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Alienware 17 Review

Introduction

Alienware is one of most famous brands known for gaming laptops and Alienware 17 (2014) reminds us just that. The new Alienware 17 comes with a price tag of $3399 and boasts a combination of potent hardware and premium design with majestic display and spacious storage. Alienware 17 (2014) manages to out-perform all other gaming laptops with single GPU setup and is considered one of the best high-end gaming laptops.

Design and Features

Alienware 17 (2014) is a premium gaming machine with a semi-portable design, which is not meant for carrying around for long periods. It is a big machine with a thickness of 1.9 inches and the laptop weighs 9.2 pounds. The chassis is designed from magnesium alloy, while the lid is anodized-aluminum. The interior is black with soft-touch finish. The laptop design includes LED lighting around the chassis and two accents on the lid, which comes with 13 different lighting profiles. Alienware 17 (2014) comes with a large variety of I/O ports, on the right side there is a Blu-ray drive, integrated 9-in-1 card reader, Gigabit Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports. On the left side there are two more USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port and mini DisplayPort, headphone/microphone jacks, a power connector and a security lock. For wireless connectivity Alienware 17 (2014) comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Alienware 17 (2014) features a 17.3-inch display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display comes with an anti-glare coating with a matte finish so that users can enjoy their games in full HD without facing any reflectivity issues. The colors are sharp and accurate while the text looks crisp and display offers good viewing angles. It delivers deep, rich blacks and high contrast ratio. At max brightness the display hits 268-nits while the GT60 manages only 252-nits. Below the display, it features a pair of front-mounted Klipsch stereo speakers which are loud enough to fill a large room. They registered 99 decibels on the Laptop Mag Audio Test. The speakers produce clear and well balanced audio with strong bass. It also features Dolby’s Home Theater v4 software which further improves the performance of the speakers.

Alienware 17 (2014) features Alienware’s traditional full-sized keyboard with numeric pad, backlit keys including four additional keys for macros. The keyboard has large black keys which deliver snappy feedback and reasonable key travel offering comfortable typing experience. The keyboard has multiple lighting zones and a variety of colors to choose from. Below the keyboard is a programmable glowing trackpad with multi-touch gesture support. The trackpad is 4 x 2.25 inches in size and comes with discrete mouse buttons. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled on the system, but customers can also opt for Windows 8.1 at the time of purchase. Other than some Alienware-branded tools, Alienware 17 (2014) is free of bloatware. Some of the preinstalled apps include Alien Autopsy, AlienRespawn and Alienware Center. It also features AlienFX, which offers extensive control over the lighting elements of the laptop. The laptop is covered by a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor from Dell.

Performance

Alienware 17 (2014) comes equipped with Intel Core i7-4910MQ quad-core processor, clocked at 2.9GHz and overclocked to 4.1GHz. The processor belongs to Intel’s latest Haswell series and is one of the fastest processors available in the market. Alienware 17 (2014) comes with a 256GB SSD as the boot drive and 16GB of DDR3 RAM for blazing fast performance. In PCMark 7 it scored 5734 points which is lower than 6446 points scored by Origin EON17-SLX (2014). It completed the Handbrake test in 31 seconds and the Photoshop CS6 test in just 3 minutes 24 seconds.

A discrete GPU is an essential component in any gaming laptop and Alienware 17 (2014) features Nvidia GeForce GTX880M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which is NVidia’s latest and fastest GPU. In 3DMark 11 Alienware 17(2014) scored 11,999 and 2,888 points with Entry Settings and Extreme Settings, respectively. Thanks to its potent combination of hardware, Alienware 17 (2014) managed to give playable frame rates in all the latest games at full HD resolution and the highest level of detail. It managed to produce 80fps in Alien vs Predator and 48fps in Heaven. Alienware 17 (2014) managed to stay ahead of all the gaming laptops except laptops with dual-GPU setup like the Origin EON17-SLX (2014). All this potent hardware is powered by a non-removable 8-cell 86WH battery and it lasted only 3 hours 12 minutes during a battery test, while the Origin EON17-SLX (2014) lasted just 1 hour 13 minutes.

Conclusion

Alienware 17 (2014) is a luxury machine which offers superior performance at a premium price-tag. With the extra high price, Alienware 17 offers an attractive design with premium metal construction and top of the line hardware. Even though the battery life is lower than average and the trackpad is mediocre at best, The Alienware 17 (2014) is a complete package and the best go-to gaming rig out in the market.

9 Total Score

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