Alienware m15 R3

Powerful Sprinter / Laptops & PCs


Alienware laptops are not a frequent visitor to the 3DNews test lab. The last time a review of an “alien” laptop was published on our website was back in 2017. During this time, Alienware’s models have changed dramatically, and today you will be introduced to the flagship 15-inch version of the m15 R3, which offers high performance and great functionality – but at a rather high price. Read about all the pros and cons of this laptop in our review.

Alienware m15 R3

⇡ # Technical characteristics, equipment and software

The Alienware m15 R3 lineup offers quite a few different versions of this laptop. First, the manufacturer uses three different matrices. Secondly, you can find m15 R3 with a wide variety of graphics – from GeForce GTX 1650 Ti to GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER in Max-Q design, there is even a laptop version with AMD Radeon GPU. Thirdly, the m15 R3 modifications are equipped with batteries of various capacities. All possible characteristics of an “alien” device are shown in the table below.

Alienware m15 R3
Main display 15.6 “, 1920 × 1080, IPS, 144 Hz, 72% NTSC
15.6 “, 1920 × 1080, IPS, 300 Hz, 100% sRGB
15.6 “, 3840×2160, OLED, 60Hz, 100% DCI-P3
CPU Intel Core i9-10980HK
Intel Core i7-10750H
Intel Core i5-10300H
Video card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 8 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 4 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 4 GB GDDR6

AMD Radeon RX 5500M 4GB GDDR6

RAM Up to 32GB, DDR4-2666
Installing drives 2 × M.2 in PCI Express x4 3.0 mode
Our sample uses a 1 × 512 GB WD PC SN730
Optical drive Not
Interfaces (maximum configuration) 1 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C, shared with Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort 1.2
3 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
1 × 3.5mm mini jack
1 × HDMI 2.0b
1 × mini-DisplayPort 1.4
1 × Alienware GPU Port
1 × RJ-45
1 × card reader
Built-in rechargeable battery 56 or 86 Wh
External power supply 240 watts
Dimensions (edit) 360 x 276 x 19.5 mm
Laptop weight 2.11-2.50 kg
Operating system Windows 10 Home / Pro
Guarantee 1 year
Price in Russia according to Yandex.Market From 160,000 rubles

Not the most productive version of the Alienware m15 R3 came to us for testing, but one of the most. The model is equipped with a 6-core Core i7 processor, 32 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER mobile graphics and a 512 GB SSD. Together with the preinstalled Windows 10 Home operating system in Moscow retail, such a laptop costs an average of 250,000 rubles.

The Killer Ethernet E3100 gigabit controller is responsible for the wired network in the laptop, and the Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650W is responsible for the wireless connection. The Wi-Fi module supports the IEEE 802.11b / g / n / ac / ax standards with 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies and a maximum bandwidth of up to 2.4 Gbps and Bluetooth 5.0.

A fairly large external power supply with a capacity of 240 W was included with the laptop. Its weight is 900 grams, and therefore it will not be very convenient to carry it around with you forever.

⇡ # Appearance and input devices

The Alienware m15 R3 looks almost unchanged when compared to the previous generation of this model. The owners of such laptops will distinguish R3 from R2, perhaps, only by the lack of a card reader in the older version. A white version of the “alien” came to our test lab – the manufacturer calls this design the phrase Lunar Light. However, there is also a black version of the m15 – Dark Side of the Moon, to use the terminology of Dell marketers.

The manufacturer is also very proud of its industrial design, calling it legendary. Well, I am frankly sympathetic to the m15 R3.

The body is made of magnesium alloy, and its coating, called the High Endurance Clear Coat, differs from the shell of its predecessor in less soiling, as the manufacturer says. I will add that dust and fingerprints on a white background look almost invisible.

The device is equipped with RGB lighting. Not only the keyboard is illuminated, but also the logo, the power button and the rear panel border. You can see how beautiful the Alienware m15 R3 can be in the video below.

The laptop is only 19.5 mm thick. The OLED version of the m15 will be slightly thicker, but still the laptop looks slim and compact. The weight of the computer does not exceed 2.2 kg. For example, the recently tested MSI GE66 Raider is both heavier and thicker. However, we must admit that the m15 R3 will be wider than many 15-inch gaming laptops. And this is due to the increase in the computer cooling system.

Display bezels are thin (5 mm) only on the sides. The webcam is located in its usual place – on the top edge of the screen lid.

Another design element is the “M15” lettering on the laptop lid.

I have no complaints about the build quality of the test sample: it is successfully tested for bending and pushing through all kinds of surfaces (keyboards, display lids). The lid, by the way, can be easily opened with one hand, and its maximum opening angle is approximately 140 degrees.

The main interfaces of the laptop are located on three sides. On the left, there is a place for a Noble lock slot, an RJ-45 from a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet controller, a USB 3.2 Gen1 A-type and an audio jack. On the right are two USB 3.2 Gen1 A-types and a slot for microSD memory cards.

On the back are HDMI and mini-DisplayPort video outputs, a Thunderbolt 3 connector combined with USB Type-C and mini-DisplayPort, and an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for connecting external Dell graphics.

Note that the USB Type-C connector supports the charging function.

The R3’s keyboard is unchanged from the previous version of the Alienware m15. The keys received 4-zone RGB backlighting. They have no restrictions on the number of simultaneous presses, and the travel of each button is 1.7 mm.

In general, it turns out to be quite convenient to work and play with the keyboard of the “alien”. Keys that should be large (Tab, Ctrl, Shift, Enter, Backspace, arrows), large. And the oddities in the style of “Let’s make Ctrl less pinky” not visible.

I have no complaints about the touchpad either. He, like all his “relatives”, allows you to control the operating system using gestures. The touch pad itself is quite large (10.5 × 6 cm) and is traditionally placed closer to the left side for gaming solutions. The pressure is distinct, with a pronounced and audible click. I did not notice any shortcomings when working with the touchpad, but in games it is definitely more convenient to use a mouse.

The webcam allows you to shoot in 720p at 30 Hz. The video quality is poor, indoors with only artificial lighting the picture turns out to be dark and very noisy. For streaming, such an image is definitely not suitable. Satisfactory quality can only be achieved in bright natural light. For example, outside on a sunny day.

⇡ # Internal structure and upgrade possibilities

The laptop is easy to disassemble – for this you need to unscrew only 8 screws. After that, the bottom unfastens itself from the case, which means that we do not need to pry the lid with something thin (a plastic card, for example).

The cooler Alienware m15 R3 has changed significantly when compared to the cooling system used in the previous version of the laptop. According to the manufacturer, the Cryo-Tech system uses 39% more copper, and the fans received 25% more blades (132 blades in total), which gave + 10% to the airflow. Dell also uses large copper heatsinks and five 3.5mm heatpipes – 40% larger. But the most important thing is the use of a vapor chamber to cool the central processor. Something similar is used in Lenovo Legion laptops, for example.

However, to get to the Cryo-Tech cooler, you will have to completely disassemble the laptop. Removing the back cover, we only get access to the back of the PCB. This means that only solid-state drives can be replaced quickly and without hassle – there are two slots for 2280 SSDs on the PCB. Another M.2 port is not occupied – it supports the installation of 2230 form factor devices.

In our case, the laptop is equipped with one half-terabyte SSD WD PC SN730 and 32 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM.

⇡ # Testing methodology

The gaming laptop testing methodology places an even greater emphasis on gaming. Measurement of the performance of laptops was carried out using various software.

Games (Full HD resolution):

  • World of Tanks EnCore RT. DirectX 11. Benchmark. Ultra mode, RT – off.
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive. DirectX 9. FPS Benchmark card. Multi-core processing – incl. Maximum quality.
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. DirectX 11. Novigrad and environs. Maximum quality.
  • GTA V. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, FXAA + 2x MSAA, advanced quality settings – on, 16x AF, image resolution scale – off.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. DirectX 11. Training mode. Ultra mode.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, DXR – off, TAA.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. “Highest” mode.
  • Battlefield V. DirectX 12. The Last Tiger Mission. Ultra mode, TAA, DXR – off.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2. Vulkan. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality (advanced settings – off), TAA.
  • Gears 5. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra mode.
  • Metro: Exodus. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra mode.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Top quality, TAA.
  • Death Stranding. DirectX 12. Prologue. Maximum quality.
  • A Total War Saga: TROY. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Max mode, 4x AA (Ultra HD – no AA).
  • DOOM Eternal. Vulkan. Beginning of the game. Ultra mode.
  • Watch Dogs: Legion. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, TAA, DXR – off.
  • Cyberpunk 2077. DirectX 12. A trip in the city. The quality mode is “Impressive”, the quality of the shadows is incredible, DXR is off.

Game performance was measured using the well-known CapFrameX program. It allows you to get the render time of each frame. The use of the 99th percentile instead of the minimum number of frames per second is due to the desire to clean the results of random performance fluctuations that were caused by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.

Testing the laptop in games and applications was carried out with the activation of the fastest mode suitable for these tasks.

Applications:

  • Corona 1.3. Testing the rendering speed using the renderer of the same name. This measures the build speed of a standard BTR scene used to measure performance.
  • Blender 2.83. Determining the speed of the final rendering in one of the popular free software packages for creating 3D graphics. The time taken to build the final pavillon_barcelona_v1.2 model from Blender Benchmark is measured.
  • x265 HD Benchmark. Testing the speed of video transcoding to H.265 / HEVC format. The tables and graphs show the average integer value obtained after five test runs.
  • CINEBENCH R20. Measuring the speed of photorealistic 3D rendering in the animation package CINEMA 4D, CPU test. The tables and graphs show the average integer value obtained after five test runs.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro 2020. Rendering the project in 4K resolution.
  • Topaz Video Enhance AI v1.2.3. Performance testing in an AI-based program to improve video detail. The test uses the original video at a resolution of 1280 × 720, which is increased by 150% using the Artemis-HQ: P, HQ, MC model.

Complex benchmarks:

  • Futuremark PCMARK10 Professional Edition 2.1.2177. Testing in Essentials scenarios (the typical work of the average user: running applications, surfing the Internet, video conferencing), Productivity (office work with a word processor and spreadsheets), Digital Content Creation (digital content creation: photo editing, nonlinear video editing, rendering and 3D rendering -models).
  • 3DMark Professional Edition 2.11.6846. Testing in Time Spy and Fire Strike scenes.
  • Unigine Superposition Benchmark. Tested in 1080p Extreme mode.

Testing the laptop in resource-intensive applications was carried out in the default mode without any adjustments to the parameters of the CPU and cooler.

Display testing is performed using the X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and the DisplayCAL 3 application.

The battery life of the laptop was tested in two modes. The first load option – web surfing – involves the alternate opening and closing of tabs on the sites 3DNews.ru, Computeruniverse.ru and Unsplash.com with an interval of 30 seconds. For this test, we use the Google Chrome browser that was current at the time of testing. In the second mode, video of the .mkv format and Full HD resolution is played in the built-in Windows player with the repeat function activated. In all cases, the same display brightness was set at 200 cd / m22and also turned off the keyboard backlight (if any) and sound.

In games and other applications, the results of the following laptops are considered:

Test participants
Model Screen CPU RAM Graphic arts Storage device Battery
MSI GS66 Stealth 15.6“, 2560 × 1440 Intel Core i7-10870H, 8/16 cores / threads, 2.2 (5.0) GHz, 45 W 16 GB, DDR4-3200, two channels NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop 16GB GDDR6 SSD, 1 TB 99.9 Wh
MSI GS66 Stealth 15.6“, 1920 × 1080 Intel Core i9-10980HK, 8/16 cores / threads, 2.4 (5.3) GHz, 45 W 32GB DDR4-2666 Dual Channel NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 8 GB GDDR6 SSD, 2 TB 99.9 Wh
Dell G7 17 (7700) 17.3“, 1920 × 1080, WVA Intel Core i7-10750H, 6/12 cores / threads, 2.6 (5.0) GHz, 45W 16 GB, DDR4-2933, two channels NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6 SSD, 1 TB 97 Wh
Alienware M15 R3 15.6“, 1920 × 1080 Intel Core i7-10750H, 6/12 cores / threads, 2.6 (5.0) GHz, 45W 32GB DDR4-2666 Dual Channel NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 8 GB GDDR6 SSD, 512 GB 86 Wh

⇡ # Display and sound

As already mentioned, different versions of the m15 R3 use one of three types of matrix. We’ve got a model with a 300-hertz IPS-matrix equipped with an anti-reflective coating. The color gamut of the display is almost completely consistent with the sRGB standard, and if the accuracy of color reproduction may not suit people who work professionally with video and photos, then the rest of the users can say the following: the display is excellent. Playing and watching movies in company with the Alienware m15 R3 is very enjoyable and comfortable.

Alienware M15 R3 (matrix – HCVPC-156WFG)
Minimum brightness 16 cd / m22
Maximum brightness 331 cd / m22
Colorful temperature 6673 K
Contrast 912: 1
SRGB color space 96%
Color gamut Adobe RGB 70%
Gray scale deviation: average (maximum) 2.12 (3.01)
Extended Test Deviation: Average (Maximum) 1.8 (2.99)
Viewing angles correspond to the declared
Glow effect is present
PWM not seen at all brightness levels

The sound in the laptop is also good – by the standards of mobile computers, of course. The volume reserve is decent, and in musical compositions you can even hear a noticeable bass.

⇡ # Efficiency of the cooling system

Any Alienware m15 R3 has several operating profiles that can be configured in the Alienware Command Center application. So, for example, we have two overclocking modes available. The only problem is that they are not much different from each other. And in general, it feels like Dell software is not working properly.

Firstly, I did not find any difference between the laptop overclocking profiles: in both cases, the GPU frequency increases by only 20 MHz. And in general, there was no difference in work between the profile with and without overclocking – the laptop in both cases works almost the same. This is clearly seen in games, when the GPU and the CPU are heated almost the same.

Summary data on the operation and configuration of the laptop
Laptop operating mode OC Profile 1 No overclocking
Declared GPU frequency (Boost) and memory speed 1250 MHz, 11 Gbps 1230 MHz, 11 Gbps
Real GPU frequency in The Witcher III: minimum, maximum, average 1440 MHz 1410 MHz
1560 MHz 1530 MHz
1454 MHz 1432 MHz
Maximum noise level 43.1 dBA 41.5 dBA
Average power consumption: GPU, CPU 91.7 watts 88.8W
45 watts 46 watts
GPU Temperature: Medium, Maximum 73 ° C 72 ° C
74 ° C 73 ° C
CPU Temperature: Medium, Maximum 99 ° C 98 ° C
100 ° C 100 ° C
Performance, points
Test results in 3DMark Time Spy 8316 8292

Nominal operating mode

Overclocking Profile

Overclocking Profile

Heating of the laptop case (games, nominal operating mode)

Heating of the laptop case (games, nominal operating mode)

As a result, the Alienware m15 R3, with and without overclocking, operates at maximum performance mode: the power consumption of the graphics chip is increased from 80 to 90 W, and the PL1 power limit for the Core i7-10750H is increased to 75 W. Here, the approach to configuring a laptop is very similar to what we saw in MSI gaming laptops, for which engineers configure the BIOS so that the laptop’s central processor works at its maximum capacity – within the limits of what the cooling system allows. Именно поэтому ЦП нагревается до предела, то есть до 100 градусов Цельсия.

Увеличение мощности GPU привело и к заметному росту его тактовой частоты. Средняя частота чипа GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q в Alienware m15 R3 в игре «Ведьмак-3» составила 1432 МГц. Например, в MSI GS66 Stealth средняя частота точно такого же GPU в точно таких же условиях оказывается равной всего 1245 МГц. Естественно, почти 200 МГц разницы серьезно сказываются на уровне быстродействия ноутбука.

В играх ноутбук работает шумно, но звук кулеров имеет низкочастотный характер — это значит, что на слух такой шум воспринимается вполне комфортно. В целом система охлаждения тестовой модели хорошо справляется со своей работой.

И еще — область вокруг клавиатуры ноутбука греется несильно, хотя мы помним, что именно под клавишами располагается кулер с испарительной камерой.

Значение PL1 для Core i7-10750H меняется в диапазоне от 75 до 100 Вт — это весьма серьезный показатель для чипа с паспортным TDP в 45 Вт. Однако мы видим, что в действительности система охлаждения справляется только с мощностью около 69 Вт. И все же это хороший показатель, ведь средняя частота всех ядер 6-ядерника держится на отметке 3,87 ГГц. У недавно протестированного Dell G7 17 система охлаждения не способна отвести и 45 Вт энергии. Из-за этого частота Core i7-10750H в среднем в тех же условиях держится на уровне 2,9 ГГц. В результате Alienware m15 R3 оказывается заметно быстрее своего «собрата», в котором явно решили сэкономить на охлаждении.

Эффективность работы системы охлаждения ноутбука в программе Adobe Premiere Pro 2020
По умолчанию
Частота ЦП Средняя 3,87 ГГц
Температура ЦП Максимальная 100 °C
Средняя 100 °C
Уровень шума Максимальный 42,2 дБА
Энергопотребление ЦП Среднее 68,8 Вт
Время на исполнение тестовой задачи (меньше – лучше) 1064 с
Номинальный режим работы

Номинальный режим работы

⇡#Производительность ноутбука

Мы выяснили, что в плане производительности Alienware m15 R3 просто обязан выступить хорошо, ведь графический и центральный процессоры работают за пределами своих стандартных лимитов. Это подтверждают и результаты тестирования.

Результаты тестирования в играх, Full HD, FPS (больше — лучше)
Alienware m15 R3 (GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q)
AVG 1% MIN
World of Tanks 194 124
CS: GO 354 112
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 173 120
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt 103 66
GTA V 85 60
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 104 79
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey 64 44
Red Dead Redemption 2 71 56
Gears 5 88 61
Metro: Exodus 60 35
Death Stranding 115 85
A Total War Saga: TROY 70 39
DOOM Eternal 220 166
Horizon Zero Dawn 80 44
Watch Dogs: Legion 60 fifty
Battlefield V 105 75
Cyberpunk 2077 47 35

В том же 3DMark Time Spy (подтест «Графика») Alienware m15 R3 опережает MSI Stealth GS66 с GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q на 20 %. И уступает другому Stealth GS66 (с GeForce RTX 3080, которая работает с лимитом мощности в 95 Вт) всего 9 %.

Как видите, преимущество нового ноутбука с флагманской графикой NVIDIA Ampere не выглядит впечатляющим, если сравнивать Stealth GS66 именно с m15 R3. С недавних пор сравнивать различные мобильные ускорители NVIDIA друг с другом оказывается очень непросто из-за того, что производители вольны сами выбирать, с какой мощностью будут работать чипы в их мобильных ПК. Теперь есть смысл сравнивать только конкретные модели ноутбуков, учитывая, какое охлаждение и какие ограничения в них используются. Например, ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 легко опережает Stealth GS66 с GeForce RTX 3080 в большинстве игр, ведь в этом лэптопе версия GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER работает на полной мощности (150 Вт).

Возвращаясь же к герою сегодняшнего тестирования, отмечу, что незначительное отставание m15 R3 от Stealth GS66 с GeForce RTX 3080 (95 Вт) можно считать самым настоящим комплиментом для лэптопа Alienware.

Отлично «Инопланетянин» проявляет себя и при выполнении рабочих приложений — использование испарительной камеры позволило Core i7-10750H работать практически на максимуме, заложенном в технологии Turbo Boost. Для большего контраста я сравнил героя этого обзора с Dell G7 17, в котором быстродействие чипа, наоборот, урезано в угоду меньшему нагреву.

Ниже приведены результаты тестирования ноутбука в комплексном бенчмарке PCMARK10.

В ряде тестов (архивирование, работа с графикой и фото- и видеоконтентом, взаимодействие с браузерами, а также офисными приложениями) важную роль играет накопитель ноутбука. В лэптопе Alienware установлен SSD Western Digital PC SN730 — не самый быстрый (по меркам NVMe) накопитель. Например, скорости линейных чтения и записи не превышают 3 Гбайт/с. Случайные операции выполняются небыстро. Все это сказывается на результатах тестирования PCMARK 10, который, как известно, любит быстрые SSD.

⇡#Автономная работа ноутбука

В ноутбук установлен литий-ионный аккумулятор на 86 Вт⋅ч, но такой емкости не хватает, чтобы лэптоп даже в самых щадящих режимах смог проработать больше трех часов. Если изучить другие обзоры Alienware m15 R3, вы убедитесь, что низкой автономностью страдают и другие версии этого лэптопа.

Время автономной работы, яркость экрана 200 кд/м2
Веб 2 ч 36 мин
Просмотр видео 2 ч 15 мин

⇡#Выводы

Игровые лэптопы Alienware — это, если так можно выразиться, сборник лучших наработок инженеров Dell, применяемых в компьютерной технике. Мы видим заметную разницу между Alienware m15 R3 и лэптопами серии G, не относящимися к Alienware.

Да, протестированная модель тоже не лишена недостатков. Среди самых явных можно выделить катастрофически низкую автономность и некорректную работу специально разработанного ПО. Но плюсов намного больше. Среди них особо отмечу качественную сборку, эффективную систему охлаждения, высокую функциональность и отличный уровень быстродействия.

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