Alien­ware 15 R5 (2018)

Can Dell de­liver on the prom­ise of an un­com­pro­mis­ing 15-inch pow­er­house gam­ing lap­top?

APC Australia - - Contents -

“Wield­ing one of In­tel’s first over­clock­able Core i9-8950HK CPUs, the top of the line Alien­ware 15 is pack­ing an ab­surd amount of com­pute power.”

Dell’s matt- black Alien­ware 15 flag­ship gam­ing lap­top is ac­tu­ally pretty unim­pos­ing to look at in per­son. It isn’t quite as sleek as the 1.8cm thick ASUS ROG Ze­phyrus (see APC 445, page 24), but the ex­tra 0.7cm thick­ness in the Alien­ware’s chas­sis gives it space for big­ger fans and larger heat sinks. This means it can tech­ni­cally be fit­ted with In­tel’s over­clock­able i9 CPU, but after get­ting our hands on a ma­chine with that chip, we’re not quite sure this lap­top is cool enough to han­dle such a pow­er­ful CPU.

The Alien­ware 15 also only comes with a 60Hz dis­play (a 15.6-inch IPS num­ber at 1080p), which is a step down from some of the big­ger, faster G-Sync pan­els that are at the fore­front, such as on MSI’s GT75 Ti­tan (see APC 456, page 25) and the Aorus X9 DT (see APC 456, page 26). As with most of the Alien­ware 15’s com­po­nents, how­ever, you can op­tion­ally up­grade the screen res­o­lu­tion to 4K, or swap to a 120Hz G-Sync panel — pro­vided you’re happy to add $200-300 to the fi­nal price tag.

Wield­ing one of In­tel’s first over­clock­able Core i9-8950HK CPUs, the top-of-the line Alien­ware 15 packs an ab­surd amount of com­pute power. This hexa-core CPU is com­pli­mented by a suf­fi­ciently beefy 16GB of RAM by de­fault — add $390 if you want the 32GB model we tested. There’s the same kind of pric­ing for stor­age; a 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD is in­cluded, but it’s $120 or $1,475 ex­tra for a 1TB HDD, or a 1TB HDD and dou­ble the PCIe SSD ca­pac­ity, re­spec­tively. The in­cluded Class 40 SSD is fast, with read and write speeds of 2,786 and 1,355MB/s, but it’s hard to imag­ine a pri­mary gam­ing rig with­out ad­di­tional stor­age.

The Alien­ware 15 gets ex­pected PCMark 10 scores of 6,085 com­pared to 4,754 and 6,356 from the MSI GT75 Ti­tan and Aorus X9 units, re­spec­tively. In Cinebench R15’s mul­ti­threaded CPU bench­mark how­ever, the Alien­ware 15 scores around 22% less than both th­ese de­vices. While this didn’t seem to af­fect gen­eral usem, we saw a sim­i­lar per­for­mance dip in me­dia en­cod­ing bench­marks, which we sus­pect is due to ther­mal throt­tling from the CPU’s reg­u­lar 100ºC spikes.

3DMark Fire Strike Ul­tra scores sat at 4,266, which is about 7% bet­ter than the ASUS ROG Ze­phyrus and be­tween 16% and 20% lower than the GT75 Ti­tan and X9. This makes sense, given the Ze­phyrus also has a Max-Q GPU while the other two use reg­u­lar mo­bile GTX 1080s. In real-world games like Ghost Re­con: Wild­lands and Mid­dle Earth: Shadow of War you’re look­ing at av­er­age frame rates of 52.7 fps and 89fps us­ing Ul­tra 1080p set­tings.

The Alien­ware 15’s cus­tomis­abil­ity will be great for any­one who wants to­tal con­trol over their build, but if you add in the op­tional ex­tras of 32GB of RAM, a fast screen and ad­e­quate stor­age space then the Alien­ware 15 ends up only $200 or so less than the $5,599 Aorus X9 DT. Con­sid­er­ing the X9 DT has a faster screen, me­chan­i­cal key­board and dou­ble the PCIe SSD stor­age (a priv­i­lege that Dell charge $1,475 for) it’s pretty clear which is the bet­ter value.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.