware is rather pricey. So does it mean you can expect second-to-none gaming performance and other exciting benefits? Probably, but let’s not be too quick to judge…

Gaming performance in nutshell

The top-notch GeForce GTX 1070 dedicated graphics card (with 8GB DDR5 memory) has been installed in Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4. There is just one card that is clearly faster than it: the GTX 1080, GeForce’s pinnacle graphics unit. The 980 Ti can get you slightly better FPS depending on the game, but in general it’s the same than GTX 1070. These cards work wonders for Quad HD (or even beyond) gaming, and since the maximum resolution on this computer is “only” 1920×1080, FPS will go through the roof. For example, Battlefield 4 and GTA 5 will have frame rates hovering around 100 and the heavyweights Doom and The Witcher 3 over 80FPS with all settings maxed out.

How about the other components?

Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 has the perfect processor gaming, the Intel Core i7-6700HQ. With four cores, 2.6GHz clock speed and 3.5GHz turbo it’s in the same category than high-end desktop processors, with CPU Mark score being a solid ~8000. Surely this chip and the GPU draw a lot of power, but gaming laptops are never a good idea for long battery life seekers anyway.

The laptop has no problem with memory, there’s 16GB DDR4 type installed. As two SODIMM slots reside on the mainboard, 32GB would be the maximum this laptop accepts.

There’s a proper gaming notebook setup for storage. A 1TB hard drive (SATA3 2.5″) is installed for the bulk of your files, and then there’s one 128GB M.2 SSD for your games/programs you want to run extra fast. The M.2 slot seems to support both PCIe and SATA standards.

What ports and connections are included?

First things first, there’s no DVD burner on Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4. You can luckily download most games from Internet. And for those you can’t, get an external optical drive for 30 dollars and it’s settled.

The notebook comes with three USB 3.0 ports and one USB Type-C that supports several standards, such as Thunderbolt 3. There are also dedicated video outputs, a full-sized HDMI and miniDisplayPort, and to those you can hook up another monitor.

To networks you can connect with the Gigabit RJ-45 port or then go wireless with the 802.11ac WiFi ac + Bluetooth 4.1 adapter.

Miscellaneous features and benefits

The 17.3″ non-touch display supports Full HD resolution – for some people it’s enough and for some it’s not. The refresh rate is 60hz and viewing angles around 90 degrees from all (up, down, left, right) directions. It’s hard to say about the actual image quality but it should be very decent in this expensive notebook.

I wouldn’t expect Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 to have more than ~1.5 hours battery life under gameplay. That’s the sad truth for any gaming laptop. Keep it plugged in at all times and you’re happy is my advice.

The webcam captures high-quality Full HD video at a maximum 30FPS.

The keyboard is backlit.

Verdict

Alienware 17 R4 AW17R4 is truly a well-rounded toy for hardcore gaming. The graphics card GTX 1070 is almost better than any unit, with only a couple of premium graphics cards beating it in performance. Anyway, since the highest resolution you will get on this machine is 1920×1080, using maximum settings on any game is feasible. If smooth as a silk frame rates and a lot of eye candy are your cup of tea (and you have deep pockets), this Alienware would make a good companion for you.


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